What happens when a camera manufacturer announces that their new camera is weather-resistant or splashproof? Well, reviewers and users can’t resist putting that claim to the test. After all, the camera marketing department made that claim so let’s stick that camera under a tap, use it in the rain, roll it in the sand, etc.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1, coupled with an Olympus Weather-Sealed lens, features dustproof, splashproof and even freezeproof capabilities. Its weather-resistant seals and gaskets are supposed to block rain, snow and dust for use in harsh environments. But, as every experienced user will tell you, marketing claims aside, you ignore the User Manual at your risk and you should take some care operating the camera and lenses within their operating limits.
Olympus published a document to address the proper use, care and maintenance of their weather-resistant cameras and weather-sealed lenses.
In a nutshell, you need to ensure that the plastic and rubber flaps on your weather-resistant camera are properly closed. In that document, Olympus names six potential problem areas:
- Memory Card Compartment
- Power Battery Holder contacts compartment
- External Flash Connector cap
- Battery Door
- External connections compartments
- Accessory Port and Hot Shoe Cover
The covers on these compartments or connectors need to be free from dust when you close them to ensure a proper fit so as to protect against moisture or dust/sand seeping in. And, if they have been exposed to moisture and dust, you do need to dry and clean them to prevent corrosion and clogged mechanisms. Common sense, really.
Another misconception is that a weather-resistant or splash-proof camera/lens is waterproof. It isn’t. So, dunking it under water or rinsing it under running water is a no-no. The document lists proper care and maintenance of your weather-resistant camera/lens.
In truth, these cautionary measures apply to all weather-resistant cameras, irrespective of brand. I believe all DSLRs/DSLMs should be weather-resistant. I do not want to have to worry about rain or dust. However, the marketing departments need to rein in their lofty claims, give more accurate information concerning in which environment we can use the camera (can we use it in a rain storm?) and stop giving the impression that it’s one TOUGH camera that can take all kinds of abuse and keep clicking. Because reviewers and many hapless users will put those claims to the test.