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I am trying to decide between better zoom power and value of Panasonic Lumix FZ200, improvements offered by FZ300, and larger sensor / better image quality of F1000.

Won't any fixed lens zoom be pumping air in and out as it expands and contracts, at least partially negating a major advantage of weather sealed FZ300? I live in coastal (salty air) subtropical (humid... even when it isn't raining), South (hot) Florida. Actually, rain can be a blessing, at least when it is rinsing off some of the salt and mud. So, even going from indoors or from an air-conditioned car) to the outdoor environment means the camera will pressurize as it warms up. Likewise, coming into a very cool place from mid-90 degree (F) outdoor temps and 90% relative humidity, will mean moisture inside the camera may condense, creating a vacuum and drawing moisture, salt and dust in, as the body and lens cool down.

I am assuming the "bellows" effect can only get worse in a larger lens barrel like the FZ1000. Won't it pump even more air in and out as you as zoom-setting is altered? If I am correct, is paying extra for a sealed camera really a good value, or not?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @scottbb I was hoping the OP would spot my comment. I would have fixed it but my train was too close to a long tunnel for an edit on mobile. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2016 at 19:20

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Won't any fixed lens zoom be pumping air in and out as it expands and contracts, at least partially negating a major advantage of weather sealed FZ300?

Yes they will negate weather sealing partially - because weather sealing of most cameras rarely includes humidty (vaporized water) sealing. There cannot be any significant pressure increase or vacuum inside camera - air inside camera cannot be isolated from ambient. Objectives with internal zooming and focusing (Panasonic FZ50 has such but is quite old) are less affected by it.

You will only have problem with condensation if the camera is significantly colder than the ambient you bring it into. You will most likely not have problems if you bring camera from conditioned car outside because it is more likely that human will have problems because of such temperature increase than camera will condense water.

You may have such problems in cold weather and warm apartments and very rarely in other cases.

Also, to have experience such a problem camera should extend it's barrel, for zooming or powering on for example. With FZ1000 you may keep objective at wide angle setting and not have too much problems with condensation inside camera, but FZ300 and FZ200 will take some air inside every time they power on.

Front lens element will almost inevitably get humid if going to warm apartment anyways.

Can you “environmentally-seal” any Fixed Zoom-Lens Camera?

Such cameras are called "underwater". They are not completely sealed and cannnot be used underwater indefinitely but they are most sealed cameras produced and some of them are not bulky at all (like Nikon Coolpix AW, Olympus Tough, etc).

Those of them which have zoom objectives have internal zoom and focusing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the wording in many Nikon documentation is that weather-sealing is for humidity. They say nothing about rain or snow in most cases, although that is what most people look for in weather-sealing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    May 18, 2016 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @itai: how can that be achieved other than with internal zooming and focusing? When I say "humidity" I mean vaporized water, not condensed. There is no practical way of keeping the air inside camera dry. \$\endgroup\$ May 18, 2016 at 8:11
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Not all zoom lenses change the volume of air contained inside them with changes in focal length. There are many zoom lenses with internal zoom elements. When zoomed the size of the barrel that contains the lens elements does not change. My Ef 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II is one such lens The front element never moves, either to zoom or focus. All of the moving parts are inside the lens barrel.

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