Easy Steps to Prevent (and Reverse) Camera Condensation

Condensation forms on your lens when you have dramatic temperature and/or humidity changes and your camera is not protected from the elements. When your gear hits that dramatic change of air, condensation forms while the temperature regulates….which can definitely be worrisome on your expensive gear.

Don’t panic! A few rounds of condensation won’t ruin your camera, nor will your lens fogging up cause any permanent damage. However, you should definitely take some easy steps to prevent this from becoming a habit. Too many cycles can begin to wear on your gear, especially on the internal mechanisms.

During the summer months, condensation forms most often when your bring your camera from a cold and dry environment (an air-conditioned house or car) and out to the hot and humid air. That’s a huge environmental change and will introduce moisture quickly!

I live in New England, so winter is when I experience condensation the most. If I bring my camera inside to a warm and toasty house after a day of shooting in freezing temperatures, the lens will fog up almost instantaneously.

Acclimation is your friend!

The goal here is to introduce these dramatic temperature/humidity changes slowly, and to make sure this air does not hit your glass directly. It’s incredibly easy to prevent condensation; it just takes a little patience.

Before entering an environment that is drastically different from the one you’re in, make sure your gear is securely in your camera bag and all zippers are closed. That’s it!

Most camera bags are padded quite well to protect your gear. This padding also acts as insulation, which helps to regulate sharp changes to the air and allows your gear to acclimate slowly to the new environment.

Depending on the temperature differences and how substantial your gear is (think 50mm prime lens vs. a 400mm telephoto), you may need to leave your gear in the bag for several hours to fully acclimate. However, it’s the sure-fire way to prevent any condensation from building up – and incredibly easy to remember.

For extra protection, you can place your camera inside of a plastic ziploc bag and then place that into your camera bag – do this BEFORE stepping into your new environment. This will provide another layer of protection and prevent the new air temperature from hitting your camera directly.

Too late! My camera is already foggy.

If you have condensation on your camera already, follow these steps:

  • Don’t wipe the lens! This will do nothing but give you streaks you will have to remove from your glass or filter. The condensation is already there, you just have to let it dissipate naturally.
  • Don’t detach the lens if it’s already attached – leave your camera be. You do not want to introduce more condensation to the other end of your lens or the internals of your camera.
  • Put it in an airtight bag and get as much air out of it as you can. It would also help to put something in the bag to wick moisture away – such as a towel or preferably uncooked rice.
  • Wait until the camera comes up to temperature and all condensation has dissipated.

For severe cases where your camera is still taking foggy-looking photos, you may have to work on this for several days. Instead of a towel, it would be better to place silica gel packs in the plastic bag to help dry out all the interior components. Make sure you keep the bag airtight though so that the gel packs wick the moisture from the camera and not the air itself.

It’s best to avoid condensation altogether, but it’s only the most severe cases where much moisture and water has entered the camera will there be any permanent damage – so don’t fret if your camera fogs up a few times.  If your camera is still working, you should be fine  – just try to avoid future cycles of condensation.

It’s also important to note that some camera companies will not do warranty repairs to your gear due to condensation damage (as they consider it water damage), so that’s another reason to take a few easy steps and prevent condensation altogether!

Free Guide: How to Photograph Sunrises and Sunsets

Learn how to capture the magnificent light of golden hours with vibrant colors and detail…and also how to avoid the biggest mistakes that will give you flat and dull images.

11 thoughts on “Easy Steps to Prevent (and Reverse) Camera Condensation”

  1. HI Chris. I understand and have done what you have written. A problem I had accidently come across without realising until much later, was that condensation on the lens occurred during multiple long exposures. In Australia it is winter here and I was out in a field ( between 11:00pm & 01:00am ) attempting to take pictures of the night sky for the first time. I checked the first couple of exposures and all seemed ok. After about about an hour or so I started playing with some light painting and when checking the first couple of pictures they were out-of-focus and foggy looking. I then looked at the front of the lens and saw it was covered in a mist. So I lost the only clear night I had available to me and, on the computer saw that the rest of my photos were no good. (And no, thankfully I did not change lenses either until the next day). As I was toasty in warm clothing I was not aware that there must have been quite a temperature drop.

    1. Sorry to hear that Frank….gives you that “punch in the gut” feeling to find out your images are unusable from a great night out. As much as you try to prevent this from happening, there are always those unusual circumstances.

    2. On long night time exposures you can expect dew. It is a problem that astrophotographers contend with every night. They actually make dew heater straps that you can put around your lens. They require a battery. Alternatively you can strap a couple of catalytic hand warmers to the side of your lens. I also carry a battery powered hair dryer that can run off of a 12 volt socket in the car. It pulls 15 amps. That is not much heat, but it can knock the dew off.

  2. I think your page needs some fresh posts. Writing manually takes
    a lot of time, but there is tool for this boring task, search for:
    Ssundee advices unlimited content for any blog

  3. This will help you to produce sure all of you meet your needs and wants.
    Few in the past, the residential property bazaar of Gurgaon was
    endured an important impede because of the worldwide economic slowdown. And finally, you will have higher turnover, which again will cost you money and loss of

  4. Having problems with a GoPro 3+ which I mount (in waterproof case) on the front of my kayak when I’m out on the ocean (Sydney N.S.W) the lens fogs up big time

  5. Pingback: DJI Osmo Action – FAIL? Condensation + Lag Issues + GoPro – camerasite

  6. Been having that problem. Take the camera outside from my slightly air-conditioned room. At first it shoots fine, but before long there is fog inside the lense. Temperature outside is in the 80s, um maybe 30C. Inside, not much cooler.

  7. So I accidentally tried to wipe away the condensation from the inside of the camera (not the lens…the sensor maybe? idk) because i didn’t realize you shouldn’t do that and now it’s been a few hours and it’s still not clearing up. What should I do?

  8. Pingback: Begini Cara Cegah dan Atasi Lensa Kamera yang Berembun

  9. I was suggested this blog by means of my cousin. I’m no longer certain whether this submit is written by means
    of him as no one else know such targeted about my problem.

    You are incredible! Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *