The only relevant "dust" references in my holiday camera manual are:

Do not store or use the camera in locations that are:
very humid or extremely dusty


Build up of dust in your camera can cause fire or electric shock.

I wonder if using compact cameras (i.e. without interchangeable lenses) but with a zoom lens in a dusty environment can consequently cause stains on images similar to DSLRs or other problems?

I'm specifically asking on zoom lens cameras where the telescopic part can gather dust/pollen/... and then folds into the camera body.

Zoom lens compact camera example

  • 1
    I'm not sure the answer, but I suspect the risk of fire from dust on a camera is over estimated by some.
    – A.K.
    Jun 2, 2015 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


Yes, it does happen, although much less likely than on a DSLR or mirrorless. On the other hand, when it does, your only choice is to send it to the manufacturer.

There are two ultra-zooms that are weather-sealed with special build to reduce the amount of dust and moisture entering and a number of waterproof cameras which are completely sealed where the zoom operates internally.


As an avid mistreater of compact cameras, I can attest that dust can get into the lens via the gaps between the telescoping sections. I noticed this to a disturbing degree after hanging out of a car window for an extended time shooting in the direction of movement... it only dawned on me afterwards that this is the equivalent of being in a windstorm where all of the wind is blowing directly into that gap in the lens. Don't do that. :/

These days I try to remember to wipe as much dust off the lens tubes as I can before retracting the lens in dusty conditions.


On start up most cameras extend their lenses. They extend even more when zooming. Effectively the camera is increasing its air volume as it zooms and decreases it as it retracts. The air for this increase in volume is drawn in around the telescoping lens sections drawing in dust. Some cameras have better dust seals than others. I was put off from buying a Panasonic Lumix LX100 because of complaints about dust. My guess is that cameras with fixed prime lenses such as the Fujifilm XT100T may be natively more resistant to this problem.

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