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Old January 31st, 2004, 05:40 AM   #1
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Camera use under dirty conditions?

I plan to use my camera at the local motocross track this summer. The conditions are very dusty at times. Am I at risk of dirt getting inside the camera? Also I know I remember seeing a dust jacket or something like that for the GL2's and XL1s but I can't find the website know. Anyone know who sell's them? Are they worth it? Or are they a pain? Thanks in advance.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 07:46 AM   #2
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The cheapest solution is to wrap Saran Wrap around your cam, but leaving the lens, sensors and mic free; or using a plastic bag. The next solution is to get an all-weather case for it, though this may cost.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 07:46 AM   #3
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Dirt can kill a camera quickly if the proper precautions aren't taken. Here's what I have done in the past, cheap and quick and it works.
Take a 2 gallon plastic garbage bag, (like for a shredder or office waste basket) and put the camera inside cut an opening for the lens and mic (make them smaller so they fit really tight cut an opening for VF or LCD, use some sort of LCD hood and BAM! you are now among the millions who practice SAFE VIDEO.
Seriously it really works, I took a few to Hawaii for beach shots for my 150 and it worked great. Obviously the best is a real cam coat or something like it but the bags will work well. They also work well in the rain. BTW, I prefer the clear ones if only because then at least you can see the cam so people don't think you've just got your hands stuffed into a garbage bag. ;-0
Hope that helps,
Don
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:28 PM   #4
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Don, don't assume the fitted covers work better than your method. I taped dirt track auto races for a full season using a PortaBrace rain slicker, thinking that would keep the dust out, but just about every tape had some indication of head contamination. On top of that when the camera (XL1S) was sent in for annual tune up/cleaning, it cost over $500 to replace worn transport parts and clean the lens (grit in the zoom and focus rings).

The following season I built a plexiglas box that fully encloses the camera with only a hole in front for the lens to poke through and a door in back for inserting the camera and changing tapes. Since using the box, drop-outs and pixelation have all but disappeared and the camera stays completely dust free.

This method works well if you only shoot from a tripod. The plastic bag would work much better hand held. I'd be happy to post a picture if anyone is interested in how the box is constructed.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:35 PM   #5
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Hey Ed, the box really sounds slick. I could see how it might be a bit much to carry around handheld though but hey if it works...
I've been using the plastic bags for quite a while and the only time I use a real camera cover anymore is in the cold weather and since I try really hard NOT to go out in really cold weather like we're having in Chicago now, it's a moot point. :-). Anyway I'll keep that box in mind for futire reference.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 04:15 PM   #6
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I've always used plastic bags. I put the bag over the camera upside down (bag upside down, not the camera), tie it off at the bottom with a twistie, cut a hole for the lens and one for the viewfinder and tape it down securely.
I've thought about trying the ol' Saran Wrap trick, and I don't see why it wouldn't work. Be sure if you have to change tapes, go inside where it's clean.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:00 PM   #7
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You might also want to use the paper tape that is always used by the film guys to seal their film cassettes. Easy to remove and leaves no residue but you can seal the tape door to keep the transport fairly clean.

Besides the dust and the odd clod that can break a lens (use a UV filter) remember it is going to get hot out there in the sun. A camera shade is a good idea.

I had a pro camera viewfinder start smoking after working in the sun for an hour. Now I make certain the camera is shaded one way or another.

Were I to put it in a plex box, I'd think about providing some filtered ventilation. I don't know about the Canon's but I know my 150's get warm if I leave them on and put them into the camera bag (I know, I'm supposed to remove the batteries). But nothing like the hot my DSR-300 gets if I leave it on in the bag.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 07:04 AM   #8
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Hi Mike, I was concerned that heat might be a problem inside a closed box, so I mounted a digital thermometer inside just to keep tabs on it. If it's a hot day, it can get up to 100+ inside without the camera even being on. Of course around here, it gets over 100 outside the box on a regular basis, but 99% of the races where it's used are at night, which helps. There have been a couple of times that I had to open the door for a few minutes to get the temp down to a more comfortable level, but after a full year of use, it has worked very well with no ill effects suffered by the camera.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 08:21 AM   #9
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He could always Saran Wrap an ice pack to the bottom of the cam, if it's that hot in the summer.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 08:02 PM   #10
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Good idea. Or just clamp a couple of bits of dry ice on it :-))
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