View Full Version : Salt Water
07-23-2005, 06:30 PM
So, i've been taking sailing lessons now for the past 3 weeks. I've got 9 more weeks. Loving it tremendously!
Those of you that sail in oceans (versus lakes like Lake Ontario for example), have you ever taken your cameras out to sea? If so, what precaustions have you taken for your camera (other than the obvious one not to let it overboard for the wisecrackers in the audience!) ? Does taking it out for a day on a boat at sea effect it in any way? I'm wondering about the effects of fine sea spray. It can't be good.
Enquiring minds want to know...
PS I'm thinking of taking my Hassey for this one.
07-23-2005, 07:22 PM
Try taking your camera on a canoe trip in white water! I use a army surplus ammo box that is water tight.
07-23-2005, 07:44 PM
Have you considered buying an old Nikonos? I used to have a Nikonos IV with 35mm lens as a spare camera in my kit when I was a journalist, knowing that it could take just about anything. I don't think they are particularly expensive.
07-23-2005, 09:35 PM
I own the NikonosIII. Crack sharp lenses and nothing to break. After your hard day on the water you take it home and rinse it off under the sink. What's not to like? Built to survive world war VI!
07-23-2005, 09:53 PM
Under normal conditions, I try to keep as much spray off the lens as possible, and wipe the body down when I get home. In truly bad weather, I've wrapped the camera in a ziploc bag (cut a hole for the lens at the front, and use a rubber-band for sealing), but that's generally more trouble than it is worth.
If I were sailing, I think I would consider at least the Ewa-Marine bag, and truly consider some way of seriously attaching it to the boat, myself, or both.
Of course, the "don't drop it" advice is quite serious. I lost a very nice Pentax H1a once while shooting pictures on the edge of the surf. I put my food down on some sharp local inhabitant, shifted my weight, and a four-ft tall wave swept me right off the rock. Camera was ruined by the time I could get it back to the hotel and immersed in clean water. As the phrase goes, "let's be careful out there".
07-23-2005, 10:31 PM
I vaguely remember a product that was basically a zip-lock bag with a clear filter attached to it. You put your camera into the bag, screw the 'filter' onto the lens, and then you have a water resistant package! Of course this is designed for exactly what you're talking about, going on a boat, or in general using a camera in a wet environment, NOT for using it as an underwater housing! And of course they were primarily for 35mm cameras, although I guess a smaller medium format camera might fit in one (if something like this is still being made). Can you imagine trying to hand hold a 5x7 Linhof in something like this? :)
07-24-2005, 10:12 AM
I think that it depends a lot on what kind of pictures you want to take and what your priority is. When Iím sailing my priority is sailing, not taking pictures, so I carry a Nikon AWAF all weather autofocus. I carry it over my shoulder, without a case, at all times - it is very robust and doesn't have the snagging potential of a Nikonos when working in the rigging. It is easy to operate single-handed, is motor-driven and doesn't get in the way of sailing. It is submersible to 10 ft (3 m), so you can go swimming with it (intentionally or otherwise). The only small problem is that Nikon don't make them any more - but there are other all-weather compacts around.
I could only find one of the many snaps I've taken with my AWAF while sailing. Here it is, taken in the Baltic in February 1991, the year of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Norwegian fjords are great for sailing and photography - even in very high winds there's rarely much waves. Only when the wind is straight along the fjord is there enough "length" for he waves to build up to amount to anything, and that is rare.
So I don't worry at all!
I would second the Nikonos advice. Barring that, be sure to have a skylight or UV filter and plan on wiping the camera down regularly with a soft cloth and some q-tips. The salt spray will tend to collect everywhere and can play havoc when it dries. If you are going to be out more than a few days or so, either use a dive casing or otherwise shield the camera. I remember one windy day on the beach photographing a wedding where I ended up spending a couple of hours cleaning each camera afterward. Usually in those situations I carry something cheap and durable, like an Argus C-3.
04-11-2006, 07:51 PM
Second the Nikonos. I've had a couple of the EWA bags for generic SLR and generic P&S; never could use 'em, working the controls through the plastic was just too hard.
For S8 cine, try an Eumig Nautica. Very rudimentary basic camera that works better than you'd expect.
04-12-2006, 07:51 AM
Check with the boat's owner before you run out the tripod spikes on deck.
You might want to put on a harness and hook up before you ask.
Old windbag from Lake Erie
04-12-2006, 11:12 AM
I covered weekend sailboat races for one winter out here in the NW. I protected my cameras pretty well and had what at the time was considered pretty tight gear when it came to dust and moisture (Canon 35mm F1N's). I never had any problems with the lenses (various fixed focal length Canon lenses) but the salt air and moisture did get to one of the F1N bodies. When I sent the body into the Canon Pro Services group for repair (I don't know if that group still exists) they said it was unrepairable and a total loss.
04-28-2006, 11:46 AM
I agree with the others about using a waterproof camera if you can. Spray gets everywhere, but even belowdecks you run into a lot of dampness. And on longer heavy-weather passages there's a peculiar stirring phenomenon that occurs down there, in which every liquid on board somehow manages to mix with every other liquid and get into everything else, no matter how well sealed. This is why carefully wrapped clothes that never left the hanging locker end up smelling like a combination of salt water, diesel, and Dinty Moore Beef Stew---and the same stuff seems to find its way into cameras. The other problem is that cameras get banged around a lot on sailboats; this always seems to happen much more than I think it should, but maybe I'm just clumsy. I don't have a waterproof camera, so I usually bring a camera I don't really like that's been beaten up so much already that it has no resale value anyway. Someday it will become useless, but until then I feel as though I were getting away with something.
05-01-2006, 01:32 AM
Watch the seals on old Nikonoses -- can be hard to replace.
I bought a 35mm motorized+flash 35mm underwater P&S the other day NEW for $39... pretty surprising. Maybe the pics will look like crap but I had the camera in 80 ft of water this morning & it seemed to be working... well, swimmingly.
05-01-2006, 08:20 AM
I've been using a Nikonos V w/35mm lens for years and it's bulletproof. So solid it makes a handy weapon in the inner city on a rainy night. Salt water, just hose it off. Be sure you can find an extra o-ring kit if buying used. It containes a tube of lube/seal. Or petroleum jelly will work.
The 35mm and 80mm lens are made for under and above water use. A 28mm is above water wet condition lens. The others are underwater only.
You would be better off looking for one in Ontario that has only seen fresh water use.