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Protecting your gear

26 Mar '13

protect your gear form water & dust.

written by Thomas Dral |  photo © Claire Droppert

In the winter period we would like to continue with our hobby, photography. Now we have the option to do al the photographing inside, just warm and heated, but outside is also great for photographing. Modern camera nowadays can endure a lot and they do not just break once the have some moisture on them. Not to much of course. Since we are not really able to choose the right weather at the right time a camera and your other gear have to be endurance proof. Also there are some unexpected things that can happen when you are not expecting it. The most famous influences to damage your gear are of course the weather. But sand, (fine)particles and dust are potential dangers for a camera.

Now you don’t want to deliberately looking for the potential danger of course, however in March we are going to do that. In the context of the theme Up Close we are looking for some danger. Of course we would not intentionally damage our gear, so hence advance this blog about protecting your gear from these potential dangers.

In March there are two meetings planned to visit the Holi-Phagwa festival. This is a very colourful festival where they are smearing of coloured powder on each other, and throwing coloured and scented water at each other. This of course delivers beautiful photos but it is not safe for your equipment. so it can not hurt to look at how we can protect cameras against various external influences. You could getting dirty from this so wear some old clothes yourself.

Protecting your gear

You can protect your camera against various external influences on different ways. You could use some cheap material and start with a do it yourself (DIY) project to protect your camera. If you don’t want to start with a DIY project you could buy the camera protection from the camera shops or online.

An example of a DIY solution is to wrap your camera in clean-film, this has some disadvantages, you have to make holes in the clean-film to gain access to your battery or memory card and of course you need to make an rather big hole for the lens in you have a DSLR. On the website Instructables you can search for Camera protection. There are several solutions online like the one with a Zip-Lock bag.

CAUTION! There are also some solutions online with gaffer tape (better know as duck tape in the Netherlands) they could leave a glue residue on your gear or seriously damage your gear, so be careful before using the tape solutions. There are special types of gaffer tape available to use without damaging your gear.

If you don’t want to use a DIY solution to protect your gear you could buy a rain sleeve online or at the camera store. There are two versions available to purchase.
The first version you could buy is a version where you can fit in a body with a lens attached to it. The second version you could buy is a version where you can fit in a body with a lens attached and also an add on flash to the hot shoe of your camera (in Dutch know as a “Reportage flitser” ). At the photo below you can see both version of the rain sleeve on the left the one with the add on flash and on the right the version without the flash add on. I’ve seen online that CameraNL has both version available in store and online.

Rain Sleeves
Photo by OpTech

Lens protection

Beside protecting your body you should also protect your lens. First of al the front glass of the lens could be damaged easily, this are very expensive repairs if the front glass needs to be replaced. So to protect the glass there are transparent filter available. They are available in every camera store or online. Make sure you buy the right diameter. You can find the glass diameter on the front ring of your lens. Most of the filters are on screw filters, they filter just adds an extra layer of protection and are much easier to clean and to replace if something unexpected happens. I’d rather break or throw away the filter, if I can’t clean it anymore, than sending back my lens for repair. And also a lens hood provides extra protection when you bump or scour your lens. And the lens hood also minimises the lens flare when you are photographing. When changing your lenses make sure you do it as quickly as possible to minimize all influences such as dust and moisture. Keep your body always facing down to minimize the chance dust gets to the sensor.Exchange preferably no lenses if you are in an environment that may adversely affect your gear.

TIP! To absorb any moisture that gets in your camera bag you could have a sachet of silica gel, or another product that absorbs moisture in your bag. I know silica gel is poisonous but it will attend any moisture that will get in your bag.

So when you are joining us for the Holi festival or photographing in different (weather) conditions make sure you and your gear are well protected. It would tedious if your gear get damaged in our outside your bag cause it’s not well protected from various external influences.