Storing lenses and gear dehumidifier question!
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.
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?
Camera makers have shipped silica gel in boxes to keep moisture under control.its good stuff
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.
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.
"I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander
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.
And the sign said, "long haired freaky people need not apply"
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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.
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.
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?
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.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
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.
Originally Posted by pdjr1991
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.....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?