Storing lenses and gear dehumidifier question!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by pdjr1991, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    didn't know where to put this and i figured this is the best place since many 35mm users have an assortment of lenses and cameras.

    My question...

    I've heard some dehumidifiers (maybe the ones that charge and use the beads?) may damage lenses and some other equipment. Notably i think (i have some terrible memory) it causes some pink stuff to form. Any idea or experience in this matter? also what in your opinion is the best way to store your gear?
     
  2. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Camera makers have shipped silica gel in boxes to keep moisture under control.its good stuff
     
  3. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I use a hand full of silica gel packets in each camera bag or case. I've been doing that for many years with no ill effects on the equipment. It's also been in my filing case for negatives with no problems. As noted above good stuff.
     
  4. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    Silica gel does not go 'bad' either. If you periodically put it in a warm oven, it will give up all the moisture it has absorbed and works just like new. Some types even have a dye in them that tells you when they need to be dried out.

    Ed
     
  5. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    I've been meaning to ask this for a while: could you use regular rice to absorb moisture? I know that rice is used to keep salt from getting moist, so I was wondering whether that would work in other situations too.
     
  6. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Courtesy of Ian C whom pmed the following...

    Storing Lenses and Related Ideas
    Here’s an article I wrote in 2008. It covers the ideas of keeping lenses pristine with regard to fungus and atmospheric hazing.

    It is a fact that fungus spores are everywhere and it’s silly to suppose that they can be eliminated. But they cannot grow without sufficient moisture. That is why all high-grade lenses are shipped wrapped in vapor-proof bagging with fresh silica gel to desiccate the inside of the bag with the lens.

    The manufacturers do this to ensure that they arrive into the customer’s hands in perfect condition. By using the same precautions we can preserve out lenses for as long as we want.

    Preventing Internal Haze and Fungus

    Homes are a poor environment for cameras and lenses. There is frying, baking, boiling, spray-on anti-stick oils for cooking pans, and dishwashing in the kitchen. Steaming baths, showers, and laundry equipment emit steam and water vapor.

    Candles, incense, fireplaces, oil stoves, and tobacco smoke give off gummy, sooty particles. Drying paint, varnish, adhesives, aerosol spray cans of room air freshener, hairspray, furniture polish, cleaners, bug spray, paint, etc. each contribute to the particles floating in a home’s air. All of these can get deposited in a fine film onto the internal surfaces of lenses, mirrors, photocells, pentaprisms, CCDs, autofocus sensors, rangefinder mechanisms, enlarger condensers, diffusers, and dichroic filters, and so forth where they cannot be cleaned.

    The best way to deal with internal haze and fungus in compound lenses and the lens-like components or mirrored surfaces inside camera bodies, enlargers, and within other optical devices is to prevent it from forming in the first place.

    The so-called “Digital Revolution” has led to the end of the manufacture of some excellent equipment. Since we can’t get these things new anymore we must protect them from damage. When your camera or lens was new the manufacturer packed it along with a moisture-absorbing silica gel pack into a closed-off vapor-barrier plastic bag. That helped ensure that the equipment survived the trip without haze or fungus damage.

    The following procedure may seem extreme. Nonetheless, experience shows that it works. Here’s a typical example that is just as applicable to digital cameras as it is to any other optical equipment. Home darkrooms, particularly those in basements, are susceptible to high humidity that leads to internal haze and fungus. This is particularly true of enlarging lenses left on an enlarger for extended periods. When I finish a printing session, the first thing I do is remove the lens board with its attached lens, cap both the front and rear elements, and place it along with a silica gel pack of suitable size into a clear plastic bag that I’ve previously inspected and am satisfied has no holes, cracks, or tears.

    I form the bag over the board and lens so there is as little airspace as possible inside the bag. Then I tie the gathered end of the bag with a twist band like those on a bread package. I repeat the bagging procedure until I have at least three tightly-wrapped and sealed bags surrounding my lens and board. There is only one silica gel pack involved, the one inside the innermost bag with the lens. Then I wrap the bags with some kind of protective padding. A towel of the appropriate size works well, or you might wrap it in a sheet of bubble-pack. Then I place a rubber band around the package with a descriptive label held by the rubber band. I usually use an old fixed test strip for the label.

    In this way the volume of air surrounding the lens is as small as possible and the silica gel pack insures that whatever air remains is desiccated. Thus any fungus spores that are on or within the lens cannot grow. Likewise, the lens is sealed from dirt, dust, insects, and atmospheric hazing. This is applicable to any camera, lens, viewfinder, or camera with lens attached. I go through all of my silica gel packs every year or two and bake them all at the same time in a glass baking dish at 325 degrees F for 1.5 hours to recharge them. Then I reseal them along with the equipment they are to protect as described previously.

    There is one thing to be careful of when using silica gel. Sometimes the packs leak and some fine particles of silica gel get onto the equipment. You must blow it off with a squeeze-bulb blower or the nozzle of a compressed-air canister. Never try to rub silica gel particles off of a lens surface with a cloth. Silica gel is hard like little beads of glass. Rubbing it will abrade and ruin your coatings or even scratch the glass.

    Lens Cleaning

    My experience indicates that the best way to clean a lens is to do everything possible to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. If it’s truly dirty, then a GENTLE cleaning is in order, followed by protective measures. That usually means installing a UV or skylight filter and leaving it on at all times. Also, it’s prudent to keep a lens cap over the filter whenever you’re not actually photographing.

    Here’s my cleaning regimen as advocated by the staff of the U.S. photo magazine Modern Photography (extinct since 1996): Since there may be some small abrasive matter on the lens you must first blow it off with a squeeze-bulb lens blower. Now use the soft camel’s hair brush from a photographer’s lens blow-off to brush off any remaining particles. This applies almost no pressure that might abrade the coatings or glass. Blow it off again. Have a freshly laundered soft cotton cloth (an undershirt works well) ready to polish the surface—but not yet.

    Photographer’s used to fog a lens surface with their breath and polish the surface. I did too until I read on the Nikon USA website that Nikon warns against this older method. It was fine for uncoated lenses, but does a poor job on modern multicoated lenses. Too, Nikon cites the problem that this method might cause a chemical reaction with the coating material. It is much better, the article claims, to use almost any lens cleaning solution intended for coated lenses as this gets the surface much cleaner, leaves little or no irritating mirror-like “slicks” and won’t hurt the coatings.

    You must have an absolutely clean piece of soft cloth. You place a single drop of lens cleaning solution onto the cloth and allow it to spread out so that the cloth is barely damp with the solution. It’s most important to apply almost no pressure from the cloth to the lens. You rub the moistened area of the cloth in a circular polishing motion beginning at the center in ever-increasing circles towards the outside. The quickly before the solution evaporates use a dry cloth to gently polish the surface. You want to use as little pressure on the cloth as possible.

    You’ll likely have to repeat the clean-polish cycle several times until it’s satisfactorily clean. Then you install the filter—and leave it there. It’s much easier and safer to clean the filter than the lens. Too, if the filter gets scratched or banged, you simply replace the filter. That’s much cheaper than a new lens. You should never apply any liquid directly to the lens as that can seep under the retaining ring and get inside the lens assembly. That could ruin it.

    http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answ...camera-lens?
     
  7. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    i guess i also forgot to mention that the horror story i heard about with the lenses were kept in a safe using silica that changes color to indicate moisture. I just wanted to confirm how shoddy my memory was. any word on this? either way i think ill store my gear in a cabinet or safe cabinet which will be rubber sealed and ill put a huge can of silica in to dehumidify it. what do you think?
     
  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Another approach that works in a closed cabinet or safe is to raise the temperature so it's higher than ambient temp. There are devises called "Goldenrod" for this, but a low wattage incandescent bulb also works.
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I use ammo cases and silica gel.

    Be sure to reactivate the silica gel in an oven before using it. Silicagel that's absorbed all the water it can is no different from a sponge.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I only have a second hand information. There were reports from folks who collect watches that keeping watches in some safes caused pitting on metal surfaces. Apparently, fire retardant materials, sometimes concrete used in construction of the safe produced enough moisture and gas that eroded metal surfaces.

    I personally store gears that I use in a closet in an air-conditioned room with no special precautions. If I don't intend to use something for a long time, I put them in zip lock bags and press out excess air. I mainly do this for dust.

    Unless you live in super humid area, I'm not sure special treatment like you propose is necessary.

    Lenses I purchased in last few years from Nikon didn't come with anything special, except for being in plastic bag that was twisted closed.....
     
  11. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    my thought process, i have electronics, material sensitive to moisture, and lenses that i would like to protect from moisture and would like to store in a dry convenient place. i want something simple like silica. my question is if its adequate or not. some are suggesting using ziplocks but is it really necessary? would a sealed cabinet just work fine as long as a silica can is present?
     
  12. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    little too complicated for my blood. i would only do this for my guitar if i put it in a display case. i pretty sure silicas enough but i want to make sure its not harmful (im still talking about the color changing one, i have a dehumidifier that changes color to show when the silica needs to be dried out.)
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I think it's a lot easier to seal a smallish zip lock bag than try to seal a whole cabinet. How complete can you seal an entire cabinet in the first place? Plus, if you use the sealed cabinet method, every time you open the cabinet to take something out, you let fresh moisture into the enclosure which your descant will need to absorb. That means you have to keep refreshing your descant.

    Camera manufacturers used to (I haven't seen it for a while) put in those little packet themselves. Based on that, I'd think they are safe. I wouldn't have it directly touching the glass surface, however. How about contacting the people who manufacturer these things and get a data sheet? I'm sure there are more than one kind of these in the market.

    Good luck.
     
  14. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Not looking for a complete seal, airtight seal. im just trying to keep out the dust. the silica should do well for the moisture. If i wanted a data sheet i would have contacted the manufacture but thats not what im looking for. statistics are just numbers, im looking for real life experience.
     
  15. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    Oh and my thoughts of avoiding ziplock bags. im just to lazy. id rather just take item out and put it back and that's it.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    In the case of a safe, would think that a complete seal would be as likely to trap moisture in as anything else, and would therefore be counter-productive.

    If dust is your main concern, then something like a plastic bin inside a larger bin or cupboard would be the best solution.

    Especially if placed in a room with an air cleaner operating.
     
  17. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    good idea!
     
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Silica beads, rice and cat litter can only absorb so much water then they stop working. I use this:
    [​IMG]
     
  19. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    haha love it! overkill!
     
  20. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    I'm going to second the opinion that this is really only an issue if you live in a very humid area. My lenses are kept in a sealed container (Pelican type or a airtight tupperware type) with multiple dessicant packs. Once a year (around the winter solstice), they come out, get exercised and aimed at the sun for about hour. The dessicant packs are re-dried in the oven before everything gets packed up again. This is certainly overkill, as my rangefinders are just stored in either a non-sealed plastic bin or glass display cabinets and there has never been any problem with these (Dallas is not a very humid place).

    If you really want to go overboard, a self defrosting refrigerator is the best and easiest bet. The defrosting circuit is a dehumidifier that keeps the air inside quite dry. Put the lenses in bins with a dessicant first to make sure there is no moisture to condense when the lenses cool down. My Pen lenses are stored this way but this is more a hedge against fire and burglary, and Pen lenses don't take up much room no matter where your store them!
     
  21. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

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    i was looking at a photo magazine and i saw a lens cap that contains silica. that and a pelican case will prob be the best way to go