OK, I did something very very stupid. I know it. I just wasn't thinking. :( In a nutshell, I didn't follow the advice here: How do I prevent condensation on a lens when outdoors?

So it's a very hot and humid day here... 95 °F (= 35 °C) and 70% humidity... the heat index is hanging around 110. I'm inside in a well air conditioned building, my camera was sitting in it's bag, very close to the air conditioner (dumb placement, I know) so it is very cold. I just grabbed it and walked out side to get a shot of a bird. The lens fogged up almost immediately. I then realized my stupidity and came back inside. After drying the front element of the lens, and the lcd and the view finder eyepiece, I sighted out a shot and realized it's still fogged, so the internal surfaces are too. :(

How best can I recover from this incident without condensation damage to the camera? (I've already powered it down and pulled the battery.) Should I take the lens off? (this is a 5D2 with an L series lens)

2 Answers 2


Cameras handle worse conditions all the time. Chances are very good you just had condensation on the inside of your lens or on the sensor itself. Let it be for a few hours and try again. I wouldn't take the lens off yet, because if the sensor is wet from condensation you'll have a higher chance of having dust adhere to it. If it isn't clear in a few hours, let the gear sit overnight in normal temperature.

If you end up with an image that is still foggy then, remove your lens and see if you've damaged your lens by having condensation inside the barrel of the lens. If that's the case, it'll probably be time to replace it unless you happen to be under warranty (and they'll cover it).

If the lens is clear, or your images seem to have permanent marks on them, you may have gotten dust stuck to your sensor when it was humidified and need to clean it. I can highly recommend Sensor Swabs by Photographic Solutions. You'll have to verify which "type" your camera sensor needs. If uncomfortable with this, you may need to visit your local camera service center.

  • 1
    Very good point about not taking the lens off while there was a chance that the sensor is covered in condensation... that's exactly what I was worried about. So far (2 hours later) it's almost back to normal.
    – cabbey
    Jul 1, 2011 at 23:10
  • I know of no camera manufacturer that covers any kind of damage due to moisture under warranty.
    – Michael C
    Nov 21, 2018 at 1:14

Typically, for removing moisture from things in general, burying it in rice is well known advice. I have no idea how well this would or wouldn't work for a camera, however.

  • I keep a pair of silica gell packets in my camera bag normally anyway, so they're both sitting right next to it on the table, one in front of the lens and one under the joint between the lens and the body.
    – cabbey
    Jul 1, 2011 at 23:12
  • 3
    A response I got offline from a friend points out that rice is great for electronics, but NOT for optics, as it tends to dust surfaces with a microscopic coat of dust.
    – cabbey
    Jul 5, 2011 at 16:07

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