PDA

View Full Version : Humidity and Foggy Lenses


All American
04-28-2011, 12:48 PM
Hi everyone!

I woke up this morning with a thought/concern and was wondering if you could help me with it. (I hope this makes sense...Here goes...)

I was wondering about the condensation that you get on your camera lens when it's really hot and humid. (I live in Utah, so it's never been an issue. However, on a trip to Kentucky last summer I ran into this problem several times--total bummer) We have a trip scheduled to Disney in June and was wondering a couple of things:

First: Can the condensation damage your lens?
Second: How do you "deal" (for lack of a better term) with it? Can you just wipe off the condensation, and if so, with what--microfiber? Or do you wait it out until the camera "adjusts" (again, for lack of a better term) to the outside temperature before you start taking pictures?

Thanks for any help with this. I am very new to the whole DSLR thing. My husband got me a T2i for our anniversary and is going to get me a new lens (18-135 yay!) for Mother's Day, and I'd hate to mess the thing up.

ChiSoxKeith
04-28-2011, 02:45 PM
The condensation occurs on the lens when there is a temperature differential between the interior surface of the lens and the exterior surface of the lens.

Your biggest problem is going to be when you leave your air conditioned room - where the lens has been acclimated to a nice colde temp - into a 90+ Florida summer furnace.

I have heard of a couple of different ways to combat this, but the one that I kind of like is the plastic bag approach.

When you head into the air conditioning for the night, place your lens and / or camera into a large gallon plastic bag and close it up. Then when you move outside the air temperature differntial will be between the outer and inner surface of the plastic bag. I have heard of some people doubling this up - placing the bag inside a bag so the condensation is trapped in the outer bag and away from your lens in the inner bag.

Keith

photo_chick
04-28-2011, 03:29 PM
If you like to keep your room really cold I like the plastic baggie approach, too. Condensation can muck up your camera, so it's a valid concern. I've never had too much trouble with it in warm weather myself, usually just a little fogging on the lens. But we don't keep the room that cold. Honestly my son had more issues with his glasses fogging than I did with my camera on my last trip.

I usually just wipe the lens with my t-shirt. I know, many people just gasped at that and screamed nooooo!. It's an old habit though and while I should use a nice anti-static cloth, the shirt is handy.

VVFF
04-28-2011, 04:05 PM
I don't see how it would mess up your camera. The difference in temperature causes humidity to condense on the outside of the outermost glass element. If you had the lens off the lens I suppose it could condense on the outside of either element, but the lens caps should mostly protect from that...especially the body size which can be sealed.

No water will enter the body from this effect.

VVFF
04-28-2011, 04:08 PM
If you like to keep your room really cold I like the plastic baggie approach, too. Condensation can muck up your camera, so it's a valid concern. I've never had too much trouble with it in warm weather myself, usually just a little fogging on the lens. But we don't keep the room that cold. Honestly my son had more issues with his glasses fogging than I did with my camera on my last trip.

I usually just wipe the lens with my t-shirt. I know, many people just gasped at that and screamed nooooo!. It's an old habit though and while I should use a nice anti-static cloth, the shirt is handy.

No I think you are right people are wayyyyy to cautious over these things. I've never once scratched an element be it P&S or SLR. I've used my shirt all the time if necessary.

Same reason people don't clean their own sensor, they don't understand how easy/risk free it is. Electronics are designed with user intent in mind.

Gianna'sPapa
04-28-2011, 04:14 PM
Last June, the weather was extremely hot and I had condensation issues mainly in the morning. My camera was always out and never put away so the plastic bag thing wasn't going to work for me. I did throw some desiccant packets into the different pockets of my bag. I really don't know if it helped, but made me feel better.:rotfl2: As far as the morning, I just waited for everything to acclimate, usually over breakfast (I ate out by the pool) and then used a microfiber lens cloth to clean anything residual. It never was a big issue. I just made sure I had time for the camera to acclimate.

atsolomon
04-28-2011, 04:34 PM
Perhaps you could lessen the condensation by storing the camera and lenses as high as possible in the room over night.

Maybe storing them near the heat exchanger in the back of fridge would also keep them from getting too chilled.

--Adam

Gianna'sPapa
04-28-2011, 04:45 PM
I subscribe to the theory that if you aren't exhausted at the end of the day, you aren't doing Disney right! And because I average 4,000-5,000 images for a weeks stay, by the time I have backed up the images in two places and cleared my cards for the next day, I really don't worry about a little morning condensation!! All I want to do is get to bed!!! I'll deal with it in the morning!!:rotfl:

SrisonS
04-28-2011, 05:37 PM
One approach i've seen suggested is that if your room has a balcony, to just sit your camera out there over night.

I've had this problem on my cruise, where my wife kept the room crazy cold. Unfortunately for me, the inner optical element also fogged up. So I could clean the outside with no problem, but had to wait for the inside to clear itself up. Also didn't help that I saw this in the early early morning on the open seas, where the humidity is just insane!!!

mom2rtk
04-28-2011, 05:44 PM
So where were you guys when I had my first problem with this? We were on Sanibel, and I had set my alarm for an unreal early hour so I could be out on the beach to photograph the sunrise. I got the tripod all set up, and waited........... the sunrise was gorgeous........... but the lens was all fogged. Of course it was disappointing to miss the photos. But I had never heard about this and was just sure my camera and/or lens was ruined! :rotfl:

I also have had trouble with only one Disney trip.......... the one in September. I don't think it was even clear by the time we got to the park!

Thanks for the reminders on how to best handle this next time.

Funny........ I didn't have a single fogging issue in the bitter cold last December!

photo_chick
04-28-2011, 10:43 PM
I don't see how it would mess up your camera. The difference in temperature causes humidity to condense on the outside of the outermost glass element. If you had the lens off the lens I suppose it could condense on the outside of either element, but the lens caps should mostly protect from that...especially the body size which can be sealed.

No water will enter the body from this effect.

Condensation normally forms on the warmer side of the object. But the glass will be a different temperature (probably colder if you're coming from inside an arctic room) and it won't warm up nearly as fast as a mostly plastic body. And the condensation will form where ever it's warmer. So it could conceivably form in the body.

I personally don't worry about it too much. But it is a valid concern.

The only bad fogging I've ever had was when UPS delivered a lens when it was below freezing outside. It fogged inside and out (on both sides of every element) and it took a a good hour for it to completely clear.

All American
04-28-2011, 11:12 PM
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for your help on this one. I really appreciate it.

VVFF
04-29-2011, 07:36 AM
Condensation normally forms on the warmer side of the object. But the glass will be a different temperature (probably colder if you're coming from inside an arctic room) and it won't warm up nearly as fast as a mostly plastic body. And the condensation will form where ever it's warmer. So it could conceivably form in the body.

I personally don't worry about it too much. But it is a valid concern.

The only bad fogging I've ever had was when UPS delivered a lens when it was below freezing outside. It fogged inside and out (on both sides of every element) and it took a a good hour for it to completely clear.

Condenstation is due to rapid temperature change of humid air. The body will allow very slow heating of the internal air of the camera which restricts the ability of condensation to form. It is the rapid temperature change at the lens elements that cause the fogging issues. Condensation doesn't form on the outer body typically because the cold inner air is well insulated. For the same reason, it shouldn't be forming internally to the camera body. I can see thinner-walled lenses having some issues but mostly the front and rear element(rear element if the camera is not sealed and mounted.

If water was constantly forming in a DSLR then manufacturers would have to do something about. DSLRs are used all around the world and a silly flaw like that would have to be fixed.

cpbjgc
04-29-2011, 11:04 AM
I have had this problem in Florida in August and in China in August (both instances where it was high 90's and 100% humidity) and at home here when I am out shooting in the cold (-20 to -30 F) and move into a warm space.

It was worst in Florida as the air conditioned spaces tend to be much colder than the outdoors. I am an "acclimation" person and I would put my gear in my open camera bag on the balcony when I got up and then zip it up before bringing it into the room to head out for the day. To clean up the last bits I usually use moistened Zeiss wipes (let me clean my glasses at the same time :)).

If you are in a jam, consider heading to the nearest washroom with an air hand dryer. I will use this method for my winter shooting, and last year when I got caught out in a thunderstorm and my camera stopped autofocussing :scared1:.

photo_chick
04-29-2011, 09:12 PM
Condenstation is due to rapid temperature change of humid air. The body will allow very slow heating of the internal air of the camera which restricts the ability of condensation to form. It is the rapid temperature change at the lens elements that cause the fogging issues. Condensation doesn't form on the outer body typically because the cold inner air is well insulated. For the same reason, it shouldn't be forming internally to the camera body. I can see thinner-walled lenses having some issues but mostly the front and rear element(rear element if the camera is not sealed and mounted.

If water was constantly forming in a DSLR then manufacturers would have to do something about. DSLRs are used all around the world and a silly flaw like that would have to be fixed.

I see what you're saying, but I also know people who've had issues with condensation gunking things up in thier cameras. More when coming in from a cold climate into a warm room (which atually has less humidity because of the dry heated air). But it can and does happen. I never really thought about it until we had a freak snowstorm here a couple years ago. Many cameras died that day.

mrodgers
04-29-2011, 09:14 PM
When you head into the air conditioning for the night, place your lens and / or camera into a large gallon plastic bag and close it up. Then when you move outside the air temperature differntial will be between the outer and inner surface of the plastic bag. I have heard of some people doubling this up - placing the bag inside a bag so the condensation is trapped in the outer bag and away from your lens in the inner bag.

Keith

You don't do this when heading into air conditioning. You do it before leaving air conditioning. If you do it before going into the AC climate, you are trapping the moist air inside the bag with the camera.

AC air along with winter air has far less moisture than outdoor summer or indoor heated air. Thus, in summer, your camera is sitting inside in the AC in air with little moisture that is cold. You go outside and the cold surface of the camera condenses the moisture in the warm humid air.

Same with winter but opposite. Outside it is cold with little moisture. Going from inside to outside is fine. Before going back into the warm humid environment of a heated room, you seal the camera in a plastic bag.

Just wanted to clear it up some because it sounds like the suggestion is to put the camera into a plastic bag while in warm humid air before going into cold dry air the way it was typed up.

Wadecool
04-29-2011, 11:13 PM
You don't do this when heading into air conditioning. You do it before leaving air conditioning. If you do it before going into the AC climate, you are trapping the moist air inside the bag with the camera.

AC air along with winter air has far less moisture than outdoor summer or indoor heated air. Thus, in summer, your camera is sitting inside in the AC in air with little moisture that is cold. You go outside and the cold surface of the camera condenses the moisture in the warm humid air.

Same with winter but opposite. Outside it is cold with little moisture. Going from inside to outside is fine. Before going back into the warm humid environment of a heated room, you seal the camera in a plastic bag.

Just wanted to clear it up some because it sounds like the suggestion is to put
the camera into a plastic bag while in warm humid air before going into cold dry air the way it was typed up.

I'm glad you posted this! It sounds like I almost followed the wrong directions.

goopysolelady
05-02-2011, 01:37 AM
I'll leave on balcony at times but most evenings I just wrap camera in a couple of towels and store in dresser drawer. Has worked all but once! I too like to get up for sunrise photos at least once and (after learning the hard way) like to be out of all air conditioned areas about 15 minutes before scheduled sunrise. Gives camera time to adjust from cold room to warm/humid outdoors. :tink:

atsolomon
09-09-2011, 04:09 PM
Hi all,

I encountered problems with cold lenses fogging on my recent FL/WDW vacation. Here's how I tackled it:

1. I left my empty camera bag in the trunk of the rental car overnight. The cold insulated bag would otherwise keep the cold lenses from warming up.

2. When I left my room to get my morning coffee, I'd bring my camera and put my two other lenses in the pockets of my shorts to come up to temperature.

3. We raised the thermostat in the room so it was still comfortable without being refrigerated.

4. If I was driving somewhere, I'd keep the camera bag and lenses in the un-airconditioned trunk of the car.

This greatly reduced the amount of time it took for my gear to come up to ambient temperature and resolved the lens fogging issue.

--Adam