Most cameras are sturdy enough to cope with a tiny splash of drizzle now and then, but it’s always best to dry off the outside with a clean cloth as quickly as possible and prevent them from getting any more damp. And while some cameras, like the rugged semi-pro Canon 7d, are built to withstand shooting in more extreme conditions, it’s always a good idea to take the following precautions if you should have your camera with you when you find yourself caught in a monsoon, have to leap into a river to save a drowning kitten, or spill a pint over everything.
- Firstly, make sure your camera is turned off. Don’t turn it on to check it’s working, or check any of the functions. If there's any moisture inside the camera, any electric signals could cause major damage.
- Take out the battery and memory card and, if it’s connected to a power supply or computer, unplug it. Gently dry the battery and memory card with a cloth. Check the battery compartment - if there’s any moisture in there, remove it with the dry cloth.
- Remove any moisture from the outside of the camera with a dry cloth and, if you’re still in wet conditions, keep it well covered until you can get to a dry place.
- Remove any lenses or attachments and open any doors on your camera. Check to see if you can spot any moisture anywhere and carefully mop it up.
- Place the camera somewhere warm and dry for at least twelve hours, preferably at least a day or two, to allow any hidden moisture to dry out. If you have any silica gel packets, put them in a covered box with the camera. Alternatively, many people place their camera in a large, sealed, container part filled with raw, dry, rice.
- Give your camera a very comprehensive check for moisture before attempting to turn it on again. Even if the camera seems to be working fine, it is a good idea to take it to a reputable camera repair specialist for a check-up to make sure the water left no residue or did any hidden damage.
- The faster you act, the more likely you are to save your camera and the data on the memory card.
- If the camera got wet through salty or dirty water, do not attempt to turn it on or dry the camera. Salt and dirt can be corrosive and can cause major problems if they dry inside your device. Contact a dedicated camera repair specialist straight away.
- Never attempt to dry your camera in the microwave.
Fast action and careful attention can resuscitate a drowned camera.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.