Why salt water and cameras don’t mix! A dead Sony a7Sii tear down by LensRentals

Written by Gary on November 8th, 2017

We all love the beach and getting down close to the waves for those epic long exposure seascapes with our ND filters on, and even I, with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I suffered the indignity of having an unexpected wave land on top of the camera whilst taking a shot several years ago, and a year later whilst crossing a stream, slipped on the rocks and even submerged it for a split second – fortunately, of all the camera manufacturers, the Olympus OM-D weathersealing is well known for how good it is compared with its peers.

Luckily, perhaps, I have not had any issues with this camera despite these events as well as many times when it was absolutely soaked in heavy rain conditions in the Korean mountains.

Nevertheless, despite its awesome weathersealing, I would not recommend stress testing it with salt water (even salt spray), nor submerging it, and even in wet conditions, you need to follow the advice from Olympus – ensure all covers are in place including the hotshoe cover.

No matter how weathersealed the camera, there is also the other big beach enemy – grains of sand finding their way under the focus ring and zoom ring – not even the superb Olympus weathersealed lenses are immune to this!

LensRentals has just posted a blog of what can happen inside a camera exposed to salt water – in this case the very expensive, supposedly weathersealed Sony a7SII which was returned to them dead, and the tear down of the camera shows how severe the salt damage was despite minimal signs on the outside, and why camera repairers will never repair them.

It seems the culprits may have been incomplete weathersealing around the battery door and the entire bottom of the camera, and, in addition, the camera strap lugs, dials, viewfinder and hotshoe are not fully weathersealed.

If failure does not happen immediately due to the volume of water leak, it is likely to happen over the next 6 weeks as corrosion ensues.

Check out their blog post here.

If you want tips of now to look after your camera – see my wiki page here.

If you really love your seascapes, perhaps take a cheaper or older camera instead, just in case the worst happens!


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