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


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.






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.)




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.



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

  • really?

    You say that’s the camera getting cleaned up by a nikon tech, but that camera body is clearly black, while rained on body is painted tan. And, you know, it’s a D3 on that work bench.

  • Matt

    It is a(nother) conspiracy!

  • Theo Lubbe

    I don’t get it – who leaves equipment like this completely unattended while they go 120 miles away for so long…?

  • Andy Austin

    I looked at the guy’s Facebook page, he had another camera out in the storm. And that one was all black.

  • Eponymous_Jones


  • TN

    no joke, i’m not sure if big stones, or absurdly… heh, bloggers

  • Nate Curde

    What we all want to know is what images did they capture?

  • C Jacobs

    I was thinking the same thing as I looked at the picture of it being worked on. But then I realized that the entire camera isn’t entirely green. It appears to be only partly so. And of course there’s the blurb at the end about his custom painted cameras.

  • Chang He

    I’m more concerned by the fact that he’s got an external battery pack and all his photographic gear in a pile of UXOs.

  • commonsenseisdead76

    I just want to have enough free cash to risk equipment like that in the name of “art” so I can brag about it to everyone.

  • faloc

    lawl……my 1D Mark IV is still a beast in stormy weathers :P

  • the truth hurts

    haha.. at first glance i literally thought the camera turned beige from the storm

  • Michael Zhang

    You’re right — it was the other camera (a black D3S) that’s being cleaned in that photo. We updated the caption to be more specific.

  • Maher Dosoqi

    Please read carefully before giving negative comments. The article said the photographer left two cameras: D4 (Green) & D3S (Black). The technician in the picture is cleaning the 2nd one!

  • James Goodwin

    Wouldn’t mind seeing how the time lapse worked out with that water ingress

  • Dino Traite

    The initial comment was before the edit made by the author of the article, as commented below by the author himself.

  • nw_guy

    thats what I thought, I was really confused

  • Ridgecity

    I love the camo look!

  • Theo Lubbe

    Doesn’t make any sense to me – why would a blogger leave their equipment completely unattended without taking any measures to ensure it wouldn’t be affected by any possible weather issues nor potential theft?

  • gochugogi

    The article actually indicates he used two cameras, a D4 and D3s…

  • Chang He

    Well it’s sitting in a pile of UXOs. You’d have to be as crazy as he is to try and steal it.

  • Theo Lubbe

    Some of those shells(?) look to be emptied or cut in some other way – certain it’s unexploded ordinance?

  • Lis Bokt

    That was the part of the whole article I got stuck on too.

  • wayneleone

    Does the paint job affect the weather resistance qualities? ie are the seals weakened?

  • Chang He

    I wouldn’t take the chance. His camera is parked on a tank, which is probably not moving, and so probably disabled in some way, probably from combat, which means that the ordnance you see isn’t the only concern. Who knows what’s buried in the area. Unless it’s part of some display, which isn’t clear from the story.

  • Jen Steffen

    I want to see his timelapse, drops or no drops.

  • Chang He

    Ahh, Wikipedia saves the day. Looks like the “Tourist Landmark of the Resistance” is actually a theme park for terrorists run by Hezbollah. More reason not to go, but the ordnance is probably safe.

  • Heie

    I’m the one (Alexander Jansen) who’s story is linked to with “…and being immersed in sand.”

    This is….really…….not good.

    On the other hand, I was outside for a training mission, and it POURED for 3 days straight. Not *ONCE* were two cameras (Pentax K-30 and K-5 IIs) and the lens attached to each put under a cover. They were continually rained on for 72 hours straight, to include left outside as I slept in the rain (we soldiers are dumb lol) and never did they suffer any of the water intrusion this guy’s Nikon’s did.

    Not impressed, Nikon.

  • roxics

    Green? Doesn’t look green at all, looks tan/sand colored.

  • Jack McKechnie

    That’s a success when it’s going to cost him a couple of hundred of bucks per camera to get cleaned and dehumidified….I’m like these folks..who leaves expensive equipment like that and goes 120 miles away?

  • jk

    You need a filter to complete the weather sealing on all high end lenses. Know you product first!

  • bob cooley

    You can’t put a filter on the front of a Nikkor 14-24… Know your product, indeed.

  • bob cooley

    That was my first thought, too.

  • Scott Borden

    I was hoping to get to see the photos that were taken during the time lapse. Where can we view those?

  • Joel Brand

    Seriously, who leaves $8,000 worth of camera equipment unattended, in a park, overnight?

  • nemethv

    Any clues as to how this would compare to say a D800 and a 16-35 lens? I’d be curious…

  • Jack

    Who else saw the headline and photo and thought “Wow! I can get a tan D4 by leaving it out in a storm!”

  • ihatedavidjay

    Someone that needed to get an overnight shot.

  • ihatedavidjay

    I’ve spent way more than “a couple of hundred of bucks per camera” to get a shot for a client before – no risk, no reward.

  • Gary Eason

    Silly article. It’s weatherproof. Which means … oh you get the idea. I take my D3s sailing, nuff said.

  • really?

    Thank you, Michael.

  • Maree Cardinale

    Wow, it washed all the black off lol

  • TerraKacher

    Now if he had a Pentax K-3 or the K-5, he wouldn’t have that problem, their both water proof!

  • jk

    That’s what I’m saying. Thats why camera was damaged. Get the point?

  • Dover

    You annnnddddd….well, you.

  • Opie

    TL;DR: It already looked like that.

  • Haree

    Seems you missed; “When he returned to the site late the next day, the cameras were still shooting the timelapse photos…”

  • Theo Lubbe

    I didn’t miss that, and it’s irrelevant to my question.

  • Theo Lubbe

    Water*proof*? So you’re saying you can use them for underwater shooting to a few meters without an enclosure? I sincerely doubt that.

  • tony allison

    and therein lies the lesson for all – no matter what the weather report says – ALWAYS ensure your gear is protected – it adds 5 minutes to the set up.