Knowing how to store camera lenses is one of the most important bits of knowledge for a new photographer to get to grips with. Even the more budget-friendly camera accessories cost hundreds of dollars. Damaging your equipment isn’t exactly kind to your wallet.
As with most unwanted things in life, prevention is miles better than fixing things after the fact. Dealing with things like water damage and dust breaches is no fun – trust us. On this page, we’ll explore lens storage tips to help you keep your equipment in tip top condition.
After all, the better condition your lens is in, the more value it will retain over time!
Are things too late for your lenses? Wondering how to fix things like water and fungus damage? Check out our guide here.
Our Camera Lens Storing Guide
Before we dive into the details, we wanted to make a video recommendation. This overview from Chris Winter on YouTube is fantastic in our opinion. Check it out:
In this section, we’ll explore the main things that can damage lenses and how to avoid them when storing your gear.
The Main ‘Lens Enemies’
In order to store your lenses properly, it’s worth understanding the main things that can cause lens damage and impact your kit’s performance. Check out our overview below.
Moisture is probably the number one cause of lens damage for most people. This can come from rain when shooting outdoors, but it can also come from humidity in the air. Condensation from quickly changing ambient temperatures is another common culprit.
Once water has entered your lens, you’re looking at a big headache in terms of repairs and replacements. This means that any storage method you use should prioritize keeping things nice and dry.
Extreme temperatures and sudden temperature changes are not great for the overall health of your lenses. Movements between hot and cold temperatures can cause unwanted condensation.
What’s more, electronic circuits can short when placed in extreme conditions. Camera sensors in particular are very sensitive parts of your gear. Your storage environment should maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature.
Dust is another big thorn in the photographer’s side. Tiny particulates can easily make their way into the body of your lenses. Once this happens, the optical performance of your equipment can quickly deteriorate.
Once you throw moisture into this mix, things only get worse. Fungus spores are fairly common in some household dust. They remain dormant until they make contact with water, at which point they begin to spread.
When storing your lenses, dust should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Tension and Pressure
Tension and pressure both from inside and outside your lenses can cause inconvenient damages if you’re not careful. Springs and similar mechanisms within your gear can put undue pressure on the unit.
Storing your lenses underneath heavy objects is also a bad idea. The pressure and potential for collisions here are far from ideal. The glass in most lenses is reasonably hard-wearing, but it’s best not to test its strength if you can avoid it.
Tension and pressure should be reduced wherever possible.
The Pro-Grade Approach
We’ll jump into some more general tips a bit further down the page. For most people, these should be more than enough. If you’re a professional or enthusiast, however, you’ve likely already invested thousands of dollars into your equipment.
If this sounds like you, it’s worth considering something called a dry cabinet. These are essentially dehumidifying storage units that are designed to keep electrical equipment safe for extended periods of time.
They’re not super cheap, but they can save you hundreds in the long run and offer a substantial amount of peace of mind. Check out our recommendations below.
Ruggard Electronic Dry Cabinet (80L)
This option from Ruggard is a great example of what we’re talking about here. This dry cabinet comes with a roomy 80L capacity which should be more than enough for most people. You’ll be able to fit in a couple of cameras and accompanying lenses with ease.
Your gear will be kept nice and dry thanks to this unit’s dehumidifying design. Dust and similar debris will also be kept at bay by this cabinet’s airtight construction.
At less than $300, this might be a compelling option for some professionals out there.
Why We Love it:
- Reasonably priced
- Anti-moisture design
- 80L capacity
Forspark Camera Dehumidifying Dry Cabinet 125L
If you’re someone with a ton of camera equipment, the listing above probably isn’t going to cut it. For more sizable collections, you’ll want something like this 125L cabinet from Forspark.
This thing has a ton of room for even the largest camera collections. As with the cabinet described above, everything will be kept nice and dry and dust and other contaminants kept safely away from your gear.
It’s not the cheapest product in the world, but for professional photographers, it might just be worth it.
Why We Love it:
- Excellent dehumidifying features
- Massive 125L capacity
- Works quickly and efficiency
General Lens Storage Tips
But what if you’re just a hobbyist wondering how to store camera lenses? If this sounds like you, a dry cabinet will probably be overkill. The tips below are designed to help you maintain the value of your gear for many years to come. Read on to learn more.
Close to the Smallest F-Stop Possible
The springs and small mechanical elements of your lenses can place your gear under a lot of tension. When you’re not using your camera, this tension is useless and can even cause long-term damage.
When storing your lenses, close your aperture ring down to its smallest setting possible. This will help to reduce the amount of pressure placed on your lens when not in use.
Pelican cases are a slightly more affordable and portable version of a dry cabinet. They can’t actively reduce humidity, but they can certainly reduce the amount of moisture and dust that make their way onto your gear.
Cases like this one do a fantastic job and are relatively easy to pick up online.
Silica Gel/ Desiccants
You know those little ‘do not eat’ sachets that come with a lot of electronic products? These silica gel sachets offer a budget-friendly way to reduce the humidity of your storage environment.
Remember that while this kind of solution will reduce humidity to a degree, it’s far from the best option out there.
Store Lenses With the Front Element Down
As long as your storage surface is level (and ideally, padded), it’s a good idea to store your lenses with the front elements facing down. This prevents the oils on your aperture blades from slipping to where they’re not supposed to be.
Consider Your Environment
The location you choose to store your lenses is critical. Ideally, any area you choose should have all of the following:
- Low humidity
- Very little dust
- Padded and level surfaces
- A consistent, non-extreme temperature
It’s a good idea to vacuum and dust your storage area regularly. Take great care that this doesn’t displace dust onto your gear.
Lens Storage – Our Verdict
We hope you’ve found our tips on this page helpful. For most people, a budget-friendly pelican case is more than enough to get the job done. If you shoot professionally, it’s definitely worth considering a decent dry cabinet for your home.
Whichever method you choose, we hope your lenses stay perfect for years to come!