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I've recently been getting into whitewater rafting and have been using my GoPro on my trips. However, over time condensation will slowly build up inside the waterproof casing and obscure the lens (usually because I end up in the water).

Since I'm in an environment where water is present, I'd rather not use the open back casing nor do I want to open up the casing to equalize the temperature between the interior and exterior of the casing. What can I do to prevent fogging within the GoPro case when I take it out on the water?

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4 Answers 4

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What can I do to prevent fogging within the GoPro case when I take it out on the water?

An important assumption that you must confirm is that the condensation is due to moisture present inside the canera at sealing time and is NOT caused by water ingress during operation. IF the camera is sucking in water then you have a pronlem that must be repaired.

If the condensation is due to moisture in the air in the camera it usually occurs because the outer is cooled to below the dew point of the injternal air. You overcome this by lowering the dw point of the internal air, which you do by drying it.

You can dry air with a dessicant OR by cooling it to below its dew point so that water precipitates out. So ...

Some mix of:

1 - Use a desiccant inside the camera. silica gel is one. There are others available commercially. Wikipedia is useful They note -

  • . Some commonly used desiccants are: silica gel, activated charcoal, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, montmorillonite clay, and molecular sieves. I have been very impressed with both Montmorillonite_clay and Calcium Chloride.. Both of these can make a mess by liberating liquid water after capture if arranged poorly BUT a properly designed system can capture and retain far more water than you should have inside your housing.

2 - Close case when air is as cold as possible (low RH for a given situation). If you seal the case at home or in an environment when power is available you could use a modest peltier cooler to achieve lower temperatures than you will otherwise be likey to get.

3 - Use dry air when sealing. eg pump air though a dessicant with a squeeze bulb or similar and flush inside of camera with this air before sealing. Doing this when the air is cool is a bonus.


Choice 1 can be used in conjunction with others.

Choice 3 is arguably the most "real" one as it provides air that is as dry as you can reasonably make it. Even better if it is cool when sealed as the RH will drop as the temperature rises.

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sounds like the simplest solution would be to leave the case and camera open in the fridge for a few hours, then open the fridge door and quickly snap the case shut, capturing a bubble of nice dry air. –  Matt Grum Jul 12 '12 at 15:40

This is pretty common for the GoPro underwater housing. One of the larger GoPro dealers actually has custom made inserts that help with the issue. They call them GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts. This is the description:

Prevent your camera's housing from fogging, even in cold temperatures/humid environments. Great value and performance: includes 3 sets of anti-fog inserts. Each set lasts 4-5 uses and can be dried in an oven (3 minutes) and used again.

enter image description here

In my personal experience, this is just something you learn to live with for the GoPro. It isn't perfect, but I just try to acclimate the unit to the water for a time before my adventure. I've done snorkeling, scuba, swimming, and rafting this way. If you are having trouble with the outside lens fogging up, wipe some Vaseline to prevent that issue.

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+1: Used these in Thailand during the monsoon season (moist air) and had no trouble with fogging –  WW. Jul 22 '12 at 8:37

If there is room inside the case a good option would be to place a silica gel pack inside. The silica gel will lower the moisture level inside the case, which will help to prevent condensation.

You can also get reusable packs that can be baked to renew. Look for "indicating silica gel" (Example).

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The casing is pretty tight as is (to hold the camera in place) so it'd have to be pretty thin. I'll check it out though and give it a try. Thanks! –  Matt Chan Jul 12 '12 at 14:12
    
This is the same stuff that you find in shoe boxes... it comes in many shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find something. –  chills42 Jul 12 '12 at 14:20

The official anti-fog inserts work well, but are easy to lose during a quick change. And never at an easy time to replace them. At a fix, I've overcome fogging on a number of adventures in South East Asia by simply tearing off strips of tissue paper. For a recent dirtbike trip up into the mountains of Cambodia, the fogging got particularly bad, and we were out of inserts. We ended up simply tearing up some of the local currency and packing the front, sides and back with it.

Not an ideal fix, but it worked, presumably with the conditions being such that the moisture vapour was more readily absorbed into the porous material then they were to condense on the lens dome of the case.

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