Before we start thinking about how to store your camera gear, we need to know what things are bad for your camera gear.
What Things Can Damage Camera Gear?
Every photographer has different environments that result in different challenges. A wildlife photographer will clearly have different things to consider compared to a food photographer shooting in a studio.
Whatever your environment, you should know that the following things can damage your camera gear:
This is an obvious one and mainly comes down to using cheap gear or being clumsy.
Modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are well built and they can last a long time and endure the odd knock or two. But, they are not built to be thrown against walls or dropped on the floor as a regular occurrence.
The same applies to lenses and pretty much any piece of camera gear you own.
If you’ve shot on a windy day at the beach you’ll know why this is an issue. Dust and debris can get everywhere. When it is just on the surface of the lens it can be quite easy to remove with a dust blower and brush. This becomes much harder when you get dust on the sensor and harder still if it gets into other unreachable places in the camera body.
Avoid dust where you can and take steps to prevent it.
You want to avoid humidity and condensation where possible as this can lead to growth of fungus without you realising – thus causing all kinds of damage to your lens and/or camera body.
Of course there are cameras that are waterproof or weather sealed, but that doesn’t mean you should just leave them outside in the rain 24/7.
So to summarise, the main things to ensure safe storage of your camera gear is to avoid exposure to physical damage, humidity and dust.
How to Avoid Physical Damage When Storing Your Camera Gear at Home?
Just because your camera is at home does not mean it is not at risk of physical damage. The level of risk depends on who you are and what your household is like.
The main thing is to keep your gear somewhere where they won’t be knocked on the floor and where nothing can fall on top of them.
A solid option for this is to use a special case specifically for your camera or to use the camera bag that you normally use if you have one.
A stable elevated shelf can be a good choice. On the floor in the middle of a room with lighting stands all around them, not so good.
Don’t forget about tripods too.
Even if you are using a high quality tripod or stands for the camera, remember to consider that you could always knock the stand over by accident – especially if you tend to have lots of cables lying around!
Depending on your environment you could be more or less careful than others. If you have young kids or pets in the home then you may want your gear in a more secure location or where the camera can’t be accessed easily. Think a shelf, cupboard or locked drawer.
On the other hand if you are living alone then you know that you’re pretty much the only person that can put the camera gear at risk, so use your own judgement.
Note* If you are putting your camera in a drawer then don’t be too aggressive opening and closing the drawer because the camera gear can slide around and knock against the insides of the drawer. To take extra precautions, you can put something down in the drawer to cushion the bottom and the sides.
How to Avoid Dust When Storing Your Camera at Home?
This one mainly requires common sense and just being good at keeping a house clean. But just don’t keep your gear in dusty areas of the home. Keep it enclosed where possible e.g. in a clean drawer, case or camera bag.
As a general rule of thumb, carpeted rooms will tend to get dustier than non carpeted rooms and just following general cleaning practices will keep dust at bay.
Putting your camera on a shelf full of old dusty books probably isn’t the best idea. Neither is it a good idea to shove your gear in a drawer of old dusty clothes that you haven’t worn in a long time. That’s where the dust mites hang out!
How to Avoid Humidity When Storing Your Camera at Home?
Keep your camera in a room with low moisture and low levels of temperature changes. What does this mean? Well for starters, don’t leave your camera in the bathroom, but that should be fairly obvious.
But why does temperature change matter?
Well condensation tends to occur when there is a large temperature change in a short period of time. For example, when you move your camera or lens from a cold place to a warm place or the other way around.
If you live in a fairly warm part of the world then you’ll know what we mean. When you go from a room with air conditioning to the warm temperature outside, glass tends to fog up – resulting in foggy lenses. This can also occur if you live in a really cold place and you step out from a well heated house into cold temperatures outdoors.
You can predict this by checking the dew point. The dew point temperature is the temperature at which water vapour will form from the air because the temperature is too cold.
We won’t go into too much detail with this, but consider these two examples.
1. You wear glasses and you’re in a hot tropical country. You’re in an air conditioned building blasting you with cool air. You step outside and your glasses fog up with condensation.
2. You’re outside in a cold country on a really cold day. You sigh a breath of warm air and you can see the water vapour in the air as the warm air from your body makes contact with the cool air outside.
To avoid condensation on your equipment at home, try to keep your camera gear in an area where the temperature will not change much. Avoid places like garages where temperatures can change quite drastically depending on where you live. Also, you can use a camera bag or case as an extra layer of insulation to keep the temperature of your gear more constant.
Most places around the house can be fine if you use common sense. For example, keep your gear away from large heat sources like boilers, heaters etc. Also, don’t put them in silly places like the bathroom or kitchen!
Of course the better insulated your gear is from temperature changes the less you have to worry about where in the house it is.
So you know what types of places you should keep your camera to keep them away from humidity, but what else can you do to keep them nice and dry.
How Else Can I Keep My Camera Gear Dry at Home?
Quick Summary : Get some desiccant packets, stick a few in a plastic storage container. Put your gear in and close the lid. Read on for more details.
An easy fix for moisture is to use desiccators and/or plastic bins.
Desiccators are just moisture absorbents like those silica gel packets that you get in a box of new shoes.
Just get a few and stick them in with your camera gear in the same drawer or in your camera bag. Just remember to replace them when they have expired.
Plastic Storage Bins/ Drawers
Plastic storage bins are useful because they are more moisture resistant compared to other materials like wood. Wiping them down is really easy too if they need a clean.
You can also make sure that they are air tight compared to other types of storage like open shelves. If you are using desiccators just out in the open they won’t be of much help because of the airflow. Any moisture being absorbed by the desiccators will just get replaced by more moist air.
But if you have your gear in an air tight bin with a desiccator to absorb moisture then it won’t go to waste. There are plenty online, but you can easily find them at local home stores like IKEA. Make sure to compare the sizes to what gear you have before buying.
A similar alternative is to use plastic drawers like these as you can use the drawers for other things around the house or even for your smaller cables and accessories. Just note that they won’t be as air tight as a a container with a lid.
If you really want, you can line your storage bins or drawers with some foam padding.
The tips so far will probably be enough for most people, but if you want to really step it up a level or if you live in a seriously humid house then you can get a dry cabinet.
What Is a Dry Cabinet and Why Should I Use it for My Camera Gear?
Dry cabinets are more of a professional grade solution, and they are very affordable considering how efficient they are at keeping your expensive gear safe.
At the end of the day, it gives you peace of mind that your gear is literally being stored in perfect conditions.
It will be especially useful for people that struggle with keeping a constant temperature or live in a region with high humidity levels.
The dry cabinets you can get range from simple small cabinets to large cabinets with cool LED lights and fingerprint scanners.
Here are two options you can go for depending on the amount of gear you have. You can click on the links to check out the current price and availability on Amazon.
30L Capacity Dry Cabinet – Best for a budget and if you have a limited amount of gear.
125L Capacity Dry Cabinet – Best if you have more gear. It’s also great if you know you are going to expand the amount of gear you have.
Hopefully this post has given you some tips on how to keep your gear safe at home.
Here’s a quick summary so you don’t forget:
- Don’t let your camera get knocked about
- Keep your gear away from dust
- Keep your gear dry
If you liked this post then check out the following post below where one of the accessories will help keep your gear in tip top shape.