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Thread: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

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    Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Hello Guys and Galls,

    I'm about to put my feet wet in DB but never used them.

    Apart from the obvious choices of Pentax 645D and Leica S2, with are weather sealed, what is the thing with Phase backs for instance ?

    I've been searching non stop on the internet and found a few horror stories that a couple of water splashes ( rain that pours all the sudden and so on ) killed the backs in less than no time.

    since I take pictures outdoors and some times in less than ideal conditions, should I be worried ? should I move away from a DB and find an integrated solution ? ie 645D ? I use a non weatherproof camera that I've used and well, abused a bit in quite some harsh environoment and had moderate cara ( well trying not to put the camera on a waterfall for example, that kinda care. if it light rains, kept always shooting )

    thanks all for your help in advance

    ps : yes Leica S2 would be a killer but not a option due to budget ( circa 11k usd )

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    In five years I've had two water-related damage amongst all of my Phase customers.

    One was dropped in salt water.
    The other was due to mist from a water fall.

    The former case I was not surprised at. Even a "weathered sealed" body should not be fully immersed in knee-deep salt water. The later case I was a bit surprised; my guess it was a combination of especially bad misting, long duration of exposure, and bad luck. I would be surprised if you had found more than 2 cases throughout the entire world wide web.

    Whether this record reflects the quality of the back (shown here freezing, shaking, baking, and humidity), or is luck, or an indication that most DB customers keep their backs away from very water-intensive situations - I don't know. But in practice the lack of "weather sealing" does not seem to be a problem for my customers.

    The P, P+, and IQ all have optional rubber stoppers that fit into the sync/multi port and firewire port for such occasions.

    All that said if you're going to frequently want to shoot in moderate rain, or directly next to large water falls, or will be shooting models in the ocean knee-deep in water on a regular basis then it should certainly be a consideration among many on which camera is best for you.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    These kind of things are nearly impossible to find out.

    Many backs have open fan vents and externally mounted batteries. They may have some sealing internally, but obviously not a weather-proof type of design.

    The P+ series are probably among the better though in this aspect, possibly the best.

    As soon as it starts to rain I stop shooting. I don't have so sudden rains around here that it is a problem. The worst condition I could put the back through where I shoot is probably a multi-day hiking in damp conditions, haven't tried that but heard others do that successfully. With electronics that are not designed to handle damp conditions it is often the case that they survive more than they are designed for, and one unit can survive much more than an other unit of the same model. So you get to hear both success stories and disaster stories.

    As I see it, if you cannot take risks with you photo gear you have too expensive gear or too poor insurance . If the gear prohibits you from shooting where you want you have the wrong gear. I'd say treat it well, don't expose it to water, but otherwise be in the conditions you need to be, hot, cold, damp, dry, and hope for the best.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Most camera systems can take a lot more weather punishment than we give them credit for, imho, but I also realize that having a weather resistant camera or providing other protection (rain gear cover) is just simply common sense. I don't believe any system is "weather proof" only that some offer better seals/designs that gives a bit better protection.

    That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to photograph in a bit of weather or moisture. I think the key here is if you are very frequently in bad weather, than that might be a larger factor for you in the type of camera you choose to use.

    You can see photos of my Cambo WRS1050 with Phase One IQ180, pretty drenched from photographing Proxy Falls in Oregon on my blog: Photographing Oregon with the Cambo WRS1050 and Phase IQ180 Kendoophotography's Blog

    No problems at all. I kept a small towel in my pack and simple dried everything off. I rarely carry any camera rain gear, but do pack a hotel shower cap in my bag. It packs small and the elastic is perfect to cover the camera in light weather. Any wetter and it just isn't fun photographing any more....

    ken

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I've been caught in a sudden downpour with my Hasselblad H camera while shooting wedding portraits ... I mean monsoon time with wind that drove the rain sidewards and soaked me to my shorts in seconds ... had to run 150 yards back to the vehicle, threw the drenched camera onto the back seat and tried to dash back with a doorman's umbrella for the Bride ... the second I opened it, the wind blew it inside out and ripped the cover off and blew it 75ft into the air and out into the dark never to be seen again. Got the Bride to safety, and went on to the reception area to dry off and clean up.

    Wiped off the camera with paper towel and shot the remaining 4 hours.

    I do not recommend trying the same and tempting fate.

    I now carry a garbage bag with me at all times.

    -Marc

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Check out this thread for a scary story :-)
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I am an industrial and architectural photographer working in all manner of harsh environments from tropical humidity and rainstorms in India and SE Asia to extreme heat and dust in the Arabian peninsula and Alpine snowstorms in Switzerland.I even use my backs in harsh marine environments in the offshore oil industry. I have been using Phase one backs on location since the H-series backs (with the Phase One Portable Solution) and since then with several P-series and now an IQ180. I take reasonable precautions, but have never had a back fail. I carry a small towel and a plastic bag when there is serious splash risk, but that's pretty much it. Short of immersion, a splash that is quickly towelled off is very, very unlikely to stop the back. In any event, that's what you have insurance for, right?
    Last edited by goesbang; 9th November 2012 at 12:00.
    Siebel
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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I had a story that happened just before Photokina.

    I was shooting with DF and my IQ, almost close to the sea. The splash of wave was hold by rock formation, that produced mini waterfalls. I place the model in front of it when suddenly a big wave came into us.

    We ran back to the shore and I can felt that my DF body was getting hot. When I got into my post, I immediately took up the battery and dried everything.

    The body was damage and I could not power it on back. The IQ back was okay but it was later found that the water had damaged it as well. Image had a pink artifact half side.

    Phase one told me that they cant not fix the DF body!! Repeat they can not fix it!! The IQ had some damage and they are fixing it now.

    My friend beside me was holding Sony A77 as well when this happened. This camera, as of today functions normally, the water did not give any problem what so ever. Another friend's story who has A77, he dropped it the salt water but he can save his after service.

    While my DF can't be save at all!!!

    Conclusion:
    a $45K system does not have adequate safety of a $1200 camera has. Do you remember when the IQ back was launch and they brag about how 3 elephant can stand in top the the case and it will hold the weight with no problem? False sense of security I must say because I am sure if you drop the back to a solid surface it will be broken. So why having the strongest frame in the world if a salt water splash will not protect the inside??

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I wonder if a Credo would be any more weather resistant than an IQ just because it has four fewer buttons.

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Santoso View Post
    I had a story that happened just before Do you remember when the IQ back was launch and they brag about how 3 elephant can stand in top the the case and it will hold the weight with no problem? False sense of security I must say because I am sure if you drop the back to a solid surface it will be broken.
    I've always thought those type of demonstrations are bit strange, it demonstrates next to nothing. Maybe the marketing folks did not stay awake during the physics lessons at school.

    Accidents that happen are drops (G-force) and moisture-related. Having the back stepped upon by an elephant is a little bit less common. It is also one of the easiest things to survive, you just need a strong shell. When the elephant gently steps on it, the electronics inside will not get any G-force hit at all. The test is about as useful as demonstrating that the back does not break when yell bad words at it, even at a close distance.

    Having a stiff structure that stands up for an elephant is good to keep everything in precise position, so I like that, but can actually cause the internal electronics to be hit with more G-force when it is dropped down onto a concrete floor.

    What I personally like to have most protection for is not G-force though, but for moisture, because I think that is hardest to avoid for an outdoor shooter. If I'm out for several days living in a tent and I have bad luck with weather and it rains a lot and it's very high humidity much of the time it's hard avoid condensation and other forms of moisture getting in contact with the back.
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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    The point you make about G-force is a valid one. As they say, it's not the speed that kills, it's the coming to a stop. However, as a clumsy photographer who has dropped P25, P45 and P65+ backs multiple times on concrete, steel and rock without anything other than scratches to the case, I do consider these backs robust. I have also witnessed several splash proof Nikon and Canon bodies shatterred and rendered useless from similar hits. 99.99% of my shooting takes place in situations where I can reduce the water risk by doing simple things like not standing where waves are breaking or wrapping my cam in plastic bags, so for me, the solid case of a Phase One back is a genuine benefit.
    Siebel
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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I recently bought a Phase One p25+, Phaseone AF body and a Mamiya 35mm AF lens.
    I tested it out in northern denmark on a trip to sand dunes and high seas.

    first morning of shooting was on the Sand dunes, full sand storm and a lot of low angle shooting (camera being just above the rushing sands). Didn't have a single problem with my setup while as my friends with both canon and nikon gear all got squeaky and noisy equipment because of sand getting into every little opening.. I did not have a single problem with my setup and the equipment was of course drenched in sand but when that was blown off I didn't notice anything..

    morning on the last day we were shooting some beach and cliffs.. high waves and a lot of salt water. I had salt water up to my waist and above and the camera was sometimes just a decimeter above the waves.. No problem at all! of course the whole camera was covered in a salty sticky substance (salt water).. But when that was wiped off there was no problem at all with the equipment..

    I was also very afraid of the lack of weather sealing when I went for the medium format.. coming from a weather sealed nikon body I thought I would have to be very careful with the P1 setup.. But I think it works great so far! I just hope it continues to work well with the elements.

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Any camera can be destroyed. Cameras are not simply be fair weather friends. Sometimes it is just the photographer taking care of them, both in bad conditions (and good) and afterwards--it you have been shooting in humid conditions for a while, it does not hurt to put your camera in an air-tight container with some desiccant--even weatherproof cameras can benefit from this from time to time (every time you change a lens, you exposure the camera to humidity).

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    When using my H10 and P40+, I never gave a thought to the weather conditions and never had an issue with either of them.

    During a review of the Pentax 645D by a local camera shop, the reviewer accidentally submerged it in a stream and there were no ill effects to the camera. If you want rugged and durable that Pentax is the way to go.

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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    Like Ken I've shot many many times in drenching waterfall mist and rain with my P25+, IQ160 and before that my P40+ without any issues. This is both on my Alpa or DF camera bodies.

    The main thing is that if you regularly shoot in these conditions it is imperative to keep the back/body/lens as dry as possible and prevent water from getting into the body. This means always having a towel handy to dab away moisture and not to wipe. This applies also to lenses.

    Those that know me will tell you that I'm pretty tough on my gear and do have 'incidents' at times but despite living and shooting in the Pacific NorthWET I've yet to have any camera go down due to moisture by following basic care. I don't stick the camera in a steamy plastic bag and worst case I'll put a small towel over the top of the camera to wick away any moisture before it can soak the camera. (Hotel hand towels are great for this!).

    To be honest I have more issues with gritty dust getting in to lens helicoids than I have ever had with moisture.
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    Re: Phase One and other DB : weather performance ?

    I've had a D700 splashed with salt water accidentally photographing in the sea trying to get large splashes in the sun. Got some lovely shots but salt got into the popup flash and also into the ring that controls the aperture on the lens. I consider the D700 to be very very robust and I was taking chances with it. I can't imagine an A77 with less weather sealing to survive a dunking in the sea. Salt water eats the electronics and non-ferrous metals like crazy.

    I'd certainly not take $45K of gear anywhere near such conditions without adequate insurance. To do so is just crazy.

    Mamiya made it clear (to me at least) that the DF is not weather sealed. Even my little Olympus tough comes with instructions to wash it for a good 10 mins in clean water after being in the sea.

    I live in very humid conditions and I think regular usage where the back gets hot inside is probably the best thing. Without use a dry box is essential. A big killer here is going in and out of airconditioned environments, I've had two lenses go hazy in the past 5 years. One Leica another a Mamiya 1:1.9/80.

    Even my old leaf back had a few incidents along with the DF, light rain, splashes etc. I was paranoid about that back due to the fan vents, but it was a fantastic back.

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