Cameras and salt water

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Grian
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Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

Would like to use my Fuji for photos on the water as well as on land but definitely don't want to kill it! Notwithstanding the risk of dropping it in the water and splashes, if operated with towel dried hands are the traces of salt likely to cause harm?

Would this be any different if it were a 'weatherproof' body and lens? The difference being they have seals to prevent moisture ingress, but that won't protect the external parts from corrosion...

Thanks. Because I don't know about everyone else, but with these promising signs of spring I am thinking about camping!

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by chillipepper »

traces of salt can be quite harmful, even to a camera with weatherproof sealing.. primarily because as drops of salt water that may have worked their way into seals dry out the formation of salt crystals can degrade the sealing until ultimately they fail - salt crystals are quite abrasive and there's an expansion process that happens as they form. Mark Rainsley, I believe, protects his SLR from wet hands with some sort of silicon armour that stops wet hands causing water to get in around buttons and so on.

Something else you can do, and I did this with an old GF1 before getting a housing for my X100s, is to put it inside a sealable clear plastic bag.. ziplok or the like. Stretch the bag across the lens filter then screw in a cheap rubber hood to lock the bag into the filter seals then trim out the circle of plastic bag over the lens using a scalpel. It's a bit of a hack but worked well for keeping drops of water off the camera. the camera then lived in a dry bag between my knees together with a towel for drying hands, soaking up splashes. Granted it meant opening the cockpit to use the camera but for calmish waters it was OK.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Jim »

I've never had an issue with any of my Nikon SLR or DSLRs with salt corroson, the external parts are however largely rubber and plastic coated - off hand the only metal bits I can think of are the stainless eyes for the strap and the hotshoe.

I did kill a D80 body through total immersion in fresh water (for a couple of hours), and killed the speedlight on an F65 with a big fresh water splash (rest of the body works fine), and I have a D3100 that refuses to autofocus (keeps hunting backwards and forwards) - I have cracked the screen on that so may be impact damage rather than moisture related. Again the D3100 is fine if focussed manually so I use it for astrophotography now where I generally tape the lens at infinity anyway...

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

Thanks guys, I think I will go for a waterproof housing - quite a bit of metal on my camera exterior. Hopefully not too much impact on image quality.

Good tip about making a cover, might do that for wet weather on land.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Psamathe »

I've no idea about salt water though I suspect much would depend on the build quality of the camera. For many years I took and used my Olympus OM-1 on offshore sailing boats and it got drenched and never even hiccuped. When I was travelling Central American rainforest through the rainy seasons I took my Olympus OM-1 as a backup to my more electronic Olympus OM-4 though it was not needed as the OM-4 handled the damp/downpours/humidity/etc. without any issues.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Chris Bolton »

I've sent you a PM, Grian

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

Impressive that the Olympuses (Olympi?) were not affected and sounds like some epic adventures with them. I reckon I will still play it safe, I'd be the exception who's camera controls rusted off after the first trip for sure.

Thanks for the pm Chris.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Hi Grian I use a number of different cameras and unfortunately the more expensive magnesium bodied ones are most likely to be damaged by salt water on your hands and spray in the air. I use a microfibre cloth to dry my hands before I take the camera out of its bag. On a day trip I probably get through about 3 micro fibre cloths. At the end of the day I dampen a fresh microfibre cloth and thoroughly wipe the external surface of the camera to getb rid of salt. The external areas most likely to corrode are where stainless steel screws are in contact with the magnesium body. I dab a little Corrosion Guard (like waxoyl but dries) onto the head of each screw.

Also beware of taking a cold camera into a warm, humid room. You will get condensation which will also affect the internal components of the camera. Over the years I have destroyed a 5D Mk2 by dropping it into a sea water rock pool. I have had to replace the processor in a couple of cameras probably related to condensation issues. Basically I like using a full size DSLR on a kayak and am willing to accept the risk of damage. I also have an Olympus TG4 and a Sony RX100M3 but the ergonomics of these are terrible and you really can't compose a photo properly without an optical viewfinder and you miss the action shots. Waterproof camera cases invariably increase flare and are big and bulky.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

Thanks Douglas. With all the controls on external magnesium dials it would probably be difficult to clean or protect my camera in that way... A fancy bag it is then.

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This guy has managed well with the same housing I intend to use https://www.justinleephotos.com/blog/20 ... r-is-swell. Be nice to have better image quality, my results with waterproof cameras just weren't all that good though people in this forum seem to be more successful with them.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by CharlieS »

I use an old Canon 40D bought from ebay at a price where I hoped killing the camera would be sad rather than devastating.
I follow the waterproof deck bag and towel system recommended by others. Over several years of splashes and drips the only negative effect was some white marks where the camera strap meets the camera body -the strap had obviously got damp and held some salt water there.

Then, at Duncansby Head in the summer this was the last photo it ever took. Image

I got it back in the bag before the wave in the photo hit, but I wasn't quick enough with the zip so the wave joined the camera in the bag.

On landing I retrieved the handy bag of rice that I had with me and did everything I could to rescue the camera. Sadly the rice bag and the kayak had a leak and it spent the next week sitting in salt-soaked rice inside a dry bag. By the time I got home I had made sake.

After camera-death I was limited to a mobile phone for photos. At my level of camera skill I'm unconvinced by the difference in quality. Here's one of the SLR photos I'm most happy with (the sunset), followed by a mobile phone one (the hammock).

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Psamathe »

CharlieS wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:15 am
......
After camera-death I was limited to a mobile phone for photos. At my level of camera skill I'm unconvinced by the difference in quality.....
I'm very un-impressed by the quality of photos from my mobile phone. It's not the resolution/pixels/etc, but rather the default exposure. The information is there but they always need a lot of adjustments when uploaded into Lightroom. As taken by the phone image useless but after significant tweaks can be fine. iPhone 5S so old but not massively out of date (for a light sensor).

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

I like to be able to vary depth of field so a manual camera is necessary. Also my iPhone photos just don’t really have any character. I like a bit of a filmic look. No doubt down to operator shortcomings as loads of people take fantastic pictures and video with their phones. As illustrated by CharlieS - I love that hammock shot, so idyllic and atmospheric.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by asmar »

Hi all,

I've tried over the years many different things as here in Crete, Greece with the very strong sun all compact cameras failed miserable to deliver even a little bit decent quality in pictures.

Cameras with housing are simply not easy to store and use them. The buttons are huge and is difficult to mount it somehow to the deck. Even if you find a way, the drops will be over the front part producing unusable photos.

Last season I've order a custom NDK boat with a front hatch which is 100% dry. I then made a tiny foam case to put in place my Nikon 1 J5. All I'm doing is opening the hatch and just take straight away the camera without drying my hands etc. The J5 is tiny, even with the wide lens (which cost a small fortune) and fits perfect producing some really good pictures as a quick alternative to a DSLR.
You can see a small example in this link from a recent 5 days trip https://www.flickr.com/photos/enjoycret ... 0074457672

So far I took more than 10k photos with it with no problems. I'm cleaning the camera however after each trip carefully to remove any salt.

When sea gets rough and water goes above the hatch I usually carry the camera in one of the smallest pelican case which works also very good. In this case I got the camera inside my cockpit.

When carrying my DSLR (a Nikon D7500 with a big lens) I use the Ortlieb aqua bag which fits perfect the camera and my bigger/longer lens in terms of size (18-300). The Ortlieb bag is more or less the same size of the Pelican case and it doesn't bother you when paddling (I have it inside the cockpit).
You can see some shots with it in this link https://www.flickr.com/photos/enjoycret ... 2994655304

and a 3 photos panorama all hand held from a trip a few days ago:

Image by Enjoy Crete, on Flickr


When things get very rough I use a gopro.

Before the above setup I had a Nikon D3000 which I've used about 2 years. During those years I took more or less about 20k photos, all from kayak. When I sold the camera it looked like it was part of the sea from the corrosion but it was working fine!

I had also the chance to test an Olympus TG-4 recently and even its raw files are a way worst than the cheapest DSLR.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Arthur »

I wouldn't bother with an expensive camera for kayaking trips. Almost any dedicated modern waterproof camera will do the job. I think we need to be honest about this... otherwise we all end up with 50mpx DSLRs for taking what are effectively snapshots.

FWIW, I use a pair of Fuji X-T1s for work, but I'd consider myself lucky to get anything other than decent snapshots while out kayaking... really nice shots aren't too difficult to achieve when you happen to be in the right place at the right time, but really great photography has to be planned and worked for and is usually only a lucky by-product if doing something else.

I disagree with Douglas... there are no downsides to the latest electronic viewfinders compared to optical. I too was a Luddite (sorry D!) until I looked through the electronic viewfinder of a Fuji to find a whole new world. DSLRs are in the dark ages in comparison... I sold a Nikon D810 for my X-T1s and have not looked back. Sorry, but I can get somewhat evangelistic about this... bees, bonnets and all that! ;-)
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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by PhilAyr »

Arthur wrote :
I disagree with Douglas... there are no downsides to the latest electronic viewfinders compared to optical.
Admittedly they have improved over the last few years but I wouldn't go as far as to say that there are no downsides !

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/New ... News=19961

In any case I much prefer to look at a real time representation of the scene through the viewfinder than a pixel version.. Call me a luddite but its just a personal choice !

As for LCD screens on point and shoot cameras... Please don't go there, especially on bright sunny days !

kind regards

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Psamathe »

PhilAyr wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:04 pm
.....
As for LCD screens on point and shoot cameras... Please don't go there, especially on bright sunny days !
.....
I've no experience of camera LCD screens but certainly I find my smartphone camera difficult in any sunlight - difficult to see exactly what the "camera" framing/composition actually is from the screen.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Arthur »

PhilAyr wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:04 pm
Admittedly they have improved over the last few years but I wouldn't go as far as to say that there are no downsides !
I'm just talking from the 'real world' experience of someone who earns about 25% of his living as a professional photographer - not what I read on internet forums. ;-)

Case in point. That Digital P1cture C0mpany guy (a Canon DSLR fanboy, btw) ends by saying: 'Better still is the talk of a hybrid viewfinder being introduced.' Where has he been for the last six or seven years? Fuji introduced hybrid viewfinders in about 2011.

Anyway, getting a bit off topic. Happy kayography everyone.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Mark R »

I was mentioned somewhere above...the stuff I use is called 'camera armor' (sic) and is just a partial rubber cover for my SLR. Better than nothing.

Lie Douglas, I take my nicest toys on the water with me, and just chance my luck whenever I remove it from the Watershed drybag. One of these days I will drop my SLR and £700 lens in the sea, and I will swear loudly and extensively. In the mean time, I whip it out whenever and wherever...

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

Lovely shot Mark!

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by CharlieS »

Something to be said for cases:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-43579098

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

CharlieS wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:17 am
Something to be said for cases:

<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http:/ ... 098</span>
Thats pretty impressive! I hope if I drop mine it is equally well protected.

I tried the Dicapac case this week and it certainly seemed to keep the camera sealed from the elements, I could adjust both aperture and shutter speed with a bit of difficulty, and the plastic cover over the lens didn't really affect image quality while it was dry...
It was pretty hard to see the lcd screen clearly though - has a crystal clear display normally - and I didn't figure out how to deal with water droplets on the lens-cover so in the end I unscrewed it for some shots, which partly defeated the purpose, but at least I wasn't touching metal controls with salty hands.
Undecided whether it is worth using, or just to take the camera in a dry bag for use on land and stick with the iPhone on the water - it produced the best picture of the trip in the end, dammit.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by Grian »

asmar wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:51 pm
Hi all,

I've tried over the years many different things as here in Crete, Greece with the very strong sun all compact cameras failed miserable to deliver even a little bit decent quality in pictures.

Cameras with housing are simply not easy to store and use them. The buttons are huge and is difficult to mount it somehow to the deck. Even if you find a way, the drops will be over the front part producing unusable photos.

Last season I've order a custom NDK boat with a front hatch which is 100% dry. I then made a tiny foam case to put in place my Nikon 1 J5. All I'm doing is opening the hatch and just take straight away the camera without drying my hands etc. The J5 is tiny, even with the wide lens (which cost a small fortune) and fits perfect producing some really good pictures as a quick alternative to a DSLR.
You can see a small example in this link from a recent 5 days trip https://www.flickr.com/photos/enjoycret ... 0074457672

So far I took more than 10k photos with it with no problems. I'm cleaning the camera however after each trip carefully to remove any salt.

When sea gets rough and water goes above the hatch I usually carry the camera in one of the smallest pelican case which works also very good. In this case I got the camera inside my cockpit.

When carrying my DSLR (a Nikon D7500 with a big lens) I use the Ortlieb aqua bag which fits perfect the camera and my bigger/longer lens in terms of size (18-300). The Ortlieb bag is more or less the same size of the Pelican case and it doesn't bother you when paddling (I have it inside the cockpit).
You can see some shots with it in this link https://www.flickr.com/photos/enjoycret ... 2994655304

and a 3 photos panorama all hand held from a trip a few days ago:

Image by Enjoy Crete, on Flickr


When things get very rough I use a gopro.

Before the above setup I had a Nikon D3000 which I've used about 2 years. During those years I took more or less about 20k photos, all from kayak. When I sold the camera it looked like it was part of the sea from the corrosion but it was working fine!

I had also the chance to test an Olympus TG-4 recently and even its raw files are a way worst than the cheapest DSLR.
@asmar your images from both cameras are really great. I like those from the J5 a lot. Interesting your handling it with salty hands and no harm done. Just as you said, the waterproof case gets drops on it and then they are in the shot.

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Re: Cameras and salt water

Post by asmar »

Thank you Grian.
I bought a silicon case for the J5 for this season which on a trip I did 2 days ago I had the chance to test it and seems to absorve most of the drops/salty water. When I remove it after the trip to clean the camera it was barely any drop on the body.

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