Hot humid weather – AC – lens condensation/fogging

Toddster

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I’m wondering how others deal with the issue of fogging when coming from cold air conditioning into a hot humid environment.

I live in Florida so during the summer my equipment is usually inside in an air-conditioned environment. During this time of year, the only way my equipment is usable outdoors is to warm it before it hits the outside environment. Otherwise I will get condensation both outside and inside the lens.

At home I try and keep at least one camera/lens combination in a camera bag tucked away in a closet without air-conditioning. When traveling it’s sometimes difficult to find a warm spot in a hotel room or worse yet a cruise cabin. In those cases, I sometimes throw in a Hot Hands hand warmer. It seems bizarre but it does help. Yes, I realize the absurdity of this first-world problem. I’m paying for air conditioning, then complaining that it makes my camera too cold, then paying to heat the camera. Turning the AC off or temperature up though is not an option as long as I wish to keep me wife.

I was just wondering how others in this situation keep a camera ready to shoot quickly without requiring a plastic bag warm up when venturing out.

Also, for anyone here that may have paid a little bit more attention in school than I did. What is the temperature that will prevent the fogging? I tend to think that it’s anything above the dewpoint but I not certain I’m correct.
 

Stanga

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I use some silicone gel packets. They absorb the moisture. just drop a couple of them in each bag and bag pocket.
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Toddster

Mu-43 Top Veteran
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Aug 7, 2013
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Todd Cleaver
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  • #3
I use some silicone gel packets. They absorb the moisture. just drop a couple of them in each bag and bag pocket.
Thanks Stanga. I am a big user of silica in all of my bags. Unfortunately it does nothing to prevent a camera that is 70 degrees F from fogging up when hit with 85 degree air at 80% humidity. It may help the internals of the camera some (low humidity inside the camera) but if the lens draws in outside air it will fog instantly. It's also great to resolve the problem after the fact helping to dry things out.
 

Phocal

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Honestly there isn't really much you can do if you want to take your camera right from inside to outside and use. When I was in the Navy we kept our camera gear outside in a space that didn't have AC so it would be ready to go instantly when needed. This was the camera gear we used for intelligence photography, the public relations camera gear stayed inside for use inside the ship.

What I always do when heading out to shoot is put my gear in the car and open up the camera bag. Those padded bags are like coolers and will hold that cold air inside for a long time. So I open the bag and drive to my destination with the windows down and no AC on. This has the advantage of acclimating me and my gear to the outside temperature and when I arrive we are both ready to go.

The same goes in reverse when living where it is cold as I have learned in my move to Alaska. I put the bag in the car, open it up and drive to my location without the heat on. I don't roll down the windows since if the car never heats up there is no reason to do so. But I do have heated seats, which helps with keeping me warm on the drive.
 

Toddster

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Thanks Phocal,
Sounds like your solution from your Navy days is the best solution; start with the camera warm. While I don't want to keep my gear outside, that is what I am trying to acomplish by looking for the warmest spot I can find.
 

PakkyT

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Just use a gallon sized zip lock bag (or two or three). When you want to go out, put your camera and lens in the zip lock, zip it up, then go outside and leave it in the bag until it is the same temp as outside. Moist air cannot condense on it if it can't reach it while it is cold.
 
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