PetaPixel

Check Out What Happens When the $6,000 Nikon D4 is Left Exposed in a Storm

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Modern flagship DSLRs are generally designed to be extremely weather and water resistent, but it’s still not a good idea to leave them exposed for a long period of time to anything more than a light drizzle. What happens, though, if you do?

Lebanese photographer Alexy Joffre Frangieh found out for all of us yesterday after his $6,000 Nikon D4 was left in a storm for over 16 hours.

Frangieh tells us that he was shooting a lengthy time-lapse sequence with two of his cameras (a D4 and a D3S) at the Tourist Landmark of the Resistance near Mleeta, Lebanon while the park was closed to the public. After setting up the equipment at 7pm on Wednesday, he left it unattended while he traveled back to his home about 120 miles away.

The gear was fine, he thought, because there were only some clouds in the sky and the weather forecast only predicted very light showers. However, a storm soon rolled in and began pouring heavy rain on the camera hours after Frangieh left.

When he returned to the site late the next day, the cameras were still shooting the timelapse photos, but all of the gear was completely covered with water. In some parts, water had even gotten into the casing.

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Since the D4 and $2,000 14-24mm f/2.8 lens had been pointed up at the sky, water had collected on the front lens element and had begun condensing on the inside. (“It was like a bowl,” he says.)

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Amazingly, Frangieh says he wasn’t worried about the gear even after seeing how much water had fallen. His primary concern was the external battery he was using — he wasn’t sure if the cases had been closed all the way and feared that a short circuit could fry his equipment. Luckily, it was fine.

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The amazing thing about the whole story is that the camera equipment still works properly, and should be back to roughly the condition it was before after a thorough cleaning and dehumidifying.

The camera being cleaned up by a technician.

The D3S being cleaned up by a technician.

We’ve seen cameras survive extremely cold and icy environments and being immersed in sand. Now we can add “16 hours of heavy rainfall” to that list.


P.S. If you’re wondering about the unique look of Frangieh’s cameras, check out our prior coverage of his custom paint jobs.


Image credits: Photographs by Alexy Joffre Frangieh and used with permission


 
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  • Mojo

    I’m calling BS on this. You know dang good and well NPS would declare this as “Impact Damage”and say there was nothing they could do.

  • George Johnson

    Can’t say I’m impressed. I’ve stood for about 90 minutes solid shooting under sea waves ( example below ) with a cheap Canon 450D about 4 years ago, it was getting splashed with sea water every few minutes. It carried on working for another day before it stopped. Got it checked out and all that had happened was the power board had blown where the water had got inside and shorted it, cost me about £150 ( $250 USD) to get it fixed. Modern DSLRs are pretty tough, even the cheaper ones that don’t have weatherproofing can take a good beating. It wasn’t a very good idea to do what I did, corrosive seawater and electronics don’t mix well but I was a beginner and didn’t realise what I was doing at the time.

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    14-24 is weather sealed without a filter (mainly because it can’t accept one)

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    Jealous that you don’t have the balls/money to do that?

  • 124234234sasa

    you are a moron….

  • James B Nichols

    just before I saw
    the paycheck which said $5226 , I be certain that…my… friend actually
    making money parttime on-line. . there friends cousin haz done this 4 only 8
    months and just now cleard the loans on their place and bourt Volkswagen Golf
    GTI . look at here now W­ o­ r­ k­ s­ 7­ 7­ .­ C­ O­ M­

  • muehsam

    You know who is operating the Tourist Landmark of the Resistance? Hezbollah!

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    The 14-24 is already weather-sealed…

  • Scott Krebs

    Great image!

  • @photogoofer

    I’ve had similar experiences with my Canon 1D’s (MKII and DX). I shoot sports and while I’m not typically out 72 hours at a time, I’ve shot in driving rain and snow down to -22ºF and never had any problems with water getting into the camera body or lenses. Is this a common problem with Nikon’s?

  • http://www.arcticexposure.no/ Alexander Evensen

    The park was close off for visitors it said. Probably a very small chance of it being stolen.

  • jrconner

    Certainly proof that the cameras are rugged. And probably proof that the photographer is not hurting financially. I would have used less expensive cameras and lenses, and rigged rain shields.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    My primary concern would be the weather, though. I’m not saying the guy ought to have sat there next to it to babysit it during its entire shooting period, but going so far away you can’t tell the weather is worsening without anyone else nearby you’ve asked to ‘look after it’, without any sort of protection from rain or a sudden, unexpected sandstorm… that just seems irresponsible to me.

    I guess I’m mainly looking at it from the perspective of a guy who would love to be able to afford equipment of that caliber who would like to believe they’d take better care of it than this guy did.

  • ihatedavidjay

    But his was in the driving rain for 16+ hours, and was still working.

  • http://www.themillerpages.com/ 0maha

    People who are more interested in photographs than cameras.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    I’m sure having broken/stolen cameras works wonders for taking photos…

  • karel moonen

    Derka Derka!

  • RonT

    Not a matter of balls, just a matter of common sense and some (very basic) planning. Thinking that surviving a situation entirely due to luck is ballsy is an error.
    These sorts of photographers get celebrated by amateurs because it seems cool to have unnecessarily risked equipment, when in reality they have shown all the contingency planning and general forward thinking of a 3 year old.

  • RonT

    Agreed. I’d suggest that if you can afford 8K or so of gear, you can afford to pay someone a couple of hundred bucks to babysit it overnight while you go home. Doesn’t make for such a good story of course but you can’t have everything!

    Although well engineered, the gear surviving these conditions is probably more a matter of luck than anything, a decent amount of time cameras won’t survive at all. In any case, cameras often seem fine after an initial clean but it’ll be interesting if these cameras are still going in 6 months time

  • RonT

    Probably the lens was the weak point. By their very nature weather-sealing zooms is problematic

  • http://www.themillerpages.com/ 0maha

    To paraphrase an old sailing phrase, a camera in its case is safe. But that’s not what cameras are for.

    Cameras can be replaced. If your camera is so above your means that you are more worried about protecting it than you are getting the shot, you need a cheaper camera.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    And a sailor who recklessly takes his ship into a rocky alcove with a storm on the horizon because “screw it, ships are meant to be sailed, who cares if we sink!” is an idiot.

    The guy could have used a plate of plexiglass with a PVC lining around edges, laid over the camera, to prevent it from being rained on directly. If 16h+ timelapses are a common thing for him to do, then he should be able to prepare for the chance of unexpected weather properly.

    Insurance is supposed to cover accidents, not negligence.

  • NursultanTulyakbay

    Well, Nikon’s flagship bodies are pretty robustly weather resistant, but they are by no means waterproof. Being in a hard downpour for a period of time is effectively the same as dunking it in a tub of water. Still, props to Nikon – they did survive.

  • S Rahul Bose

    Can you please suggest a few SLR that can withstand even these conditions? Just wish to know if it is possible on today’s available options. And to understand the premium manufacturers absorb for such robustness.

  • Sharmoota

    lol, this is what you get when the photographer leaves his camera in a “resistance” tourist park, in a country that supports terrorism.

  • Zos Xavius

    I have a K-5 and K-5 IIs. They are not water proof. Water resistant at best.

  • http://www.themillerpages.com/ 0maha

    Have fun polishing your gear. Its raining right now, and I’m going out to shoot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    Have fun assuming you know the first thing about how other people use their gear while being a twit on the ‘net.

  • Robert Slowley

    The point is it is clear from your first comment that you didn’t know you can’t put a filter on the front of the lens.

  • David Brooks

    Certain lens designs are like this. If a lens was designed from the ground up to be weather-sealed, it’s probably not an issue. If it’s just a “weather-resistant” rebadge of an old lens…problems ahead.

  • David Brooks

    He only painted the metal, masked everything else. Thus, I’d imagine not. Either he abuses his cameras regularly, or Nikon needs to reconsider labelling the D4 “Weatherproof”

  • Richard Mui

    +1 on this being BS, and a major one at that! My D1h, D2h, D3s had all seen their fair share of rain and snow…but once you get them pointing upward all bets are lost. Case in point – my D3s survived a tropical typhoon pouring down for over 30 minutes without issue. But another time I got it wet only slightly and accidentally left the camera on the table pointing upward for only 5 minutes and water got in around the lens mount. It still worked except the AF was fried.

  • jk

    Omg…get a life dude!

  • Robert Slowley

    Do you normally find that insulting people distracts others from the incorrect things you’ve been saying?

  • fjfjjj

    1. Paint inside of your lens hood a light color.
    2. Leave camera in rain.
    3. ???
    4. Profit

  • Allan Smith

    The cool thing about rain water is the fact that it does not conduct electricity. It only does so when it picks up impurities.

  • Rick

    Instead of this 1D4s I would rather see news about Nikon/Canon going strong into the mirrorless segment. Fuji is already there and Sony is catching up, so why haven’t we heard from these two??

  • Ken

    Thats why you should get a pentax

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    Guess my previous reply was too ‘harsh’.

    I’m beginning to think that as some people’s bank balance grows, their common sense diminishes.

    Picture attached is me also shooting in the rain. Long-short: you’re presumptuous {word I’d get reported for again here}

  • megadon357

    Just curious, did you point your camera up at the sky where water could collect on the front lens element in a storm for 16 hours, like a bowl? If not, then there really isn’t a comparison.

  • Guest

    @disqus_A6xjy20DhQ:disqus, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. This is indisputable, and frankly they’d be better off spending their time resisting the Iranian spies and sympathizers who have turned that lovely country into a hellhole proxy state than “resisting” Israeli counter-terror operations.

    You don’t know anything about me, so don’t conjecture. Frankly I’m curious what you mean by “just eating burgers” though, it’s an idiom I’ve not heard before.

  • Jon Pertwee

    So… I wanna see the finished timelapse.. Forget all this nonsense about whether it was green or black, show me the film!! :)

  • waleed

    good day
    Dear all

    Congratulations first thing thanks to God not damaged the camera and this adds to the company Mastery in manufacturing the most important thing is the photographer and place them as well as the significant role photographer came to documenting the epic have been here from hear.. mletaaaaaa

  • Heie

    Pentax K-3, K-30, K-50, K-5, K-7, K5 II, and K-5 IIs.

    Without any hesitation. And only one will cost you over $1000, and by a couple hundred dollars only.

  • naderhd

    where’s the timelapse shoot lol , all of this is crap we need to see the timelapse

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    Is not all photography inherently dangerous? It is far more likely to be mugged for your photography gear on the streets than it is to have your gear stolen in a locked, and rarely visited, park at night when no one is aware that there is gear there. So really, as much as you want to stay on your high horse and shout down at people about how risky and unplanned their behavior is, just remember, I bet the photography you partake in has a higher chance of theft than this.

  • rachel

    a guy rich enough to easily replace his camera in case anything went wrong!

  • Rosario Maguey

    Well he is not going to stay there the whole day! No one should waste their time like that. A lot of photographers do that, when they are doing timelapse photos. Some even leave their gear unattended for weeks or months. How do you think timelapse photos are done?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nanonyous Theo Lubbe

    Cameras left for weeks to months tend to be in enclosures to protect them from the elements as well as sticky fingers, with someone checking on the enclosure and the equipment from time to time to ensure it remains safe and functioning.

    I don’t doubt that the majority of people leaving their cameras for several/many-hour timelapses will similarly arrange to have someone watch the camera for them.

    Now, I could understand if this guy didn’t expect to have to go so far away and had to make an unplanned trip without the time or ability to arrange with anyone to watch over his gear, but if he could have done the aforementioned yet didn’t, that just screams plain arrogance and/or irresponsibility to me.

    This guy’s scenario is, to my mind, not all that different from someone leaving their sports car parked next to a pier with its top down and keys in the ignition, seeing the horizon is covered in dark clouds and thinking “eh, what’s the worst that can happen”, then going away for a whole day expecting his car to a) not be stolen and b) for a storm which could drive lots of salt water into the car to be out of the question. Just about nobody sane would do that.

  • saywhatuwill

    I guess this man has never heard of using those gallon sized zip lock baggies and rubber bands like the old days when we didn’t even have weather sealing. Perhaps he’ll read this and a light bulb will go off. All he has to do is make a hole for the lens, put the camera in the bag, put the lens front through the hole, put a rubber band around the lens and boom, instant weather seal (for the most part). Worth a try.