Jan 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm #1253933
I was at Best Buy the other day asking an employee about a camera. I mentioned that I was going to be putting it in an Aloksak bag while hiking to keep it dry. She informed me that was a bad idea and that the moisture in the bag would build up and get the camera wet. She claimed that they get a lot of customers who ruin their cameras by storing them in ziplock bags because they end up getting wet from the moisture trapped inside the bag. I could've swore I've heard that people store their cameras in Aloksak bags while backpacking. Is this really a bad idea like the woman at Best Buy claims?
-SidJan 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm #1560928
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
If the gear is already wet, or in a humid environment that might be correct. Folks who shoot in the tropics often pack dessicant with their gear to keep the moisture down.
Generally, I'd suggest a drybag/ziplock/etc. to protect photo gear from rain or when on the water, but not for longterm storage. On the go, if it's not already wet I have a hard time believing it's going to be a problem, but you can always stow it and not seal it completely. That will still keep the rain out (as long as it's not in standing water).
RickJan 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm #1560941
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
I agree with Rick, I don't see how keeping a dry camera in a waterproof bag when it's raining can be harmful.
I keep may camera in a hipbelt pocket — when it's raining the camera goes in an Aloksak. No problems after 2 years of doing this…Jan 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm #1560945
I keep mine in an Aloksak. Been that way in rain, heat, cold. No issues yet with water buildup/condensation.Jan 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm #1560986
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Yes, well, whoever said the Best Buys staffer had the faintest idea whereof she spoke? (If she knew what she was talking about would she be working at Best Buys?)
> the moisture in the bag would build up
Sounds like spontaneous creation of matter. Could be worth a fortune!
> a lot of customers who ruin their cameras by storing them in ziplock bags because
> they end up getting wet from the moisture trapped inside the bag.
People may ruin their cameras by storing them WET inside a plastic bag – for sure. But the water comes in with the camera!
On the other hand, I agree that storing a wet camera where it can't dry is a bad idea. A Gore-Tex camera pouch has some merit.
CheersJan 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm #1560995
Thanks for letting me know guys. I am about to purchase a Canon S90 and I wanted to make sure I didn't make a $400 mistake. Now that I think about it, I will be storing the camera in one of MLD's waterproof Dyneema hipbelt pockets. It looks like it has a waterproof zipper, so I'm assuming anything in there should stay dry with or without a ziplock bag. I will probably still use a ziplock bag to prevent scratches from the other things I will store in the hipbelt pocket.
-SidJan 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm #1561522
First of all, keep the camera as dry as you can, even if the weather gets wet. Normally, some good heavy pieces of clear plastic over the top of it will do most of that. Then, after you finish shooting, you store your camera into the dry bag. Before you seal it, you toss in one or two desiccant packs (typically made out of silica gel), then seal it tight. The packs will absorb any stray moisture out of the camera or out of the bag. Then, you use the camera again and repeat the process with fresh packs. Now, after a while, you are going to have a bunch of used packs that are each holding some moisture. When you get home, you put the used ones on an aluminum pie tin and place it in an oven at 250 F. Leave it for an hour, and they are recharged (dry) and ready to go again. But, if you leave them laying around, they will absorb moisture again. So, upon removal from the oven, you put them in an air-tight bag and seal it for storage until you need them again. This is done a lot if you are taking your camera to a humid tropical jungle.
–B.G.–Jan 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm #1561550
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
I live in a rain forest and take photographs. My best approach to keeping the camera dry, warm and available in the winter rains is to carry it under my rain gear and/or fleece in a light weight stomach or fanny pack — over one shoulder like a holster. We walked 6 miles today in rain and sleet under a dripping canopy and the camera (Lumix DMC-GF1) was dry and warm whenever I took it out to capture an image. Works great here in the Tongass.
Jan 11, 2010 at 10:05 am #1561636
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
For those who need to keep their camera dry in the worst conditions, consider a waterproof case, in particular, a case made specifically for your camera (in contrast to general purpose cases that are essentially ziploc bags with a glass lens insert.
The are not cheap or particularly light, but many are waterproof down to a hundred feet or so. They generally seal via an O-ring. As with ziplocs, your camera should be dry before being put into the case, and don't leave it there for weeks on end (I take it out after each use, and often clean and regrease the O-ring and grooves.)
I use on with my Canon A720IS when I go kayaking or to anyplace where there is a reasonable chance it could get dunked (e.g to the beach). It is almost a revelation to be able to take pictures in any weather or in a boat with absolutely no fear of wrecking your camera. I haven't had much luck with underwater photography, but I haven't tried much, either.
Optical quality is generally very good, and typically all camera controls are available. One problem is water drops on the glass that the lens looks out through. I have a bunch of photos with water drops in them taken while kayaking in the rain…I like to believe they contribute to the mood of the photograph.Jan 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm #1561834
good idea with the desiccant packs. Now I just need to figure out where I can get some.
-SidJan 11, 2010 at 11:58 pm #1561910
Just about every modern electronic device (e.g. DSLR cameras, GPS, etc.) is factory packed with one small one. So, I collect all of those small ones. Some devices that are sensitive are packed with a larger one. Also, some camera shops will sell you extras.
–B.G.–Jan 12, 2010 at 12:08 am #1561912
good idea with the desiccant packs. Now I just need to figure out where I can get some.
No need to buy them unless you want to keep it simple. It's pretty easy to make your own. You can buy silica gel in bulk at just about any craft store. Wrap some up in a coffee filter and tie it off. Piece of cake.Jan 12, 2010 at 9:50 am #1561996
I'm curious. For what purpose is silica gel sold at a craft store?
If you buy it that way, you would want to make sure that the crystals have a similar size to that in commercially made silica packs. Otherwise, it might not work.
Commercially made silica packs have a woven fabric cover that can withstand some oven heat as I mentioned. If you use your own coffee filter paper, it might turn into a bonfire in your oven.
–B.G.–Jan 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm #1562125
>>>I'm curious. For what purpose is silica gel sold at a craft store?<<<
They use it to dry out flowers and other various activities.
>>>If you buy it that way, you would want to make sure that the crystals have a similar size to that in commercially made silica packs. Otherwise, it might not work.<<<
It's pretty much all the same… at least what i've seen. It will work just fine.
>>>Commercially made silica packs have a woven fabric cover that can withstand some oven heat as I mentioned. If you use your own coffee filter paper, it might turn into a bonfire in your oven.<<<
I wouldn't advise putting coffee filters in the over either. Just doesn't sound safe. :DJan 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm #1562134
@halpottsLocale: Middle Tennessee
Uncooked rice is also frequently used as a desiccant and is quite effective and cheaper than silica gel. Just put it in one of those spare net bags you have in with your unused gear. I think either would work well and you could eat the rice if you got in a pinch!Jan 12, 2010 at 6:09 pm #1562150
>>>Uncooked rice is also frequently used as a desiccant and is quite effective and cheaper than silica gel. Just put it in one of those spare net bags you have in with your unused gear. I think either would work well and you could eat the rice if you got in a pinch!<<<
You know I knew about this, but just never thought about the double use. Emergency food. I like it. :DJan 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm #1562152
I'll pass this message on to Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, and just about every other camera manufacturer, and I'll bet they'll get right back to us…
–B.G.–Jan 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm #1562176
By attrition you will get some rice dust and that could migrate to the inside of your gear . Keep in mind that you can make glue out of rice.
My preferred option would be silica gel that has an indicator. That turns pink of blue once it has absorbed all the moisture that it can. Without the indicator it can create a false sense of security. You think that is working but it isn't. Beware that the chemical that causes the change of colour is generally toxic.
FrancoJan 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm #1562178
I don't think they meant use loose rice inside a ziplock bag with electronics. At least I didn't take it that way. The dust alone wouldn't be good for most cameras. It would have to be contained in a manner that would still leave it effective.Jan 12, 2010 at 8:14 pm #1562181
.I can see a "Gore-tex vs eVent" debate coming up..Jan 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm #1562371
The benefit of buying Silica Gel packets is that they are often designed to be reusable, not an option with rice. I store my cameras (a Sealife underwater and a Canon digital SLR) with Silica Gel packets when they are not in use. Living i Hawaii, humidity is a huge problem and we do a lot of water sports, so keeping our cameras dry is a big concern. I found a great online supplier who has such a wide variety of reusable Silica Gel products: http://www.silicagelpackets.com. The problem with using the packets that come with electronics is that they are already partially, if not fully saturated.Jan 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm #1562383
Andi, and that is why the oven recharging method is important enough that I mentioned it.
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