How To Prevent Camera Condensation
Image © Randy McKown

If you live in a dry region then you might not experience camera condensation too much of an extreme. However, if you live in a humid area or are traveling to one then this is vital information to know. These photography tips will teach you how to prevent camera condensation and how to handle the issue when it does happen.

Camera condensation on your lens

When you take your camera from a cool and dry environment to a hot and humid environment, you will see condensation immediately form on your lens. Basically, the moisture in the air is changing from a vapor to a liquid form because of the climate change.

What happens then? It collects all over your lens and potentially in other areas inside the camera. This is obviously not good on your equipment and you need to prevent this camera condensation from happening.

Let’s say you’re out scouting for pictures in the car and it’s crazy hot outside. What is the first thing you do? You crank the air conditioning up because it feels good while you’re driving. Suddenly, you see the perfect picture. You slam on the brakes, grab your camera and jump out of the car. When you look through your camera lens all you see is a blur. That’s condensation on your lens.

What about during the winter? Same scenario – You crank up the heat in your car to stay warm. Suddenly you see a wild moose heading into the forest. You grab your camera and jump out into the cold to capture the shot before it’s gone – and you missed it. Instantly going from the warm enclosed environment to a colder one fogged up your lens.

How to Prevent Camera Condensation

So, what do we need to do in order to prevent camera condensation from occurring? Control your environment for starters. If it’s nasty hot outside don’t drive around with your air conditioner blasting. Roll down the window instead.

No, you’re not going to be as comfortable but too bad. A photographer does what they have to in order to get the shot. The same concept can be applied in the winter. Match the outside environment or stay reasonably close to it. Put on an extra layer of clothing if you need to.

Camera Condensation at Home

What about when you come home for the day? You’re not going to match the outside temperature in your house.

A good idea here is to take your gear and place it in an airtight plastic bag or a large Ziploc freezer bag. Throw something in the bag to draw the moisture if possible, such as a cloth towel or diaper. Let it sit in the bag for around 30 mins when you come inside. This will give the camera a chance to adjust to room temperature. The moisture should cling to the towel and not to your camera.

Silica gel packs are another great thing to use to draw moisture. Ever wonder why you always find a couple in the box with new electronics – now you know.

Prevent Camera Condensation – Warning !!!

Never – ever – take your lens off the camera when you’re experiencing heavy condensation. Think about what’s going to happen. Moisture is collecting on your camera and you just opened it up, exposing all of the critical internal components.

Keep in mind that not only will camera condensation slow you down and ruin your images but it can potentially damage the inner workings of the equipment.