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Monday, 22 January 2018


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John, you might wanna consider investing in a pair of waders before your next outing. A light Goretex pair wouldn’t slow down your hiking in cold weather...

So not buying used camera gear from you John! ;) Glad to hear you're OK, and that your gear is (mostly) OK. That sounds like almost enough water to drown in.

It's not the Olympus whose survival I worry about, it's John Lehet's.

Yikes! Truly happy to hear that *you* are OK after a dip in ice water.

This story reminds me of one of my all time favorite Internet comments. In the middle of a bunch of normal gear posturing the alleged lack of robustness in terrible plasticky bodies comes this text:

"Some where around 15-20 times per weekend, I strap my xti to a helmet, walk it across the tarmac and through the prop wash of a turbine aircraft, haul it to 14,000' above ground level, open the aircraft door, which hopefully does not hit my camera but sometimes does, in anywhere from -15F degrees and up, hurl myself, and camera, towards the earth at around 120 mph, taking over 100 images of my free fall student / subject as the conditions around me go from cold to extremely warm, dry to moist, sun shine to falling thru a cloud, then deploy a parachute, createing a 3g force worth of brakes, then land in to what is hopefully a nice stand up in the grass, but may be a hit drop and roll in the unknown, then return to a open-air, dusty packing area where my xti sits on a table, waiting for the parachute to be repacked so that it may ride my head for another adventure. It does great. One of the major things about a rebel that has always made it suitable for freefall photagraphy is its weight, or lack there of, however it light construction has never been a problem for me, or any of my peers."

You can read the whole thread here


Anyway, no doubt the E-M5 is tougher than this. I just like the story.

Use felt soled waders for rocky streams and banks. Use cleated models for other conditions. Clean the waders after each trip. It’s possible to spread invasive organisms otherwise.

Old trappers in my area stashed emergency kits on their beaver trap lines. Besides fire making stuff, these included a change of clothes.

“Rock Hopping” and other forms of bank scrambling are deceptively risky outdoor pursuits, as John’s history underlines. They are that even in warm weather.

"After a day in a jar with desiccant, I tried the E-M5 Mark II with a different lens, and..."

I'm not sure climbing into a jar with some desiccant is quite the best way to dry yourself out, after a plunge into an icy river... (grin)

Yeah, waders have been suggested, but I think in a case like this it would have been more dangerous. Jerry Garcia's father died when his waders filled and he was swept in the current. I think that's what would have happened to me.

Don't worry about buying gear from me. I am loath to sell anything funky, and if I do it will be full disclosure and low price. I have two EM5ii bodies because I bought one to replace the lost-in-snowbank one. And then I never felt right about selling the lost in snowbank one. If I get the 12-40 lens working and it seems OK, and I sell it, you can be sure I'll price it low and tell the tale.

As an update, I went out in a hard freezing rain this morning. First I grabbed the Sony with the Voigtlander APO 65 2.0 on it. As the first drops collected on it, I said, "No way." I went in and got both EM5 ii bodies, a different prime on each of them. It was good to know that the cameras were really and truly waterproof, as I always had worried at some level in the past. I worked until I was quite cold and wet, not a worry about the cameras at all.

To heck with the camera, John. You’re a lucky fellow...with an apparently robust cardiovascular system. Have you every considered using a nice quadcopter drone for those over-water images?

Another fun story. My various Olympus cameras over the years have proven quite durable, though I'm not as rough with them as John. If they fail, it's from weird little things like a dial malfunction.

I found it very worth looking at John's website. His "Photo of the Week" section in particular is a good read, with great images.

I gave my Olympus E-M5 Mark II with a Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 lens a shock test. I was climbing out of a mountain creek with my camera on its tripod when the camera/QR plate slid off the ball head. Probably pilot error.

The camera and lens fell 3 or 4 feet with the lens straight down and hit a big flat dry rock. The filter was trashed (I ALWAYS keep a filter on every lens), but both the camera and lens survived with no noticeable effect on operation or quality, and is still going strong a couple of years later.

Recent story of a camera being swept away in the River Etive. Months later its was found - not working, but images were recovered from the card, and these helped to track down the owner:

Typical photographer story and audience reaction: "I damn near died doing this thing, but, my more importantly,camera is fine!"

Audience: "What filter did you have on the lens?"

While pondering my response to the post "Itch" about my dream system, my thoughts were interrupted by this post. Now I think I already have a good start towards said system; EM1 with 12-40 and 40-150 pro lenses (just need to add the 7-14). If I could start with the proverbial white sheet of paper, it would be a full frame version from Olympus with an equivalent trio of f4 zooms. Why not F2.8? Because I still have to carry said kit around.

So, what you're saying is that the next car you'll buy will be an Olympus :P

Wow that John lehet is one tough guy - much like his camera.

I climbed a steep slope in the Lake District in 2016. It was snowing. On the way back down I put my foot on what I thought was solid ground. I went over and over down the slope base over apex. I was wearing my Fuji x-t2 and 18-55mm on a sling strap. I think I fractured a rib on the camera. At any rate it hurt like hell for a couple of weeks. The camera was covered in mud but otherwise ok. The picture of course wasn't good enough. It was a stupid thing to do because I was down in a gully away from any path with no mobile (cell phone) signal. If I had broken an ankle I could have died down there. It taught me a lesson.Take care John. No picture is worth risking your life for.

I recently left my Sony RX100II outside in the rain for three days. I had put it on an exposed ledge when I was hosing sand off my feet. Rookie mistake, I went inside without it. Cue the major storm front. My wife spotted the camera 3 days later. It was still wet and the flash had popped up, which I thought was bad news. After a day in a bag of rice the on/off button had no effect, but I was able to start it using the 'view photos' button, then press that again to get to photographic mode. It still takes photos but will only turn off by automatically shutting down after 3 minutes of non-use. As far as my wife is concerned, it's as good as new.

One of true signs of their toughness is how they are shipped used. I had a ep-1 sent to me in just a media bag during the holiday season, the bag looks like it was run over by a stampede but all seems fine.

John - do you stick with lenses that Olympus calls weatherproof on the EM5s or do you find the lens matters less?

If I ever get into the micro 4/3 ecosystem it will be with one of these Olympus cameras.

>John - do you stick with lenses that Olympus calls weatherproof on the EM5s

On the EM5ii I tend to use Olympus weatherproof lenses, just because those lenses work well for my use with that camera. The EM5ii has mostly just had the 12-40 on it these days, but I also love the 60mm 2.8 Olympus macro (plenty sharp, beautiful bokeh), and that lens is basically waterproof, as I found in my left-in-the-snowbank test. The 60 is a whole different look than the 12-40. Also the 45 1.8 I think is weatherproof. If I'm traveling or hiking, I might carry that instead of one of my big vintage full frame 90s (though that is a tough call, because I have some vintage 90s I love). Also the 40 - 150 zoom is quite weatherproof, but I don't carry that so much these days.

I change primes on the Sony and don't use a zoom on it. That's my main work. But I'll grab the Olympus with the pro zoom to check out perspectives if I'm not sure of a lens change on the Sony. I also use the Olympus when I want more depth of field than I'll get on the full frame, and I usually wish I used it more when I get home. I don't like to stop down too much because diffraction starts to take a toll, so I'd rather use the smaller sensor if I want more DOF. Diffraction effects are worse on the micro four thirds than on the full frame, generally, but still of course there is more DOF for a given framing at reasonable apertures. I also use the Olympus in bad weather, of course, and for a serious hike with a lot of elevation gain when I carry clothes and other stuff that pushes out the heavier full frame gear. Though it's not always a beautiful render like some of my vintage lenses, the 12-40 is sharp and I've made some really good photos with it on EM5 bodies.

OMG. The ham radio community lost one of their own in January after the fellow fell through the ice in a pond going after his stranded dog:


You hear about folks getting rescued from fishing huts, etc. during warm spells on the Great Lakes.

Please folks, be safe, and don't make widows and orphans of your loved ones.

Fell into a swimming pool while riding a bicycle (don't ask). Luckily I fell into deep water and didn't hit my head. I unclipped and the bike came up floating upside down by the wheels. My Cannon EOS-M with 22mm in an open Ziploc in my jersey pocket was immersed, the lens full of water. Removed the battery and lens ASAP and gave everything the warm lamp/rice treatment for a couple of days. After a couple of startup errors it has worked fine ever since, though I did replace the lens.

Apparently weather sealing is not consistent brand-to-brand. See this tear-down report of a salt-water dunked weather-sealed Sony. Sony is still learning how to build cameras in spite of its advanced tech.


Update: I got a bit more aggressive with drying the 12-40 that had water in it. I put it on top of the radiator in my office, which tends to run about 150 degrees Fahrenheit or so. It dried more quickly there. It works. Autofocus works. In quick casual tests, I can't see any problems from it, but I wouldn't be surprised if a photo of clear sky stopped down will show some water marks, or bokeh balls might show flaws. The glass has obvious water spots inside of it.

I'm going to query my local camera repair place (LeZott's, near Burlington Vermont) to see if they'll clean the glass and at what cost. The other option is to try sell it for maybe $200 or so on Ebay with full disclosure of history and water spots on glass.

I would try to clean it myself, but my web searches about disassembly of this lens have been fruitless. I've found (I now have a Contax Zeiss C/Y f3.4 35 - 70 zoom with a clickless aperture ring after attempting to repair an issue with that lens without finding a guide to do it)

Update II: Lezot says maybe better to send it to Olympus. Lezot would charge $125 to $175 to disassemble and clean, approx.

But I'm glad I called them, because they can fix my now clickless manual focus push-pull C/Y Contax zoom (my only full frame zoom) for maybe $75.

And update III: Olympus says it would probably be about $75 to clean all the glass, and maybe $125 if the lens needs further repairs. The whole thing was traumatic, but not the financial hit that I feared.

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