Camera Dust Proofing (SLR and otherwise)

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timbudtwo
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Camera Dust Proofing (SLR and otherwise)

Post by timbudtwo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:53 am

So I want to being my camera to the playa, but I have two rules:
1. I want to bring my SLR
2. I don't want it destroyed.

However, I do not intend on changing the lens, so I am thinking of just using a 50mm prime the entire time. So would I be able to stretch a piece of plastic over the lens and duct tape it on, then just cover the rest of the body with a plastic bag of some sort?

Has any one else had any luck with keeping their cameras dust-free?

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mdmf007
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Post by mdmf007 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:40 am

My best mate is a professional photographer, and simply cant go without some 3000 dollar camera body.

Some of his tips:
1. bring a lens you can have rebuilt or can live without.
2. No compound sliding type - unless you bag off the slide so its a dust housing
3. bring a can of compressed air and a small brush to take care of the actual lens.
4. change film in as clean an environment as yuou can.
5. if you load your own rolls, get as much film as you can in it to minimize changes
6. have your camera body and lenses professionally cleaned.

he only brings them out now for events, and at the times of day when the dust is lowest still ends up shooting 2-3k shots. He has the best night time shots at BM, cause there is very little dust in the evenings most nights. Humidity is up, temps are down, winds die out.

good luck and have fun.

timbudtwo
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Post by timbudtwo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:56 am

Yeah, I was thinking most of those things. I'm not planning on bringing a zoom lens, just a 50mm prime (prime means no zoom, fixed length.) I would then stretch a piece of plastic over the end of that (some how) and tape it on (again, some how) while still allowing for the manual focus to move freely. Then I would just put a bag around the rest of the body, perhaps just tape on a ziplock or something. Hah.

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Dork
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Post by Dork » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:00 am

Forget trying to completely eliminate exposure to dust. It's not going to happen. Be happy with minimizing the amount of dust that gets inside the thing and have it cleaned when you get home.

Forget covering the lense unless it's with something designed for that purpose. Just use a regular cap and only remove it when you're actually taking pictures. Clean it gently using compressed air and a paintbrush so you aren't rubbing the dust into the lense. Use good masking tape and maybe a clear plastic bag to cover the gaps in the body along with any buttons or knobs. Most important - leave it in its case as much as possible. Only remove it when you're ready to take pictures, then put it back in immediately. Leave the case closed while you're using the camera so dust doesn't accumulate.

Sit in a car when cleaning the camera or changing film/memory card/lense. It will be the most dust-free area you're likely to find. If you aren't at your camp, ask around. Someone will be ok with you using their car. Portapotties may also suffice if you're really desperate.

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CapSmashy
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Post by CapSmashy » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:01 am

What I have done the past 2 years based on advice from a freelance photographer that worked in Afghanistan doing war coverage.

!. Pick a lens and do not remove it. There is not a "clean" environment out there to do a lens swap. Also, pick up a high quality UV filter for the lens. Spend the 70 to 80 bucks for a good one so you will reduce the distortion of shooting through another layer of glass. A good polarizer filter is a good addition to keep in the bag. I didn't use it last year, but I also did not shoot as much as I did in '07.

2. Gaffe tape up your ports and compartments.

3. Perform daily maintenance on the camera body and lens and lens tube. Compressed air, lens pen, antistatic electronic wipes, microfiber clothes, etc are all a part of my cleaning arsenal.

In 2007, I was shooting on my Nikon D70 with a Nikon 18-200 zoom lens and had zero issues.

Last year I was shooting on my Nikon D3000 with the same 18-200 lens and had no issues. The 300 actually buttons up much tighter than the D70 in terms of the seals on the compartments so I was not as religious with the tape up. I was also doing IR photography last year on my D70 that I had converted over for dedicated IR work and had a Nikon 18-70 lens mounted on it.

I carried a Lowepro Topload Zoom camera bag that I had lined with a large ziplock. When the dust would start kicking up, I would drop the camera in the bag and seal the ziplock. I also carried wipe down clothes with me (the antistatic ones) that I would use to clean the lens tube when necessary in the field.

The D70 was cleaned for the IR conversion, but my 300 has never seen the inside of a camera shop. I clean my own mirror and sensor when necessary going off the dust reference photo.


The absolute, #1 rule for protecting your camera on the Playa, ask for permission before taking a picture of someone. I shot a lot of portraits last year and I never had anyone tell me no.
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phil
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Post by phil » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:17 pm

> 5. if you load your own rolls, get as much film as you can in it to
> minimize changes

Good advice if you process your own film or use a professional service, but I'd be concerned about taking a roll with 40 or more frames to the drugstore for machine processing. Check beforehand to see if their automatic machines can handle the extra film.

> 2. Gaffe tape up your ports and compartments.

This is a special tape that doesn't leave the sticky residue that regular tape does. It's important not to leave the sticky residue on your camera body, as it glues dust, lint, and other crap on the camera and comes off on your hands to be spread to your other gear.

Louise and I use a UV or skylight filter over our lenses because of all the dust. I'd rather clean one of those than the delicate lens itself.

As the others have, I assure you you'll never keep your camera dust-free. Not changing the lens helps whether it's a film or digital camera. I brought film cameras to the event for years, changing film when I had to. I took my camera to a local pro store and had it cleaned and brought back to factory spec every year. (They not only cleaned it, but checked shutter and meter for accuracy, made sure all the parts fit as they were supposed to, etc.)

Ewa Marine makes a rain cape or something with a similar name. Take a look at that online. I'm sure you can duplicate it with plastic bags without spending the small fortune Ewa charges. Take a couple or three for backups.

Everybody's tips look good to me, so pick a few and find out what works for you. You'll then have your own tips for next year to let us know about. I always learn something from these threads, and I'm looking forward to reading yours next October.

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RedheadBarbie
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Post by RedheadBarbie » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:09 pm

In the name of laziness we didn't tape our gear and barely cleaned it every other day. None of the cameras have been sent for cleaning and I think one is still sitting in the bag from '08. We've not have any problems as of yet. Definitely don't change lenses outside and for dOG's sake, buy some lens cloths and canned air. I was at a media event on playa and none of us had a cloth on us. and

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mdmf007
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Post by mdmf007 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:28 pm

RedheadBarbie wrote:In the name of laziness we didn't tape our gear and barely cleaned it every other day. None of the cameras have been sent for cleaning and I think one is still sitting in the bag from '08. We've not have any problems as of yet. Definitely don't change lenses outside and for dOG's sake, buy some lens cloths and canned air. I was at a media event on playa and none of us had a cloth on us. and
Sounds like your the exception to the rule though!

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:47 pm

I've seen dust bags that use a filter on the lens and are a sort of baggie around the camera.
Is that the ewa stuff mentioned?
Some seem reasonable.

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phil
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Post by phil » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:05 pm

> I've seen dust bags that use a filter on the lens and are a sort
> of baggie around the camera.

Several people make them, but that sounds like an Ewa bag.

Here's a link to some photos:

http://www.keepitdrycase.com/ewraincap.html

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penguin
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Post by penguin » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:56 pm

Might be a bit of overkill (then again, maybe not) -- but what about a water-tight housing? I'd think the only real problem would be with changing the film (finding a dust-free place to open the housing). I'm thinking about shooting some 8mm and figured the safest way to go would be to use my underwater camera.

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CapSmashy
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Post by CapSmashy » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:09 pm

An underwater housing would be great, until you had to open it. :D
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Post by penguin » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:17 pm

CapSmashy wrote:An underwater housing would be great, until you had to open it. :D
Agreed -- I was thinking of packing the film (individually) in clear plastic bags, then dust/blow/rinse the camera off, stick it into the new bag that has the new film, then open the housing/camera and change the film inside the bag.

Not perfect, but I don't think I can fit a clean room into my luggage :wink:

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phil
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Post by phil » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:53 pm

> Might be a bit of overkill (then again, maybe not) -- but what about
> a water-tight housing?

I use water-tight housing on my cameras. I use both ewa bags and rigid plastic snorkeling housings. I don't use my Nikonos on the playa.

There are a couple of issues. The underwater housings themselves reflect sunlight. The ewa bags make it _very_ difficult to see the LCD screen of the camera through the dusty, shiny bag. If you have the sun behind you at all, the rounded bag will reflect it into your eyes. The contrast of the screen is an issue, too, with it inside the bag. Rigid housings let you move the camera around a bit more and get less reflection (because the case is flat), but dust on the housing makes the LCD hard to see.

Another problem is heat. Digital cameras get hot in the bag or case. I never used my film camera in waterproof housing, so I don't know if heat is an issue there from camera-generated heat. (I used an FM-2, so heat from the camera was never an issue.) However, you will need to be concerned about heat within the housing from sunshine, just like leaving the camera in your car.

You have to take the camera out to change film or memory cards, but that's much less exposure to dust than carrying the camera around in a bag. Waterproof bags let you laugh at the dust storms and keep taking very dramatic photos.

Ultimately, there's no real answer. Make your best choice, go with your camera, learn, make a better-informed judgment, go, learn, repeat.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:58 pm

Silly Penguin.
You can't use waterproof housings, because when you open them, the water will rush in and ruin the film.

This is what the rest of us use out there.

Image

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penguin
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Post by penguin » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:14 pm

[quote="gyre"]Silly Penguin.
You can't use waterproof housings, because when you open them, the water will rush in and ruin the film.[quote]

Hmm, good point. I guess if I had a tank of liquid nitrogen, I could first freeze the water...

Anyhow, more seriously, I have a feeling that the real issues are dust infiltration while in use and damage from heat/sun/dust. Hopefully no one is going to pop open their camera in the middle of a dust storm to change the film/memory card.

Or I guess one could go retro and just bring a sketch pad and some crayons.

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SnowBlind
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Post by SnowBlind » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:02 pm

Here's a couple of cool pictures of cameras post burn:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/2840320194/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/extramatic/3015088750/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/carnivillain/2827287540/

Makes you wanna reconsider, but then again, what do you have the camera for?

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Post by AKAparttime » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:26 pm

Have had my leica out there 6 times now, all I can say is unlode your
film in a car, keep the cap on , use can air before lodeing film.
I only use a 24mm...

~Parttime

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CapSmashy
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Post by CapSmashy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:48 am

SnowBlind wrote:Here's a couple of cool pictures of cameras post burn:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/2840320194/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/extramatic/3015088750/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/carnivillain/2827287540/

Makes you wanna reconsider, but then again, what do you have the camera for?
I've never had either of my DSLR's, the wife's point and shoot or video come anywhere close to getting that dirty. I see the pictures of people's cameras that get that dirty/dusty and wonder what they are doing with them. Do they leave them sitting out 24/7 to get them all dusty for "cool" points?
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carnivillain
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Post by carnivillain » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:10 pm

As "carnivillain," the owner of one of the cameras you posted above ( ) I would like to say that no, CapSmashy, I'm not trying to feel special or win style points for my camera being dusty. (I pay for that thing out of pocket, so it's in my best interest not to destroy it).

That is simply how dusty it gets through "normal" usage. I do not, however, baby it or anything out there. ("Normal" being 3,000+ photos in an environment such as Burning Man over 10 days).

Costly though it be, the advantage of professional equipment is that it's less likely to stop working in nasty conditions. It's counter-intuitive to bring [i]more[/i] expensive gear out there, but you actually have a better chance of not losing any equipment due to malfunction.

As to how it got that dusty?



or just watch the whole DPW movie "flipbook" I made (69 seconds long):


(And remember: I shot for 10 days out there. That's why it's that dusty). And I never had it cleaned. A month and 4,000 more photos later it looked as if it had never been out there. I encourage you to bring your camera out there and put it to use! That's why you have it after all, right? :)

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Post by Artemis » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:34 pm

cool flipbook, carnivillain

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Post by CapSmashy » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:26 pm

I shot for 10 days as well last year but only got about 2000 shots. I shot for 12 days in 2007 and came home with about 4000 though. SO yes, I use my equipment and I basically never go anywhere without at least one of them with me.

More to the point, I am well aware of HOW a camera can get that dirty at an event like Burning Man, the primary question I have is why would you let it?

Taking 10 minutes out of my day to blow it off and wipe it down would hardly constitute babying my equipment any more than changing the oil in my car would be babying the engine.

And not all of us have the luxury of being able to treat a several thousand dollar piece of equipment in such an uncaring manner.
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CapSmashy
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Post by CapSmashy » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:28 pm

Artemis wrote:cool flipbook, carnivillain
Yes, yes. Very nice work and great photos. :D
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Post by carnivillain » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:54 am

CapSmashy wrote:I am well aware of HOW a camera can get that dirty at an event like Burning Man, the primary question I have is why would you let it?

Taking 10 minutes out of my day to blow it off and wipe it down would hardly constitute babying my equipment any more than changing the oil in my car would be babying the engine.
But honestly, why bother? It'll just get dusty again in ten minutes. The dust on my camera there didn't affect performance: I kept the lens relatively clean and the sensor cleaned itself (antishake has additional benefits, it seems). I took a 3hp air compressor blower to it and my gear bags when I finally got home and had the luxury of a dust-free environment in which to work. Worked beautifully and was good-as-new.
CapSmashy wrote:And not all of us have the luxury of being able to treat a several thousand dollar piece of equipment in such an uncaring manner.
Oh don't believe for an instant I could afford to destroy this equipment -- "luxury" is no word I use in regard to any of this. ("Luxury" to me means a shower at the burn). My use of my equipment, and "dustification" thereof in no way constituted destruction. Seriously dude, it was fine. :D

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Post by Tristan » Sun May 03, 2009 4:23 am

Image
this is my CCD sensor after Burning Man

last year i had problems with one of my Tamron zoom lens: a lot of dust got in the lens, between the glass elements. I managed to remove most of it but i had to disassemble parts of that lens.
-- Tristan - http://www.playa-dust.com

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RedheadBarbie
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Post by RedheadBarbie » Sun May 03, 2009 5:54 pm

I'd like to mention life expectancy. I know I am on the back end of the life expectancy of anything I take, other than my vintage Diana. So if I lose it, it was about to die anyway.

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dewnorth
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Unlubed condoms as camera covers?

Post by dewnorth » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:56 am

Somewhere, I read a suggestion that unlubed condoms might make a good camera/electronic cover (with the opening taped to the edge of the UV filter). I was thinking of wiping the eqpt down with a fabric softener anti static sheet before applying the condom. And using anti-static bags (used for circuit boards) rather than regular ziplocks. Comments? Criticisms? (P.S., I'm pathetic and have no other use for condoms, based on my track record.)

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Post by Rusted Iron » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:42 pm

I take two cameras. My old trusty but not real great, for the windy dusty times. My great one for totally calm times.

Both live in zip lock bags inside of zippered bags, taken out only briefly, (but still taking hundreds more pictures than I know what to do with.) They are both still alive.

I'm thinking of creating a case with clear vinyl over the screen and an easy-on, easy-off cover for the lense. Something like that might be available, but I've never seen it.

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CAMERA CONDOM

Post by camp-photon » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:05 am

For SLR:

I'm a pro photographer and the best way I have found to protect gear and still have it be functional is plastic wrap and stretchy tape.


Use a rubber band around the front of the lens the extend the wrap back around the body. Tear a hole for the eyepiece and tape it snugly.

You the wrap to be a little loose so that you can adjust the dials.

Use a front UV lens filter and clean it off periodically.

When not in use put the camera in a bag. I have one strapped to my bike rack.

We will have the supplies in our camp for all to use.

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dewnorth
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Re: CAMERA CONDOM

Post by dewnorth » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:41 pm

camp-photon wrote:
"We will have the supplies in our camp for all to use."



Having camera protection supplies on hand for all to use is a great, very helpful way to gift that never dawned on me.

Thanks!

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