Camera condensation occurs when you take your camera from a warm place to a cold place or vice versa. It is also a common problem for photographers living in heavily humid areas.
The condensation should not affect your camera if you deal with it right away. If it is left unattended, it could create a more significant problem like lens fungus. This could damage your lens and camera to the point of no repair.
In today’s article, we will teach you all about camera condensation. You’ll learn the meaning of lens fog, its consequences, and how to defog your lens.
What Is Lens Fog?
Lens fog is a consequence of camera condensation. If the temperature changes from one extreme to the other fast, your camera lenses will suffer lens fog.
There’s no easy and quick fix, but it is not the end of the world if treated correctly.
Lens fungus can be dangerous, however, if the fog gets exposed to sand or dust. The combination creates the perfect environment for fungus to grow freely, and lens fungus is not something you can quickly fix. The fungus is more common in lenses with no weather-sealing features.
If there is fungus inside your lens, you’ll be able to notice it as a spider web-like white spot on every picture you’ll take. If there is fungus inside your lens, you should get it to a repair shop as soon as possible. If you do not treat it, the fungus will severely damage your lens and camera.
To check if your lens has a fungus, you can follow these steps:
- First of all, you need to remove the lens from the camera.
- Make sure that you’ve also removed the front and rear lens caps.
- It is essential to do this in an ambient environment with plenty of light.
- Now, look through both of the ends of the lens.
If you spot the spider web-like white spots, then you need to see a professional lens technician. The technician will tell you if they can fix your lens or if you need a new one. Keep in mind that most warranties do not cover lens fungus.
Note: If you want to avoid lens fog or lens fungus, you should try to keep your lenses in a sealed silica gel packet. The fungus survives from the moisture of the environment and the darkness. So, with the silica gel packet absorbing the water, your lenses will be fungus-free.
At What Temperature/Humidity Differential Does Camera Fog Form?
Camera fog forms if you move your camera and lenses from a really hot place to a freezing place or vice versa. The quickness factor makes fog forms in the cameras, as your lens’s interior is under one temperature and the exterior is under another.
Camera fog is a bigger problem in tropical places because of people using air conditioners. If you go from a place with air conditioning to the outside where there is a lot of humidity, camera fog will inevitably form in your lenses.
There is no exact temperature differential for camera fog to form, but you can expect it to happen if you move your camera from a 31°C (89°F) to a 22°C (72°F) environment. The difference between these two temperatures will create camera fog.
So, it is correct to assume that you’ll notice the condensation at a 10° difference.
Can Condensation Damage Your Lens or Camera?
Condensation can damage your camera if you do not treat it correctly. On your camera, built-up condensation over a long time can create mold.
This mold endangers the device’s internal mechanism and potentially makes it malfunction over time.
If left untreated, the condensation will damage the performance of your lens, and you’ll start noticing a white blur on every picture you take. As mentioned before, if you do not treat the lens, you risk getting the fungus on your lenses.
Overall, condensation alone is not enough to damage the mechanism of your camera. It would need to be built-up over time or combined with dust or sand to harm the camera’s body or lens.
Preventing Condensation and Fogging
Like with many problems, the best thing to do is to prevent it. There are ways to avoid the dangers of condensation on your camera and lenses.
The most crucial aspect to keep in mind is that condensation does not form in dry places. So, keep your camera and gear in dry storage, and you’ll be fine.
Here’s are some tips to better protect your camera and lenses from condensation and harsh weather:
1. Be Prepared
If you know you’ll be using your camera in highly humid places, places with a lot of snow, or near water bodies like the ocean or a waterfall, then plan. Ensure your camera is covered and protected and keep your lenses in a dry, safe environment.
You can use a rain cover to protect your camera while filming or photographing waterfalls or near ocean waves. You can also use a plastic bag over your lenses to keep them dry and sealed until you need to use them.
2. Keep Your Camera at a Constant Temperature
If you take pictures in cold conditions like Greenland, you must keep your camera warm for it to work, but not too warm to develop any condensation. In those cases, you have to keep your camera close to you and covered by using an All-Weather-Cover for professional cameras.
The All-Weather-Cover will keep your camera warm, but it will also keep it dry, making it hard for condensation to form.
The same goes for when working in hot places with a lot of humidity. Covering and protecting your camera and lenses is imperative for keeping your gear dry. Keeping your equipment dry can be the difference between lens fungus and a functional camera.
3. Give Your Camera and Gear Time to Acclimate
If you have the time for this step, then follow it. Giving your camera and gear the necessary time to acclimate to the weather effectively prevents condensation in the camera’s body and lenses. Keep your camera inside the camera bag for at least an hour or so before using it outside.
The process will give your camera and gear the time to reach the same temperature level as the environment. By doing so, you’ll give your camera the necessary time to regulate the temperature inside and prevent any sort of condensation from happening.
Introduce your items to the new extreme temperature slowly. You might need a couple of hours, depending on the difference between the two conditions. It might be annoying to have to wait, but it is a better alternative than condensation.
How to Remove Condensation?
Preventing is easy, but not always possible. So, what should you do if there is already condensation inside your camera and lenses?
Well, the first step is not to worry and keep calm.
There are some ways to deal with condensation on your own if the problem has just occurred and you act quickly. Here’s what you should do if you notice condensation inside your camera:
1. Do Not Detach the Lens From the Camera
If you already know there is condensation inside, you should avoid disconnecting the lens. This step is crucial if you notice the condensation while shooting in cold places. Removing the lens allows more condensation and other dangerous particles to enter, which can cause a more severe problem in the long run.
Note: If you are in a highly humid place, you should avoid changing lenses. If you change the lens, you risk letting more humid air and particles inside.
2. Warm Up or Cool Down Your Camera Equipment
Sometimes, fog inside the lens can be so bad you won’t see anything through the camera. If that’s the case, then you need to wait it out. Keep your camera in a warm place if it is warm outside or in a cool place if it is chilly outside.
If you wait and don’t try to use the equipment, then the fog will likely be gone in an hour. If you cannot wait it out, we recommend always packing more than one outdoor photography camera.
3. Use Silica Gel Packages and Dehumidifiers
The best possible item you can get to protect your camera is a silica gel package or a dehumidifier. The silica gel package will keep your camera and gear dry, therefore preventing any form of condensation.
On the other hand, the dehumidifier can be great if you have noticed the condensation inside your camera and lenses. Place your camera inside the camera bag and put some dehumidifiers inside too. Keep it there for an hour or so, and check again. The dehumidifier should have absorbed most of the moisture by then.
How to Store Your Camera So You Avoid Fogging and Condensation
The key to preventing condensation is by avoiding humidity.
What condensation does is turn gas water into a liquid when the gas comes in contact with humid air. So, to prevent condensation from forming, you need to avoid humidity. You can achieve that by storing your camera and lenses the right way.
To prevent condensation, you can put your camera and gear inside the camera bag as soon as you finish shooting. Alternatively, you can also store the camera and equipment inside Ziploc bags before and after each use. Ziploc bags keep air and humidity out.
Always remember cool and dry is the go-to for camera and lens storage. You can use silica gel packages inside the camera bag or use zip bags, whatever you like, just keep your devices dry.
Equipment and Gear That Helps With Fogging
Fog is challenging to treat but not that difficult to prevent. If there’s rain, then you can get a raincoat for the camera.
If there’s sand, then you can protect the camera with a cover. But no equipment protects the camera from high humidity when in use.
To protect the camera from fog and condensation, you can use different methods, but none will give you 100% protection against humidity. The best you can do is invest in dehumidifiers and silica gels.
However, there are some gear and equipment that can help you prevent condensation.
- Dehumidifying cabinet: A dehumidifier cabinet protects your lenses and camera from humidity and condensation. It keeps everything dry inside, and it is perfect if you live in highly humid places.
- Weather-sealed lenses: If you are going to use your camera under harsh conditions like freezing temperatures or dusty places, you might want to invest in a proper lens. Weather-sealed lenses won’t entirely protect you from humidity, but they can help.
- Camera raincoats: Once again, you won’t be able to protect your camera completely from humidity with it, but it will help. Camera raincoats are essential for shooting in tropical places, and it is something that will help you in many different situations. So, investing in one is a smart thing to do if you work in the field.
- All-weather camera bag: A camera bag is your first ally against humidity and temperature changes. Make sure you get one with all-weather protection to ensure your camera and lenses’ safety.
Camera condensation is not the end of the world. If you let your camera acclimate and keep it in a dry environment after every use, then you’ll be able to prevent it and sometimes even treat it.
However, if you leave the lenses and the camera with fog inside, you might risk getting a lens fungus.
Preventing condensation is a lot easier than treating it. If you keep lenses, camera, and gear at a constant temperature, you’ll be able to avoid lens fog. Remember always to prepare for the weather conditions if you are going to work in extreme temperatures.
Keep in mind that the best way to store your camera is in a dry and cool environment. Carry silica gel packages with you, and do not rush from a warm place to a cold place or vice versa. Take your time, even if it’s frustrating because it’s better than saying goodbye to your favorite lens thanks to a fungus.Back to Top