Storing camera gear in plastic boxes?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Iluvmycam, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Iluvmycam

    Iluvmycam Member

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    Are common plastic storage boxes OK to store camera gear in? I was wondering if they off-gass anything that will scum up the optics?

    Even so, if the boxes are opened every so often does that keep any gas residue under control? Some of my boxes get opened a lot, others very little.

    How do you store your cameras and lenses?
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I've answered this one before - in a drawer. I tend to avoid plastics as much as possible, as a general thing. When I need to put some equipment in a sealed container I use steel ammo cans.
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    In camera bags, on an open shelf, in a closet that has relatively stable temperature and humidity.
     
  4. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I wouldn't use a plastic box, possible condensation if not dry, and outgassing from the plastic (think of a new car when, after a while, a film builds on the interior glass as the sun heats up the plastic trim releasing plasticisers, etc.).

    If you must use a metal tin, something like the ammo can ^^^ sounds good.

    I keep my stuff in either gadget bags for regular use items, or dry cupboard or drawer. And "collectable" items sometimes end up in the china cabinet, if my wife's not looking. :wink:
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use a steel rolling tool cabinet. Thin drawers for filters and small parts and cables. Medium drawers for lenses. Big drawers for larger camera bodies. For some reason I'd never be able to keep tools organized in such a thing, but I can keep camera stuff well organized. Probably because a lens or filter is more valuable than a 13mm socket or a screwdriver.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Some of mine are in a closet. Some of mine are in camera bags. Some of mine are in plastic tubs.

    It really isn't all that critical how you store these, provided it is safe, dry, and relatively cool.
     
  7. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Mine are in a big common plastic storage box. I put some silica desiccant in the bottom. It never occurred to me that the plastic might "outgas" and damage my cameras. The dust at my house is extremely bad... after even a couple days there is a layer on everything. A sealed container is not optional!
     
  8. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    My major systems are in bags, or in one case, a belt pouch. A number of others are in plastic boxes. The house has central heat and central air, so I don't expect the outgassing problems to be anything like in a car, where temperatures in the sun can go way way up. I also think the padded automotive stuff of fifty years ago was far worse than today's interiors.
     
  9. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I had several cameras that were collectable rather than users stored in sealed plastic containers with silica gel. After a couple of years I opened them to find that all the leather cases were wearing fur overcoats. Nothing seemed to have affected the lenses though, and a quick wipe over seemed all that was necessary. The camera repairer I used recommended storing cameras and lenses in glass-fronted cabinets. I don't have room for that, so they live in a drawer, on the sofa, on the table, in the car, on the hi-fi .... you get the picture...
    Steve :smile:
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Did you reactivate (dry out in an oven) the silicagel before storing the cameras? A silicagel packet will not absorb water indefinitely, it will soak up a certain amount and then it's just like a wet sponge. Anything stored with slicalgel needs to have the packets reactivated every few months or so, depending on conditions.
    The trouble with sealed containers is that they keep things in as well as out.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use plastic totes, and open them to circulate air regularly.
     
  12. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    There used to be an issue with the foam inserts in both metal and plastic boxes, emitting harmful gasses when the box gets hot. That's why case makers went to an inert foam insert some time ago, back in the 90's I believe. Back then, foam insert material was made specifically for equipment cases although even then I doubted its utility.

    I've always felt that if I'm in a comfortable environment, my gear should be ok as well. While I've never really considered any toxic emissions from PVC or other plastic cases, I'm pretty sure the manufacturers have. Plastic cases are great for lightweight waterproof or at least resistant equip. containers. Personally, I like Rimowa and Zero Haliburton metal cases for cameras and Anvil wood-based equipment cases for all my lighting. I also like Domke and Kinesis bags (http://www.kgear.com) for breathability and all of which have refillable or reusable dessicant containers. In a pinch, I've also used charcoal briquettes wrapped in a layer of cheese cloth or something like it, placed inside cases and bags to absorb moisture when I didn't feel dessicant was enough.
    Take it light ;>)
    Mark
     
  13. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I do reactivate mine ( they change color ) but I sure have a hard time remembering to do it. I need some kind of "mental reminder" like changing the smoke alarm batteries when we go to daylight savings. Even that doesn't always work... I change my furnace filter when we go off daylight savings, and last year I bought the new filter at that time but it's still sitting in the garage next to the furnace :sad:.
     
  14. Clovis Blevins

    Clovis Blevins Member

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    I use a "cordless dehumidifier" that contains about a pound of silica beads and has a built-in heating element to reactivate the silica after it gets saturated. I have found that these weigh about 480g after being heated to constant mass, and about 530g when saturated. I had one of these in a 2 qt lock&lock container for 6 months and it absorbed 10g of water (a fifth of its capacity). If that's the performance you get out of a pound of desiccant in a small container, imagine how insufficient a small packet is in a large container.
     
  15. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I use a few shallow plastic "tubs" with snap on lids that don't seal but do keep out dust. The tubs are sized to fit under a sofa, out of sight but instantly accessible. Here in the Atlanta GA area the humidity can be fierce, so I'm looking to install a whole house dehumidifier. If I feel I'm about to mold or mildew, its time to do something!:smile:
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Outgassing depends of the material used for those containers. "Common" is not a exact term.
    I experienced some fogging to due a PVC camera case.
    A really strong fogging occured due the deteriaration of a polyether foam insert in a filter case.
     
  17. nosmok

    nosmok Subscriber

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    My camera repair guy sez a sock full of dry rice is a good companion to a sealed storage space for cameras. If you feel it's absorbed all the moisture it can, I'd just put it in the oven (without turning on the oven!) for a few hours and it should dry back out and be ready for re-use.
     
  18. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I use plastic storage boxes. They are opened on a regular basis so will be well ventilated. Actually, they are several years old, so there will be no out-gassing from the plastics now - they are polythene, so I doubt there ever was. I don't bother with desiccants as our house is quite modern and so dry.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... only if your oven has a standing pilot light. Some of that old advise does not translate very well to new ovens with electric ignitors (or very old ovens where one struck a match). Raising bread in an oven without a standing pilot is no better than leaving it on the counter, for instance.
     
  20. MattKing

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    This made no sense to me, but then I've only ever had electric ovens.

    BrianShaw's post above "turned on the light" for me.