The last few days have been interesting in terms of the weather, with the snow then later rain. Today, there is hardly any snow left, just a few patches here and there lining fields. This is fairly typical for this part of Cornwall, as this sort of weather does not tend to stay around for long. Today has been a photography free day though as I have let the camera kit dry off and the lenses de-mist. In the meantime, I thought I would blog a little about shooting in bad weather.
In terms of camera equipment, I tend to keep my kit stored at home in a camera backpack. This means, that I can quickly check it and then go without too much fuss working out what needs to go and stay. Basically, my travel camera kit comprises of:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark 4
- Canon EOS 16-35L series III F2.8 lens
- Canon EOS 24-70L series II F2.8 lens
- Canon EOS 70-200L USM F4 lens (the original non-IS version)
- Sigma Art 50mm F1.4 lens
- NiSi filter set (polariser, soft edge graduated filter, 10 stop ND filter)
- Zomei variable ND filter for video work
- Manfrotto 055 Aluminium tripod
- Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head
- Spare camera battery
- Spare SD memory cards
- Battery charger
- Lowe pro flip side 400AW
Critically, each lens has a skylight filter on it. A lot of people question the value of these filters, but I can see three good reasons for having one attached to your lens: (1) they protect the lens from damage; (2) I’d rather keep cleaning a skylight filter in rough weather than the lens glass, less wear and tear on the protective coatings; (3) most importantly, on Canon L series lenses, the filter makes the lens weather sealed.
I was really impressed by the Canon 5D4 in the weather. I took it out in London some time ago in the wind and rain. It was soaked but continued to work well, so I was pretty confident it would survive this week. As these weather conditions were so rare, I decided to risk the camera to record them. If the camera died, it would have been a very expensive mistake! I didn’t cover the camera at all, which might have been sensible in hindsight. However, I was confident in the camera’s ability to manage poor weather. After all, this is one of the reasons you pay so much for a professional grade camera from a quality manufacturer like Canon.
I had thought about taking my Sony camera with me to Cornwall. It is actually easier to shoot, with the ability to review the images through the viewfinder. However, I felt that I could trust the Canon more when out in rough weather. I can’t say if the Sony would have been as good or worse, as I haven’t tested it in such conditions. However, I can safely say that my Canon cameras have managed everything that has been thrown at them over the last five years very well.
Camera systems like Canon and Nikon have good pedigree when it comes to weather sealing. Both of these are equally good as the other. I am told that the Sony is weather sealed, but I also know there are some question marks about to what extent it is sealed. It feels like a very well built camera (the A9, that is), but checking it out online people have differing views about what extent it is able to cope with rain and snow. For this reason, I didn’t feel that I was going to trust it to the elements.
So, I guess, one thing that this week has taught me is that no matter what clever and amazing specifications a camera has, being able to actually take it out and use it whenever you want is also very important when choosing a camera system. I can’t say that I had ever really thought seriously about the ‘weather sealing’ aspects before, but the last few days has made me realise just how important this really is.
Now, what I would really like to do, is find some more bad weather and take it out again!