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Storing a camera for 5 months in a hot, humid climate

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by doublezd, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. doublezd

    doublezd TalkEmount Regular

    50
    Aug 21, 2015
    Good morning:

    A question about camera storage: I plan to leave the either my used Sony RX1R and/or my A7 body at our condo in New Orleans, Louisiana where we spend 4-5 months a year.

    I have other gear at home, but when we come down here, my entire suitcase is packed with camera stuff...so I have to leave some things here permenantly.

    We close the condo from mid May - the end of September, which are the hottest months here -- daily temps are often well into the 90s and quite muggy, so it gets hot inside.

    I plan to remove the battery and card, and keep it in its neoprene pouch, but I am concerned that the heat of a closed up condo in a humid climate will damage the camera.

    Any opinions, or advice, or resources to turn to would be much appreciated.

    Thank you
     
  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    395
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    It is not so much heat you have to worry about as humidity.

    I have not used one, but they make something called a "dry box" I have seen recommended for storing your gear in humid environments.
     
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  3. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Back in India and SE Asia I've used waterproof plastic boxes with Silica Gel for all my electronic and optical stuff - no probs whatsoever. Some teas, like Darjeelings (highly hygroscopic) react even more rapidly to those conditions but keeping them in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers has always worked for me, even in the most adverse climates.
     
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  4. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Just a possible related "aside"...you can check to see if it might apply to your models.

    Reference Example: My understanding of my NEX-7's is that they actually use 2 batteries:
    The main one we remove & recharge all the time;
    Plus a small deep internal battery that will run down after prolonged lack of use...as I recall, 2-3 months for the NEX-7. Not sure but it may be what keeps all the camera settings the way we've set them.
    ( obviously removing the main battery doesn't affect settings )

    If your models also have that little internal battery and it runs down over those months, then you might have problems when you go to use it in October...the main point being, don't automatically assume the problems were caused by heat & humidity.

    And just a thought about an alternative to the heat / humidity / theft risk...if I couldn't possibly find room to take them with me, I'd pack & ship them insured to myself...but that's just me.
     
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  5. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    This shouldn't be too big an issue since it's in a condo. The unit may have its AC off, but the rest of the building is climate controlled.

    Place your gear in a sealed clear plastic container. I prefer the ones with the silicone seal and hinges. Have desiccant bags packed within. Just make sure to dry them out to fully activate them. Put them in an oven under 200F to dry them before use (this applies to the cloth bag versions, not the plastic ones). Rice is also an alternative drying agent. Cheap and effective. When you return to the Big Easy, make some Dirty Rice and it won't got to waste! :D
     
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  6. doublezd

    doublezd TalkEmount Regular

    50
    Aug 21, 2015
    Thank you all -- do you think the same concerns would apply to just lenses -- stored in a dry box -- sealed Tupperware with silica crystals?
     
  7. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    ^ Yes!
     
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  8. aliengrove

    aliengrove TalkEmount Rookie

    18
    Apr 20, 2016
    Lancashire
    Jon Bowles
    I just spent 6 years in the Middle East which actually gets humid as well as hot for 4 months of the year. I kept all my gear in a smallish cupboard and every time I bought something with silica dessicant packets in it I chucked them in the bottom of the cupboard. After being out shooting after the gear reached room temperature I would put it back in the cupboard. It worked really well, never had any moisture related problems.

    Then again the airconditioner was on most of the time. I am not sure I would want to leave camera gear for a long period in a hot and humid room closed up room. A sealed box with lots of silica is probably the best option.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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  9. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder TalkEmount Veteran

    297
    Feb 7, 2012
    Go to Costco. Get the 27 gallon black/yellow storage bin. Go to Dollar Tree. Pickup a 9.8oz tub of "moisture eliminator" for a $1. This calcium chloride desiccant works about 10 times better than packs of silica gel. Get two if you want to be cautious, but one will do. Put your camera equipment into the storage bin and then put in a tub of desiccant. Even if it's very humid, the tub of desiccant will bring the humidity inside the storage bin to around 30-35% and hold it there. Ideally, this can remain stable forever. So that one tub should last a good long time. I've checked mine from time to time and even the ones that are 2 years old still have about 90+% of their life left. Of course this all depends on how well the bin is sealed. Those Costco bins seal pretty well. Put something heavy on top to make it even better.
     
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  10. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    143
    Dec 13, 2013
    What I would wonder about with calcium chloride is the potential for formation of corrosive reactants. Silica gel is inert when used as a dessicant, so I'd check well before storing electrical equipment with it.
     
  11. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder TalkEmount Veteran

    297
    Feb 7, 2012
    There's a lot of misinformation going around in photography circles about calcium chloride. For example, some people believe that it gives off chlorine gas. It does, but you would have to heat it up to the point that it melts. That's about 770c. I would venture to say that if you are storing your camera equipment at 770c, that last thing you have to worry about is moisture. So giving off chlorine gas is not a concern. People also point out that calcium chloride mixed with water is corrosive. It is. It's not corrosive like battery acid, but it's corrosive like salt water. That would be a problem if you are using it as a desiccant in an open tub. With the commercial products I'm talking about, the calcium and the resulting solution are sealed behind a membrane. It can't leak. Thus the solution can't come in contact with anything to corrode unless that membrane is broken. That membrane is pretty tough.

    Calcium chloride is a FDA approved desiccant. It's also used in chemistry as a drying agent. In chemistry you do not want to contaminate your reactions. So anything used as a desiccant would be fairly inert.

    If you know of any solid reason not to use it, please let me know. I've been using it for years and would rather not if it's a problem. So far, I haven't had any.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  12. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Well, I don't know about any risk to a camera. But they spray that stuff on the dirt roads up in Alaska, and I had to use a cold chisel to remove it from my motorcycle's exhaust pipes after they got coated with that stuff on a long ride up there. It was like concrete! o_O
     
  13. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder TalkEmount Veteran

    297
    Feb 7, 2012
    Personally, I don't spray it on my camera equipment. I keep it isolated in the tub it comes in. But to each their own. ;)
     
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  14. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    143
    Dec 13, 2013
    I'm not saying don't use it, I was just wondering whether there was any risk of reactivity; a quick google wasn't super clear either way.
     
  15. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder TalkEmount Veteran

    297
    Feb 7, 2012
    Here's the hazard/reactivity listing for it.

    CALCIUM CHLORIDE | CAMEO Chemicals | NOAA

    Pretty much, it's the same as that for silica gel.

    SILICA, AMORPHOUS | CAMEO Chemicals | NOAA

    The biggest hazard for both is as an irritant if you breath it in or it gets in your eye. That's why both come in sealed packaging.