In the world of photography, understanding how to properly store camera lenses is an essential skill for any budding photographer. These precious pieces of equipment, even the more affordable ones, can cost a pretty penny. Needless to say, damaging your lenses can be a harsh blow to both your wallet and your creative aspirations.
But fear not, for in this guide we shall embark on a journey to discover the secrets of lens storage, ensuring that your equipment remains in pristine condition. As they say, prevention is worth a thousand cures, and dealing with the aftermath of water damage or the invasion of pesky dust particles is far from a pleasant experience. Trust me, I’ve been there.
So gather ’round, fellow enthusiasts, as we delve into the realm of lens storage tips that will safeguard your valuable gear. Remember, the better you care for your lenses, the greater their long-term value will be. But perhaps you’re already grappling with the unfortunate consequences of neglect – fret not, for we shall also unveil the wonders of rectifying water damage and the stubborn presence of fungi.
Prepare to be enlightened, captivated, and empowered as we embark on this voyage, where education meets storytelling, and the preservation of your photographic dreams hangs in the balance. Together, we shall unlock the secrets to keeping your lenses safe, sound, and ready to capture the wonders of the world.
Check out our guide here.
- Proper lens storage is crucial to protect your valuable camera equipment from damage and maintain its performance.
- The main enemies of lenses include moisture, extreme temperatures, dust, and tension/pressure.
- Moisture can cause significant damage, so prioritize keeping your storage environment dry.
- Extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations can lead to condensation and electronic circuit issues.
- Dust particles can enter lenses, leading to deterioration in optical performance, and can combine with moisture to promote fungal growth.
- Tension and pressure, both internal and external, should be minimized to avoid damage.
- A dry cabinet is a recommended option for professionals or enthusiasts with a substantial investment in camera gear, as it provides dehumidifying storage to protect equipment.
- The Ruggard Electronic Dry Cabinet (80L) and Forspark Camera Dehumidifying Dry Cabinet (125L) are examples of dry cabinets with different capacities.
- For hobbyists, Pelican cases offer affordable and portable storage options, reducing moisture and dust exposure.
- Silica gel or desiccants can be used to lower humidity levels in storage areas, but they are not as effective as specialized dry cabinets.
- Storing lenses with the aperture ring closed down to the smallest setting reduces tension on the lens.
- Consider storing lenses with the front element facing downward on a level and padded surface to prevent oil displacement.
- Choose a storage location with low humidity, minimal dust, padded and level surfaces, and consistent non-extreme temperatures.
- Regularly clean and maintain your storage area to ensure a suitable environment for lens storage.
Before we dive into the details, we wanted to make a video recommendation. This overview from Chris Winter on YouTube is fantastic in our opinion. Check it out:
In this section, we’ll explore the main things that can damage lenses and how to avoid them when storing your gear.
In order to store your lenses properly, it’s worth understanding the main things that can cause lens damage and impact your kit’s performance. Check out our overview below.
Moisture is probably the number one cause of lens damage for most people. This can come from rain when shooting outdoors, but it can also come from humidity in the air. Condensation from quickly changing ambient temperatures is another common culprit.
Once water has entered your lens, you’re looking at a big headache in terms of repairs and replacements. This means that any storage method you use should prioritize keeping things nice and dry.
Extreme temperatures and sudden temperature changes are not great for the overall health of your lenses. Movements between hot and cold temperatures can cause unwanted condensation.
What’s more, electronic circuits can short when placed in extreme conditions. Camera sensors in particular are very sensitive parts of your gear. Your storage environment should maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature.
Dust is another big thorn in the photographer’s side. Tiny particulates can easily make their way into the body of your lenses. Once this happens, the optical performance of your equipment can quickly deteriorate.
Once you throw moisture into this mix, things only get worse. Fungus spores are fairly common in some household dust. They remain dormant until they make contact with water, at which point they begin to spread.
When storing your lenses, dust should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Tension and pressure both from inside and outside your lenses can cause inconvenient damages if you’re not careful. Springs and similar mechanisms within your gear can put undue pressure on the unit.
Storing your lenses underneath heavy objects is also a bad idea. The pressure and potential for collisions here are far from ideal. The glass in most lenses is reasonably hard-wearing, but it’s best not to test its strength if you can avoid it.
Tension and pressure should be reduced wherever possible.
We’ll jump into some more general tips a bit further down the page. For most people, these should be more than enough. If you’re a professional or enthusiast, however, you’ve likely already invested thousands of dollars into your equipment.
If this sounds like you, it’s worth considering something called a dry cabinet. These are essentially dehumidifying storage units that are designed to keep electrical equipment safe for extended periods of time.
They’re not super cheap, but they can save you hundreds in the long run and offer a substantial amount of peace of mind. Check out our recommendations below.
This option from Ruggard is a great example of what we’re talking about here. This dry cabinet comes with a roomy 80L capacity which should be more than enough for most people. You’ll be able to fit in a couple of cameras and accompanying lenses with ease.
Your gear will be kept nice and dry thanks to this unit’s dehumidifying design. Dust and similar debris will also be kept at bay by this cabinet’s airtight construction.
At less than $300, this might be a compelling option for some professionals out there.
- Reasonably priced
- Anti-moisture design
- 80L capacity
If you’re someone with a ton of camera equipment, the listing above probably isn’t going to cut it. For more sizable collections, you’ll want something like this 125L cabinet from Forspark.
This thing has a ton of room for even the largest camera collections. As with the cabinet described above, everything will be kept nice and dry and dust and other contaminants kept safely away from your gear.
It’s not the cheapest product in the world, but for professional photographers, it might just be worth it.
- Excellent dehumidifying features
- Massive 125L capacity
- Works quickly and efficiency
But what if you’re just a hobbyist wondering how to store camera lenses? If this sounds like you, a dry cabinet will probably be overkill. The tips below are designed to help you maintain the value of your gear for many years to come. Read on to learn more.
The springs and small mechanical elements of your lenses can place your gear under a lot of tension. When you’re not using your camera, this tension is useless and can even cause long-term damage.
When storing your lenses, close your aperture ring down to its smallest setting possible. This will help to reduce the amount of pressure placed on your lens when not in use.
Pelican cases are a slightly more affordable and portable version of a dry cabinet. They can’t actively reduce humidity, but they can certainly reduce the amount of moisture and dust that make their way onto your gear.
Cases like this one do a fantastic job and are relatively easy to pick up online.
You know those little ‘do not eat’ sachets that come with a lot of electronic products? These silica gel sachets offer a budget-friendly way to reduce the humidity of your storage environment.
Remember that while this kind of solution will reduce humidity to a degree, it’s far from the best option out there.
As long as your storage surface is level (and ideally, padded), it’s a good idea to store your lenses with the front elements facing down. This prevents the oils on your aperture blades from slipping to where they’re not supposed to be.
The location you choose to store your lenses is critical. Ideally, any area you choose should have all of the following:
- Low humidity
- Very little dust
- Padded and level surfaces
- A consistent, non-extreme temperature
It’s a good idea to vacuum and dust your storage area regularly. Take great care that this doesn’t displace dust onto your gear.
As we reach the end of our lens storage journey, we sincerely hope that the tips we’ve shared on this page have been valuable to you. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer on a budget or a seasoned professional, there are options aplenty to safeguard your lenses and keep them in pristine condition.
For most individuals, a budget-friendly pelican case can work wonders in providing adequate protection. Its sturdy construction and customizable foam inserts make it a reliable choice. However, if you find yourself shooting professionally, it might be worth considering a high-quality dry cabinet for your home. These specialized cabinets maintain optimal humidity levels, ensuring your lenses remain safe from moisture-related woes.
Now, the choice is yours. Select the method that aligns with your needs and circumstances, knowing that you have taken a step towards preserving the longevity of your photographic tools.
As we bid adieu, we invite you to contemplate the incredible journey that lies ahead. Each lens holds the potential to capture breathtaking moments, evoke emotions, and tell stories that transcend time. Cherishing and caring for these valuable companions is not just an act of preservation, but a testament to our passion for the art of photography.
May your lenses continue to bear witness to the beauty of the world, capturing moments that will be treasured for years to come. Embrace the power of preservation, and let your creativity soar through the lens.