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01-20-2012, 10:16 PM   #1
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Shooting on a cool/foggy morning.

Hey everyone,

I'm planning to go out this Sunday and take some pictures of the morning fog with my K-x and DA 15 (& maybe DA 40). The forecast for that morning is around 40F with close to 100% humidity (it's raining on and off this week, but there shouldn't be any rain when I go out), and this will be my first time taking my camera out in cooler weather. I've read a bunch of threads and articles about protecting gear in humid environments, but most talk about extreme cold and the hot/humid tropics. Since I'm not in a snowy or tropical environment, do I need to worry too much about condensation becoming a problem? I'm especially worried about condensation inside my lenses, but maybe I'm worrying too much. I was thinking of just bringing a ziplock bag to keep my camera in when going outside and when going back inside, as this seems to be many people's basic procedure. Perhaps someone can provide some reassurance that I shouldn't have any issues, as I'd really love to go out and get some unique shots now that the wintery/foggy/rainy season is beginning. Also, any other tips for shooting in this kind of weather would be appreciated.

01-20-2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Condensation occurs when you bring a cold object into a warm humid environment. So, for example bringing a cold camera or lens into a warm, humid house could cause condensation. But bringing a cold object into a warm, dry environment rarely causes any issues, because there is no humidity. So if your home is heated in the winter the interior humidity is usually very low and there is no problem. Take that same cold camera into a warm, humid greenhouse and you might have problems.

I recently had an issue the other direction. In the tropics, I was in a shop where the air conditioning was running full blast, the temperature was in the low 70's, it actually felt cold. Temperature outside was close to 100 and humidity very high. When I left the shop the camera lens immediately fogged and stayed that way for about 5 minutes until it warmed up.

Best way to avoid problems is put your equipment into a bag (ziplock or whatever) when you come in until the camera is warmed up to ambient temperature. Since it warmed in the same air as it was in outside there is no extra humidity to cause a problem. But, 40 degrees outside and say 70 inside is not extreme, especially if humidity is low so I do not think you will have any problems. Here is a quick test: use a pair of glasses, as long as they are glass not plastic. Take them outside and wait until they are at outside temperature then carry them inside. Carry them in, don't wear them. If they fog, then your camera probably will to. If they don't you are very unlikely to have condensation issues.
01-21-2012, 01:43 AM   #3

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The easiest way to do this is, put your camera in your camera bag, and place it outside (if that is possible)while you have breakfast. Then the camera will get slowly to the temperature and you should have no problems. But going outside, rarely gives problems. it is the other way around. when coming into the house, leave your camera in your camera bag for an hour or so before getting it out and start downloading the shots. Just don't be impatient, really wait an hour or so.
01-21-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info, both of you. I think I'm finally starting to wrap my mind around the whole "science" of when condensation occurs on the lens/camera. The forecast for tomorrow has changed, and it looks like it will start raining earlier in the day, so I may end up staying inside after all, but now I will feel more comfortable taking my camera out in the cold on other days when it's not raining.


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