Weather resistance is an important attribute of professional cameras that need to endure difficult shooting environments. To see how well some of the top cameras on the market would fare in the rain, Imaging Resource decided to conduct a water torture test, which you can watch in the 5-minute video above.
The cameras tested were the Nikon D850, Sony a7R III, Canon 5D Mark IV, and Olympus OM-D EM-1. Imaging Resource took all four cameras outside and used a garden-hose sprayer to simulate natural rainfall in both a strong rainstorm and a heavy mist. Each camera was subjected to 15 minutes in each scenario.
The Canon and Olympus cameras both survived the test without any water intrusion detected, and the Nikon had a very minor issue with water getting into the viewfinder (preventable by using the optional hot shoe cover). The Sony, on the other hand, was the only camera that failed the test.
“[T]he A7R III had a lot of water in its battery compartment,” Imaging Resource writes. “This must have entered through the top panel somehow […]
The camera was still functioning well after the rainfall test, but the mist test caused major issues with the Sony:
[W]e heard a rapid clicking noise coming from the direction of the table holding the cameras. “Huh?… It turned out the sound was coming from the A7R III, which was firing continuously. It was set to continuous-high mode, but its power switch was turned off. The only way we could get it to stop chattering away was to drop the battery. When we did, there was no sign of any water in the battery compartment, but watching the shutter actuate, we could see that there was water on the shutter blades themselves.
After a day of being completely unresponsive, the camera returned to “full health” the following day after drying out.
“Sony needs to up their environmental-sealing game if they want to compete in this high-end/professional market segment,” Imaging Resource concludes. But even though the Sony a7R III is weak at resisting water, the camera’s strengths are so great and “cutting edge” that folks at Imaging Resource would still happily purchase the camera.