India Photographers: Preserve Your Gear

Save your camera, lenses, and other small accessories from humidity.

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My heart dropped into my stomach one day when I was examining my first Canon DSLR I had bought for my move to India. Upon removing one of the lenses, I noticed an odd pattern around the rim of the mount. Rust!

I tried washing and scrubbing it off but the damage had been done. Those black dots had eaten into the metal. Despite my efforts at keeping a clean system (I'm a bit of an OCD freak) I had let my Canon and who knows what else in in my kit, fall prey to India's ridiculously high humidity levels.

I had been planning to keep the camera for sentimental values. Not only was it my first real camera in the Digital Age, it was the camera that I had used to take the picture which would launch my professional career. I wanted to hang onto it as a reminder of how I got started in photography in my new homeland.

But practicality won out. I had to get rid of my kit. Once rust kicks in there's no stopping it, I reasoned. And since I had already jumped ship to another camera brand I felt that it was only taking up space, I reassured myself. So I sold it and all my Canon lenses and accessories.

Never again

I wasn't going to make the same mistake - I did a little research and then bought myself an 80 liter dry cabinet to keep my new kit (pictured above). And so far, it's worked out great. It's large enough to fit my Sony A7iii, multiple lenses, batteries, and two flashes, among a few other odds and ends. I could have actually chosen a larger unit, like something 120 liters or more in retrospect, but so far I'm not having any issues fitting in necessary items in need of protection.

The manufacturer recommends keeping the unit set to between 40-50% relative humidity, which is what the system's default setting is when you plug it in for the first time. It's quiet and looks sleek in my relatively dark workspace.

I don't recommend any one brand over another for protecting your camera gear. But every photographer with gear to protect living in India and other humid climates should have a unit like this to store their cameras and lenses when not in use. There are other methods, which are a bit sloppy - like buying a big trunk and placing in these small pouches which act as climate control regulators. But your gear won't be as nicely organized and retrievable, in my opinion.

Regardless of what method you go with, go with something - the sooner, the better.

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