Ways to Salvage a Wet Camera – by Lauren Phillips

It’s a photographer’s worst nightmare; your favorite camera has become wet from unexpected rain or an unforeseen accident. Unfortunately, cameras that get wet usually become non-functioning cameras. However, there are a few things you can try before giving up on your favorite toy. After all, it’s better to make certain the camera can’t be salvaged before spending hundreds (or thousands) on a new one. Hopefully you will never have this happen to you, but if it does, try out the following tricks before declaring your camera dead.

First, you must start trying to dry your camera as soon as possible. Use a cloth or towel to dry the outside of the camera. Then, remove the battery and memory card from their compartments. Dry the batter and memory card with a dry cloth or towel.

Next, you must try to dry the inside of your camera. There are two proven, popular methods for doing this. The first method requires you to fill a plastic, airtight, sealable bag with rice. Place the camera in the bag; making sure that all parts are covered in rice. Seal the bag and leave the camera to dry for 24 hours. The rice helps absorb the water. This method is the cheaper alternative.

The second method used for drying the inside of a camera involves placing silica packs in a plastic, airtight, sealable bag. Place the camera in the bag; making sure no silica touches the camera. Seal the bag and leave the camera to dry for 24 hours. Most silica packs are already designed so that the silica will not come in contact with any outside objects. Silica packs also absorb water and can be purchased at hardware stores and some camera shops.

A lesser used method is using a hair dryer to dry the inside of the camera. You should use this method with caution, as the heat from the hair dryer could further damage your camera. If you are outside in the rain when your camera gets wet, find a dry area fast. If that dry area happens to be your car, use the air conditioning to blow dry air inside the battery and memory card compartments. Get your camera into a sealable bag with rice or silica packs as soon as possible.

After the 24 hours period, remove your camera from the bag. Place the battery back in its compartment and test to see if the camera will turn on. If it does, take a few test shots (water can damage the lens, aperture and other parts of the camera). If the photos look fine, you should be in the clear. If they do not (or your camera won’t turn on at all), chances are your camera cannot be salvaged and you will need to purchase a new one.

Lauren Phillips has been a professional event photographer for 16 years and also owns the site Photography Degrees. She likes to write articles about everything photography.

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As of today, Photography Chronicles is proud to announce that it now has its very own “guest contributors” corner! Talks are under way with 3-4 people, different photographers, different backgrounds, different visions, different motivations. They will all pitch in from time to time, some with regularity, some not, but they will always share with you what they have best: their valuable experience. So stay tuned, I will let you know more as soon as things get going. Bye for now 🙂

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