How to prevent condensation in your camera/lens in very cold conditions


Zaarour slopes, 1c temperature

It’s winter, and you decided to go skiing or to go to a snow trip to the mountains, of course it’s an ideal place to take great photos, but do you know that your camera and lens can suffer from condensation if you don’t take the proper measures?

First what is condensation?

See the fog on your closed car’s windows when driving  and it’s cold outside? it’s because  inside your car it’s much warmer than the outside, or when you exhale hot air from your mouth toward your eyeglasses? the (big) difference of temperature can produce condensation which is a fine layer of water on surfaces like glass and metal, sometimes called fogging.

Of course humidity percentage in the air has an impact on the condensation, that why in tropical countries with hot and high humidity you will see the opposite with condensation forming on your room’s window because you are using cold air conditioning while outside the air is warm and humid (though some windows have anti-fog layers so they will prevent condensation forming).

Why is it bad for my camera and lens?

In the short term it can simply fog your photos, your photos will look soft and foggy because a thin layer of condensation formed in the lens. So most of not all your shots will be useless.

In the mid to long term, leaving condensation in your lens or camera body can favor moisture and mold growth which can in some cases do damages.

Most Fujifilm camera bodies and all XF lenses are made with metal so alongside the lens’s glasses they are prone to condensation if you are not careful in (very) hot/cold transitions. Metal can get very cold or hot as you know, trapping extreme temperature for some time.

Steps to prevent condensation:

-Buy a nylon backpack, preferably a camera bag backpack as they come usually waterproof and with better weather sealing.

-The day before going to a very cold environment like ski trip or going outside in Moscow with -30c, put your camera away from any heater, preferably already in your backpack.

-In your car, don’t use the heater as much as you can and if you do use it don’t put it at a too high temperature, better put your backpack in the trunk to let it away from the heater if someone else is coming with you as he/she won’t tolerate to stay without a heater at 28c.

-On the slopes! it can be +5c or -15c, but either way you can use your camera as much as you want, just don’t put it in your pocket or inside your jacket, the heat of your body will trigger condensation, I also recommend to fully open your backpack the 1st time you take out the camera so it will take out the heat that was left from before and replace it by cold temperature that won’t trigger condensation with your already cold camera/lens.

-Don’t put humid clothes like your gloves inside the backpack.

-When you finish taking all your photos in the end of your ski trip, just close well the backpack

-In the way back the same principles apply as before for the car.

-At home/hotel, put away your backpack from any warm source like heaters or humid places like bathrooms. DON’T TAKE OUT the camera or open the backpack for at least 10 hours, so that the internal of the bag as very gradually reach the room’s temperature. Personally I let the backpack closed overnight. Additionally you can open about 10-15cm of the backpack for an hour before taking out the camera (after the 10 hours of waiting).

That’s it! it’s really not hard and you will keep your camera/lens away from condensation’s harm, some people recommend to use a trash can bag in the end of the cold part additionally to the backpack, but this is for really extreme cold condition. The camera bag is more than enough.

A little trick for people who already have condensation or mold in their lense(s), just leave it outside for an hour or two facing the sun in a sunny day, the sun rays should take away most of the moisture.





One thought on “How to prevent condensation in your camera/lens in very cold conditions

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Fuji and Stuff | Fuji and Stuff

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