Last Updated on 07/17/2020 by Mark Beckenbach
Not all weather resistant camera gear is created equal. Be sure to brush up on these useful tips before shooting in the rain.
Years ago, weather resistant cameras and lenses were few and far between, and photographing in the rain pretty much meant certain death for your equipment. With camera manufacturers creating more and more weather resistant cameras these days, it’s never been easier to shoot during inclement weather. What’s important to remember though is weather resistance does not equal weatherproof. Our latest original infographic highlights some important things to keep in mind the next time you’re planning on shooting in inclement weather.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure that your camera of choice is indeed weather resistant. Different manufacturers use different terminology to describe weather resistance. ‘Moisture resistant, weather sealed, splash/dust proof, rainproof’ are some popular alternatives. If your camera isn’t weather resistant, you should probably just stay home if it’s raining.
Having weather sealed lenses are just as important. A weather resistant camera isn’t going to do much good when paired with a non-weather resistant lens, because it’s still got a giant opening up front. The same terminology used to describe weather resistance on cameras also applies to lenses, so make sure the lens you use fits one of those descriptions. Note that some lenses are only partially weather resistant and requires a front lens filter to become fully resistant against the elements.
The Hot Shoe
Typically situated on top of cameras, the hot shoe is one of the areas most susceptible to contact with water when shooting in the rain. Thankfully, most camera manufacturers have done excellent jobs of ensuring that the hot shoe is weather sealed. But, we’d still recommend putting a hot shoe cover on it if you’re not using a flash transmitter.
The Ports and Doors
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “batten down the hatches” before. It’s a nautical phrase borne from sailors sealing all of the hatches on a ship to prevent water from entering below deck. The same concept applies to all of the covers and doors on your cameras. Before taking your camera into the rain, ensure that the covers to all of the various connectivity options (USB, HDMI, microphone, headphone, etc) and the doors to your battery compartment and memory card slots are securely closed. All of these ports and openings are a fast track to your camera’s internals. If, for some reason, these covers and doors aren’t closing properly, you can use some gaffer tape to cover them in a pinch. You’ll also want to refrain from changing batteries or swapping memory cards in the rain.
All the Seals
Whenever a camera manufacturer is touting the fact that a camera or lens is weather resistant, they usually include a diagram of where all the seal points are. Obviously, some of these are internal and not visible unless you take the camera or lens apart. But a good amount of these are located towards the exterior of the camera or lens and are visible to the naked eye. You’ll want to check these areas routinely to make sure the seals remain intact. If you notice any of the seals deteriorating, contact the manufacturer to inquire about repairs or replacements.
Shooting in the Rain
If all of the above checks out on your cameras and lenses, then you’re basically ready to shoot in the rain. Unless you’re caught in a monsoon or actually taking your camera for a swim, most modern weather resistant cameras and lenses are more than up to the task when used during inclement weather. If you’re interested in shooting in the rain but don’t have a weather resistant camera, be sure to check out the 10 Weather Sealed Cameras That Can Take Lots of Abuse that we’ve personally tested.