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Thread: Lens condensation in cold areas

  1. #1

    Smile Lens condensation in cold areas

    Hi fellow members,

    I recently went to Gardens by the Bay and visited the Flower Dome.
    As you know the Flower Dome is an air-conditioned area with indoor temperatures very much lower than the outside areas.

    Once inside the Flower Dome, the lens on my DSLR started to become 'foggy' probably due to condensation. This affect the image quality.

    But the 'foggy' condition or condensation was gone in the outdoor areas.

    I would like to know how this can be overcome this problem and also would like to know if it will affect the lens itself.

    Thank a lot.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlantis View Post
    Hi fellow members,

    I recently went to Gardens by the Bay and visited the Flower Dome.
    As you know the Flower Dome is an air-conditioned area with indoor temperatures very much lower than the outside areas.

    Once inside the Flower Dome, the lens on my DSLR started to become 'foggy' probably due to condensation. This affect the image quality.

    But the 'foggy' condition or condensation was gone in the outdoor areas.

    I would like to know how this can be overcome this problem and also would like to know if it will affect the lens itself.

    Thank a lot.
    Interesting.... Till now, I've been in and out of the flower dome several times in couple of years and never have I got my lens fogged inside the dome.. It only happens after I step outside the dome..

    But anyway, regardless, till date, my lenses are still in good working condition.
    Last edited by SkyStrike; 21st February 2015 at 04:44 PM.
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  4. #4
    Moderator keithwee's Avatar
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    Hmm , never encountered this before but maybe u can try the old place camera in ziplock before bringing it outside , wait for 5 mins then remove from ziplock. Did this whenever I travel to very cold places (single digit and below temperatures)

  5. #5
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lens condensation in cold areas

    Quote Originally Posted by atlantis View Post
    As you know the Flower Dome is an air-conditioned area with indoor temperatures very much lower than the outside areas.
    Once inside the Flower Dome, the lens on my DSLR started to become 'foggy' probably due to condensation. This affect the image quality.
    But the 'foggy' condition or condensation was gone in the outdoor areas.
    Are you sure???
    Condensation occurs when a high humidity air hits a cold surface. Therefore, your camera coming from the warm outside Singapore air cannot cause condensation in a colder environment inside the dome. It should occur once you leave the cold dome and your cool camera / lens hits the warm and humid air outside.
    Beside the fogging, nothing to worry about your camera and lens. Let it warm up, don't try to rub with tissues or other things. Once the condensation is gone (= the water has evaporated again) it's all fine again.
    EOS

  6. #6
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lens condensation in cold areas

    Octarine is correct in that condensation works one way and that occurs when you go from a cold environment into a warmer one and not the other way around.

    Also regarding why some people encounter long period for condensation to dissipate while others takes shorter, a few factors come into play: fyi

    1) The longer you stay outside and colder the temperature, the longer it will take for condensation to dissipate.
    2) For indoor warmer environment, same thing, the level of warmth plays a part in how fast or slow it takes to dissipate.
    3) The amount of glass plays a part. For example the big thick elements like my 14-24mm UW front elements or my 24-70mm. It can take a while after being in the cold slung on my body. I has a kit lens on my old D70 and it would thaw really quick as the glass elements were much smaller and len body wasa more plastic then metal parts.
    4) The more metal components versus plastic polymer in your gear also plays a part. In conducting temperature changes and dissipation. I have ever shot without my glove and holding my D300 or D4 which has more metal parts, it was like holding ice but it kept on working. My D70 ws not so bad as the body was made of plastic polymer.

    The good news is, condensation does not usually damage your gear as technically the product designers factor that in to a certain tolerance level. I have gotten to about -16 degree for about 6 hours straight and had no problems. Though one time out shooting with my old D70 the Eiffel Tower in the night at -10 degree, my camera stopped working suddenly after a whole day/night out in the cold snow-less winter air. Battery was fine. Once back in the hotel and left to thaw, it boot up again. Never had an issue after that because every few hours or so, I would put it inside my bag out of the cold. Never had a problem with the camera even after a couple more winter trips before I retired it.

    One trick I have tried BUT I have to declare I did this at my own risk on my own gear so i am not saying you should do this. I needed to use my camera gear indoor fast and did not have time to let it thaw as the gear was really cold and the condensation was forming water droplets on the element. Too blur to shooting indoor. I used the hotel hair dryer set to warm and with the nozzle at a distance blow warm air over my trinity gear . About 10-15 mins, I was out the door to a reception.

    Also remember never to remove your lens from your DSLR body once you get into a warm environment. This just might encourage condensation to start on the inside of your mirror flap, sensor area and rear end of your lens where exposed electrical contacts resides !

    For small cameras like PnS and small bodied DSLR with small kit lens, try to hide it in your jacket (with your body heat) or put back in your weather proof bag when not shooting to help keep the temperature from dropping too low on your gear.

    If you are outside and it is snowing and you managed to get snow flicks on your gears, they loo like white dust flakes on your gear but due to the cold they don't melt even as they clink to your camera but once you get indoor where it is warmer, they very quickly melt. If your camera gear is weather proof.. that is fine but if it is not, they become water on your gear and might get into tiny joints with no seal. So just stand outside and use your air puffer to blow the snow flicks off your gear before going indoor.
    Last edited by sammy888; 24th February 2015 at 02:44 AM. Reason: typo
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Lens condensation in cold areas

    Thank you all very much for your replies and advice. Take care and happy shooting.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lens condensation in cold areas

    I have led group to inner mongolia at -15 to -25 degree environment. none of our camera suffered damage from condensation, of course you need a good preparation.

    one thing to remember, when move from outdoor to indoor/warm, do not take out the camera. Leave the camera in the bag for 2hours to have the camera slowly adapt to the raising temperature.

  9. #9
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lens condensation in cold areas

    Quote Originally Posted by sammy888 View Post
    Also regarding why some people encounter long period for condensation to dissipate while others takes shorter, a few factors come into play: fyi

    1) The longer you stay outside and colder the temperature, the longer it will take for condensation to dissipate.
    2) For indoor warmer environment, same thing, the level of warmth plays a part in how fast or slow it takes to dissipate.
    3) The amount of glass plays a part. For example the big thick elements like my 14-24mm UW front elements or my 24-70mm. It can take a while after being in the cold slung on my body. I has a kit lens on my old D70 and it would thaw really quick as the glass elements were much smaller and len body wasa more plastic then metal parts.
    4) The more metal components versus plastic polymer in your gear also plays a part. In conducting temperature changes and dissipation. I have ever shot without my glove and holding my D300 or D4 which has more metal parts, it was like holding ice but it kept on working. My D70 ws not so bad as the body was made of plastic polymer.
    Another point to add:
    5) Inside relative humidity - The higher it is, the more condensation will occur and the longer it takes for it to dissipate. A warm hotel room equipped with aircon will have a lower humidity than a warm pub filled with people happily talking and drinking or even a greenhouse / tropical house of a zoo / botanical garden.
    EOS

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