Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/08/26

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Non-waterproof Leica
From: bd at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Sat Aug 26 14:22:27 2006

Your fascinating post begs the question, of course, of why Leica never got
around to providing even the most rudimentary weatherproof seals in its
high-end cameras. The Ms were, after all, a standard part of many PJs' kits
up until the 80s, if not the 90s, and that means it was a given they would
be subjected to the elements from time to time.

On 8/26/06 3:21 PM, "Lawrence Zeitlin" <> wrote:

> Without belaboring the issue of Leicas at sea for too long, we must
> remember that Leica cameras are not now and never were intended to be
> water tolerant.  Equipments for use in a marine environment are rated
> for the degree of water resistance by a number of agencies. The scale
> ranges from 1 to 10 with the lower numbers meaning less water
> resistance. An object (marine radio, camera, binocular, etc.) rated
> JIS-4/IPX-4 is considered splash resistant but not suitable for
> immersion. Objects with a lower raitng can withstand light rain
> showers or heavy mist but no direct application of water. Most marine
> handheld radios or "waterproof" cameras such as the Pentax Optio 10
> are rated JIS-7/IPX-7. This means that they will withstand a 30
> minute dunking under one meter of water and still operate. Real
> waterproofing starts at JIS/IPX ratings of 8. A device so rated will
> function after it has been submerged under 8 feet of water for  half
> an hour and at lesser depths for an indefinite period. True
> underwater equipment like the Nikonos series of cameras will function
> normally when submerged at a depth of 160 feet (50 meters). But even
> they are not suitable for deep sea diving.
> Trivia: In bygone years, Nikonos cameras were permitted in surgical
> operating rooms because they could be sterilized by dunking in a
> bucket of bleach.
> Small boats are not the best environment for precision mechanical and
> electrical equipment unless suitably sealed for marine use. By a
> small boat, I mean anything from a kayak or canoe to a 40 foot
> motorsailer. In ordinary use. on anything but extremely sheltered
> waters,  boats this size get doused with green water from waves and
> in windy conditions are covered with spray. Kayaks, canoes, and small
> sailboats capsize and are righted by their crews as a part of normal
> operation. Bigger boats offer drier conditions and some degree of
> shelter from the elements but even cruise liners occasionally get
> water on deck.
> I'm not saying that Leicas will fail immediately if they get wet, but
> they have little water resistance to speak of. I'm gazing fondly at
> my M3 as I write this and I see that water can enter through the
> shutter release, the winding lever, the rewind lever, the frame
> lever, the lens release button, the speed dial, the back inspection
> door, and the base plate. There are no seals on any of these
> openings.  The innards of the camera are loaded with small steel
> parts, springs and bearings that will deteriorate if water enters and
> the camera is not immediately dried. Spray, particularly salt spray
> should be wiped off immediately. Even high humidity wrecks its havoc,
> as anyone who has used a camera in the Asian monsoon season knows.
> If you use your Leica regularly in a marine environment or at the
> beach and it functions well forever after, you are lucky. But I still
> wouldn't take mine on a canoe trip unless it was packed in a
> waterproof bag and I used it only on dry land. There are other
> cameras which will do the job on the water. A used Nikonos with an
> excellent Nikkor  35 mm F2.8 lens costs only about as much as a Leica
> CLA. Why take the risk?
> Larry Z
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Replies: Reply from rangefinder at (Didier Ludwig) ([Leica] Non-waterproof Leica)
Reply from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] Re: Non-waterproof Leica)
In reply to: Message from lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin) ([Leica] Re: Non-waterproof Leica)