View Full Version : Testing waterproofness of my E-410

01-04-2009, 03:46 PM
And other miscellaneous abuse

Technically only one camera in the Olympus DSLR line is water-sealed, the E-3, and it is large and expensive (which I think is ridiculous, since Oly is known for small cheap cameras, and has more sealed lenses than anybody). However, I have read online of several people who had taken their Olyís out in the rain, but I have never read anywhere of someone whose camera died as a result of rain. Consequently, on my trip through the rainy Pacific Northwest over Christmas and New Yearís, I threw caution to the wind and ignored all bad weather and abuse as if it were a sunny day in the park.

The first day I took my camera into Redwood National Park, along the coast. I walked around for two hours, with rain varying from a light drizzle to steady rain, with a few minutes of occasional downpour. My camera stayed in my hands the whole time with either the 9-18 or 14-54 lenses on it, I changed while leaning over it to keep anything important from getting wet. The 40-150 was in my pocket getting wet, but I did not need to use it until after the rain stopped. My E-410 was so wet that I could not use the viewfinder because I couldnít see through the water, and instead switched to live view which I could use by brushing the water off. It performed fine throughout, and I had no problems then or later. However, this does bring up an interesting point that a camera that is electronically functional in the rain may not be functional. If you are thinking of shooting in bad weather you should plan on a way to see what you are framing and be able to shoot through a clear lens. That was my biggest difficulty, I think a lens hood would b the re necessary.

The second day was not raining, but I went down to the beach of the Oregon Dunes National Park. Since I am not too bright, I didnít notice the trail and instead fought my way through about two hundred yards of bushes which took 45 minutes. In that time, I managed to loose two lens caps, and myself and my camera were coated in water and plant matter, which I could not get off my camera or jacket for two days. My E-410 did not like this, and five of the buttons stopped working temporarily. After about twenty minutes two of them came back on, to my relief because I realized that the rest would follow. The last buttons to return to functionality were the up/down arrows and the menu button. At first they did not work at all, then the camera would suddenly display all the missed button pushes I had done by rapidly flicking about followed by not working again, then full functionality gradually returned over two hours. However, I found leaves in my shirt for the rest of the day. The lens attached was the 9-18mm. At no time was my camera unable to take pictures, however, my last setting had been exposure compensation +1.3, so I was very happy when that button started working again.

Third, my family went crab fishing in Washington a few days later. While on the boat my camera was subjected to more rain and an amount of salt water that dribbled on it with the 9-18, 14-54, and 40-150 lenses. It was, however, enough water to make a fine wet coat on the camera. This went on for four days in a row for roughly an hour each day. On the fourth day, two hours afterward, the up and down arrows and menu button again stopped working. In this case they did not regain functionality for a full day. I was concerned enough to take off the back panel of my camera that night, but nothing seemed wet, so I just waited and everything was OK by noon the next day.

01-04-2009, 03:48 PM
As you may have read, my camera had already had splash from Lake Tahoe freeze on it. It was also been subjected to temperatures in the teens (around -10 C), but I donít expect low temperatures to cause any problem, just keep spare batteries in a warm pocket.

Before I had even had it two days, my mom knocked my 70-300 off a 42 inch counter top onto a tile floor. It still works perfectly.

My 70-300 rolled off a car seat and landed on black top, it still works perfectly.

The 9-18 fell out of my pocket (which I forgot to zip) and landed on a tiled floor from a distance of around two feet.

While looking for crabs, a wave heaved the boat and knocked my E-410 with 9-18mm attached and it fell three feet from the dash board too land on the very hard plastic floor. Both still work perfectly.

While crossing to the sand dunes the previous night, I slipped on a log and caught myself with the hand which was carrying my camera with 14-54mm lens. In other words, the lens was sandwiched between my falling weight and some stiff springy branches. It still works fine.

While jumping around large boulders in a river with the E-410 and 14-42 kit lens, I slipped and attempted to grab the rock with my camera hand. The edge of the attached polarizer was slightly dented creating a crack in the polarizer that does not intrude on the field of view. The camera and lens work fine.

I have used various objects, including sand dunes and snow, as temporary tripods. Sand makes me slightly nervous, and I spent a minute cleaning my camera before using any moving parts afterward.

After all this, my camera and all lenses are in perfect working order with only a few cosmetic scratches, except notably on the 14-54 which has better construction and materials. Needless to say that while I made no attempt to keep my camera from getting wet, all the bumps were unintentional. Obviously I am not expecting to sell my camera. Since it will have around 16,000 shutter fires by the time I have had it one year, I expect it to die a natural death around the time I feel like upgrading anyhow. Unless I succeed in killing it first, but I now realize it is a tough little camera and I will try to be more careful with it in the future. Except in the rain, which I will no longer hide from. By that time Oly will naturally have released a weather sealed E-410 sized camera with IS which will be my next upgrade. If they discontinue E-400 sized models, I will get the E-420 or whatever is the last model in the series.

So, conclusions:

Rain poses no hazards to Oly DSLRís or lenses under casual use, provided you can keep the front lens element clear. You might consider giving the camera every other day off, and/or pausing for four hours in the middle of the day to give it a chance to recover.

Only the E-1 and E-3 are suitable for jungle exploration and serious abuse and water.

Salt water should be approached with caution, though mild sporadic exposure is ok. Allow at least one day between exposures, and allow for a way to remove salt (in my case it was raining).

I donít think anyone is comfortable dropping a camera, but my camera and lenses at least have been remarkably sturdy.

I currently have only a dial up connection, which takes five minutes just to scroll through a thread (I have not had patience to look through threads with pictures), so I may be slow in replying to anything. Then I will meander my way back home, possibly along the California coast and then through Death Valley to avoid snowy passes. I will be returning to China to teach English in February, so I have nothing better to do until then. Ainít life great?

01-04-2009, 04:51 PM

I am glad to know that everything worked out well for your E-410 and the lenses. I don't think that I would be brave enough to attempt that waterproof test.

It been raining all day here is Southern Oregon, so I have been working with the ZD 50mm Macro lens on my E-510. Here is an existing light photo that I took handheld of my husband. The lens had been very slow to focus on my E-500, but it focuses almost instantly on my E-420 or the E-510.

Sarah Joyce

01-04-2009, 05:30 PM
Wow, sounds like you need to be more careful. I get my camera wet on occasion. However, I usually make an attempt at protecting it. Keep it in the bag, put a plastic bag over it, etc. No sense in getting the camera wet on purpose. What really bothers me is when the front of the lens or filters gets drops on it. I don't have a hood for my rectangular filters.

One time my roommate flushed his cellphone down the toilet. When the plumber got it out the phone still worked (not that anyone would want to use it).

01-05-2009, 01:42 AM
Wow, sounds like you need to be more careful.

LOL. I had the opposite as a result. I discovered I can take my camera in the rain without fear, which was the point of the test. I suspected I would discover that, which was why I tried, because you never know the limits until you push them. You might be surpised by your Pentax as well, I never felt my camera was in any real danger. Interestingly, part of the reason for the test was that I discovered my own cell phone worked after being wet. After a few hours, it was right as rain. So I decided that even when I discovered my cameras limits, it would still be OK.

However, I will certainly be more careful about dropping it. That was the first time I had, and I wasn't happy about it, though I thought even before it hit the floor that it would be OK.

Speaklightly, first, that is a great picture, your technique really seems to be improving. Second, I will be passing right through your area. I'll stay in Coos Bay tomorrow night, before heading south.

01-05-2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks for the compliment, Raven-

That poor ZD 50mm lens sat on the shelf for a long, long time because it was so slow at focusing on my E-500 with constant searching. It was a blessing that I decided to try it on my E-510 yesterday.

The lens works perfectly with the E-510 to my great glee. So when we leave on 12 Jan for 6 months, the ZD 50mm has guaranteed space in my kit.

Sarah Joyce

01-05-2009, 11:53 AM
I'll stay in Coos Bay tomorrow night, before heading south.

That one is on my list.

Phill D
01-08-2009, 12:31 AM
I'm far too protective of my camera gear to put it through the ringer like you did Raven but it's nice to know it would be OK if I did.
Nice 50mm shot Sarah - I have that lens in my sights too just need to save up though as it's a bit pricey at the moment.

01-08-2009, 07:06 PM

There is actually a strange story about my ZD 50mm F 2.0 lens. I bought it in 2005 and it was around $(US) 425.00 then. I had read that it was a bit fincky about focusing. When I installed it on my E-500 then, it was terrible at focusing with a lot of hunting. I browbeat myself somewhat for buying the lens, it really was not working with the E-500 in a very practical way.

Well with us about ready to leave on another 6 months long contract I really wanted an existing light lens for both my E-510 and E-420 cameras. So as a test I went and pulled out the long time disused ZD 50mm lens and first put it on the E-420. Well, it worked perfectly! I then tried it on the E-510 and got the same experience.

So now after 3 years of sitting on the shelf, the ZD 50mm lens has once again become a very valuable and worthwhile lens.

Sarah Joyce

01-09-2009, 05:13 PM
That isn't normal treatment, bear in mind. I am more of a limit pusher than a risk taker. Even though I was pushing the limits, it was not very risky. But I now have an even better perspective on the limits, so in the future I will know exactly how far I can push (and, people reading this will have a better idea as well). Dropping a camera or lens, of course, is always accidental.

Recently (... yesterday...) I was in Death Valley testing sand and dust resistance. Sand scares me more than water, water evaporates with time and that's it, camera back to normal unless you fried the electronics by completely soaking it with the battery in. Sand can really screw things up though. It came out just fine though, even the 40-150 which rolled down a sand dune, I gotta zip my pockets!) I was minimizing exposure to sand much more than exposure to water. I guess dust is actually pretty normal for me, so nothing new there....

The area where I have greatest respect for my camera is sensor dust removal. I have shot and changed lenses in some seriously dusty conditions. Twice I have had a very bad spec of dust on the sensor, and twice it magically disappeared within the day. In Death Valley a huge nasty spec landed right on the sensor and was visible even at large apertures. It vanished within three hours. That time might have been shorter, but I didn't use it for the last two of those hours so I will never know.

01-10-2009, 12:45 AM
Things I don't do to my camera (Life's Picture History):

I don't accidentally let it roll down a sand dune (with no lens cap)

This picture does not look like this because my camera got so wet the button to change exposure compensation stopped working and I forgot to wipe of the lens

I do not expose my camera to salt spray

It was not really wet this day

Naturally, I only use it in temperate climates, never below 10 degrees F

Edit: I can post pictures again now I have a fast internet connection

Phill D
01-10-2009, 02:10 AM
Ugh that lens shot on the sand makes me cringe. Good to know it was OK in the end.
Hope you didn't have your camera on the end of the line in number 3 ;)

04-12-2009, 07:18 AM
So, I came across my first problem about an hour ago. Apparently my strap lug broke. The strap lug :confused:. Of all the parts of my camera, I expected the LCD, or the dial, a button, the shutter, or maybe the plastic mount on the 40-150mm lens to break first but the strap lug???? That should be the most durable part. All I was doing was carrying it around like normal.

However, from here it seems that it is not really broken, it looks more like it came unscrewed somehow. Since it is shaped so it cannot be unscrewed from the outside, it must have come unscrewed from the inside somehow. I can hear the piece rattling around in the camera. I am about to do an exploratory surgery, hopefully it is only unscrewed and not broken. I hate doing surgery on the E-410, there are about a million microscopic screws that go to all sorts of random places.

04-13-2009, 04:08 AM
Oops! Looks like my camera wasn't tough enough to take me fiddling around. As I was reattaching the strap lug there was a loud pop like I had brushed a capacitor, and now I seem to be having electronic difficulties. Maybe I'll be getting the E-620 a year sooner than I had hoped...

Phill D
04-13-2009, 11:42 PM
Sounds like you've hit problems. I don't think I'd have been brave enough to start taking out all those little screws though unless the repair quote was close to the cost of a new camera. I assume you had taken the battery out before you started taking it appart? Hope this story has a happy ending.

04-14-2009, 02:17 AM
I took the battery and memory cards out, but if i was smart I should have waited a day or more for any capacitors to drain (I think, I'm not an electrical guy). But I'm not smart, so I though fixing a problem with a loose screw would not affect the electronics in any way. Oops. It still doesn't work, namely I am unable to change the aperture or shutter speed or correctly autofocus (but all the non-critical things work perfectly). I am a moron. I'm weighing my options now.

I can get a new E-410 for ~260, which is roughly what my estimate for repair and 2-way shipping would be anyhow. But probably that won't happen, I'll likely try to a) have my camera repaired in China, b) use an ancient Canon A-610 for a few months, c) acquire an E-620 right now.

Phill D
04-14-2009, 02:29 AM
Not a moron just unfortunate. Looks like you should treat yourself to an E620 and chear yourself up. Then get the E410 fixed later as a back-up or just to sell to recoup some expenses.

04-14-2009, 07:42 AM
Good idea. The E-620 sounds like enough of an upgrade to be worthwhile under any circumstance, though I honestly would have waited one more year to get the standard generational improvements (probably movie mode and an LCD with more pixels).

The only problem is, so far I have gone through 3 digital cameras in 3.5 years. The first, an Oly C7000, stopped working during a trip to Oklahoma apparently because of the humidity. (It did work perfectly when I tested it again a few months later). The second, a Canon A710IS, was stolen along with the C-7000 out of my house. And finally, the E-410 lost a strap lug, then malfunctioned when I attempted to repair it. So, I am wondering if this expensive new camera is a yearly investment :rolleyes::mad::(:eek:. I wish Olympus would have made a small tough, weather sealed camera of first rate construction as well as image quality, but they apparently have no plans to do so.

That being said, I still plan on getting the E-620 as soon as possible, if things work right I will try to order it from Canada tomorrow :D:)!

04-18-2009, 01:25 PM
Raven, maybe at some point you should consider getting a well kept E-1 in the future to have a body that can stand up to the abuse you throw at cameras :) As a Nikon user, I really like the idea of an old, weatherproof, tough, reasonably sized digital body that works great in inclement elements. My D80 and current lenses would probably not survive drizzle.

There are quite a few E-1 fanatics on other Olympus forums (DPreview, etc).

BTW, where are you teaching in China? A high school classmate of mine taught in Nanjing for two years between finishing undergraduate and going to law school.

04-18-2009, 09:12 PM
Yah, the thought has briefly crossed my mind. Certainly the characteristics of the E-1 make it seem like my ideal camera: weather proof and incredible image quality at ISO100-200. But, I am concerned it is too large. Part of the abuse my camera suffers is because it is more likely to be exposed to bad conditions, because I am more likely to be carrying it in them. It is a thought though... the only problem is it is still as expensive as a decent lens, so if the choice is E-1 or 50mm f/2 or 2x teleconverter, well I know for certain I would use two of those. But I'll think about it.

A Chinese camera repair guy says he thinks my E-410 can be fixed by reflashing the camera's internal programming which he said he can do. I am skeptical but if so it should be easy, problem is I have not heard from him again. But I'm holding off on the E-620 so far.

I am in Heze, Shandong province.

07-11-2009, 01:14 PM
So an update on this thing :

I eventually got my camera back from the Chinese repair guy, after 6 weeks and the price of a new E-410 in the united States. But I wasn't in the US, and cameras are much more expensive in China, so it was worth it. Especially because I took about 2000 more pictures before I returned to the US. Plus, I have a 90 day warranty on the work! All I have to do is return to a small isolated Chinese city of poor farmers, and they'll put it in the mail to a bigger city!

When I got the camera back from the shop the rubber grip was coming loose (it was never a problem for me, so it must have happened in the shop). Also, it didn't seem the shop put it together as well as the original, it now creaks and flexes a little when I apply pressure, but whatever. I fixed the grip problem with super glue, though not very carefully and some glue is now visible on the camera surface.

In Thailand I was on a tour bus with two other Olympus DSLR shooters (can you imagine being on a bus with three DSLR shooters, who all use Oly's? :eek:). Their cameras (E-420 and E-520 with kit lens, lens hoods, and Oly shoulder straps) looked like shiny toys, compared to my battered old E-410 with worn black leather strap and hoodless 9-18 :D.

In any case, it doesn't matter, because my own shiny toy in the form of an E-620 will be arriving soon. The E-410 will be relegated to permanent reserve, in addition to serving in harsh and dangerous conditions and possibly being a loaner at times. I have grown rather attached to it, in spite of its finickyness. It is, after all, practically indestructible.

07-21-2009, 06:52 PM

Congratulations on your upcoming E-620 camera. I am also seriously considering the the E-620, but still shooting with the E-420.

Sarah Joyce

Phill D
07-21-2009, 11:42 PM
That's interesting Sarah I thought you had all but given up on Olympus cameras. Care to share your thoughts? Raven congrats on your purchase I look forward to seeing your first post with the 620. I can understand why you will hang on to the 410 though from how it's performed and what you've been through with it. Definately an old friend.