Hot humid and cold areas can cause your camera lenses to fog.

July 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
Ever brought your camera out from the hotel room when traveling to a hot or cold location only to find that your lenses are totally fogged up?  Trying to wipe the lenses clean often just results in them fogging over yet again shortly thereafter.  
The reason the lenses are doing this is because they are a vastly different temperature than their surroundings.  Have you ever picked up a cold soda can and noticed that the outside of the can is very wet.  This is becuause the can is much colder than the air around it.  You might have also noticed that even if you leave a soda out without drinking it once it comes to the same temperature as the room the can dries out.  
So the ultimate goal is to try and keep the camera as close to the temperatures where you will be shooting and to give it plenty of time to reach this temperature.  If you're going to be staying in a hotel and your balcony is fairly safe that may be a decent place to leave your camera gear before going out to shoot.  Your car (if its not too terribly hot) might also be an acceptable answer.  Be sure to keep your car slightly ventilated and of course with both of these options be sure to fully consider security.  
Ok so if neither of these are an option you can keep the camera in your room but temper how cold you set the air conditioning.  Just leaving your AC a few degrees hotter than you would normally can help your gear stay fog free.  However, also when taking your gear outside its good to keep things in air tight ziplock bags.  This will keep the moist air off your lenses and help prevent the moisture from forming.  If you can place dessicant packs (just repourpose the ones that come with other stuff you've bought) in the bags that will only keep things safer and happier.  However you do need to wait for your lenses to come to the temperature at which you will be shooting before bringing them out or they will then fog.
The best tips I have to try and prvent this from happening to you:
  • Keep your AC in the room just a few degrees higher than you normally would.
  • Warm your lenses just a bit with the hotel blow drier just a bit before heading out.
  • Drive with your windows down and your camera as exposed to the outside temp as early as you can.
  • If you must drive with the AC on keep the camera in the very back of the car or in the trunk area (however be mindful not to let the camera bake in too terribly hot of a condition).  
  • Keeping the lens in your pocket and/or close to your body can help it come to temperature a little bit faster.
  • Use your lens hoods as sometimes wind blowing on your front lens element can cool it and cause things to fog.
  • Remember that the thing that needs to come to temperature is the air inside your lens.  So your 50mm f/1.4 prime will be ready to go before that 70-200 f/2.8 that you really want to be using.  This may let you get a few more shots while you wait for the bigger lenses to warm up. 
  • If you try all these things and your camera fogs up DO NOT try breathing on it to warm things up.  Instead use your bulb blower as this will blow air at the outside temperature.  Blow at a slow speed as you're trying to warm the lens and faster moving air may only cool things down.
  • The last parting thought I'd like to leave you with is that if its very cold outside and you are shooting...  When you come back inside to your room the same thing can happen.  Use these same ideas when coming back into the room.
I hope this helps some of you!  If it does please like my page on facebook or join my mailing list via the contact page.


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