Condensation on Canon EOS 1D X

Fighting Condensation with Reasonable Methods (Podcast 401)

I received a question recently from listener Derek Bezuidenhout asking about condensation issues in cold weather.  I'm asked this a lot and usually have one main bit of advice and that is to ensure you put your gear back into your camera bag before going indoors. There are a few other...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
10 Comments
  • Tim
    Posted at 11:47h, 07 January Reply

    Great podcast, Martin. One conclusion I draw from this that isn’t really stated is that a ziplock bag is not only rarely necessary but won’t protect your DSLR from internal condensation at all. The insulating properties of your camera bag seem to make it a much a better solution for this.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 13:12h, 07 January Reply

      Hi Tim,

      I do state that zip locks aren’t necessary near the beginning.
      >So, are ziplock bags really necessary? The short answer is, no.

      But, that isn’t to say they are not effective. The moisture if drawn from the air, so if you put your gear in ziplock bags and stop air getting to them, you’ll stop condensation forming. The reason the bag works though, is as you say, because of the insulation. It allows the gear to warm up slowly, so condensation doesn’t form. In my mind, it’s just easier than messing around with ziplock bags.

      I hope this makes sense!

      Cheers,
      Martin.

      • Tim
        Posted at 12:48h, 09 January Reply

        Yes, my comment wasn’t very clear. You definitely made it clear that a ziplock wasn’t necessary. You also suggested (if memory serves) that weatherproof DSLRs can still experience internal condensation because the moisture that condenses is moisture that is already present in the air inside the DSLR. Makes perfect sense. What I was trying to suggest is that an insulated camera bag should be far more effective at preventing internal condensation because it would limit the rate of change in temperature far better than a ziplock.bag.

  • Bob Brind-Surch
    Posted at 07:52h, 15 April Reply

    Hi Martin
    I remembered this podcast today when I had a particular problem with moisture and looked back to it. My problem is slightly different though and I would welcome your thoughts. I was shooting in a tropical house today – very humid – and took my camera in in the camera bag (lowepro weather sealed). The camera (1dX) must have still got cold in the bag in my car as when I took it out moisture formed on the lenses and I guess inside too. Now I guess I could have left it to warm up in the bag but that would have taken quite a long time and delayed my shooting. Unlike you I am taking the camera into a warmer humid area where I want to shoot rather than back into my hotel room at the end of the day. Now I am about to try putting the camera in a ziplock bag which is sealed in a dry warm area – my house – taking into the car and then into the humid hothouse still in the bag. It should warm up quite quickly I guess, just in the ziplock bag, hopefully any condensation will form on the outside not inside of the bag and thus when I remove it all will be well. What do you think an have you ever faced this situation ?
    Keep up the great podcasts.
    Bob

  • Ace
    Posted at 19:39h, 28 January Reply

    Hi Martin,

    I plan on going to Alaska during winter and I will be going on tours (presumably in heated vans) with some stops for photo ops. Will condensation be avoided if i put my camera inside the bag before i go back into the heated van, and then take it out again at the next stop, repeating the process til the tour is over?

    Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Ace

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 20:49h, 28 January Reply

      Hi Ace,

      That is a good plan. When it’s cold, put your camera in your bag, even just quickly after entering the warm vehicle, is usually enough. Then leave it in the bag until the next stop. This always works for me with a zipped bag. They aren’t air tight but good enough to let the temperature of the gear change slowly over time.

      Hope that helps!

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