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12-14-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
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Precautions for shooting in dusty environments

Hello everybody,
I'm planning to bring my photograpy gear at a music festival this summer, but I am worried about dust damage to my lens and camera and since I'm ruining my first DSLR I don't know what to do.
I know that dust inside your lenses doesn't degrade your pictures unless you are in extreme situations when you can see it move around rotating the lens kit, but I know the conditions at the festival are extreme too since I have alredy been there.
If you ever attended a crowded festival during summer you know what I am talking about: it was a sunny hot period, the ground was dry and dusty and there was thousands of people walking around and dancing, there was so much dust in the air I happily wore a dust mask during a crowded concert in August at 3 o'clock. I could literally see dust stacking on my watch in just few hours of walking around and you could see the cloud of dust over the stage. Tents were covered in a layer so thick you could barely see the company logo on them.
So, the questions are: I am going to rent a guarded locker inside the festival area, but there's a high chance it's going to be in a high density area of the festival and therefore a dusty one... And it may also rain, should I store my gear inside sealed bags?
I also have a few more Limiteds, which I know are far from sealed. Should I worry about dust when I carry them around in the camera bag? Is the zipper and covers enough? Should I put them in a sealed bag too?
Then, I own two lenses that happen to have some sort of sealing. They are the Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR and the PENTAX DA* 50-135 mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM and if I understand correctly the 50-135 is weather sealed while the 18-55 is weather resistant. Is it OK to use them both without worries no matter how much dust is in the air? What about rain? Or I'm just nuts I can use any lens without worries for dust?
At last, I was wondering how bad would it be to swap lens if I am in a dusty place. If all I risk is some dust on the sensor, I alredy planned about wet cleaning lens and sensor both before and after the festival. Or there's more about dust I don't know?
Thanks for anyone willing to share his experiences.

12-14-2018, 10:06 AM   #2
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1. Don't swap lenses if you can avoid it. (If you do swap, keep the body pointed down, do it quickly, and occasionally check for sensor dust*).
2. Don't zoom rapidly if you have a zoom lens that changes overall length during zooming.
3. Don't swap memory cards (dirt of the contacts can corrupt data transfer).

Swapping batteries is OK. If you swap batteries and the battery level acts strange (fluctuates or drops prematurely) then try reseating the battery a couple of times or cleaning the contacts.
12-14-2018, 10:17 AM   #3
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a thought

back in the day there was something I knew as a " mobile dark room " which was used to swap out a partial exposed roll of film

it was a bag into which you placed the camera and then took out the film


mobile darkroom bag - Bing

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=ZeIoNY30&id=2719570946...bag&ajaxhist=0

it might work to swap out a lens, or you could try a large plastic bag since for your purposes there is no need to keep out light

Last edited by aslyfox; 12-14-2018 at 10:54 AM.
12-14-2018, 10:20 AM   #4
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Perhaps consider buying a cheap second body before the festival to carry around during the day so you have both lenses available?

In the last two years I've picked up a K200D for 100 CDN and a K-r for 200 CDN locally, both with very low shutter counts. Shop well and you could probably resell after the festival for similar to what you paid, and you have a backup during the event.

12-14-2018, 11:05 AM   #5
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Changing lenses is where the dust will get you. The dark bag is a good idea but changing lenses will not be fast with it. A second body looks like the way to go.

I have a K200D and K-x, both bought for cheap and still serving me well. If you're going to shoot the concert at night under stage lighting, the K200D will be marginal. My K-X is surprisingly good at high ISO - not great by today's standards but it will do the job.
12-14-2018, 01:29 PM   #6
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Food for thought... Lens Rentals | Blog
12-14-2018, 01:48 PM   #7
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Plastic Bags and Dust

A changing bag might be a good idea but plastic builds static and draws dust. The dust will stick to all surfaces of the bag and cause problems, think cloth bag and practice beforehand A smooth and fast change without cover, practiced in clean conditions might be better. Even better a second body and lens. If you do change lens be sure to turn your camera off before hand. A live sensor can have a static charge and draw dust just as a plastic bag. I am a gearhead and take great pride in my equipment, but sometime a compromise must be made between protecting gear and getting the picture
12-14-2018, 03:21 PM   #8
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Just don't.

12-14-2018, 03:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by catfishjohn Quote
A changing bag might be a good idea but plastic builds static and draws dust. The dust will stick to all surfaces of the bag and cause problems, think cloth bag and practice beforehand A smooth and fast change without cover, practiced in clean conditions might be better. Even better a second body and lens. If you do change lens be sure to turn your camera off before hand. A live sensor can have a static charge and draw dust just as a plastic bag. I am a gearhead and take great pride in my equipment, but sometime a compromise must be made between protecting gear and getting the picture
good to know

" changing bag " does dimly ring a bell.
12-14-2018, 04:54 PM   #10
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Include a can of compressed air (gas) or a blower in your bag. It will come in handy if dust settles on the front of your lens or on equipment. Don't use any lens cleaner if dust is present since it can be abrasive. Always blow the lens surface clean first and then use lens cleaner if needed. You can get plastic bags that are antistatic which make good bags for protecting equipment. In sever cases, the camera and lens can be placed in the bag with the lens protruding through a hole in the bag, secured with a rubber band or velcro.
12-14-2018, 06:25 PM   #11
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Do not change lenses in a dusty area. This probably means you choose a lens and use it until you get to an area with no dust, but you can move to frame the shot accordingly. as long as you do not change lenses the seals should keep the dust out.


In very dusty areas, I keep my camera in the bag until I am ready to take a shot

Get a small brush attached to a squeeze ball that blows air through the bristles.

IF the dust in your area is anything like the areas I've been lived, you do not want it getting onto the glass of a lens a scratching it.Get two good quality UV filters, put one on top of the other over the lens. When the first one gets too dusty and you are in a hurry, remove it and the one below it continues to protect the lens. Do not remove this final UV filter, just clean both when you are in a less dusty area.

Clean all the cracks and niches often, especially if it might rain. if a dry abrasive dust is bad, a wet abrasive dust seeping into those areas, and drying, is even worse.
12-14-2018, 06:37 PM   #12
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The folks at LensRentals have a couple of blogs on this topic...
12-14-2018, 06:59 PM   #13
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If it were me, I'd probably pick whichever of the WR lenses you think is the overall best fit for the venue and just use that the entire time. You didn't say which camera body you're using but with luck it's weather sealed too. Definitely agree with the previous advice not to change lenses in poor conditions. If you're careful not to open anything the weather seals should do what they're supposed to. I've had my K-1 with the WR kit lens out in the rain with no problems.


Be a little careful of other inadvertent things though -- I find that for me, for example, the rubber weather seal cover on the MIC port of mine is badly placed for how I use the camera and I often accidentally pop it open without meaning to.
12-15-2018, 03:41 PM   #14
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Like others have said, don't change lens if you can help it. I had a similar problem, only rain instead of dust. A few years ago my wife and I took a motorcycle/sidecar trip to Yellowstone Park and most of the entire week there it was rain and fog. I only had one WR lens, the 18-135, and it stayed on the camera the entire time while outside. We had a great time, made good use of our rain gear, and the camera & lens handled it great. I could have left the other prime lenses home.
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