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Waterproofing standards for scopes?

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Old Monday 12th May 2008, 17:52   #1
karmantra
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Waterproofing standards for scopes?

Interested in knowing what constitutes a 'waterproof' spotting scope--I try to find info on any standards that the higher end scopes (Zeiss, Kowa, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon, Pentax,...) have on their waterproofing besides saying that they are waterproof. Is it survival in a heavy downpour, immersion in water, etc.? I have heard that Kowa does not recommend moving their focus knob in a heavy rain because that can bring water into the scope, the Zeiss is not waterproof during the time of a eyepiece transfer, that all scopes are vunerable if dropped or immersed into water. How waterproof are high-end scopes and what standards do they have to meet to earn the title of being waterproof?
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Old Monday 12th May 2008, 18:11   #2
NoSpringChicken
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I can't comment on any of the others but according to Nikon my ED50 is "waterproof (up to 1m/3.3 ft. for 5 minutes) and fog-free with nitrogen gas."

However I think they warn against using the focusing knob in the rain!

Ron

Last edited by NoSpringChicken : Monday 12th May 2008 at 18:35.
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Old Monday 12th May 2008, 18:30   #3
Kevin Conville
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Leica states often theirs are waterproof to 5 meters submersion.
Pentax states JIS 6 waterproofing standard, 1 meter submersion.
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Old Monday 12th May 2008, 18:39   #4
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Both my Nikon eyepieces incorporate a rubber 'O' ring to waterproof them when they are attached to the body but I don't know whether the zoom's mechanism is waterproof. Anyone know?

Ron

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Old Tuesday 13th May 2008, 06:16   #5
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The reference chart that I see most often mentioned is JIS Rating Scale, the standard that quality scopes often mention is the "Immersion resistant" JIS 7. I would be interested if this rating is by a independent testing agency per scope produced.
JIS Rating Scale, The Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) for water resistance uses a "0" to "8"
www.hy-com.com/jis.htm


JIS "0"
No special protection
JIS "1"
Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect (Drip resistant 1)
JIS "2"
Dripping water at an angle up to 15 degrees from vertical shall have no harmful effect (Drip resistant 2)
JIS "3"
Falling rain at an angle up to 60 degrees from vertical shall have no harmful effect (Rain resistant)
JIS "4"
Splashing water from any direction shall have no harmful effect (Splash resistant)
JIS "5"
Direct jetting water from any direction shall have no harmful effect (Jet resistant)
JIS "6"
Direct jetting water from any direction shall not enter the enclosure (Water tight)
JIS "7"
Water shall not enter the enclosure when it is immersed in water under defined conditions (Immersion resistant)
JIS "8"
The equipment is usable for continuous submersion in water under specified pressure (Submersible)

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Old Tuesday 13th May 2008, 09:23   #6
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A quick glance at the web for 88, 85, 82, 80 and 77mm scopes the following is mentioned;
Kowa 88 JIS Class 7
Swaro 80 JIS Class 7 & 6 Listed
Carl Zeiss 85 Class 6
Leica 77 & 62 Class 7
Nikon 82 Field Class 7
Pentax 80 Class 6
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Old Tuesday 13th May 2008, 09:38   #7
Kevin Conville
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Pentax at various times, in their copy, have stated both JIS 6 and 1 meter submersible. There is a discrepancy between these two, clearly.
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Old Tuesday 13th May 2008, 16:23   #8
karmantra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg g View Post
A quick glance at the web for 88, 85, 82, 80 and 77mm scopes the following is mentioned;
Kowa 88 JIS Class 7
Swaro 80 JIS Class 7 & 6 Listed
Carl Zeiss 85 Class 6
Leica 77 & 62 Class 7
Nikon 82 Field Class 7
Pentax 80 Class 6
greg g: Thanks!!! for the JIS info & the breakdown of where each scope stands--the Swarov is both 6 & 7? According to the JIS chart, none of the scopes would survive immersion in water without some kind of water damage--I would think that Class 7 would be a 'minimum' standard to declare a scope as waterproof, anything below that Class 7 would be more water 'resistant'! My concern would be warranty issues on scopes that have had water penetration beyond a Class 7 situation, and if scope manufacturers would still honor that warranty on waterproofness!
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Old Tuesday 13th May 2008, 17:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmantra View Post
greg g: Thanks!!! for the JIS info & the breakdown of where each scope stands--the Swarov is both 6 & 7? According to the JIS chart, none of the scopes would survive immersion in water without some kind of water damage--I would think that Class 7 would be a 'minimum' standard to declare a scope as waterproof, anything below that Class 7 would be more water 'resistant'! My concern would be warranty issues on scopes that have had water penetration beyond a Class 7 situation, and if scope manufacturers would still honor that warranty on waterproofness!
Are you planning on scuba diving with your scope? Are you concerned that a JIS 6 scope will leak in the Oregon rain? I seriously doubt it. I'll bet the JIS standards are very conservative, in classic Japanese fashion.

Before I had any "waterproof" field optics I'd been out plenty in the rain with old Trinovids. Never a problem.
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Old Wednesday 14th May 2008, 02:27   #10
karmantra
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Originally Posted by Kevin Conville View Post
Are you planning on scuba diving with your scope? Are you concerned that a JIS 6 scope will leak in the Oregon rain? I seriously doubt it. I'll bet the JIS standards are very conservative, in classic Japanese fashion.

Before I had any "waterproof" field optics I'd been out plenty in the rain with old Trinovids. Never a problem.
Nope, no 'intentional' scuba diving, but concerns I have deal with water getting into the scope via the focusing knob(s) or eyepiece when moved during a downpour--binos usually have an 'immersion' factor figured into their waterproofness in case they are dropped overboard from a boat during transport, fall from ones hands off a deck into the lake, etc. It's not inconceivable that such mishaps can also occur with a scope! Apparently, immersion in water (JIS 8) is unattainable presently for scopes.
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Old Wednesday 14th May 2008, 03:30   #11
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For what it's worth, Swarovski bills its zoom lens as the only waterproof one in the business. This is supported by the stiffness of the zoom adjustment. They claim all their eyepieces are "watertight", and the scope body is supposed to be waterproof down to 4 meters. I can testify that rain doesn't bother it.

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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 01:41   #12
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Never had any problems with my Zeiss 65; the dual focusing wheel is quite stiff, I tend to use the fine focuser up front mostly, maybe there's some waterproofing arrangement inside the focus wheels construction.
I've more than once used the scope in driving rain, turning the focus wheel all the time. My second Buff-breasted Sandpiper last year on a bulb field during a downpour.
A Little Crake that wouldn't show two years ago, I waited for over two hours while it rained steadily, scope ( without stay-on case! ) on tripod in the rain got soaked.
On numerous occasions while seawatching with sudden downpours, I used the focuser and the zoom all the time. Never had any problem.

The Nikon ED50 is off my shortlist as a scope to have in the future, if you're not supposed to turn the focus wheel while it's raining!

The thing I find puzzling is a stay-on case on a fully waterproof scope. I met a guy last week with a Swarovski 80 HD and he kindly allowed me to use his scope so I could clinch an ID of a distant Red-footed Falcon; the scope is won-der-ful, amazingly sharp at higher mag, but I had trouble finding the helical focus as well as turning the zoom ring due to the cumbersome stay-on case. It's like it's not a good fit, though the soc specifically is made for this scope ( in white lettering " FOR 80HD" ).
The scope is waterproof and heavily rubber armoured, why add a soc if it compromises the well functioning? To keep it as new so it can easily be sold? I can't imagine anyone wanting to sell such a perfect instrument, but that's another matter.

Anyway, the fact that Simon King is using his Zeiss 85 unprotected - as I saw on the telly - is reassuring enough for me it's waterproof.

Regards,

Ronald
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 05:03   #13
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yeah same like mine, been using my nikon fieldscope ED82 in rain especially for waders watching while using raincoat to covered myself. no problem at all hehehe.

but been thinking next time i'll wrap my big umbrella on the tripod leg, so when it rain, i'll use the umbrella instead of my raincoat while birding in the rainforest because it is too warm with the raincoat or poncho ...
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 21:49   #14
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Originally Posted by KorHaan View Post
The scope is waterproof and heavily rubber armoured, why add a soc if it compromises the well functioning? To keep it as new so it can easily be sold?
Ronald
Ronald,
I couldn't agree more. Covers won't prevent water getting to the outside of the scope, just delay the process.
I recall being in a hide with other birders using angled scopes. They couldn't use them because the eyepieces were too high and the covers prevented them from accessing the knobs to rotate the scopes through 90.

John
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Old Thursday 15th May 2008, 22:58   #15
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I use a Cley Spy stay on cover on my Nikon ED50 to protect the plastic body from knocks, rather than to waterproof it. The strap means I can sling it over my shoulder to carry it as don't keep it attached to the tripod when I am moving about.

I have just been looking at the Care and Maintenance instructions for the scope and they say:

'As the unit does not have a perfectly sealed structure, it should not be operated nor held in running water.' Fair enough.

'Any moisture should be wiped off before adjusting movable parts (focusing knob, eyepiece, etc.) of the Fieldscope ED50 series to prevent damage and for safety reasons.' No so good.

Ron

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Old Friday 16th May 2008, 23:29   #16
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Originally Posted by KorHaan View Post
The scope is waterproof and heavily rubber armoured, why add a soc if it compromises the well functioning?
If I remember correctly, there wasn't a SOC available at first because Swaro thought it unnecessary, and it was introduced later due to customer demand.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 01:24   #17
KorHaan
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Ronald,
I couldn't agree more. Covers won't prevent water getting to the outside of the scope, just delay the process.
I recall being in a hide with other birders using angled scopes. They couldn't use them because the eyepieces were too high and the covers prevented them from accessing the knobs to rotate the scopes through 90.

John
Right, John! I find myself using the rotation knob quite often, especially in hides. It's much easier to sit down and place the angled scope on tripod next to you, rotate the scope 90 degrees and view in sideways ( I don't believe this is proper English, but you get the point, I'm sure).
On other occasions the rotated scope gives just a little more height, tripod at max., to view over tall reeds etc.

Regards, Ronald
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 01:50   #18
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Originally Posted by NoSpringChicken View Post
I use a Cley Spy stay on cover on my Nikon ED50 to protect the plastic body from knocks, rather than to waterproof it. The strap means I can sling it over my shoulder to carry it as don't keep it attached to the tripod when I am moving about.


Ron
Hi Ron,

Best way to protect your scope as it is a little more delicate than my clunky Zeiss. The strap on the soc though is a definite plus, I miss that dearly I must say, as it's an easy way to carry a scope. I've been thinking of strapping an end of rope around my scope, for this very purpose, but there are no good attachment points. Pity. I put it in my rucksack, vertically, eyepiece up. Made a thick foam cushioning on the bottom of my rucksack to protect the objective lens. I never use lens caps, and when I'm out in the rain I have to do a lot of wiping the ocular lens. Since I found out it's slightly concave and easy to wipe clean, I never bothered with a lense cap.

Regards, Ronald
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 02:32   #19
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If I remember correctly, there wasn't a SOC available at first because Swaro thought it unnecessary, and it was introduced later due to customer demand.
Andrew,
It is unnecessary, I'm sure, but if the customer demands it, well... Swarovski know how to keep their customers happy, and if fashion demands there should be a case, they'll supply one.
But it kind of reminds me of visiting people who have an expensive leather couch all wrapped up in plastic, because it might become .... worn? ....dirty? ....scratched?
To protect the lenses of a scope, I can see the point of a soc, to carry it slung over the shoulder, it's great. But to keep off the rain?
Still I admit I shortly had a neoprene soc ( well, more of a sock ) on my Diascope, giving in to the fashion and because I got very cold hands from the metal scope in wintertime. Typically, Zeiss had made a perfectly tightfitting product with NO STRAP. So I had to dump the scope in my rucksack anyway.
I got used to wearing thick gloves in winter and removed the sock, exposing the scope in its silvery nakedness to the elements. It's doing great, and I like the tinkling sound it makes when I tick my nails on the metal tube, too!

Regards, Ronald
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Old Wednesday 21st May 2008, 06:27   #20
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Originally Posted by KorHaan View Post
Andrew,
It is unnecessary, I'm sure, but if the customer demands it, well... Swarovski know how to keep their customers happy, and if fashion demands there should be a case, they'll supply one.
Regards, Ronald
Hi all -

I have been busy at a birding festival and doing Swarovski Optik NA stuff, so I'm jumping into this one a little late. I think that Ronald hit it right on the head - if you all remember when Swarovski Optik introduced the "S" series of scopes with the green armoring, there was no additional case offered. Within weeks, new scope owners were asking both we here in the US and the fellows at Swarovski Austria for an additional "protective" case. It took two years to get there, and it certainly is handsome.

It evidently is a "piece of mind" purchase, especially since some owners of the older, gray scope would go slightly mad when the paint was scratched or chipped. Even though the rubber armor is VERY resistant to scratches and scuffs (my well-traveled STS and ATS 80 HDs still look brand-new), some people feel like their scope looks "naked" without some sort of case on it. If it makes them happy....

As for the waterproof-ness of the Swarovski spotting scopes, I checked with the engineers back in Austria, and they confirmed that there should be no leakage either through the focusing ring, or even if the eyepiece is removed from the scope body.

A few weeks ago I was digiscoping a White-rumped Sandpiper in the pouring rain. Ok, I was in my car, and the camera had a plastic baggie atop it to keep it relatively dry, but the water was sluicing off the scope body and focusing ring, down the window mount, and into my car. My armrest on the car door filled up with water, but the scope performed perfectly.

Clay Taylor
Swarovski Optik N.A.


Here's the sandpiper and all the raindrops, including the splashes in the puddle
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Old Thursday 22nd May 2008, 01:10   #21
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What I would really want to see is a stay-on case for my non-waterproof big porro binoculars. I leave my scope on the tripod in torrential rain, without any concern, but I'm obliged to tuck away the bins under my coat to protect them from the rain.
I have had non-waterproof bins fog up in the rain and that's a real pain.

I know I should have posted this in the Binoculars Forum as it is off-topic here, but the thought crossed my mind, so why not put it forward.

Regards, Ronald
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Old Sunday 15th June 2008, 19:42   #22
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My Zeiss zoom eyepeice let in water in very heavy rain, although Zeiss did replace it - well done to them - they did state that fixed mag eyepieces were fully waterproof but the zooms weren't.
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Old Friday 20th June 2008, 20:30   #23
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......... The strap on the soc though is a definite plus, I miss that dearly I must say, as it's an easy way to carry a scope. I've been thinking of strapping an end of rope around my scope, for this very purpose, but there are no good attachment points. Pity. I put it in my rucksack, vertically, eyepiece up. ......Ronald

A bit OT: Just came across this post again, and I remembered that I had posted a picture somewhere. Well here it is, I originally posted it to show the DinO head I use on my travel set-up. But the picture also shows that there is a strap going around the base of the scope. I have an OpTech strap where the actual strap can be detached from the part that is fixed around the scope base. This is helpful when the wind blows and bangs the strap against the tripod.

The strap allows to carry the scope with the tripod attached to it. And if the attachment should get loose (despite the safety pin), it would be the tripod that would fall, not the scope.
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