Uncle Ben

Reader panzeriv88 sends in a very interesting tip that might help in the stormy, wet months of winter. If you end up with a submerged camera, don’t give up all hope. If you’re careful and take quick action, it might be possible to dry the camera without damaging it. Read on for details.


In the old days, before cameras were loaded with electronics, the rule of thumb was that if you dropped your camera in water, your best course of action was to get a bucket and scoop out the camera and some water and keep the camera submerged until you could get it to a camera repairman who knew how to take it apart and dry it out. By keeping it submerged, you would prevent rusting.

Obviously, in a battery-powered camera filled with electronics, getting it out of the water as quickly as possible is your main priority. Once you’ve recovered it, don’t turn it on until you’re certain that it’s been adequately dried. Your first step is to get a towel and thoroghly dry the camera.

Next, you should remove the battery and the memory card, and open up all doors and seals. If it’s an SLR, remove the lens and set the camera in a dry place, to allow time for the mirror chamber to air out.

Now, here’s panzeriv’s suggestion: get some uncooked rice and completely cover the camera with it for a day. The rice will act as a desiccant and absorb moisture from the camera (obviously, if it’s an SLR, you’ll want to put the body cap on before ladling on the rice).

After the camera has had enough time to completely dry, you can replace the battery and try powering it up.

As I said, I haven’t tried this, but it doesn’t sound like it could hurt, and is certainly worth trying.