Several times during Hurricane Sandy my cameras and lenses ended up soaked in rain and salt-water. Working out in the open for the duration of the storm, I never really had the chance to clean and dry my gear as I should have, and weather-protective bags only provided so much coverage in such a humid environment. The D3 is fairly weather sealed, but that type of protection only goes so far. Water can seep in through the hot-shoe mount, the D-pad or the battery door and can cause extremely serious long-term damage to your camera.
One solution I’ve used in the field and found to be effective is to carry around a large bag filled with dry rice. If your camera ends up dunked or doused in water, immediately remove the battery, make sure the body cap is firmly in place and seal the camera inside the bag. The rice acts as a desiccant and can literally suck the moisture out of the body, but this can cause problems. Even with the body cap and battery door firmly sealed you’re more than likely to find a large number of dust spots on your sensor. Lingering drops of moisture can also cause problems when and where you least expect them. In lenses water can seep between lens elements and cause fungus and mold which, when left unchecked, can permanently etch your glass.
Thankfully, a company called BRNO has recently released the dri+Cap system which goes a long way towards protecting your gear. The system consists of lens and body caps containing silica packets which easily absorbs water and moisture, preventing the development of fungus, rust or mold. When the packets reach their saturation point, they can easily be replaced. The best part is that, unlike DIY solutions such as rice, there’s no dust or residue left on the sensor when you’re done. It’s such a simple and elegant design that I can’t help but wonder why nobody’s thought of this before.
During the storm, my Tokina 16-28 2.8 developed a permanent haze from moisture that seeped in. During this storm this made the lens all but unusable; a true nightmare when you’re on the job. Even after the storm, the haze lingered and became more apparent whenever I left from a cool environment to a warmer one. I recently placed a testing sample of the dri+Cap on the back of the lens and left it in place over a 24 hour period. Near as I can tell, the haze has disappeared, saving me from having to spend hundreds of dollars by sending it back to Tokina for repairs.
For photographers who work in wet or humid environments, I can’t suggest these caps highly enough.