Testing How Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus Cameras Fare in the Rain: Which Is Most Waterproof?

Imaging Resource recently decided to put the weather sealing of a Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Olympus camera to the test. Watch as the team use a hosepipe to soak the equipment in simulation of a rainstorm to determine which camera fares best.

Using the Nikon D850, Sony a7R III, Canon 5D Mark IV, and Olympus OM-D EM-1, the team subjected the equipment to 15 minutes both of a fine mist spray and a heavy rainfall. Of course, the intent of the experiment isn't to name and shame the cameras which suffer most (after all, it's noted that the hosepipe used generates a higher precipitation rate than natural rainfall), but merely to gage how far they can be pushed in a realistic situation. The water exposure that the cameras are subject to is obviously a heightened version of what most of us would allow our equipment to undergo.

Emerging victorious was the Canon and Olympus, both surviving with zero water intrusion detected. A close second was the Nikon with some water making its way into the viewfinder, although this could be preventable by using the hot shoe cover.

It was bad news for Sony, however. Following the mist spray test, it had malfunctioned. The team explained:

[W]e heard a rapid clicking noise coming from the cameras … 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 [...] We could see that there was water on the shutter blades.

It’s not all bad though, as they report that the camera seemed to be fully-functioning after it’d dried out. Any long-term damage is unclear.

Watch the five-minute video to see the experiment and results for yourself, and see their breakdown results in which they compare the experiment to a "real-world" test here.

[via Imaging Resource]

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14 Comments

Which is most waterproof? Pentax.

Yup! Why were they left out?

Pentax weatherproofs cameras and lenses better for a lot less money. Leaving them out of a test is stupid for anyone who wants to shoot in inclement weather.

Leigh Miller's picture

I can say without reservation that Olympus has the best weather sealing of any camera system I've used, including the ones mentioned here. I've submerged (accidentally) my Olympus E-M1 MKI in a river on the way to Lamanai in Belize. I was shooting some video when a sudden jolt caused me to lose grip of the camera. I was holding it by the strap and it was underwater a good amount of time before I could haul it out. No damage.

Since then it's been in rain, ocean spray, extreme cold and heat...still going strong. I use it daily.

It's been back to Olympus once in nearly 5 years in order to replace the rubber on the body.

Olympus is probably the most under rated manufactur.
They have top notch hardware which deserves much greater market share.

I wish more people would have a look at the terrific Micro 4/3 system.

Spy Black's picture

I wished Olympus would've made a full frame OM instead of entering M4/3. I would've been all over that...

The charm of 4/3 is in its size.
They made the right choice.
Size of the camera and lenses is the magic.

Spy Black's picture

Yes, I have a Panasonic GM5, the smallest fully functional M4/3 camera ever made. Although I've been shooting Nikon for decades, in the 70s I spent time with an OM system, and thought quite well of that particular system. Had they made a full frame OM, I would've so love it.

Leigh Miller's picture

Have you actually used one of the OM-D's?

Spy Black's picture

Oh yeah, great camera, but I'd still love a FF OM.

Jaden D.'s picture

I can say that I completely submerged my canon 5d3 with a 24-70 L II in fresh water and zero water entered it. I couldn’t believe it.

I still use both the camera and lens to this day.

Thanks for the test. But my heart is bleeding. ;)

Jack Alexander's picture

Painful to watch right?!

Nikon cameras are well known for its rubber grip to fall apart after a few months of use. Doing the test with brand new cameras don`t tell a lot about weatherproof.