Recently I lost several of my filters (UVs, ND and CPL) to fungus and my Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens also has a bit of fungus and needs to be cleaned. This rather expensive lesson has taught me the need of keeping photography equipment safe in storage and has prompted me to take a hard look at what was wrong with my earlier approach.
For past 3 years, I had been keeping all my photographic equipment stored in various photography bags, which went into an overcrowded cabinet. Room itself was humid with a desert cooler running for 12-14 hours a day, add to that, this year Delhi had received pretty good rainfall. So even though I never stopped using my gear for more than 2-3 weeks, situation was ideal for fungus to develop.
To ensure this does not happen again in future, I ordered Eva Dry E333, rechargeable dehumidifier from Amazon US (now available in India), after reading several rave reviews of it on Amazon. While I had to shell out quite a bit of money to get it imported into India (twice the US cost), it will likely last for next 7-8 years (comes with 5 year warranty, 10 year claimed lifespan), so I guess it is money well spent.
Since this is a fairly small and portable dehumidifier, which only weighs few hundred grams and does not require electricity or batteries to run (you just need recharge it, after it soaks up maximum moisture it can), it is best kept in an air tight cabinet or box.
Initially I thought of using a metal trunk to store my gear. However, it wasn’t air tight and lenses and bodies in it would have been at risk of getting damaged, in case of a fall. Even though I had the option of buying a large enough air tight plastic container from market, it too wouldn’t have been safe for storing photography gear, especially for my rough and careless usage. So I decided to spend more and bought Vanguard’s Supreme 46D Hard Case from Flipkart.
Vanguard Supreme 46D is a photography Hard Case and has the following features, “O-ring Sealed, Waterproof (Upto a Depth of 16.5 f / 5 m), Airtight, Built to Withstand Extreme Conditions (-40° C to 95° C), Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve for Airline Travel, Ability to Support upto 265 lbs / 120 kg, Anti-slip Rubber Feet, Extra Durability, Thick, Quick-release Latches Lock, Pad Locks for Added Security, Supreme 40D Includes a Soft Removable Divider Bag, Easy Customization, Soft Divider Bag Organizes Gear and Doubles as Stand-alone Bag, Steel Reinforced Lock Holders”.
It has enough capacity to not only store all my photography equipment, but also 2-3 large lenses in future (once I manage to properly organize it). Here is how it looks like at the moment.
While I am still waiting for my basic Hygrometer to arrive from China, for now this setup seems to be working well and everything feels dry and secure. Beauty of this setup is, I can take the dehumidifier with me on trips, since it easily fits inside my Lowepro Flipside 400AW and Vanguard Supreme 46D should be great for traveling, once I accumulate enough photography equipment to necessitate traveling in a car or having a backup vehicle, till then, it should happily sit at home.
Update: It has been around a year since I got this setup and I am happy, that it has worked wonderfully this monsoon season. No sign of fungus so far and humidity inside to case was maintained to around 50% throughout the season.