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I have a Tokina ATX AF116 DXII S - 11-16 mm F2.8 AT-X (II) 116 Pro DX for Sony and I recently ruined my Sony α65 through a salt water wave which caught me out during a storm photoshoot.

Weeks later, when I switch on the camera I can see liveview through the viewfinder and on screen wherever I point the camera. But after three seconds it shows "Screen Error" on a black screen so nothing further can be done.

I have sent it away along with the camera for a possible repair. Although they opened up the camera and wrote it off, they stated they couldn't open the lens but wrote it off anyway due to salt water damage as it would be too expensive to send away and have it done properly. Anyway having replaced my camera with an α77 II, my question is: would it be ok to try the Tokina lens on the new camera to see if it works? Or could it possibly damage the new camera?

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It could damage the new camera, but if everything is dry it's quite unlikely. But if you're risk-averse don't try it.

If there are or were any signs of salt water having got inside the optics it will be ruined optically anyway, so there's no point testing. Unless the lens is worth quite a bit it might be worth the test, but not if the camera is expensive.

I run canon kit and have a very old body that I would risk to test a lens. If you could pick up a compatible body second hand for much less than the cost of a new lens it might be worth it for testing. Even a body with a known but irrelevant fault could serve this purpose.

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My experience with saltwater damage is from my family business in an electronics repair shop where we handled board-level repairs for major manufacturers (including Sony & Panasonic.) The consensus always was from us, the manufacturers, and independent insurers that once we confirm a device has had saltwater in it then it is immediately "beyond repair".

There are a few reasons... as a repairer you simply cannot guarantee that the device will work once it's had saltwater in it. The way salt affects corrosion means that if a device passes testing in the morning you does not guarantee that it still might in the afternoon. Repairers simply won't take the risk when the device might be back in their hands the vey next day.

Typically though you can wash it off, the true saltwater damage is rarely visible to the naked eye. Circuits are very fine so any corrosion issues don't need to be especially large (or even visible to the naked eye) to cause either a broken or short circuit may occur and there's no way for a repairer to spot it.

When you look at the potential damage that might come from the failure-mode of the lens it is the kind of damage that could take out your replacement body. If you can afford the risk that you have a ticking time-bomb on your hands that means you may have to replace the body (again) and the lens the very next time you use them (or it may be fine for years) then by all means go for it, but personally I'd chalk it up to experience and replace it now.

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