Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life Hack - Defogging a lens

I have just returned from a business tip to China. While in China, I was troubled by rapid internal fogging of my detachable Nikkor lens due to high humidity and temperatures in Shanghai. My Nikon D70 was useless for days at a time. At first, allowing the camera to acclimate took care of the problem. However, walking from building-to-building caused a series of rapid humidity and temperature changes, which eventually resulted in a fogged internal lens element. After 15 hours of waiting, the lens was still partially fogged. My camera was unusable – well it could take pictures, but the results looked like a something a 1st year art student would try to pass off as art.

I was able to fix the problem because I remembered an old life hack from years ago when I fixed a manual camera that had been dropped in a lake. I asked directions to a good photography store, and then jumped in a cab for a short ride across town. I purchased ten 10g bags of silica desiccant for 20 RNB (~about $2.25). When I retuned to the hotel, I asked for a large Ziploc style plastic bag. I detached the lens from my camera, attached both lens covers, and then placed the lens in the Ziploc bag with all ten packets of silica desiccant. I hanged the bag from a coat hanger in a dark closet so it would not be subjected to the air conditioner. After about two hours, the internal fogging was gone. I kept the whole camera in the plastic bag for the remaining two days of my trip when it was not in use. When I wanted to shoot pictures, I waited for the camera and lens to acclimate before removing them from the bag. Since acclimation allowed the lens to reach the same temperature as its surroundings without the humidity, fogging was minimal.

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1 comment:

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