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Storing cameras and lenses - is dry box essential?

Chris Duim , Nov 09, 2009; 07:37 p.m.

I'm owner of a D700 and several pro lenses (14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 mm fixed max apertures f/2.8) and am wondering if it's absolutely essential to store these in a dry cabinet/box. I read somewhere that you can store these in a bag filled with dessicant (silica gel). Is this acceptable or should I purchase a dry box and store all these in the cabinet?
Thanks for those willing to share their thoughts.


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Matt Laur , Nov 09, 2009; 07:43 p.m.

It will help if you mention where you live. Which continent? Latitude? Climate? What sort of relative humidity and temperatures are typical in the area in which you'd store your gear? Do you frequently bring cold (air conditioned, or chilled outside) gear into a humid environment that will condense moisture onto/into the gear?

Do tell! That will help with advice from folks who live in similar circumstances.

Me? I live in the US, in the mid-Atlantic region. Humid in the summer, but dry in the winter. Climate controlled residence. I've got camera gear that's decades old, and never a sign of fungus, corrosion, etc. My gear lives in the bag, or on the shelf, or sometimes in a Peli case, but never in a situation that's artificially dry. I do kee a sealed bag of dessicant packets for situations where I might need to throw gear into a case after using it in damp circumstances. But that's a very short-term measure.

Robert Hooper , Nov 09, 2009; 07:53 p.m.

Like Matt says, it depends where you live. I live in Hawaii and a dehumidifying cabinet is essential.

Robert Hooper , Nov 09, 2009; 08:10 p.m.

One of three homemade dehumidifying cabinets. Very inexpensive insurance against fungus.

Homemade Dehumidifying Cabinet

Chris Duim , Nov 10, 2009; 12:20 a.m.

Thanks guys. I live in the tropics (Southeast Asia), particularly Philippines and the room I keep my gear in has the airconditioning on at night. Otherwise it is kept at ambient temperature for most of the day.
I do my shooting mostly during travel, on occasion during breaks on business trips II do travel a lot in Asia and US) and the usual family vacation.
Robert, I see that your cabinet has quite a handful of gear but this wasn't what I have seen from the shops in Asia (they're a lot smaller but I guess my gear will fit). It's sort of the one where temperature is controlled via plug in to an electrical socket.
Given my conditions, would it be alright to store in a bag with dessicant in my room and expect no significant intrusion from fungi?

john cox , Nov 10, 2009; 05:26 a.m.


With the equipment you have and your location in the world, I would strongly recommend getting a dehumidification cabinet. The only web address I have is in Australia www.drycabinet.com.au They may have an agent in the Philippines as the cabinets are manufactured in South East Asia (not sure of which country).

Richard Francisco , Nov 10, 2009; 07:26 a.m.

Ditto with what John said. The philippines is quite a humid country which receives a large amount of precipitation in a year. If I remember right, the country's been featured several times recently due to massive flooding so a dry box would be beneficial for your stuff. if it is hard to come by a dry box, you can always make one yourself. Make an air-tight box, put loads of dessicant and a hygrometer in and just maintain your ideal level of humidity by adding more dessicant or opening the door when needed.

Chris Court , Nov 10, 2009; 07:44 a.m.

Hi Chris,
When I lived in Hong Kong, Fungus growth was a big problem, especially in the rainy season. I still live in the tropics (the Caribbean), and although the humidity is less here, I still keep my gear in a plastic storage box with a lid (not completely airtight) and with one of these babies (http://www.amazon.com/Eva-dry-EDV-E-500-Renewable-Wireless-Dehumidifer/dp/B000H0XFD2) to keep things nice and dry. I pull it out once a fortnight or so to check the indicator, and am happy to report no issues at all with mould.
Good luck.

Zeeshan Ahmed , Nov 10, 2009; 09:38 a.m.

Cheap Alternative: Start collecting Silica packs (desiccant packs) that you find in New Shoe Boxes, Asprin bottles and Electronics and throw them in you camera bag. It will keep the environment dry and protect it from mold or fungus etc

Alvin Lim , Nov 10, 2009; 10:32 a.m.

I am in Singapore and Philippines climate is not that far off; with a relative humidity of 80-90% and above, a dehumidifying dry box would really help.

The problem with the silica gel is that it under our humid climate, you need to keep drying them. Plus a dehumidifying dry box would be much more convenient.

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