Under the heading "Operating Environment", my camera syas:
Less than 85% (no condensation)
What does it actually mean? Does it mean that cannot be used in a air-conditioned environment?
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They are saying that the maximum "wetness" of the environment should be 85% relative humidity (RH).
As shown on the Psychrometric chart further down, 85% RH is an upper safety limit - air should usually be much dryer than this. At 85% RH you may need a drop in temperature of typically 5 to 10 degrees F to precipitate water out of the air. Not something you usually want to encourage.
Just cooling air will increase its RH (see below)
BUT cooling in an airconditioning system will usually decrease RH as the air is usually cooled so much that it comdenses water out of the air inside the air conditioner and then mixes the drier cold air with room air to produce a micture of lower RH than before.
Air can range from fully dry with no water content = 0% relative humidity (very rare) up to fully saturated with water vapor so that it cannot hold any more = 100% relative humidity.
The absolute amount of water in air at a given humidity will vary with temperature (among other things). As the air is cooled the relative humidity will rise. If temperature continues to fall a point will be reached where RH = 100% and below that temperature water will be "condensed out" as liquid water.
As 100% RH is approached any inhomogeneity in the air or temperature may result in some condensation at some locations so it is safe to stay away from the 100% boundary if it is desired to prevent any condensation occurring.
85% RH is a moderately safe upper limit if liquid water is to be prevented from being precipitated out of the air.
More information available on the technical aspects if desired.
100% RH can occur in clear air in a normal room or in open air.
In situations where air is relatively moist - possibly near sea or lakes or rivers or after rain, if temperature drops suddenly RH can go to 100% and condensation can occur.
The classic example is taking a camera from a warm room outside when the outside air temperature is much lower. The misting which instantaneously occurs is condensation from the air. Mechanisms can be discussed as it may not be intuitive.
Some "light reading" :-)
Consider the chart below. Some of the arrows are somewhat drunken and the graph is not quite square as supplied - minor details which don't affect the points being made.
This is called a "Psychrometric chart. This tells you more than you want to know about the relationships for moist air between water mass, air mass, temperature, Relative humidity, energy and a few more things. I'll simply explain how it relates to the current question without any explanation of the underlying issues. A very important point will come out of this.
Line A B C D is a line of constant mass of water per mass of dry air. ie during the path from A to D water is not added to or lost from the air.
Point A is the starting point - 98F (98 Fahrenheit) - follow blue arrow down to temperature scale, and 40% Relative Humidity (RH) . This means that the air only holds about 40% of the water it could at this temperature.
The air is now cooled and we follow the path B C D. At B the temperature is ~ 86 F, at C it's 76F and at D it's about 69F. As we go from A to D the RH increases. It's 60% at B, 80% at C and 100% at D. If we cool this air below 69F water will start condensing out.
You are unlikely to want this air inside your equipment when this happens.
A key point to note is that at 85 RH the temperature is about 75F.
Even the original 40% RH = low is only (98-69) = 29 F above condensation point.
The important points to note are:
Even quite dry air can result in liquid water condensation with quite modest drops in temperature.
While the specification sheet allows for 85% RH non condensing this is an absolute safety limit and RH should be kept much lower. At 85% RH a drop in temperature of around 7 F can cause condensation - even less under some other conditions. (eg about 4 degrees F drop at about 55F.)
Play with this:
It means do NOT operate the camera if the relative humidity is over 85%. Some water moisture may get inside and do bad stuff.
Note, you can easily cause a camera to be exposed to much higher relative humidity. Consider shooting in Alaska in the winter. You keep the camera, and yourself in a nice warm lodge. Inside the heated lodge, the RF is very low, maybe 10% Then you go out and shoot. The camera will cool down from the cold air (0 F is common) and the warm air that is inside the camera and lens, which was 10% is now colder but has the same water. The RH will skyrocket.
You can screw it up again, taking the cold camera into the lodge. All the water in the lodge air will condense on the camera.
It means when they did their humidity testing at 85%, they raised/lowered the temperature slowly to not cause any condensation during the test.
An environmental chamber has typically two set points, one for temperature and the other for humidity.
It achieves the humidity level by simply steaming clean water (as tap water can damage the equipment, but that's out of the scope of this discussion) and transfer it inside the chamber.
If the temperature rises or drops too quickly, it can cause condensation inside the chamber, which is not what the test engineers want (who knows what's gonna happen when the circuit boards are covered with dew), so they tested the circuits in a condition that has 85% humidity in the air, yet no water droplets present on the circuit boards.