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Tripod, fluid head, and scope in the rain. (1 Viewer)

Dasherman

Registered User
Netherlands
I've recently started using a scope when birding and got caught in some light rain today. I was wondering how you all deal with rain when it comes to the scope, tripod and fluid head. The gear is quite expensive for me, so I want to be careful, but I would also find it odd if it can't even handle some light rain.

Any precautions I should take when it rains and gear gets wet? Eg, should I not collapse the leg sections of my tripod when wet, or should I perhaps not turn the drag control knobs of the fluid head, or not use the eyepiece zoom or scope focusing knob?

I've also read people on photography forums saying they disassemble their tripods after getting them wet so they can dry, followed by relubricating. Is this really necessary whenever you get in some rain?
 
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I use my Opticron in the wet (I pop the rubber lens and eyepiece covers on when walking ankh to save me having to dry them too often). Using the tripod is fine, but if you collapse it before it’s dry it will stay wet for a very long time. So I tend to extend it when I get home and leave it out indoors to dry off for a few days to properly dry before storing j haven’t relubricated, but it might be useful. For the people I go out with, rain doesn’t have much impact on them at all, they wear the right clothes and all their kit is waterproof and they use covers to avoid having to dry the lenses too much.

Peter
Peter
 
I've recently started using a scope when birding and got caught in some light rain today. I was wondering how you all deal with rain when it comes to the scope, tripod and fluid head. The gear is quite expensive for me, so I want to be careful, but I would also find it odd if it can't even handle some light rain.

Any precautions I should take when it rains and gear gets wet? Eg, should I not collapse the leg sections of my tripod when wet, or should I perhaps not turn the drag control knobs of the fluid head, or not use the eyepiece zoom or scope focusing knob?
Precautions:
  • Scope: Assuming your scope is waterproof (and most modern scopes are) you needn't do anything. Dry it off and leave it in the open until it's perfectly dry before you put it away. Many people use stay-on cases to protect their scopes. That may make sense if you want to protect the scope from knocks as well. If you got a lot of muck and/or salt on the scope, you should clean it thoroughly when you're home.
  • Tripod: Dry it off before you put it away when you're home. See my remarks below.
  • Fluid head: Same as the tripod. I've been using fluid heads from Manfrotto and Gitzo for many years now. Never had a problem.
I've also read people on photography forums saying they disassemble their tripods after getting them wet so they can dry, followed by relubricating. Is this really necessary whenever you get in some rain?
No, that's nonsense. My oldest tripod is over 40 years old, and I never disassembled it (or any other of my tripods) after it got wet in the rain. I just extend the legs when I'm home, dry them off and let the tripod dry out for a day or so. And that's it.

However, if I used the scope on a seawatch and got a lot of salt on it, I extend the legs and wash off the salt. Usually in the shower. Dry the tripod off and let it dry for a day or so. And if I got fine sand on the tripod I may partly disassemble it to clean it. But only if really necessary. Sand and tripod legs don't mix very well.

Hermann
 
Thanks for your replies, Peter and Hermann. They give me some peace of mind.

I do wonder, does retracting the legs while wet not bring water "inside" the legs due to the telescoping mechanism, which then gets trapped inside when you leave it to dry at home (even if the legs are then extended again)?

Also, @Hermann, when do you find it 'really necessary' to disassemble and clean the legs? When you feel/hear sand in the locking mechanism?
 
Probably, but aluminium and carbon fibre don’t rust, so I don’t see it as a big issue, the mechanism will scrape most water off, you’re left with a thin film that goes in, and probably mostly comes out when you open the tripod again.

Sand… I’d be very careful with it getting anywhere near optical surfaces or delicate mechanisms…. Washing off quickly is certainly recommended.

Peter
 
I do wonder, does retracting the legs while wet not bring water "inside" the legs due to the telescoping mechanism, which then gets trapped inside when you leave it to dry at home (even if the legs are then extended again)?
I find that is no problem.
Also, @Hermann, when do you find it 'really necessary' to disassemble and clean the legs? When you feel/hear sand in the locking mechanism?
That's right, I disassemble the locks when I feel/hear sand in the locking mechanism. And I disassemble the legs when there is obviously sand in them. You'll feel and hear it when that happens.

Hermann
 
Precautions:
  • Many people use stay-on cases to protect their scopes. That may make sense if you want to protect the scope from knocks as well.
A word of advice about stay-on-scope cases. If they get really spoaking wet then take them off to dry separately from the scope itself. These are rarely completely waterproof, and often get soggy. I sold all my stay-on-scope cases, prefering to dry off the armour of my scopes with a cloth after it has rained. The cases on many models do (unfortunately) get in the way of the focusing wheel, zoom, or tripod collar. Yes, they may be a good investment to protect from knocks, scratches etc. but I prefer to be without and live with any knocks or marks on the armouring of the scope.

As for tripods, I extend all legs fully and let them dry in my living room after a day out in wet weather. Being mainly a coastal birder, I occasionally rinse them with the garden hose if there is a lot of salt spray or if they are caked in sand.

SW
 
Hi,

I tend to continue to use my (non-waterproof) TSN-3 in light to medium rain inside the stay-on-case and just make sure that I keep the covers over eyepiece (which actually is waterproof unlike the body, but don't we all hate drops on the eyelens) and focus drive closed when not immediately needed. The objective lens has a lens hood plus the stay-on-case goes for a few centimeters beyond that so the front element is 10cm or so recessed and there is no danger for that.

If things got wet, I'll take off the stay-on-case and let it dry out separately. Storing the legs extended is standard procedure for me... quite close to the balcony door for a quick peek across the river,,,

When it starts pouring down, there is a large plastic bag and some cord in the mulepack to wrap around the whole optics package...

Joachim
 
An umbrella goes a long way if it's not too windy especially with an angled scope, a baseball cap works well too- water on the lenses- particularly eye pieces is a right pain!

Glare shields work well to stop the rain hitting the objectives. I dry stuff when I get back, never had any problems even with my old drawtube scope.
 

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