I have a Nikon D7100 (which does seem to suggest it has weather proofing), the stock lens (18-105), and the 35mm DX f1.8G prime lens. All are transported in weather proof carry cases.

I currently don't have any filters.

My question is simple (ish). My wife and I are off on holiday in a few weeks and we're travelling down the California coast line. I am planning on taking the camera with me to capture as much of the holiday as possible, so I wondered what kind of protection I would need for the camera/lenses bearing in mind that we'll be spending the vast majority of our time near the coast, and potentially a day whale watching (so in the presence of sand and salt water).

I have read lots of conflicting reports about filters and other methods of protection, but I worry that it will affect the picture quality.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Best regards,


  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It isn't a fragile collectors item meant to sit on a shelf to be admired. Get out and use it. Ignore the rest of the advice given here(so far) and shoot some pictures. Use common sense, don't submerge the camera, try to keep it dry and clean and you will be just fine. If you spend the trip worrying about trivial camera worries, you will miss shots and miss the trip! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jun 10, 2013 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ What @dpollitt said. Bring a few filters. It's quicker to swap them out if they get a little bit of spray on them than it is to stop and clean your front element. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blrfl
    Jun 10, 2013 at 14:48

4 Answers 4

  1. Most important - Don't let the camera come in direct contact with salt water or sand

  2. When you change lenses go indoors (even inside a closed car will do) to prevent airborne sand and water from entering the camera.

  3. When moving between cold (air conditioned) and hot areas put the camera in an airtight bag (or as close to airtight as you can, a closed camera bag is not ideal but not so bad) and let it warm up before exposing it to hot humid air (to avoid condensation)

  4. If you are in an area where your camera could get splashed a little you can make a "poor mans" water sealing with a plastic bag and a UV filter.

  5. If there's a lot of water or sand in the air (an area that is splashed constantly or a sand storm-ish situation) then it's probably time to put the camera away.

  6. Don't forget to enjoy the holiday, if protecting the camera stresses you out put it away in a sealed plastic bag inside you camera bag and forget about it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When you change lenses do you go indoors?! I can't image taking advice such as that while on vacation. My wife would probably leave me after a day into the trip. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jun 10, 2013 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ If there is salt water spray in the air I don't change lenses. Ditto for a dust storm. The salt water is much more destructive because of the corrosive effect on micro-electronics. The dust is just a real pain to clean out (usually over several cleaning cycles). \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jun 10, 2013 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt - on vacation I usually just use a large range zoom lens and almost never change lenses - not the best solution for image quality but "the wife factor" is more important to me than IQ \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Jun 10, 2013 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nir - That is a good point. The 18-200mm's and similar do have their place, and vacation with family is a great reason! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jun 10, 2013 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Point 6 is the most important one! \$\endgroup\$
    – user28169
    Jun 23, 2014 at 5:51

Make sure you don't drop it in the water! And keep it away from waves. Salt water absolutely destroys electronics. Beyond that, try to avoid changing lenses unnecessarily. You should still change lenses if you need to get a shot, no point carrying a big hulking SLR around if you're not going to do that!

In general, after spending a lot of time around particularly humid areas, I tend to send my camera in for (at least) a sensor clean, and possibly my lenses too. Fungus is the all-destroyer when it comes to camera equipment.

I'm not entirely sure how Nikon lenses work, but the high-end weatherproof Canon lenses require a filter to be "fully" sealed against the elements.

None of this stuff is going to affect the quality of your images, but will help your camera survive the trip and continue working after it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if you do not change lenses, an SLR offers plenty of advantages. Better high ISO, more depth of field control and (depending on the model) better AF performance. Different people shoot different things. (Comparison vs. compact or bridge camera.) \$\endgroup\$
    – DetlevCM
    Jun 10, 2013 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but you could get a large sensor compact and still retain all or most of those advantages. All I'm saying is that I would hate to miss that once in a lifetime shot because I was too concerned for my equipment . \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2013 at 15:26

I bring my D90 to the beach on summer and I always store it in my camera bag, in a big freezer-type ziplock bag. I bring several of those in case it get punctured or whatever.


The whale watching (and associated sea spray) is going to be the biggest risk. Make sure you are properly weather sealed and possibly consider a weather coat or light duty water proof bag for it might be worth it. The weather sealing should protect it as long as you keep the seal intact, but you never know what might happen (like getting hit with heavy amounts of salt water directly.)

As for the beach, really just be careful with it. Sure it is sensitive electronics, but it is also a tool. Use it, but be careful with it. If you don't set it in the sand or open it where there is excessive humidity and stuff in the air, then you should be fine. Just think about what you are doing and what you are subjecting it to and enjoy your vacation and get great photos of it.


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