Exposed to moisture my 3 month old Nikon D800 had algorithm seizures and random drive events making it unusable, but Nikon claim:
"Despite its light weight and compact size, the D800 is as tough as Nikon’s professional single digit cameras, with extensive weather and dust sealing throughout to ensure you can keep working when the going gets tough.
Build quality: as reliable on the road as it is in the studio, the D800 boasts a weather- and dust-sealed magnesium alloy body that weighs in at approx. 10% lighter than the D700. "
So how come when the weatherproofing fails to keep water out they wish to charge me over £100 to fix it. ?If I'd wanted a full frame DSLR reputed to break down as soon as it encounters moisture I'd have bought a Canon 5D!
#1. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 18-Apr-13 06:32 AM
Weather-sealed and Weather-proof are two different things.
It only takes one drop of water in the wrong place to cause issues.
While most of the high end bodies are weather sealed, No manufacturer will warranty a camera or lens for water or moisture damage.
If you plan on shooting in adverse conditions I would recommend getting a quality rain cover like one of the Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia's.
I use rain covers on all of my bodies including the single diget D series when shooting in the rain or snow.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
#2. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0km6xz Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Thu 18-Apr-13 07:25 AM
How do you mean "exposed to moisture"? Was it condensation or a drop into water, or just high humidity? Seals help with resisting dirt and liquid from entering the camera but that is by no means water proofing, which requires a waterproof housing such as used for underwater photography.
The seal system is only as good as the weakest link which is lenses. How water proof are your lenses and what condition are the seals, if it has them.
We have outdoors and wildlife shooters on this forum who regularly use their D800's in high moisture conditions but liquid water or any fluid is always a threat so most take precautions to reduce the threat.
$180 or so is an indication that the seals actually worked because the damage is minor, possibly a little corrosion on the main pc board that could be neutralized chemically. Otherwise it would have been expensive.
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#3. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 18-Apr-13 07:44 AM
It's not a Nikonos! None of these cameras - including the D4, Canon 1Dx, 5D or whatever - are waterproof or weatherproof, nor are they "sealed" in the common sense of the word. As you have discovered the hard way, they aren't really "sealed" rather they "have moisture barriers." I am surprised that the repair is only £100. A few other folks have made similar mistakes and the bills have run considerably more.
Rain covers such as the ThinkTank Hyrdrophobia are a standard part of my gear for this reason.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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#4. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 18-Apr-13 09:11 AM
>Exposed to moisture my 3 month old Nikon D800 had algorithm
>seizures and random drive events making it unusable
You've written a complaint without any explanation. What does "exposed to moisture" mean and what do you actually think that weather and dust sealing is supposed to prevent?
I've watched photographers using Nikon and Canon pro bodies in all sorts of weather. The ones who don't understand that they're using a complex electronic and optical device in the rain, or who dunk one corner or one side, or who spill a volume of fluid onto the camera, or who repeatedly expose the camera to rapid condensation environments, end up with a dead camera. Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc. - it doesn't matter which sort of DSLR body it is, because they're all subject to failure in such conditions.
I'm not accusing you of doing anything dumb, just looking for some details beyond your "exposed to moisture" comment. If a seal has failed, Nikon should fix it under warranty. If you put the camera through its paces in a situation or environment in which it was not warranted to survive, it's your fault.
Nikon, Canon and other camera makers don't claim any of their DSLR bodies are "weatherproof" at all. They claim only that some of their camera bodies are "weather resistant" and that's true. There's a huge difference.
#5. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 4Thu 18-Apr-13 01:09 PM
You are correct, I do keep expecting my DSLR's to withstand the same punishment as i handed out to my F4 and its predecessors, especially when doing access work. It just amazes me that in 2013 we can't come up with better seals than those spongy doors.
It is my fault that I push bodies (and lenses) to the limit, but I am sure that i am not alone in thinking that a less convenient to open accessory socket cover, supplied with bodies alongside the easy to open flaps, would be a welcome addition. Among the local photographers in my area there are climbers and cavers who shouldn't need an underwater body (unless going through sumps) but who are switching to products with inferior optical performance because DSLR bodies just aren't as tough as their film predecessors.
Incidentally, my Kodak ProSLR/n bodies survived worse conditions over many years, and bear the scars, they're just functionally out of date.
#6. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 5Thu 18-Apr-13 01:34 PM
>amazes me that in 2013 we can't come up with better seals than
>those spongy doors.
Agreed! Good point.
>but I am sure that i am not alone in thinking that a less
>convenient to open accessory socket cover, supplied with
>bodies alongside the easy to open flaps, would be a welcome
Absolutely, if the end result is a good, durable seal.
#7. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 6Fri 19-Apr-13 04:50 PM
Yes, I would rather be slowed down in the field (I am not a sports snapper) by having slower to open socket covers that seal better. I may even identify those functions I do not use and fill them with silicone.
I love the sound of valves (tubes) but if I were a musician working on the road it would have to be Class D amps every time; they're lighter, more durable and less likely to blow local circuit breakers. Sometimes we have to compromise.
I have heard there is to be available soon an aftermarket protective coating for smart phones that might suit the less cautious photographer too.
#8. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 7Fri 19-Apr-13 05:53 PM
>Yes, I would rather be slowed down in the field (I am not a
>sports snapper) by having slower to open socket covers that
>seal better. I may even identify those functions I do not use
>and fill them with silicone.
It's a hope, but I'm sure you're not holding your breath in wait. I think Nikon does a good job of weather sealing for a wide range of environments. Beyond the limitations, the third-party aftermarket can take over, and usually does.
I don't treat my cameras particularly well. I use them, perhaps too often, in ways that physically bump into the limits imposed by weather seals, card and battery door hinges, strap lugs, tripod mounts, button pressure and few other things I can't remember right now. I just don't expect the camera to ever perform beyond its specified limits or beyond the limits imposed by the design. It happens anyway, but it's always accidental because I refuse to deliberately jeopardize a photography trip or a project. The backup I carry is all well and good, but I'd really rather always be using my main body.
In any event, that's how I see it.
>I have heard there is to be available soon an aftermarket
>protective coating for smart phones that might suit the less
>cautious photographer too.
Liquipel and Aridion are two products that are already on the market. Both of them work well for smartphones, but with one caveat: a full treatment penetrates inside the smartphone and in many environments can increase the operating temperature of the device because of the way the coatings trap heat and fill interstices.
The best thing about the Liquipel and Aridion coatings is that they add little or no measurable weight to the camera - at least, nothing of even the slightest significance. The coatings also do not add any bulk, unlike the, IMO, awful silicone body 'armour' products which can actually sometimes trap moisture against the camera body.
#9. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 8Rickjobson Nikonian since 20th Dec 2012Fri 19-Apr-13 09:28 PM
Apart from my interest in photography, in business i distribute Swiss watches. It is actually easy to seal a complex instrument....as long as you don't require interface with the operator! As soon as switches, buttons and hatches are required your seal is the weakest point. Only circular (threaded) openings can be perfectly sealed. I recon Nikon could make a waterproof D800 for around $25,000 with some clever work, of course it would weigh few kilos!
We all just have to be careful and if an accident occurs, cough up the 100 quid and smile : )
Happy shooting. Rick
#10. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0
I just had detailed conversation with a Nikon rep at NAB show about this.
It started because I pointed out that even though some spots on the grip are protected the grip itself is not even moisture resistant.
For example moisture can get through under the tightening wheel very easily.
He agreed with me and we started talking about the cameras.
Basically on these types of cameras there are seals, many of them but camera itself is not even moisture resistant. It only takes one entrance point and that is all she wrote.
But I had my cameras in the light rain and never a problem.
So it all depends on the luck I guess.
#11. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 10Sat 20-Apr-13 03:37 PM
I agree that we use our cameras at our own risk. I agree that many of us push our cameras to their design/spec limits. What I object to is:
1 Unrealistic or vague advertising claims, like 'professional build quality and weather-proofing' (paraphrased)
2 Tools being less durable than 15, 20 0r 25 years ago, when their real cost is probably comparable.
Nikon's film bodies were sufficiently modular to allow great flexibility. Nikon could have made the D800E the studio type body, equipped for tethering, with numerous interface options, and made a D800T (for Tough) with a different unpierced base plate, fewer interfaces, O rings on the thumbwheels (harder to adjust, but that's the compromise), silicone keyboard type buttons. We happily pay extra for no anti-aliasing filter and I too would pay and extra 2 or 3 hundred for extra durability. Field failures cost more in lost work.
#12. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 11Sat 20-Apr-13 04:21 PM
>I agree that we use our cameras at our own risk. I agree that
>many of us push our cameras to their design/spec limits. What
>I object to is:
>1 Unrealistic or vague advertising claims, like 'professional
>build quality and weather-proofing' (paraphrased)
I think that's where we diverge. I consider the D200, D300, D300s, D1-D4, D700 and D800 to be professional bodies with the build quality and weather resistance to match. Nikon never claimed any "weather-proofing" but I realize you were paraphrasing.
>2 Tools being less durable than 15, 20 0r 25 years ago, when
>their real cost is probably comparable.
I disagree with this as well. I find that everything since the D2x and D200 have been at least as robust for my use as any Nikon body (or any other body) I ever used before. There are differences for sure, but none that have affected anything I've done and none that have let me down on the road.
You want flaky? Try any Leica M body during the '70s and '80s. I often travelled with three M bodies because the little buggers kept failing. It was a common complaint. Don't know how many different bodies I went through over the years, but I finally gave them up for Nikon.
I've got plenty of complaints about Nikon DSLR bodies. A D700 (my first one) that coughed up a dead AF module the first week I had the thing. The replacement (over the counter exchange at my dealer) worked perfectly for several years except for the times I dropped it. Even after the drops, it still worked well enough to finish trips and research projects. Plenty of factory quality control issues in recent years have reared their ugly heads too, and that surely detracts from the impression of Nikon quality.
>Nikon's film bodies were sufficiently modular to allow great
>flexibility. Nikon could have made the D800E the studio type
>body, equipped for tethering, with numerous interface options,
>and made a D800T (for Tough) with a different unpierced base
>plate, fewer interfaces, O rings on the thumbwheels (harder to
>adjust, but that's the compromise), silicone keyboard type
>buttons. We happily pay extra for no anti-aliasing filter and
>I too would pay and extra 2 or 3 hundred for extra durability.
>Field failures cost more in lost work.
I agree with all the proposed improvements. But I think they need to come in the form of special editions, just as you've suggested, because I do not want to pay extra for Tough features I've never needed, I don't want to pay extra for command dials that are harder to turn, and I absolutely don't want to pay extra for membrane covered buttons which I personally hate.
If Eddie Bauer can get together with GM to create special edition van and SUV models, why can't some other high profile third-party pitch Nikon on Tough-type special edition D3, D4, D800 and D7100 bodies? I doubt Nikon will do it because there's insufficient call for it.
#13. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 12Sat 20-Apr-13 05:07 PM
Our different needs are why Nikon make so many DSLR variations, and there's room in the market for Canon, Sony, Olympus, Leica et al.
Having moaned about one aspect of the D800, I have to admit it's the closest to ideal for my needs that Nikon have yet made, having only ever used full frame.
#14. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0
Weatherproofing is a bit like saying something is "rugged" or "survives abuse well", where describing degree is too subjective. So this is just another data point you can't actually plot.
I've used both my D800 and D4 in rain several times. One day I need to take a picture of them drenched. I do not use a rain cover. I do dry them off when it stops raining, and I am careful not to get the front lens wet. Only the better lenses (200-400, 24-70 or 70-200) that are more sealed.
Just yesterday I was shooting a baseball game and we had about a 15 minute ran shower, enough my shirt was soaked, but no lightning, the team kept playing, I kept shooting. When it stopped, I had a (somewhat) dry rag and wiped the camera and lens down and finished the game. I live in florida -- I can't shoot without rain being a frequent companion.
And I've seen people trying to use plastic covers, I'm not convinced it so much keeps them dry as changes it from water to steam, at least down here in the heat.
I've never had any problems. Of course next time they may blow up in my hand or rust and jam internally. I am not recommending it. And if there's a dry place to stand, I stand there.
But I bought good cameras in part because they are supposed to also be tough, and so far they've lived up to that nicely.
Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com
#15. "RE: You need to be more realistic" | In response to Reply # 14RSchussel Nikonian since 24th Nov 2008Sun 21-Apr-13 01:14 AM
I think your expectations are unrealistic.
You never did tell us the conditions that lead to "moisture problems"
I dont mean to be harsh but it almost sounds like you were reckless.
There are Nikonians who live in the tropics who have learned to deal with high humidity etc. Most electronics can take some water but if it hits the wrong spot its over.
You talk about your F4. Look at the electronics in it as compared today.
If you want to be worry free get an underwater housing for your camera.
#16. "RE: You need to be more realistic" | In response to Reply # 15Sun 21-Apr-13 09:36 AM
Of course my expectations are unrealistic.
I'm a photographer!
Robert, you are absolutely correct, especially in your remark, "Most electronics can take some water but if it hits the wrong spot its over"
I just want to hear how many other people also want less gizmos and more durability. Having youthfully abseiled down tall structures with a 5x4 field camera and crawled under oil dripping machinery with an SLR I do have very unrealistic expectations in my gentler latter years.
#17. "RE: You need to be more realistic" | In response to Reply # 16Cowleystjames Nikonian since 02nd Mar 2013Sun 21-Apr-13 10:32 AM
I bought a Hydrophobia® 70-200 as I've invested plenty of money into my D800e.
Take weatherproofing with a pinch of salt.
I've always used a cover in rain and never had a problem
#18. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 14
One could shoot in the rain without a rain cover thousands of times and never have a problem. On the other hand, the camera could malfunction the first time a drop of water hits it. It is the luck of the draw.
As long as a drop of water doesn't get to the wrong place at the wrong time, you won't have a problem. If the drop of water get to the electronics, the damage could be extensive.
Each of us must decide how much risk we are willing to take.
I consider a quality rain cover, cheap insurance.
As for the plastic covers, you get what you pay for.
#22. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 18Sun 21-Apr-13 07:15 PM | edited Sun 21-Apr-13 07:17 PM by Ferguson
>One could shoot in the rain without a rain cover thousands of
>times and never have a problem. On the other hand, the camera
>could malfunction the first time a drop of water hits it. It
>is the luck of the draw.
>As long as a drop of water doesn't get to the wrong place at
>the wrong time, you won't have a problem. If the drop of
>water get to the electronics, the damage could be extensive.
Remember, I'm not recommending people forgo rain protection. I'm not recommending anything, just offering a data point to provide a bit of balance to the OP's.
But I will note that rain water is close to distilled in conductivity, and is darn close to not conductive. It is about 50,000 times less conductive than sea water, and probably 100 times less conductive than average tap water.
The impact of clean, non-salt water on electric circuits is generally much less than people think it is. We've been educated by decades of horror and sci-fi films that a bit of water and sparks fly (kind of like the fact that if you give a computer too hard of a problem it explodes in a similar shower of sparks ).
I'd speculate that the danger from moisture to optics and LCD's (both direct from distortion and indirect from mildew/mold) is far higher than the danger of a bit of fresh water to the electronics.
Not that it belongs inside in either case of course.
But just an idle question for consideration - ever wear a plastic poncho for a while in a hot summer day's rain? Didn't you feel like it was a sauna, and soon were as damp inside as if you had been rained on? I wonder if that zoom lens pumping the hot humid air through your camera is actually benefiting from the rain gear. I'd offer the speculation that if you really want to protect the camera from rain -- stay inside.
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#19. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 0
I've been reading this post with great interest.
For those using the think tank photo cover, what happens to the lens. I mean the lens is covered in all parts except the front and that will surely get wet. Is that a problem?
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#20. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 19Sun 21-Apr-13 06:17 PM
>I've been reading this post with great interest.
>For those using the think tank photo cover, what happens to
>the lens. I mean the lens is covered in all parts except the
>front and that will surely get wet. Is that a problem?
Even without such a cover, at least on telephoto (which someone is what most in-rain shooters are using) have adequate lens covers to keep the front element dry unless the rain is driving, or you are shooting up (so fortunately airshows tend to cancel if there's rain). But if you can NOT keep it dry, there's no point in shooting -- it's not then about equipment protection, the images from a soaked front element aren't really usable. So it's really a moot point.
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#21. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 19Sun 21-Apr-13 07:14 PM
The lens hood on the 24-70mm, 200-400mm and all of the super telephoto lenses are quite deep and protect the front element from rain quite well. The Hydrophobia has velcro straps that can be tightened around the lens hood protecting the full lenth of the lens and then some.
On the 24-70mm and 70-200mm one can use a Nikon NC or other brand of clear filter for a little extra protection.
As long as the wind isn't driving the rain into the lens, the front element is reasonably protected. When not shooting, it is good prectice to keep the lens pointed down and to protect the front of the lens from the wind as much as possible.
Keeping a few microfiber towels and a lens cloth is always a good idea.
#23. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 21Sun 21-Apr-13 07:55 PM
Thanks you for your replies.
I have Nikon clear filters on all my lenses and use the hoods as well. I don't want any water or moisture inside the lens as its probably a good environment for fungus growth.
Please visit my galleries: Reza Gorji Photography
#24. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 21paulogomes222 Registered since 07th Apr 2013Sun 21-Apr-13 08:31 PM
I read this topic with interest and feel obliged to share my story with you:
I took my D800 with the 24-120 f4 on a weekend trip to the beach. The sea was rough crashing against the rocks of the cliff and we went down a staircase to get close to the waves. I was a little nervous because I'm overcautious with my expensive toy. As we got close to the water, a big wave comes and splashes a considerable amount of saltwater on us. It was equivalent to having s bucket of water poured right on your head. I look down on my D800 in despair and see it completely wet. With my heart pumping faster in terror and hoping it was just a nightmare I was having, I rushed up the cliff, took off my tee shirt and started to dry it as well as I could. It took another couple of hours before I got to the hotel room and started to assess the damage more carefully and do a better cleaning. When I popped the built in flash up, there was a little puddle of saltwater still there. With dry toilet paper I absorbed every remaining water and with humid toilet paper and cotton swabs I wiped the still sticky surfaces because of the salt and cleaned every reachable corner.
End of story: It has been a month now and everything in the camera and lens has been working perfectly. Maybe I was just lucky but I still love my D800.
#25. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 24Mon 22-Apr-13 07:55 AM
I am so glad your camera did not suffer. I think water resistant is applied to your situation exactly. I frequent the beach with mine; if the wind is coming from the sea and is strong, you can ususally see a cloud of mist (and salt) that will cover everything. I cover the camera when using it and would not change any lens. The only thing worse for electronics than water is salt water.
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#26. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 19
I have the, rather large, Think Tank Hydrophobia for my 400/2.8. It fits PERFECTLY when both parts of the hood are attached to the lens. The Hydrophobia clamps (Velcro) around the very front end of the hood which protrudes approximately 6ins from the front element of the lens. Therefore there is a very slim chance of rain actually reaching the lens.
I will admit that I've only had to use it on one occasion (October 2012), but that single experience allows me to wholeheartedly endorse the Hydrophobia. I used it in conditions which varied from heavy rain to driving snow. Here's an example of one of the shots I took in light snow.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
#27. "RE: D800 weatherproofing" | In response to Reply # 26Mon 22-Apr-13 05:13 PM
Guess that wasn't in San Jose.
I am ordering a Think Tank Hydrophobia 70-200 as it seems to have more real world field test recommendations than most alternatives. I use wides and short primes a lot, but I'm sure I can come up with a way of working comfortably.
Thanks for all the responses folks.