Can you use your Leica M camera and lenses in the rain and near the beach?

This question is one that I’ve been pondering as we enter the rainy season here in the Puget Sound and as I plan for an upcoming trip to Maui. If you read various forums and blogs, you’ll see some people saying that the Leica M240 and Leica M262 have weather sealing. However, Leica doesn’t have an official statement on this. Regarding the Leica M lenses, there are no rubber gaskets on the mounting point to the camera. I’ve read, that the lenses are built tight enough to be used in all sorts of inclement weather, but again nothing official from Leica.

Unlike a through the lens style of camera, you cannot simply throw a plastic bag on top of a rangefinder. That would cover the viewfinder and focusing mirror thereby making it impossible to accurately focus.

I’d really rather not test out the weather resistant theories myself due to the cost of the equipment. So, I decided to ask some knowledgeable others and follow their advice:

1. Lens Rentals via Twitter. I figure they have seen enough damaged gear to know.

2. Then I emailed Youxin Ye – Many people use him to have their Leica lenses repaired.

2017-10-06 Leica Weather Sealing 17-18-44

3. Even though I tweeted to, I also emailed them since I didn’t know the best way to get a response.

2017-10-06 Leica Weather Sealing 17-18-44-3

4. Lastly, I contacted Ken Hansen (a famous and one of the largest if not THE largest Leica dealer in North America) – [email protected]

2017-10-06 Leica Weather Sealing 17-18-44-4

In all four of the above cases, the message is clear. If you’re going to be in the rain or by the beach, leave your Leica gear at home! Instead of packing my Leica gear, I am going to pack my Fuji X gear that is advertised to be weather resistant. Just in case it’s not completely weather sealed though, I recommend using Fotosharp rain covers on your gear in torrential downpours. Why? Because no camera or lens manufacturer will warranty their gear against water damage. However, any TTL (through the lens) system can easily be protected with a rain cover – anything from the Fotosharp cover I mentioned to a plastic bag. That’s because all that sticks out of the cover is the front of  the lens hood, everything else is protected. Your view and focusing ability are still retained. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a solution for a rangefinder.

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