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07-13-2010, 03:01 AM   #1
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K20D - Moisture on LCD monitor

I bought the K20D few months and since then have joined a local photography group. We went for a monsoon photo outing last weekend. As is a typical scenario in India I was the only one with Pentax in a group of 36 members ;-) The others were Canon or Nikon owners. I suspect there were more Canon users though.
Anyway back to the outing. When we started the actual shooting it was not raining. I had the kit 18-55 mm lens and shot some photos. I switched to a Pentax 28-200 mm zoom when we changed the location. It also started raining about the same time. Well, I was not worried! The K20D boasts of a weather resistant body!! As it happened there was some water on the lens especially the filter and the camera body. To my horror the filter fogged up almost instantaneously. Interestingly the condensation was on the inside of the filter and not on the lens itself. Even more horrific was that the LCD monitor also fogged up, more so, at the edges. Though the monitor fogging did not affect the functioning of the camera it was futile to see the review on the monitor. Again this was on the INSIDE of the monitor. No matter how many times I cleaned the filte,r after unscrewing it from the lens, or the LCD monitor from the outside, the fog reappeared. Well needless to say that this really ruined my maiden photo outing. When I asked one of the senior members who of course is a Canon owner he told me not to worry about it as the moisture would not have gone inside the camera body and would evaporate on its own. Of course it was not his camera ;-) The camera was working fine though the photos were ruined because of the filter. I dare not change the lens as it would not have been prudent in the rain. As a matter of fact the moisture did vanish both from the filter and the monitor within few hours of returning to a dryer surrounding.

I think I also noticed couple of drops of moisture on the LCD panel too. But I am not too sure.


My questions:
1. Did any body have this problem?
2. Shouldn't the WR feature prevent this?
3. Is there any possibility of long term damage? The camera is working fine even now.
4. How to avoid this in the future? Especially the fogging of the filter.
I did not get too many good shots. I will post some of them in the right forum for others' comments.
Any feedback from K20D users or others who had this problems will be very useful.
mj

07-13-2010, 04:25 AM   #2
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1. I haven't experienced this.
2. Yes, it should- your camera might be damaged/fractured, BUT I suspect that this actually won't penetrate any deeper and thus shouldn't be an immediate concern.
3. Doubtful, but you never know. The only thing that's certain is that this shouldn't have happened in the first place, so you should have the camera checked.
4. See above.

I'd also recommend using WR lenses when shooting in rainy weather.

Adam
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07-13-2010, 05:38 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mmjoshi Quote
1. Did any body have this problem?
Yes, it happens quite often in fact... I have had numerous camera's on the beach fog-up up on me, including a Nikon D700...

QuoteQuote:
2. Shouldn't the WR feature prevent this?
If you had a water resistant lens to match that could help, though high humidity is likely unavoidable with zoom lenses because when you push/pull the zoom, you're pumping humidity into your camera. Which will happens with any camera(Pentax, Nikon, Canon etc).

QuoteQuote:
3. Is there any possibility of long term damage? The camera is working fine even now.
There are always risks of internal damage with condensation. My advice would be to learn to avoid it and do your best to protect your gear.

QuoteQuote:
4. How to avoid this in the future? Especially the fogging of the filter.
You can eliminate condensation by allowing your camera to equalize in temperature based on your location. ie. many people carry their camera's in their coats in winter on snowmobiles. But this creates temperature contrasts which in turn promotes condensation. The better thing to do, would be to keep the camera in a pack and give it time to equalize with the ambient temperatures.

The lens fogs up when we adjusted(trombone) a zoom, which sucks or pulls humidity into the lens and body of the camera. In nominal temperatures, this usually isn't a problem, but if you are in extreme conditions, you will end-up with what you experienced. If you had a prime on the other hand, this most likely would not of happened. However... since zoom lenses inevitably push and pull air in and out of the lens and camera, they are prone to fogging.

And though temperature equalization does help... you should know that if the humidity factor is high enough, that fogging is inevitable with any zoom lens on any camera. So again... a prime would be the better option than a zoom in such conditions.
07-13-2010, 05:44 AM   #4
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You have now discovered a flaw in weather resistant design, pentax's or anyone elses

When moisture is trapped inside, it can't get out.

When you change lenses in a high humidity environment, and then the temperature drops, condensation is not a possibility but a gauranteed event.

I suspect by changing lenses, you let a lot of moist hot air into the camera.'

When the temperature drops ad the rain comes, the air cools and the moisture condenses out.

The same can happen here in Canada when you shoot/ change lenses in a green house and then go outside in the winter. You always need to let your camera stabalize to the temperature and humidity, and you need to be very very careful changing lenses in 100% humidity.

In terms of drying things out, you should put the camera into a bag with silica gell, with the battery out, and all covers open and the lens off. Same with the lens, filter and caps off, into a bag with silica gell.

I have heard rice works well aslo and it may be more available in your local, but have no experience personally using rice.

To prevent it, really the only option is to not change lenses in the field when conditions are as you describe. I have multiple bodies, because I kept every body I ever bought, when I upgraded, so I have an *istD, K10D and K7D, but not everyone keeps their old gear.

The other point here is that while weather resistance is nice, I prefer to think of it as Insurance not a useable feature. I would protect my camera with a rain bag or something and rely on weather as protection if the primary protection failed. Call me conservative but...

As for long term impacts, if you get the camera dry you should be ok. I had my *istD totally soaked, when the kayak I was in got swamped, The water entered and shorted out the shutter release and camera function switch as well as clouding over the LCD display. I took the batteries out immediately because the camera kept snapping the shutter without any command from me. When I got to base camp, I opened the covers and let the camera sit in the sun for 4 hours. (people have screamed that this should not be done, but any way, it is what I did). This event was 6 years ago now, and my *istD is still functioning perfectly (at least I can confirm as of last weeekend when I had it out) and has never been in for service.

07-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
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LCD Fogging

Dear MMJ, sorry to hear your K20D LCD fogged up from inside. I have used my K20D in the heavy spray and wind up real close to the Niagara Falls. Absolutely no problem with the camera. I had the 18-55 AL II Kit lens with a filter. Note: I always clean and smear the lens & body mount with a trace of WD40. Then I kept dabbing the filter, lens and camera frequently with a very large micro fibre cloth. Took some amazing photos when many Canikon users packed up on the boat trip.
As a camera mechanic here is what I think happened to your camera: the moisture did not enter from outside the LCD, rather from inside the Body thru the lens camera mount interface as you were not using a WR lens. This would happen many times with my MZ-50n camera in hot and humid clime w/o rain. But do examine the LCD sealing with the camera body using a magnifying glass. If you find a micro crack or a gap use a lite smear of silicone and smoothen / clean up any excess with a wet cloth - if you are out of warranty. You will not notice the silicone after it dries up.
Moisture inside the Body or Lens is very corrosive and can cause failure of electronics even after a year or so later. Do remove the lens and keep both lens and body out in the hot Pune sun, but in the shade please. 38 deg centigrade for an hour 3 or 4 times with short breaks wont harm your camera. Do it even now. Or use a drying cabinet if you have access to a Lab.
07-14-2010, 07:37 PM   #6
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This is common at least your not the first person who has encountered this, Oly had it bad with there E3s. I had dust behind my K20D cover, and did find a leak by blowing air around the cover. Because the LCD (not the cover, the LCD) is pushed against 4 foam/rubber strips that form a seal between it and the inside of the body, moisture in the body would not get between the LCD and LCD cover. Your cover is leaking! Send it to Pentax for repair. IMO that's probably whats happening and its much more common than many folks think. Its not a weak link, the cover is made of polycarbonate and its first job is to provide impact protection to the LCD, second help keep it clean and dry. But the tape holding it is super thin and is made to be change quickly and easily. Take a look here!

Dust under LCD cover...: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

How about a Nikon fanboy with a D3!
My Nikon rant [Page 1]: Nikon D3 - D1 / D700 Forum: Digital Photography Review

I could post a hundred more... its so common. Becuase the LCD cover is a protector not really a sealer, but! It should not leak. But Pentax knows it may and installed a hard stop...

Understand the real weather-sealing, or hard stop is the LCD and its foam strips it sits one. That cover with that super thin piece of two way tape has to be perfect or it will leak, a common problem for ALL manufacturers. But I have never read of a Pentax being damage by it, but do take care of the problem. Once its sealed as mine nothing gets behind it, not even moisture! BTW I have learned if you have a lens with the Pentax SP (Super Protect) coating its best to go sans filter, as I do on the DA18-55mm WR, as water does repel off it much better than a filter, when a filter is wet and you wipe it, its a mess! The SP coating cleans off nice even with your sleeve Its all Pentax says it is, and is a must in bad weather if you have a lens with SP.

I read this from another poster and who some consider a Pentax insider. I did not totally believe it until I had the service manual for the GX10 and found the manual backs his claim. My experience with the K20D really backs his claim... so I can't take full credit, here is the post written two years ago, show how long this has also been a very common occurrence.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&message=27056678&q...er+roland&qf=m

Last edited by jamesm007; 07-14-2010 at 08:02 PM.
07-14-2010, 11:32 PM   #7
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Its happened to me on a flight out after a damp and rainy day on the ground.
No problem with the Weather sealed camera and lens.

High ground humidity, reduced air pressure and strong air-conditioning on the plane - and the there was condensation inside the rear LCD cover.

In this case, I think the K-7's tight weather seals made the situation worse, because the condensation had nowhere to go.

I did exactly what has been suggested above - removed the lens, sealed it in clean plastic bag with Silica gel....the condensation went away after a few days.
07-15-2010, 05:33 AM   #8
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Thanks to all of you who replied to my post. It is comforting to know that this is a fairly common occurrence. I did get scared for some time though.

I had already done what many of you have suggested. When I noticed the fog and some water on the body as well as the lens, I wiped both and put a plastic bag as protection. There was no direct rain on the body or lens later on. The fogging continued though. Luckily the camera was not drenched but had some water on it. After I came back from the outing, I removed the lens from the body, unscrewed the filter removed the memory card and laid out everything including the tripod, other lenses, the bag to dry out. I did not remove the battery though. I left it overnight while I watched the football final :-) The moisture was gone from the lens as well as the LCD panel and has stayed away. The camera seems to be working fine otherwise. My camera backpack has good amount of silica gel.

I guess the culprit could be the loose filter on the lens and the fact that I changed the lens in a very humid condition. It must have been around 95% to 98% relative humidity. The lens came out of the bag which was warmer than the surrounding and with lot of silica gel. Also as pointed out by Lowell Goudge the changing of the lens could have let moisture in the body and once trapped could not escape because of the weather seals! And good to know that his camera inspite of being soaked is still working after 6 years.

Anyway this should not cause long term damage, hopefully!

Nanhi, as you know sending the camera to US for warranty support is not very practical. However, as suggested by you I will see if there are any tiny cracks around the panel. Seems unlikely though. I will post what I find.

Anyway lessons learnt :-)

1. Though it is a WR body best to avoid direct rain like plague!
2. In extreme humidity avoid changing lenses.
3. Use primes instead of zooms.

Once again thanks. I am posting a photo which was taken with the fogged lens. Would like your comments. I guess this would have been crisper minus the fog on the lens. Creates a mystic effect though!

mj

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07-15-2010, 05:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mmjoshi Quote
Thanks to all of you who replied to my post. It is comforting to know that this is a fairly common occurrence. I did get scared for some time though.

I had already done what many of you have suggested. When I noticed the fog and some water on the body as well as the lens, I wiped both and put a plastic bag as protection. There was no direct rain on the body or lens later on. The fogging continued though. Luckily the camera was not drenched but had some water on it. After I came back from the outing, I removed the lens from the body, unscrewed the filter removed the memory card and laid out everything including the tripod, other lenses, the bag to dry out. I did not remove the battery though. I left it overnight while I watched the football final :-) The moisture was gone from the lens as well as the LCD panel and has stayed away. The camera seems to be working fine otherwise. My camera backpack has good amount of silica gel.

I guess the culprit could be the loose filter on the lens and the fact that I changed the lens in a very humid condition. It must have been around 95% to 98% relative humidity. The lens came out of the bag which was warmer than the surrounding and with lot of silica gel. Also as pointed out by Lowell Goudge the changing of the lens could have let moisture in the body and once trapped could not escape because of the weather seals! And good to know that his camera inspite of being soaked is still working after 6 years.

Anyway this should not cause long term damage, hopefully!

Nanhi, as you know sending the camera to US for warranty support is not very practical. However, as suggested by you I will see if there are any tiny cracks around the panel. Seems unlikely though. I will post what I find.

Anyway lessons learnt :-)

1. Though it is a WR body best to avoid direct rain like plague!
2. In extreme humidity avoid changing lenses.
3. Use primes instead of zooms.

Once again thanks. I am posting a photo which was taken with the fogged lens. Would like your comments. I guess this would have been crisper minus the fog on the lens. Creates a mystic effect though!

mj
glad to hear everything has worked out.

Is I said, I always consider WR as insurance against primary protection failure and not primary protection.

I always think back to a forum member who posted that his K7 (I think) failed after the 50th time he had been out in a harsh environment, and upon returning home rinced it off under the kitchen tap!

There are just some things that cameras are not intended to be exposed to, There are a lot of rain bags and other gear for cameras in harsh environments, I use them, and know that if the primary protection fails, the WR is a good back up, and have proof that even if something gets wet a proper dry out can restore it.

By the way, does your camera bag come with a rain cover??? I make sure all of mine have one because the bag itself is not weather resistant to any great degree. I have used mine several times when out and caught in a "flash flood"
07-15-2010, 10:27 AM   #10
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Yep, remember it's splash-proof, not air-tight. Equalizing the temperature gradually is a good way to prevent condensation: a regular camera bag and a couple of minutes' patience can accomplish this pretty reliably, as it happens. (I have more experience in coming in from the cold, rather than leaving the AC, but the principle's the same)

If the air's humid when it gets in the works, it can be the sudden temperature change which builds the condensation, rather than any new air or water coming in, but you still don't want that.

It's kind of swampy down here by my standards, but I haven't experienced significant issues. Monsoon season is actually pretty extreme, I figure.
07-15-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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I've had LCD fogging after a lens change at close to 40c and 98% humidity. Any camera would fog in these conditions, as a lens change=an internal air change. It's like wanting a cold drink, and not wanting condensation on the glass.

I try to only change my lenses in an air conditioned space, once the camera has matched the temperature. At home, keep it all in a closed container with fresh silica gel.

If you need to clear condensation, don't have silica gel, and you're game/desperate, you could try any of the following hacks with the body separated from the lens:
  • Aircraft cabin. My favourite. The longer and higher the flight, the better. Re-attach your lens just prior to commencing descent.
  • Air conditioned room. The greater the temperature difference from outside, the drier the room (and camera)will become over time.
  • Uncooked rice in a closed container. It's hygroscopic like silica gel. Also like silica gel, it can be recharged by heating for an extended period in a low oven. Downside: rice dust is fungus food, so don't stir up the rice - keep it in a paper bag that's permeable only to water vapour.
  • Very, very low oven overnight (40c). You're attempting a DIY desiccating cabinet. Downside: You need a clean (brand new) oven, or you'll cover the insides of your camera with a thin film of cooking grease.
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