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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Camera Gear Storage

Proper Gear storage is essential, storing gear improperly can lead to devastating damage to delicate equipment such as lenses...  Environmental conditions such as humidity that is too high can lead to fungus forming and growing on an inner lens elements!  The fungus actually feeds on the special coatings on the elements, eventually if left unchecked destroying the optical quality of the lens!  Depending on where you live this problem can be worse than some drier areas, but all precautions should be taken to protect your valuable investment!  STACK-ON makes a very nice gun safe that can be transformed into a perfect safe spot for camera gear storage!  Not just from theft, but environmental conditions as well!  On the theft point, once locked, it's not coming open!  Slide bolts hold the door sealed shut!  Worried about someone carting off the entire safe, forget about it!  This thing weights 550Lbs..... EMPTY!

Inside the safe it can be fully re-arranged from storing guns, to storing your delicate camera gear!  Lots of room inside for climate controlled storage...  Some of the worst places to store your gear is actually left inside a camera bag.  Things can't breathe very well inside those and humidity can also be a problem.  Inside a leather or fabric bag fungus can happen, and small desiccant pouches do very little to help this problem.  They saturate very quickly with moisture, and in short order they can actually be a source for moisture in your camera bag.  The best storage for gear is on a shelf in the open air, which is what essentially this safe provides...  With lots of space you can put everything into one secure area, and know where it is!  I have also equipped this safe with Dri-Rods, two 12 inch rods that are plugged in and produce a continuous low heat that constantly run and dry the air inside the safe.  They cost virtually nothing to run, because they are only 8watts each, and last practically forever!  You can see them at the bottom in this picture to the right attached to the back...

The carpeted shelves and inside make for a nice interior, and my cameras are always ready to go at a moments notice!  In the back corner I have a STACK-ON cordless humidifier, and also have equipped the safe with 4 compact florescent lights that help burn up the humidity if it happens to get really bad.  On average though I do use them very much, but they are there if I feel I need them.  All the electrical has been routed up through the bottom of the safe where 2 small holes have been left that allow you to bolt the safe to the floor if you wanted to..  But for my purposes they came in very handy to route my electrical needs, from which I mounted a power bar to one of the interior sides to plug in the lights and the Dri-Rods..

As mentioned earlier it is always best to store lenses in an open air environment.  Storage inside camera bags, and even inside original OEM boxes should be avoided for the long term.  Remember Fungus likes an environment where humidity reaches levels above 60%, and couple that with a dark and airless storage environment, and you could be setting yourself up for a real headache!  Once fungus gets into a lens, it's very difficult, and very expensive to get rid of.  Once on an element it destroys the coating, so in the very least even if you do get it cleaned and manage to remove the fungus, there's the real possibility of some marring left on the glass where the fungus was.  Also remember, fungus spores are tiny, you can't see them, so there is a real possibility of it coming back given the conditions fungus like to grow in.

Temperature and humidity levels can be monitored easily with help from a digital gauge like this Honeywell.  It also doesn't hurt to have more than one, located at different levels because the humidity will vary somewhat.  The Dri-Rods I have located on the bottom of the safe create a dry wall of air the circulates it around, and that makes humidity levels vary slightly at different levels, but in my safe it seems pretty stable through out.  I am usually reading a stable humidity level of 40-50% which is perfect for camera gear.  It's reading 53% in the picture only because I had the door open for few minutes to take pictures.  The protection this safe offers in comparison to just the normal house humidity is 10-25% !!  This is a huge improvement, and some piece of mind that your gear is stored properly in an environment that is controlled...

STACK-ON also makes these great cordless Dehumidifiers which once saturated with moisture are completely rechargeable simply by plugging into the wall!  They heat up and dry the desiccant crystals and after 8 hours, they are ready to go back in and do their job!  I use two of these units, one at the bottom and one at the top.  They retail for about $30 and are well worth the cost being totally re-usable!
Well I guess that concludes this edition!!  I hope someone finds this helpful in protecting their valuable camera investment...


  1. Very nice Derek. You can keep your photography gear,guns,and all that money you got in one place :)

    1. You can store anything you like in these! Sky is the limit really.. They are also fireproof, and have a water sealed rating as well. Canadian Tire is a source for these if anyone is interested...

  2. Secure, neat and nifty in storing lenses and gear. I like!

  3. Nice I also share with you something hope this helpful for you my friends. Storage is closely aligned to its evil cousin, clutter. When it is neat and accessible, storage can be a joy. If you choose to live with minimal objects on show, it is essential. But you don’t want to spend your life putting things in boxes. Here is my 10-step guide to storage sanity. Check it out thanks.
    Sydney self storage