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Hi Everyone:

On a recent trip, I had a mis-hap with my digital camera. I was able to resuscitate it, and I thought I would share this info.

While we were travelling in Quetico Provincial Park, my son picked up my camera to take a shot and dropped it in a stream. He reached down and scooped it up as soon as possible, but the damage was done; it was very wet. I pulled the battery and memory card, and shook it out. But the LCD screen had condensation around all of the edges and some water too. I left it in the air when we weren’t canoeing, and even tried to dry it in the sun (with some protection to prevent overheating) but no go. As soon as the camera cooled the water inside would again condense on the inside of the LCD screen. I was afraid to power it up. When we got off the water I started shopping for desiccant (silica gel). I couldn’t find any in Ely, MN (there was none to be had even in the shoes on sale; camera store was closed, etc.).

Upon return home I did get a pack of desiccant and I heated it in the oven at 225F to expel moisture, and then popped the camera with doors open and the gel pack into a plastic bag. With a straw I sucked out as much of the air as I could and sealed the bag with the camera and desiccant inside. After about an hour, I removed the desiccant pack and reheated it to again dispel moisture. I then put desiccant and camera in the bag, sucked out the air and let it sit. I repeated the process again and again. This went on for two days. Finally the LCD was clear of moisture and I gingerly inserted the battery pack.

The camera powered up OK, but there was moisture visible inside the lens. Using the zoom function I extended the lens as far as possible and then pulled the battery, leaving the lens extended. I then gently shook the camera, rapping it against my palm so as to dislodge moisture droplets from the inside of the lens. I repeated the procedure of heating of the desiccant, placed the camera and desiccant in the bag and evacuated the air using the straw. I repeated this over and over for another day. I then powered up the camera, and it performed fine! Of course, the stream we dropped the camera in was very clean and that may have been of help as no or little residue was left behind in the process of evaporating the water.

I just returned from a trip in which I took 1500 photos; the camera and images had no distinguishable flaws.

So I was able to save the camera.

Regards,

Dar Wood
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Oh man. Two great photography boards. Loving it.
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So I was able to save the camera.

who saved your son?

cliff
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Hi Cliff:

When my son scooped the camera out of the water, he was feeling really awful. When I heard the splash and his “Oh S__t” my first reaction was to blurt an expletive, but instead I took a deep breath and turned around. My worst fears were confirmed. After he retrieved the camera, he apologized and using all of the fortitude I could muster I stepped closer, locked eyes with him and said: "Don't worry, hardware can be replaced! It’s not the important thing."

I meant it. We were on a trip we had been talking about for 10 years, and planning since last fall. (My sons are in their 20s).

So I regretted that my camera was out of commission and I dreaded replacing it. I was also concerned that the memory card was damaged, and I had lost all of those photos.

As it turned out, I lost nothing and gained a lot!

We talk about that trip with enthusiasm and this camera episode had become part of the family lore and a part of that adventure.

Dar Wood
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We talk about that trip with enthusiasm and this camera episode had become part of the family lore and a part of that adventure.

I'm sure your son felt terrible. Looks like you truly made lemonade out of lemons.

great story. very informative post.

cliff
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That reminds me of an old story, at best this is probably more of urban legend than a true story;

A young photographer gets a job as an assistant with a well known photographer on a big wilderness trip.

While they are on a river a large camera bag with expensive equipment falls overboard into the churning water.

The assistant jumps overboard to retrieve the bag and with much difficulty he gets it and is swimming back to the boat where the veteran photographer is hold the boat steady with the oars. When he gets close to the boat, the boat suddenly shifts in the current and hits him on the head. He drops the bag.

He again with difficulty he retrieves the bag, and the same thing happens, WACK and he drops the bag again. Again he retrieves it and the same thing happens.

Finally he barely makes it to shore and collapses in exhaustion without the bag.

That evening he is apologizing for not being able to retrieve bag when the veteran photographer says; “That’s OK, it was insured against loss, but not for water damage, for a while there I was afraid that you would actually be able to get it back in the boat.”

Greg
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