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Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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25 Oct 2020 12:45PM   Views : 489 Unique : 307


It rained a lot in Walsall yesterday, and I nearly didn’t go out for a walk. But around five it stopped pouring and abated to a drizzle, so I went round the block, and I wondered why we worry so much about waterproof cameras. I'd taken my Pentax Spotmatic with me - definitely a camera without weather-sealing.

It’s a real obsession for some people, and a major criticism in reviews, just like a camera being too small to hold wearing Arctic-grade gloves, or only having one card slot. And I feel that all three ‘shortcomings’ only concern a small proportion of photographers, in practical terms.

Please note that for them, it matters absolutely: for most of us, switching a card is easy – and have you ever suffered catastrophic card failure? Similarly with a camera being waterproofed.
It used not to be a big concern. A Leica M3 or a Nikon F wasn’t sealed against the weather throughout – so what’s changed?

For ordinary, ‘consumer’ cameras, it’s partly that an ever-ready case is no longer a common accessory: in 1970, you did well to avoid paying an extra fiver for one before you left the shop, and if you bought it, you probably used it. The Russian cameras of the time always included it in the advertised price – and they were largely made of real leather. While they were inconvenient (earning the nickname ‘never ready’) they did mean that a camera was safe even if the rain was torrential.

The second thing, I realised (just round the first turn on my triangular walk) was that there weren’t loads of holes in the body. A proliferation of buttons on digital cameras means there are a whole lot more places where weather-sealing is needed.

But the clincher actually arrived before digital. It came when cameras started to have switches instead of purely mechanical controls – my beloved Contaxes were early offenders. You can pour water into an old-fashioned loud-ticking alarm clock, and it will carry on pretty well, so long as it has a chance to drain and dry quickly. Lubricants on the cogs and rods may well prevent rust, as well.

It’s different with a digital watch with the back off. Once everything’s electronic, water is a far more damaging threat…

Mind you, there may be one more reason why so many people are concerned about owning a weatherproof camera, and that’s marketing and reviews. If you’ve been repeatedly told that it’s better, there’s a risk to anyone’s buying habits.


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dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
25 Oct 2020 5:06PM
I couldn't have put it better myself, totally agree with you.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Oct 2020 5:57PM
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
29 Oct 2020 7:09PM
Want water protection? Buy a strong umbrella... or shoot from inside the car (with the widow down).
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
29 Oct 2020 10:05PM
The time I really tested water-resistance was up on the Brecon Beacons. The nearest you could get a car was a couple of miles away, and umbrellas were useless. (It was June. Sunny when we left the car. When we got to the top, there was horizontal hail. Alpha 900 replaced under warranty: £90 repair to Dynax 9. Leica M6 - unaffected. Any umbrellas present would have been turned inside out, and would have landed the opposite side of the Bristol Channel.

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