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Keeping DSLR with dessicant

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by Jack D3200, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Jack D3200

    Jack D3200 Well-Known Member

    I have just bought a Nikon D810 and I would like to ensure it is looked after properly. Is it a good idea to keep it in a box with a desiccant cartridge at all times when not in use?
    Are there any reasons for not doing this?

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It won't do any harm but I've never bothered. Normal levels of humidity in a centrally heated house aren't an issue. Unless you regularly regenerate the desiccant it will just equilibrate anyway.

    Don't put a camera away wet - always wipe off any rain and don't put it straight away if you have brought it in from the cold and it has fogged up. Leave it to warm up in a place where air can circulate. Ditto with lenses. If the lens is cased then take it out to let it warm and dry.

    I keep my cameras in a deep drawer together with lenses that happen to be in the soft cases they came with. This in a room that is heated and dry.
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Although your camera had a desiccant pack in the box when it was shipped it wasn't there for day to day use, the box may have been shipped by air or sea and either might expose it to elevated humidity which isn't good. The desiccant means that it stays within the limits imposed by Nikon for shipping. Once you start to use it it will be fine, Nikon quote a humidity of 85% without condensation as being acceptable for operation, the average hous will be well below that, mine is just over 40% at the moment.

    As already said, unless you store your camera and desiccant in an air-tight box, the desiccant won't actually make any difference to the humidity around the camera. You also need to regenerate (dry) the desiccant regularly, by sticking it in the oven at around 50℃, and then store it in a sealed bag or box until you are ready to use it. Personally I think you would be better using your time to take photographs.
    ChrisNewman and RogerMac like this.
  4. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    Those little white bags are not for day to day storage! When your camera is not in use just put it out of harms way, do not store it in a air tight container, for long periods of time, on some cameras this can cause the rubber grips to go soft. I leave my camera in a camera bag with the top flap open,and placed in a cupboard which is well aired.If it's stored for a really long time it's best for the battery to be taken out and stored separately...
  5. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    I have a D800, moisture does not bother it, even after a soaking just a wipe down and air drying seems to keep it working OK. 5 years and going strong !!!
  6. Jack D3200

    Jack D3200 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your replies guys. My plan was to use 2 desiccant units which I have. These are rechargeable by plugging into the mains. If the camera is kept in a box with a tight lid alongside one of these I'm sure the silica gel will last quite a long time. The other one can be charged ready to change over.


  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I think you will be wasting your time and keeping the camera in a sealed box will not encourage you to use it at every opportunity. I have a photograph of a Sparrow hawk on my back lawn that I achieved only because there was a camera, with a 300mm lens attached, on the dining table ready for use. How many pictures do you need to miss before you decide that the camera is less delicate than you imagine.
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Jack,

    It will do no harm and is very useful with kit you don't use very often, especially lenses which can grow fungus. I keep all my best kit in a mains-powered "dry cabinet". Right now I have custody of some collectible stuff that a friend wants to sell (she inherited it) and it's either in an airtight box with silica gel (which I am told you can regenerate in a microwave, incidentally) or individual Zip-Locs with silica sachets (I bought 500).

    "Just use it" is good advice, but if some of your lenses are worth thousands -- like the 50/1 Noctilux a friend loaned me a few years ago -- it makes sense to store them in the best conditions possible when you're not using them. And nobody can use everything, all the time, unless they have very little equipment.


    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  9. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I agree it will do no harm as long as it doesn't inhibit him from using the camera.
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Geoff,

    See extended version of my post, with new para.


  11. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Good one Roger.

    Happy New Year bu the way.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  12. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I keep my cameras in a cupboard under normal house conditions. I have kept my EOS D30 like this for 14 years, it still works and shows no signs of moisture related deterioration. Unless you live somewhere with extreme levels of humidity or damp a sealed box with desiccant seems like overkill... As long as you don't put the camera away wet I would not expect problems. If mine get damp/wet I dry them off with a cloth and then allow them to dry for a few hours in the open before putting them back in the cupboard.

    One thing is definite - NEVER leave your camera gear in a wet bag for any significant length of time, that is a recipe for trouble...
    Benchista likes this.
  13. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    Further to my earlier statement, and reading some of the other statements I have to point out, that your camera should always ready to be used, depending on my mood and what my circumstances are I can pick any camera I own and go out and practice my photography........don't store it in such a way that it takes hours to prepare before you can use your camera.....
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Rollei used to produce a Tropical case for their TLRs that was metal and had a holder for a pouch of silica gel. In temperate climes, it's generally unnecessary, but it can't hurt. I do have a couple of pouches in my main camera cupboard, but I think it's a fairly unnecessary precaution here.
  15. Jack D3200

    Jack D3200 Well-Known Member

    Thanks again everyone. I think the benefit of this forum is that you can cherry pick the best ideas. I will therefore cherry pick Geoff's and Roger' ideas. I will build a cabinet just large enough to take my gear and I will try to make it look as good as my limited joinery skills allow. I will then leave it on top of a bookcase that we have in the dining room so that all I need to do is open the lid and pull out the camera.

    I think that's called compromise.
    GeoffR likes this.
  16. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Good one Jack, I hope it works for you.
  17. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I live an old house with damp problems, so a few years ago I purchased some 'man sized' silica gel sachets from this company (the website still works so I assume they're still in business). Three of them live on the shelves in the cupboard where my camera body and lenses are stored. If you choose carefully, you can get ones that change colour when they need 'refreshing' by a few minutes in a warn oven.

  18. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    In Europe the ambient humidity is not what is going to cause damage - it's the extreme temperature (and humidity) changes that will cause moisture to condense on (cooler) surfaces. This is unlikely to happen, certainly in Northern Europe, as any gradual temperature changes will be so relatively slow, and as such, airborne moisture won't condense.

    This is obviously NOT the case whan you move a lot further south, come indoors from a 35 degree exterior temperature to a climate controlled 21 degrees - then the sudden change will cause condensation.

    Putting a camera/lens in an airtight box with silica gel is pretty ineffective in fact - the gel will absorb the moisture in the air Inside the box yes - and would arguably protect from the temperature extremes previously described, but I'm led to Believe RH lives in France and not in Gabon...please correct me if I'm wrong.

    For longterm storage I'd be tempted to put material in boxes in a part of the house which doesn't suffer from extremes of temerature (lofts?!) but I have to say my 1933 Leica 3 which I have owned for more than 30 years still works when I bother to put a film in it...and that sits on a shelf in a living room cupboard. There is no noticable bloom on the lens and nothing apart from dust on the metal and leather.
  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    The right process would be to put the camera in a box/bag with silica gel, and then sealing it, before taking it inside the air-conditioned building. In practice however, taking a cold camera into a warm environment is where condensation is a problem because cold air can support less moisture than warm air.
    IanG1957 likes this.
  20. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    That's almost exactly what I meant… :cool:

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