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Author Topic: Lens condensation paranoia  (Read 1094 times)

Ruined

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Lens condensation paranoia
« on: November 15, 2013, 05:07:17 PM »
Condensation is a bit of a topic of paranoia for me, mainly because of nightmares of lens fungus as a result of the moisture.

Question: If one were to shoot in say, 15deg F for some time, then bring the lens into a 70deg F environment while it is in a zippered (but not airtight) camera bag, would condensation form on the lens inside the zippered camera bag if it stays in there for 20min?  Should I worry less about this? your thoughts? thx ;)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 05:08:48 PM by Ruined »

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Lens condensation paranoia
« on: November 15, 2013, 05:07:17 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 07:22:54 PM »
Condensation is a bit of a topic of paranoia for me, mainly because of nightmares of lens fungus as a result of the moisture.

Question: If one were to shoot in say, 15deg F for some time, then bring the lens into a 70deg F environment while it is in a zippered (but not airtight) camera bag, would condensation form on the lens inside the zippered camera bag if it stays in there for 20min?  Should I worry less about this? your thoughts? thx ;)
It all depends on the humidity.  Air is very dry in cold climates, both indoors and outdoors.  Unless humidity is being added indoors via boiling water, or something like a wood fire, its not likely that humidity will be a issue, and it certainly will not grow fungus at 70 degrees.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 07:34:25 PM »
In winter, our house is warm and while its not really that humid, it is less humid than outside.  I keep some big ziploc bags (the Big Bags ones, some will hold camera + 600/4), and put the gear in them.  Probably that's overkill.  But if you can slow down the warmup, that takes care of it.  The camera bag/backpack helps, but if you have an unheated basement, you can move them there from outside, then bring them upstairs a few hours later.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 08:10:30 PM »
In winter, our house is warm and while its not really that humid, it is less humid than outside.  I keep some big ziploc bags (the Big Bags ones, some will hold camera + 600/4), and put the gear in them.  Probably that's overkill.  But if you can slow down the warmup, that takes care of it.  The camera bag/backpack helps, but if you have an unheated basement, you can move them there from outside, then bring them upstairs a few hours later.

I suppose it does vary by area of the country as well.  At 15 degrees Fahrenheit, even 100% humidity air contains  very little moisture, but enough to snow tiny ice crystals.  Bring that 100% humidity outdoor air up to 70 degrees, and it will be very low and will not condense out.
However, bring 70 degree air from a 70% humid room to 15 degrees and the air  can not hold all that moisture so it will condense.  In fact, it starts to condense at 43 degrees F.  Even if the humidity is 10% at 70 degrees, it will condense out at 6 degrees F, but there is only 8.3 grams/cubic meter of moisture, that's a tiny fraction of a drop in a camera lens.
 
The bottom line is that you are going to get condensation when taking something from a 70 degree room to a -15 degree air, but it might be very little, just a drop or less in the small volume of a lens.
Our outdoor humidity usually runs 10-15% in winter, and about the same indoors.  You can generate some nice static electricity under those conditions.
 
 
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Eldar

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 08:20:37 PM »
I always have the same routine. When i go inside after a trip in the cold, I wrap the camera and lenses in plastic and wait for them to heat up before I unwrap them. It might be over the top cautious, but better safe than sorry ...
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hammar

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 02:37:02 PM »
When I was working in Belize (with conservation, not photo), I had a 5D2 with 24/1.4L II with be on several short expeditions in the jungle. The lens would fog up all the time, both front and back element, this wasn't much of a problem, I just wiped it off. The problem was that moisture got into the 5D2, specifically under the shutter button which meant that it acted as if the button was half-way pressed all the time. Once I took the camera out of the forest and into my apartment, it dried up and started working normally again.

Now I have the 5D3 which I think is better proofed.
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RustyTheGeek

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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 10:32:46 PM »
Using a ziplock bag when going from a cold environment into a warm (as likely more humid) environment, esp one with a large crowd of breathing people, is prudent until the camera's temp warms up to close to the surroundings.  Problem for me is that I need to shoot pictures when I arrive and shooting through a sealed ziplock bag isn't a skill I've yet mastered.  And as you use a zoom lens, you move the warm humid air inside the lens and camera and can fog on the inside too.  Grrr!!

Please correct me if I'm wrong but my simplistic attitude about humidity and my cameras/lenses is keep the camera/lens warmer than the surroundings and it can't hold condensation.  For instance, when I shoot in very humid indoor pool areas, I warm up my camera/lens with the car heater on the way to the location.  (I crack the car windows so I don't suffocate inside on mild days!)

Since I do a enough indoor pool shooting during the winter, I've even considered perhaps getting a pizza warmer bag for the ride over to the pool instead of using my car heater.  I would assume a similar idea could be used indoors when returning from the cold outdoors if the camera needs to be used indoors quickly.
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Re: Lens condensation paranoia
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 10:32:46 PM »