Storing cameras and lenses - is dry box essential?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chris_duim, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. I'm owner of a D700 and several pro lenses (14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 mm fixed max apertures f/2.8) and am wondering if it's absolutely essential to store these in a dry cabinet/box. I read somewhere that you can store these in a bag filled with dessicant (silica gel). Is this acceptable or should I purchase a dry box and store all these in the cabinet?
    Thanks for those willing to share their thoughts.
  2. It will help if you mention where you live. Which continent? Latitude? Climate? What sort of relative humidity and temperatures are typical in the area in which you'd store your gear? Do you frequently bring cold (air conditioned, or chilled outside) gear into a humid environment that will condense moisture onto/into the gear?

    Do tell! That will help with advice from folks who live in similar circumstances.

    Me? I live in the US, in the mid-Atlantic region. Humid in the summer, but dry in the winter. Climate controlled residence. I've got camera gear that's decades old, and never a sign of fungus, corrosion, etc. My gear lives in the bag, or on the shelf, or sometimes in a Peli case, but never in a situation that's artificially dry. I do kee a sealed bag of dessicant packets for situations where I might need to throw gear into a case after using it in damp circumstances. But that's a very short-term measure.
  3. Like Matt says, it depends where you live. I live in Hawaii and a dehumidifying cabinet is essential.
  4. One of three homemade dehumidifying cabinets. Very inexpensive insurance against fungus.
  5. Thanks guys. I live in the tropics (Southeast Asia), particularly Philippines and the room I keep my gear in has the airconditioning on at night. Otherwise it is kept at ambient temperature for most of the day.
    I do my shooting mostly during travel, on occasion during breaks on business trips II do travel a lot in Asia and US) and the usual family vacation.
    Robert, I see that your cabinet has quite a handful of gear but this wasn't what I have seen from the shops in Asia (they're a lot smaller but I guess my gear will fit). It's sort of the one where temperature is controlled via plug in to an electrical socket.
    Given my conditions, would it be alright to store in a bag with dessicant in my room and expect no significant intrusion from fungi?
  6. Chris
    With the equipment you have and your location in the world, I would strongly recommend getting a dehumidification cabinet. The only web address I have is in Australia They may have an agent in the Philippines as the cabinets are manufactured in South East Asia (not sure of which country).
  7. Ditto with what John said. The philippines is quite a humid country which receives a large amount of precipitation in a year. If I remember right, the country's been featured several times recently due to massive flooding so a dry box would be beneficial for your stuff. if it is hard to come by a dry box, you can always make one yourself. Make an air-tight box, put loads of dessicant and a hygrometer in and just maintain your ideal level of humidity by adding more dessicant or opening the door when needed.
  8. Hi Chris,
    When I lived in Hong Kong, Fungus growth was a big problem, especially in the rainy season. I still live in the tropics (the Caribbean), and although the humidity is less here, I still keep my gear in a plastic storage box with a lid (not completely airtight) and with one of these babies ( to keep things nice and dry. I pull it out once a fortnight or so to check the indicator, and am happy to report no issues at all with mould.
    Good luck.
  9. Cheap Alternative: Start collecting Silica packs (desiccant packs) that you find in New Shoe Boxes, Asprin bottles and Electronics and throw them in you camera bag. It will keep the environment dry and protect it from mold or fungus etc
  10. I am in Singapore and Philippines climate is not that far off; with a relative humidity of 80-90% and above, a dehumidifying dry box would really help.
    The problem with the silica gel is that it under our humid climate, you need to keep drying them. Plus a dehumidifying dry box would be much more convenient.
  11. Chris,
    I have tried lots of things over the years but nothing has been as successful as my homemade dehumidifing cabinet. You can make one yourself with the following:
    1. Metal cabinet
    2. Golden Rod or the Browning equivilant, which you can buy here.
    3. Computer cooling fan
    4. Hygrometer/thermometer
    Install the rod across the bottom inside rear of the cabinet along with the fan. Fan placement is not critical as just a small amount of air movement within the cabinet is necessary.
    Do not seal the cabinet! Air convection between outside and inside air is necessary for this system to work properly and prevent overheating.
    Place the hygrometer/thermometer anywhere in the cabinet. Humidity should be maintained below 70% to prevent the growth of fungus. Don't worry, the rod will maintain the humidity well below 70%.
    In my cabinate you will notice two florescent light bulbs. One or two of these will work in leu of the Golden Rod. Each bulb is equivalent to a 100w tungsten bulb, but do not produce as much heat. I used to use these bulbs before I found the Golden Rod product which is better.
    There you have it. Email me if you have any questions.
  12. Thanks guys. I think I would really need to purchase a dry box. It would be a shame losing all the gear in such a manner.
  13. If you obtain granular desiccant from a chemical supplier in amounts of several kg it is "relatively" cheap as compared to small prepackaged amounts .
    I used paper tea-bags for packaging into small packages.
    Many brands of desiccant use a color indicator. Heating a saturated desiccant for overnight at say 60° C will recycle it for next use. A hygrometer is a welcome addition to monitor humidity as already mentioned.
  14. Yes you need to store your equipment inside a humidity controled cabinet at least. get silica packs inside your bags and storage and allow time for the equipment to slowly adapt to the temperature outside.
    Condensation can occur just by taking the equipment from a room with A/C to one with out if you live in a very humid region.
    I live in Florida US, fungus happens.

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