I'm going to start a new project soon, "People in bars". I think it will be fun, and I think I'll capture a lot of interesting faces.

The thing is, bars are harsh environments for DSLRs. Obviously, there's protecting the camera from someone bumping into you, attempting to beat you with it, spilling a drink on it, and so on.

However, what will all of the smoke do to my lenses and sensor?

Normally, I would just use a discreet prime, but I don't think I'm going to be able to get the shots I want without making myself overly conspicuous. I'm considering my 18-105 or possibly 18-70mm, but those things suck in air (and smoke) as your adjust the focal length.

I'm guessing the same problem exists when shooting in some industrial settings. How do you protect your camera and lenses from excessive airborne pollutants?

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ You could move to a city where smoking isn't allowed in bars. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


At least higher-end DSLR bodies and lenses have dust seals around controls, so if you're using one of those and avoid changing lenses in lot of smoke you should be fine.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the Nikon D-40 and D-90 aren't sealed .. I think only the magnesium bodies are sealed, as far as Nikon goes? I'm still worried about the zoom 'breathing' that air in and out of the camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Post
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Depending on how long your project will last, you might want to consider renting a sealed pro body and a sealed pro lens. You certainly wouldn't want someone to beat you with them, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 13:59

Apart from following che's advice and relying on the build quality of the kit/not changing lenses, the only other thing I can think of is to use something like an underwater kit to enclose the camera completely! Undoubtedly overkill for your project, though.


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