Lens Damage

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by pierre_girtaud, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. I'm based in France and recently received delivery of an expensive Canon video camera brain and compatible Canon wide angle cine lens. The weather here was very cold the week it was delivered and the lens was extremely low in temperature when it was unboxed. Within minutes of being in the warmer environment of my home, water appeared on the external focusing band and the lens glass was fogging up.
    Later I placed it in a sealed plastic bag. That's what the enclosed Canon manual suggested when I found the right section. However, the manual suggested doing this immediately or before entering the warmer environment, so I assume my delayed effort didn't help much. Anyway, there is certainly no sign of this condensation any more and both the camera and lens are shooting fine with no fogging or damage visible to the naked eye.
    I would be interested to know if you folks think damage could possibly have occurred? I guess the lens had to travel to the local dealer from another country so actually this kind of change from cold to warm environment may have happened before over the past week since it left Canon's own couriers and started being transported by others. It may even be a reality of deliveries of lenses in general! Am I safe assuming the glass would be engineered in such a way that accounts for a certain amount of such condensation and the creation of pure water inside the device when environments warm up - and should I not worry about failing to prevent it on this one occasion? I'm not really looking for advice on whose fault this is or how to deal with the supplier as that has been taken care of - just looking for technical advice on whether damage might have really taken place…
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. I think you're equipment is fine. I shoot in two extreme environments that has led to extreme fogging on a few occasions, such as going from an air conditioned room to Florida's extreme, 98% humidity, or in Colorado, going from a warm car to -15F. Once dry, my cameras and lenses have performed as new.
    I believe it is wise to try to avoid these conditions. In Florida I try to keep my equipment in an environment with no AC when I know that I'll be going out early. In Colorado, if I'm shooting from the car, I ride around with the windows down to keep my equipment cool.
     
  3. It's probably fine. It happened to my equipment when I walked into a hot and humid butterfly zoo without thinking about this, and no lasting damage was done. However, with respect to this:
    Later I placed it in a sealed plastic bag. That's what the enclosed Canon manual suggested when I found the right section. However, the manual suggested doing this immediately or before entering the warmer environment,​
    The point of this is to avoid having the warmer air, which holds more water, come in contact with the camera until the camera has warmed up enough to avoid condensation. Doing this after condensation has happened is counterproductive--it inhibits evaporation of the condensation.
     
  4. I agree with what others have said. The good news is that if it's very cold outside, it's also probably very dry inside. The internal fog would have disappeared once the lens warmed up and the moisture evaporated back into the air inside the lens. The moisture will dissipate further when the lens exchanges air with the room air. For this to happen, you have to remove it from the bag.
    BTW, the biggest risk of poor moisture control is the growth of lens fungus, which takes prolonged exposure. You should probably maintain your lenses between 30 - 50% relative humidity -- and definitely lower than 60%. The cheapest way to monitor humidity is with a humidity indicator card, which can be purchased for approx. 10 cents US (0.07 Euros), as I recall. (I bought 20 and have them stashed in various strategic locations.) Here in the US you can order them from the Drierite Corporation.
     
  5. If it was a one time occurrence, then there should be no visible damage requiring remediation. A constant condensation cycle is an environment for mould growth.
     
  6. As Dan said, avoid placing in a plastic bag after walking in... remember that a concentration gradient will draw more moisture in, then the internal humidity is much higher because you've sealed it in a bag (once the fog evaporates). After the temp comes up though, putting it in a bag with some silica packs will suck the moisture right back out of the lens and gear.
    Not to worry though, I don't think you've done any harm. when new, the gear is as clean as it's ever going to be, so the qty of mold spores is going to be at it's lowest, as well as the dust and other materials the mold feeds upon. Nothing to worry about right now. But take care w/ moisture as your gear traverses long hard, and dirty, roads...
     
  7. zml

    zml

    OP: I am scratching my head here...Unless the instructions explicitly state otherwise, photographic equipment is meant to work in a wide variety of weather conditions: say, if it is bearable to a human, should be bearable to a camera/lens/etc.
     
  8. Michael Liczbanski [​IMG], Jan 23, 2013; 11:17 a.m. said:
    OP: I am scratching my head here...Unless the instructions explicitly state otherwise, photographic equipment is meant to work in a wide variety of weather conditions: say, if it is bearable to a human, should be bearable to a camera/lens/etc.​
    Michael, you could be in for a rude awakening. Many (most?) cameras do indeed leak when used in pouring rain. Batteries can stop functioning below 0-degrees F and lens elements, like mirrors and other glass, can fog in humid environments or when exposed to temperature variables. Do any of the above enough and you can damage your equipment.
     
  9. zml

    zml

    Who's talking pouring rain here? The OP had concernes about some pretty typical wather conditions encountered in transit. Besides, how hot/cold/humid/dry do you think it normally gets inside a UPS truck delivering your precious toys to you or to your retailer..?
    And there is a huge difference between "can" and "will" damage... Yes, it can, perhaps. Yes, glass elements do fog (and the fog goes away unless the conditions are permanently condensing.) Yes, batteries tend to have a much shorter life in cold conditions (how does that damage equipment?) yet I routinely shoot in sub-zero F. And even in pouring rain it ain't that bad with a weatherized rig plus some rain covers.
    And a bit of common sense can alleviate all of the above in real life, but apparently not in the FUD reality of the internet.
     
  10. Michael, you introduced rain when you said, "if it is bearable to a human, should be bearable to a camera/lens/etc."
     
  11. Michael, rain aside, humidity is dangerous for lenses. You need to know this, as I seem to recall you shoot in Costa Rica (?). Here's an article by Zeiss:
    http://lenses.zeiss.com/camera-lenses/en_de/website/service/fungus_on_lenses.html
    They say humidity >70% RH for 3 days is dangerous. I'm more familiar with the figure 61%, but I don't know its source. I can assure you that I've personally seen fungus grow on lenses that have been kept inside in comfortable, but somewhat humid, living conditions.
    On a side note, I tried to find these humidity guidelines in a general search, hoping to find something from an authoritative source like Nikon or Canon. Only Zeiss was kind enough to offer up recommendations. Even Canon's instructions don't mention humidity, beyond the suggestion of bagging lenses when coming in from the cold. This seems odd to me. Perhaps they just want to sell more lenses?
     
  12. Even Canon's instructions don't mention humidity, beyond the suggestion of bagging lenses when coming in from the cold. This seems odd to me. Perhaps they just want to sell more lenses? [Sarah Fox]​
    Nonsense about Canon wanting to sell more lenses! What you have read about Canon suggesting bagging their lenses is scientific truth. The bag must be hermetically sealed to act as a vapour barrier. The temperature of the lens must then be elevated to normal room temperature to prevent condensation from forming. This on average would take one hour before the bag can be unsealed.
     
  13. Peter, it seems odd to me that they don't provide more detailed guidelines re humidity for care of their lenses, including recommended parameters for lens storage. (Only Zeiss does this.)
    I take no issue with the practice of bagging lenses. I always carry a Ziploc bag in my camera bag for just that purpose (and occasionally to protect my gear from rain).
     
  14. Write to Canon, Sarah. I don't believe my old Nikkor manuals even mentioned anything about bagging their lenses. That's why Zeiss is THE lens company!
     
  15. zml

    zml

    Yeah, humidity might be dangerous to photo equipment but seldom is if it occurs once or occasionally. It is a fact of life that photo equipment is used in varied weather conditions, including high and low temperatures, high humidity (or lack thereof, which might be more dangerous in a long run...), rain, snow, ice, sleet...whatever. If one does use one's equipment on a regular basis in such conditions than one should know how to cope with inclement weather because even the best equipment will eventually conk out if left unprotected and/or unmaintained. BUT the OP was concerned about one time exposure to low temperature and some humidity which should be of no concern at all.
    Please, while knowing the dangers of adverse conditions is one thing, demonizing the issue is quite another. OTOH it is your equipment and you are free to handle it any way you please, including worrying about every wisp of fog and every drop of dew.
     
  16. Michael, nobody is saying you can't expose a lens to a drop of water or a wisp of fog. If I believed that my lens couldn't ever take a breath of humidity above 70%, I could literally never shoot outdoors where I live. (I do shoot outdoors.)
     

Share This Page