Another question on here revealed the dangers of photography in a desert environment.

What about windy places? Is there a wind speed after which you risk lens damage from particulate impact?

I don't recall seeing any such warnings in my lenses' manuals....

  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm - thanks for the link addition, but I don't understand why you stretched my ... to .... -- who uses 4 dots? \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew
    Feb 10, 2012 at 3:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ By accident. :) However, depending on your style guide, it's correct to use four dots at the end of a sentence when no other sentence follows. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Feb 10, 2012 at 3:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget that when the wind gets strong enough, it can topple your tripod. That'll damage your lens way faster than sand in the wind. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 14, 2012 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


The concern with wind-driven sand (or other material) is not so much with impact to the glass (using a hood will mitigate everything but a direct-to-the-face sand-blasting), but with the tiny particulate matter getting inside of the lens and camera (and to some extent into filter threads and hood attachment mechanisms). This is a danger even at very low wind speeds. And, even if you are using a weather-sealed lens/camera combo, there is a danger of getting sand or whatever inside your camera when you change lenses. I've had grit get under focus/zoom rings as well and it sounds horrible though I've not experienced any lingering problems as a result.

If you're planning to be out in the wind, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • use a lens hood/shade (a good idea anyway)
  • use a lens/camera rain cover or wrap
  • carry a small soft brush and use that to somewhat vigorously brush off everything: the lens (except the glass!), camera, your hands — anything that's going to be near the opening — prior to changing lenses. And when you do change, obviously you're going to want to be out of the wind if at all possible.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Be careful with brushes on your lens. Only use special brushes that are made for lens cleaning, any other brushes are to rough and will leave micro scratches on the lens that will reduce the image quality on the long run. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael K
    Feb 10, 2012 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right, thanks. I edited my answer to clarify. You probably don't want to use a brush on the glass surfaces. \$\endgroup\$
    – djangodude
    Feb 10, 2012 at 15:01

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