Water drops on glass

Are Nikon Cameras Water Resistant?

Photo by form PxHere

You just bought a Nikon camera, the new one you’ve been wanting. As soon as you leave the store, you rush to your favorite spot to start shooting photos. In a hurry, you neglected to check the weather. Not only that, you lose track of time and it begins pouring rain. Before you can react, your brand new camera is soaking wet and your rushing back inside. Is your camera okay and if it’s not what should you do about it? You did all this research on your camera but you forgot to research one thing, are Nikon cameras water resistant?

Most Nikon cameras are not water resistant or waterproof. Only a select few models that start with AW or W can be used in water. However, some high end cameras claim to be weather sealed meaning they are somewhat water resistant and can be used in the rain. Also, it is possible to buy water resistant cases for non water resistant cameras.

Water proof vs water resistant vs weather sealed

First things first, let’s clear up some confusion. Waterproof, water resistant, and weather sealed do not mean the same thing. Waterproof is a universal term to describe electronics that continue functioning while completely submerged under water. Waterproof products can’t get water damage at all unless they are faulty. When a camera is waterproof, this is usually it’s main selling point. Water resistance, however, is not the same thing. Water resistance is best described as a lower level of water proofing. A water resistant camera won’t get damaged if splashed by water, but it shouldn’t be fully submerged.

Weather sealing is similar to water resistance, but it’s more specific to rain then to water in general, so again, don’t go throwing a weather sealed camera into the ocean, it won’t work. Weather sealed is the most vague of the three terms and is used the more than the other two by camera companies. This is probably done intentionally for some sort of legal reasons. The term can also indicate temperature and dust resistance depending on who you ask. You also need to remember, not all weather sealed cameras are the same, this will vary brand by brand but should remain consistent within Nikon.

Weather sealed camera covered in water
“Panasonic GH4 Wet Weather Resistant” by Dave Dugdale is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Water proof equipment can be fully submerged under water.
  • Water resistant equipment can come into contact with water but shouldn’t be submerged.
  • Weather sealed equipment can be function in all types of weather.

Which Nikon cameras are waterproof?

As mentioned earlier, waterproof Nikon cameras do exist, but there pretty compact and you won’t find all the features you’d find in a bulky DSLR or a mirrorless camera. Nikon COOLPIX cameras beginning with W or AW mean they’re waterproof. Most waterproof cameras only exist solely for using in the water. Waterproofing is never just a side feature. This isn’t to say, however, that waterproofed cameras aren’t conventionally good. The Nikon COOLPIX W300 can capture 4K UHD video, can be brought one hundred ft under water, is freezeproof, shockproof, and dustproof. If you’re looking for a waterproof camera you can buy the W300 here. Here’s an under water video taken by one of these waterproof cameras.

Which Nikon cameras are weather sealed?

Far more Nikon cameras are weather sealed then are water proof. Many medium to high end cameras are weather sealed. Unlike waterproofed cameras, you can get all the great features that you’d expect on any Nikon camera even when they’re is weather sealed. To see if your camera is weather sealed, you can look up its model on the Nikon website and it’ll usually mention whether or not its weather sealed somewhere in the description. But for the sake of convenience, here’s a list of some of Nikon’s weather sealed cameras.

  • Nikon D7500 (Mid-range)
  • Nikon D7200 (Mid-range)
  • Nikon D750 (Full frame)
  • Nikon D610 (Full frame)
  • Nikon D850 (Full frame)
  • Nikon D810 (Full frame)
  • Nikon D5 (Full frame)
  • Nikon Df (Full frame)

What happens if my camera gets wet?

If your camera is not water proof or weather sealed and it gets considerably wet then there is a chance of significant hardware damage. Even if your camera still works when you turn it on that doesn’t mean no damage occurred. In fact, water damage often takes a few days to show its effects. Water will seep into the cameras circuits overtime and slowly destroy them. Your camera may continue to function for months, but you’ve certainly reduced its overall lifetime. If your camera was damaged by salt water, then your basically done. It’s probably going to be more difficult to repair it so you should just buy a new camera at that point. Salt water is more corrosive than fresh water so the damage will be worse and occur faster.

However, all hope is not lost. According to Nikon and various other websites, the first thing you should do to a camera if it touches a significant amount of water is turn it off. Do not turn it back on because this will damage the circuits. The next thing you need to do is remove the battery (for obvious reasons) and remove the memory card so your photos aren’t lost. You should also separate the camera from the lens to increase the amount of water that evaporates. Then, dry off the camera as well as you can. Don’t use a hair dryer because this can melt plastic, rubber, and other components. Then, store the camera in a sealed container with either silica gel packets or uncooked rice. (This will absorb moisture.) Finally, get your camera looked at by Nikon Service or a third party repair shop as soon as possible.

How to make your camera waterproof

Camera inside water housing
Photo from Ewa Marine

Did you know, you can make almost any Nikon camera waterproof? It’s called waterproof housing or underwater housing. These are waterproof shells you put your camera into. Transparent glass is usually put in the front of the viewfinder and screen so you can still see through the camera while using them. Each waterproof housing only fits its specific camera so make sure you buy the right one. Here are some housings for Nikon DSLRs.

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