If you’re here, chances are you’ve spotted water or moisture inside your camera lens. It may appear as a layer of fog or tiny droplets of water around the lens. This normally happens due to condensation as a result of changes in air temperature or humidity.
Condensation occurs as easily as taking your non-weather sealed camera from a cool environment such as your house into a hot area or vice versa. Another common way moisture becomes trapped in the lens is when water gets into direct contact with your camera as a result of rain or being on a wet surface. If any of these happen, it’s likely not the end of your camera lens. In fact, condensation does not ruin your camera lens because there is no source of electricity in that area.
However, a build-up of condensation over a long period of time can lead to the growth of mold and fungus. Mold and fungus formation can be a serious setback since they grow in the inner elements of the camera lens that you can’t get to without disassembling the entire lens. This can cause serious damage to the internal workings of your equipment, such as feeding on the lens coating. Therefore, you need to act fast before things go from bad to worse. Below we have covered some of the tried and true methods for removing moisture from your camera lens.
1. Use silica gel
Silica gel is a mix of water and silica — the main component in sand. You’ve probably come across silica gel packets in shoe boxes, bags, or other gadgets. Brands use them to keep their products at the perfect humidity. The silica gel absorbs water from moist air, keeping the products from becoming damp. Basically, silica dries out anything around it.
If you do not have silica gel packets in your house, don’t worry. They are inexpensive, and you can buy them online or from supermarkets and retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, or Home Depot. Now that you have an understanding of the basic properties of silica gel, here’s how you can remove water from your camera lens using silica gel packets.
- Fresh silica gel packets/ pouches
- Zip bag / plastic bag / airtight container
Step 1: Put the silica gel in the bag or container.
Step 2: Disassemble your camera lens from the camera.
Step 3: Place the camera lens inside the bag or container (place the lens with the front element facing down).
Step 4: Seal it tightly to avoid air from getting in the bag or container.
Step 5: Leave the bag or container in a warm area for approximately 50+ hours for the gel to completely absorb the water from the lens.
Although silica gel is an effective solution, it may not work properly at times. This mainly happens when the silica gel packets are already exhausted before using them. In this condition, they will no longer remove the moisture or dry out the camera lens. If this happens, you can pop the silica gel in an oven to bake out the moisture. Another alternative is to buy fresh silica gel packets from the store.
2. Use uncooked rice
Raw rice has the capacity to absorb a good deal of moisture. Its hygroscopic nature makes it a useful desiccant (a substance that absorbs water) for removing water from a camera lens. Now, let’s enter the practical world of how to remove water from your camera lens using rice.
- An airtight bag or container
- Uncooked rice
Step 1: Place the camera lens face down in the bag or container
Step 2: Add 3-4 cups of uncooked rice to the bag or container.
Step 3: Leave it for a few days (preferably 2-3 days) for the rice to completely absorb the water.
You need to keep in mind that rice only absorbs moisture when the vapor pressure inside the grain is lower than what is outside. Therefore, ensure that you seal the bag or container tightly for it to work effectively.
Related Read: How to Remove Scratches from Camera Lens
3. Place your lens in direct sunlight
If you find that neither of the above methods works for you, there is another option – but one that is a bit risky. You can put your camera lens in the sun for a while. The sun will soak the water or moisture from the inner elements of the lens. However, there’s a catch.
Placing your camera lens in sunlight for extended periods of time is not recommended. It can cause irreversible damage to the internal parts of the lens such as the iris. The lens might magnify and multiply the sun’s intensity on your camera’s internals. Furthermore, you risk destroying the camera’s shutter curtains and sensors. In some cases, the camera may even begin to rust if it hasn’t already.
4. Get expert help
Unfortunately, the above steps won’t have a 100% success rate, particularly in the case of muddy, salty, or otherwise impure water getting into your lens.
Getting professional help is a surefire way to get water out of your camera lens. Professionals will give your lens an extensive check and find the best possible ways to defog and reverse any damage.
Although it may be costly, you will have your camera lens fixed within no time and won’t have to worry about causing further damage to your lens. Alternatively, if you have a warranty for your equipment, you can send it to the manufacturer.
You might be tempted to use other ways of defogging or removing water from your lens such as heating it in your oven, microwave, or even turning on the air conditioning in your car. This poses a significant risk of harm to your lens, as the heat can pull the oil out of the lens bearing, damaging the iris. Repairing this will cost an arm and a leg, so it’s best to avoid methods not mentioned above.
Although it doesn’t take much moisture to ruin your lens, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If any of the above DIY methods don’t work, ensure you take it to a professional to avoid further damage. Doing so will get you back to capturing amazing moments at the lowest price possible.