1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Travelling in humid areas with a lens.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by lenshoarder, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    What to do if one is travelling in humid areas? I have a lens I picked up on the road that I'm carrying around for a few weeks in SE Asia. It's humid to say the least. No where to buy a silica gel pack. I can get rice though. Rice as a desicant is marginal at best. Is there anything to be done or should I just tough it out and hope for the best. The lens is wrapped in a sock right now.
     
  2. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    I live in SEA. Fungus has the highest chance to develop when a lens just sits in a dark area in humid conditions, so the cheapest way to prevent fungus is to simply just use your gear daily (expose it to sunlight and air). Depending on your accommodations, if you're not using your gear, you can leave it in an air-conditioned room. Most locals I know use electronic dryboxes - which are essentially just air-conditioned, waterproof, cabinets.

    It's odd that you can't find silica packs, I see them everywhere at most decent photography shops. I would leave the lens under sunlight in well-aired conditions. I'm no expert, but I don't think the sock actually helps - that might actually trap moisture.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Plenty of lenses live long and happy lives in SE Asia and other parts of the world subject to high humidity. Are you carrying any of your existing camera gear with you, and if so what are you doing to keep it "safe" from humidity?
     
  4. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I travel with a RX100 and a HX20V. I don't do anything for those.

    I'm keeping in the sock not to keep it safe from moisture, but to keep it safe. It's my "case" for it. I haven't taken it out in a few weeks. Maybe I'll take it out and have a look. It's crazy humid where I am right now though. As in it feels like I'm constantly in a hot shower.

    As for keeping lenses in the light and aired out to control fungal growth. I can understand the premise of light since UV will damage dna and retard the growth of most things. Unfortunately glass is a very very good UV filter. So there won't be much UV making it into a lens. It'll help mostly with fungus on the surface of the lens. As for air, I often hear people recommend that lenses be kept aired out but I have never heard a justification for it. The only thing I can think of is that if you do have fungus, it'll allow the spores to blow away. On the otherhand, if you don't have fungus it'll allow spores to blow in. Which isn't much of a concern since all lenses already have spores on them. It's in the air all around us. Since fungus needs oxygen to grow you'd think fresh air would help it grow not hurt it.

    Moisture is about the only thing we can really control and which actually does prevent fungus. I went to a couple of little camera stores today but they didn't have silica to sell me. They keep all their lenses and cameras sealed in plastic.
     
  5. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    David
    As darosk says I think the best plan is to air it out and expose it to light. If it is any comfort I truck my better legacy stuff around SE Asia for weeks at a a time with little thought to their protection. I am yet to see any problems, but all are regularly used.

    I did manage to overheat an Olympus body though when I left it on in my dark bag over lunch in the sun. It did not like that. Was actually too hot to handle.
     
  6. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    I live in Asia and I am from the Philippines, Darosk is correct, as long as you use your lenses and camera its highly unlikely you will get fungus.

    I even leave my dslr with 4-5 lenses inside my backpack for a week or two and in the 4 years that I used them I never had one lens with fungus.

    Just relax and enjoy your trip :)

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  7. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    Fresh air has natural levels of ozone and other chemicals which do kill fungus. There's a reason why fungus loves dank, stale air.
     
  8. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    If the level of ozone in the air is what kills it, then in many parts of Asia there shouldn't be any problem with fungus at all. :smile: Ozone is a pollutant. It's commonly associated with other pollutants and called "smog". If there's enough ozone to kill fungus, then there's a enough ozone to hurt you too and you'd feel it.

    The keyworld in dank stale air is dank. It's the moisture, not the staleness of the air. You can have air that is the staleless around with low humidity and fungus will not grow. So it seems to me that airing out lenses only helps if you have low humidity air. Otherwise you're just giving the fungus more oxygen to grow. Airing them out outside may help simply because the UV from the sun outside will deactivate any spores on the surface. Which is probably the first place the spores land.
     
  9. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    It's not just ozone, plenty of other chemicals as well. I'm not suggesting you leave it out in the open air for weeks either - just a few hours or a day at a time before moving it. I'm no expert, but the air and sun method/advice is what's worked for us here for years/decades. You may be right, it's probably just a process of letting the sun onto the lens. The sock thing you mentioned jerked my attention, I would never consider doing something like that or leaving it in a bag/case for too long.

    Ultimately, if you're only going to be here for a couple of weeks (are you?) then it really doesn't matter. If you're moving around enough then there's probably not enough time for any real damage to be done. Do whatever you want :)

    Enjoy your stay!

    Edit: and just FYI, smog does happen to be an issue in plenty of large SEA cities. Stay long enough - and you will start to feel it.
     
  10. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Canada
    I wouldn't worry about it. You're just travelling here, not renting a moldy basement. ;)

    I've lived in Korea for 3 years, travelled all over Asia, no issues ever. You're worrying about nothing haha. Relax and enjoy your trip! :)
     
  11. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Why would one ask such a question and the argue with the responses from those that live there!
     
  12. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Steven
    Haha in some areas, the moment you arrive you can immediately see/feel it for sure. :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've been expecting someone to post what you just did. Why would I blindly accept an answer without any explanation? By the way I hear the world is flat and taking a picture of someone steals their soul. Just because something has been repeated endlessly, doesn't make it true. If an answer is valid, then it can be backed by reason. That's how science happens. That's how truth happens. And we weren't arguing, we were having a conversation. That's how a discussion happens.
     
  14. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Scientists often accept anecdotal evidence as a starting point. The scientific process is applied to try to determine why something happens, not prove that it does.

    Several people living in humid SE Asia have told how they deal with this issue. Just because they can't give you a reason their processes work doesn't mean they don't work without an explanation.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Fred
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Yes, you can start with anecdotes to form a hypothesis. Then you test that hypothesis against known facts. Which is exactly what I've done in this thread. Blindly saying that airing out a lens prevents fungus doesn't mean a thing unless it can backed it with reasoning. For all we know, it doesn't do a thing. I bet there are plenty of people that never air out their lenses that don't get fungus. I bet there are plenty of people that do that do get fungus. Without reason to explain something, then it's just conjecture. For centuries people believed that the Earth was the center of the universe by anecdotal conjecture. Believing in conjecture blindly, especially when it goes against known reasoning, is faith. I'm not a man of faith. I'm a man of science. The thing known to control/prevent fungus is to control the moisture. I've already gone through when airing out a lens will help with that.

    Google and you'll find plenty of people saying to air out a lens to prevent fungus. I haven't found one explanation for it. The same things have been said about how delicate sensors are and how someone shouldn't clean them. I think at this point, that's been proven to be pretty much just something someone assumed and that everyone repeated with blind faith. Especially considering that if you look at the instructions the some professionals follow to clean a sensor flies in the face of what that oft-repeated wisdom says about those not so delicate sensors.