Importance of Weathersealing

The importance of weathersealing is often not fully appreciated until one faces an extended period of inclement weather. Such was the case with our recent self-drive tour of Newfoundland during which we encountered 11 out of 14 days with rain and fog.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 14-150 mm f/4-5.6 II @ 14 mm, efov 28 mm, f/8, 1/80, ISO-400, cropped to 4996 pixels on the width

In the past I was like many photographers and carried rain sleeves with me if I was expecting wet weather. I found these performed acceptably as long as the conditions were light to moderate in terms of rain and wind.

OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 14-150 mm f/4-5.6 II @ 17 mm, efov 34 mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO-400

While rain sleeves offered some necessary protection I found them rather cumbersome to use. I was always a bit nervous that some rain would be blown in around the lens barrel and eventually creep down to my lens mount causing damage.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 16 mm, efov 32 mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-200

As a result I consciously chose not to use my camera gear as often as I could have under inclement conditions.  When it came time for my wife and I to shift into a different camera system, weathersealing was an important purchase criteria.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 80 mm, efov 160 mm, f/8, 1/800, ISO-200

Except for the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II, all of the M.Zuiko lenses we bought had weathersealing, and compatible for use with the E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III under inclement conditions.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 17 mm, efov 34 mm, f/6.3, 1/160, ISO-200

I must confess that facing day after day of fog and rain wasn’t the most motivating situation. But, at the start of each new day, my wife and I would just shrug our shoulders… and do the best we could given the weather conditions.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/400, ISO-200

It was actually extremely liberating not to have to care about getting our camera gear wet. There were more than a few locations where we were the only people walking around freely with our camera gear capturing images, instead of huddling over it and trying to shield it from the rain.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 44 mm, efov 88 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

The outstanding weathersealing of our Olympus camera gear allowed us to take each day as it came and focus our attention on creating some photographs, rather than worry about our equipment getting wet and being damaged.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 16 mm, efov 32 mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO-200

At one point we had experienced so many days of fog that we were actually hoping for heavier rain so it would help dissipate the fog for us. In all the years that I’ve owned cameras I don’t remember ever hoping for rain. Effective weathersealing changes one’s attitude about the the weather.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/2000, ISO-1600, cropped to 3226 pixels on the width, Pro Capture H, subject distance 17.3 metres

Each of us has our own set of criteria that we use when selecting camera gear. Not everyone faces inclement weather on a frequent basis, and some folks go as far as to avoid shooting in the rain.

OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko 14-150 mm f/4-5.6 II @ 36 mm, efov 72 mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-400

During our recent trip to Newfoundland, the majority of the time my E-M1X and M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS looked like they do in the image above.

For most of those days the fact that it was raining was a moot point as the wet weather didn’t get in the way of creating images. Creative freedom. That’s the importance of weathersealing.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data.  Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,285 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-1250, cropped to 3291 pixels on the width, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 7.9 metres

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8 thoughts on “Importance of Weathersealing”

  1. I often take my E-M1 MkII and 12-40 Pro lens with me on fishing trips because it has such good WR sealing and offers superior image quality and operational speed over my 1 inch sensor compacts. However in a few months I have had two accidents where I had stumbled and in both cases the camera and lens on my neck strap on my chest were fully and forcibly submerged into saltwater for a few seconds. The first time there were no signs of water intrusion and no effects on camera or lens operation. The second time was stumbling in muddy silty water. Some silt got in around the lens zoom ring but some rinsing from my water bottle helped clear the grit. However a few hours later when I got home the camera body did show some water smears around the battery compartment and the camera operation became erratic. I started to fill in an insurance claim and stuck the camera in the drying cupboard over the weekend. Lucky for me it was back to life and no need to proceed with any claim. The camera and lens are both been subjected to about 6-7 years of rain, sand, dust and fish slime and the build quality performance far outclasses any other brand I have had. Nevertheless I have taken heed of the close calls and have since purchased an Olympus PEN E-PL9 and will use that with an Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime inside a Dicapac underwater case which I used previously with a PEN E-P3. That way I still get the M43 image quality and operational benefits and lighter weight and more protection against human issues of clumsiness!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for sharing your real world experiences with Olympus weathersealing. You certainly have subjected your gear to more severe conditions than I have over the past 4 years. I’m sure readers will find reading about your experiences of interest… especially if weather sealing is important to them.


  2. I recently purchased an em1 mark iii. One of the deciding factors was the weather sealing of the camera system, alas, the first day I’ve used this in the Peak District to capture some dippers, it rained quite hard and now having to dry the camera out. It looked okay on returning to the house but then decided just to start taking photos on its own accord! Very strange and not overly impressed with Olympus so far.

    1. Hi Chris,

      My wife has not had any issues with her E-M1 Mark III… although she has not been out in rain with it as often as I have with my E-M1X. If the issue persists it may be prudent to have your E-M1 Mark III checked out under warranty.

      I’m assuming that you used your camera with a weathersealed M.Zuiko lens. If not, then the issue may have been with your lens, not the camera body.


  3. You’re braver than me. In Patagonia I cut out the bottom of a zip lock bag to cover the body and lens. The body and lens were kept drier than if not protected. I was using an EM 2 and 12-100 lens. Although I must admit with strong winds it was at times difficult to get a shot off.

    1. Hi Lewsh,

      I’ve been in heavier, but shorter duration downpours with my Olympus gear and never had an issue. I’ve even had a bit of a rogue wave soak me and my camera gear without any issues. Suffice to say I am very confident in the weathersealing.


      1. Tom,
        I also had my gear doused by a rogue wave–Sony gear (the lens stopped working but the camera was OK). After that incident I decided to make OM Systems / Olympus my primary gear. I have been exploring its limitations and haven’t found any since I don’t print anything bigger than 17×22 inches.

        1. Hi Jack,

          Thanks for sharing your experience with getting doused by a rogue wave and your decision to make your OM System/Olympus equipment your primary gear. I’m not sure of the software that professional nature photographer Andy Rouse uses… but in some of his YouTube videos he does discuss upsizing his OM System/Olympus files for client requirements. This helps when larger sized prints are required.


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