how much rain/water will damage my new camera?

I just bought a digital camera. (model Panasonic FZ7–an SLR-shaped camera with a 12X zoom lens.)
like this one

I won’t take it scuba diving. But how careful should I be about moisture?

If I take pictures on a beach near the spray of the surf–will it ruin the camera?If I’m carrying the camera in a pouch on my belt, and get caught in a rain shower, can I take it out for a quick picture?

I would not want the salt water to get on the lens. This will harm the coating. Microdroplets of fresh water on the outside are unlikely to do much harm, but I would take every precaution. The risk you are taking is that a larger drop could work it’s way into the electronics. Not good. They do make some cameras now that are water resistant.

Also, why not get a disposable camera for those times when it might get wet?

I’m not planning to get the camera wet–but I do take plan to take it hiking, etc. to get good nature photos.(enlargements for framing, etc) So if there’s a half-hour rain on a mountaintop, how concerned should I be about using the camera?

The shutter button on my Olympus D40 shorted after taking about 30 pictures in heavy pouring rain. Of course, I hadn’t been very careful to keep it dry, and the flap on my raincoat had gotten tucked in my pocket somehow which meant that instead of keeping it dry between shots I was sending it swimming.

When drying it out in front of a space heater for 3 days didn’t help, 100% alcohol was applied with immediate success.

I’m not sure how I’d feel about surf - the salt content would worry me a bit more.

Keep it in a few layers of ziploc bags. Only break it out after things dry out. Or try using an enclosure. There are many aftermarket units that have a bag fitted behind a standard filter. I was unable to find a custom unit for your camera. Canon and Nikon are the brands to buy if you want a plethora of aftermarket toys. But you knew that when you bought the Panasonic, right? :smiley:

/Canon user

This story curls my short hairs. You were extremely lucky. Moral: best to keep it dry.

I hike and ski with my cameras all the time. If it’s raining or snowing heavily the cameras stay in a waterproof case or bag. Water can kill your camera. I’ve used my camera in light rain and snow many times. I try to keep it protected, and make sure that it goes back in its dry case when finished. Some cameras are tougher than others.

Yours (a super zoom, it’s not really SLR-like) is probably more susceptible to water damage than compacts because of the protruding lens and popup flash. I have found that a wide-billed hat helps a lot in the rain when taking pictures.

Or an umbrella. :smack:

Wrong. It IS an SLR. Just without an interchageable lens.

/knows that the industry calls this a different category, but it is technicaly an SLR nonetheless.

It has flip up mirror so you are actually diverting the light that would fall on the sensor when composing a shot? I don’t believe that is true for that camera.

As other people have noted, salt water is the killer - although fresh water in anything more than strict moderation is something I would be leery of. While at the beach, I make sure there’s a UV filter over my lens, and if its going to be more than a short while, I wrap the entire camera bag up in a plastic bag loose enough to have enough play to operate the controls, sealing it around the lens housing with a rubber band. Same for light rain. In anything more than a drizzle, it goes away into my bag. Plus a pretty thorough cleaning and drying when I get home (especially if it’s been to the beach). Possibly I’m paranoid, but better safe than sorry and all that.

So how else does the optical viewfinder work? It isn’t a rangefinder, and it sure looks like there is a prism above the lens, though this may be just a styling cue. There have been fixed lens SLR’s in the past, so I assumed this was a similar design. The Panasonic website is silent on the issue!

Agree 100%. Better safe.

It’s not an optical viewfinder, its electronic. Basically, it is a tiny television screen, that reads the pixels and displays the view to your eye before recording them as a jpg file. The view you see in viewfinder is identical to the picture you are taking. (unlike cheaper cameras with optical,non-electronic viewfinders that do not display exactly the same view as the picture)

Thanks for the answers to my OP about the rain–I didnt think a little drizzle is something to worry about, but I guess I’ll keep some plastic bags handy.

Yup. In the specs page for the FZ7 on DPReview, you can see if you scroll down to “Viewfinder” that it’s an EVF - Electronic ViewFinder. As chappachula noted, this reads the output from the sensor and displays it on the LCD screen on the back of the camera - or a much smaller LCD screen where the viewfinder is. In a true SLR, the viewfinder would be optical, using a mirror at 45 degrees to reflect light up to the viewfinder, which is then flipped up out of the way when the picture is being taken - which is why most SLR’s don’t have “live preview”; seeing what you’re taking a picture of on the LCD screen.

The only one that does is the Olympus EVOLT E-330 but it has a pretty kludgy way around the problem. That’s also why dSLRs don’t have video modes.

A few drops of water probably won’t hurt it, particularly if you dry it off immediately after. But it’s not advertised as water resistant, so you may have trouble getting warranty repairs if it gets wet, even if the problem isn’t directly water related.

I have a small Sony camera that has a known dust problem where small particles get into the lens assembly. I sent it in for a warranty repair and they gave me massive grief because the camera supposedly had corrosion inside. (This was possible because I had been caught in a thunderstorm with this camera, but it was perfectly functional.)

For some cameras, you can actually get a plastic bag sort of thingy with a screw on lens cap that gives you a moderate degree of sand and water protection. Don’t know if they make one for this camera.

Eeew. On a camera that big I would think you would get the real thing. 230,000 pixels is nothing. How can you get critical manual focus? No thanks.

In a word - you can’t. The real thing is expensive, and also precludes (in most cases) live preview and movie modes. Buyers of DLSRs are usually aware of these limitations (although there’s usually about a post a week on the DPReview Canon SLR forums from a baffled newbie asking how he can frame his shots on the LCD) but most consumer-level “digicam” users want those features.

Telemark, that’s why I said