In my time I have visited many countries that are close to the equator. Always hot, always humid and sometimes extremely wet. Other than the obvious factors such as dehydration and body odour, the photographer needs to be aware of the effect on his or her precious camera gear. Condensation being one of the most important things to consider.

The tell tale signs of condensation. Hazy and soft image. Time to wipe and wait, and wipe, and wait…

As a traveler or even a local in a hot climate, you are more than likely to be living or working under the effect of air conditioning and as such I have come to realise that not many people experience hot and humid weather. They go from cold and dry houses to cold and dry cars to cold and dry workplaces. The climate being re markedly different outside to inside. This plays havoc with our camera gear.

When you take your camera outside and expose it to the heat and humidity, condensation will quickly build on all glass surfaces. It will make your photos instantly blurry and useless. I have had to wait for up to 30mins for this to equalize which is frustrating if you miss photo opportunities. Wiping glass surfaces gives a little respite but only an equilibrium between the equipment and climate will cure the issue.

Condensation visible on this filter. Wiping will only do so much. You need to wait for the temperature of the lens to match the climate. This can take some time.

I recommend taking microfiber lens cleaning cloths and “LensPens” to help with cleaning the water off the glass. The best tip however is the use of a zip lock sealed plastic bag. When you have finished shooting outside, remove the memory card (for downloading), and put your gear into the zip lock bag. Don’t take it out again until you return outside again. This keeps the climate similar around your gear as outside, and you won’t have any more foggy problems. Easy! So before you depart next time throw some zip lock bags in your camera bag.

I have also read about the use of silica gel packs to aid in general condensation issues. The little packets that come with most electronics when you purchase absorb condensation can be used again and again for a period of time. They won’t solve the extreme humidity issues seen in places like Singapore but are good to use generally. Please be careful to keep away from pets and small children as they are poisonous.