35mm Camera / Costa Rica

Jul 29th, 2003, 02:09 PM
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35mm Camera / Costa Rica

I am taking my Canon SLR Auto Focus with a 28-105 lens with me to CR in Dec. I have read different posts about how the humidity and temp. swings can cause havoc with cameras. Sooo, I purchased a "Pelican" watertight case, on line, for $22.00 and a Desiccant to put in it. I realized it was not large enough after I received it and had already discarded the original box[SMART] and could not send it back. My Question is. Should I purchase the next larger "Pelican"case [10.75 X 9.75 X 5] for $31.00 to keep my camera in. The camera and lens are worth over $500 and I don't want to damage them. Has anyone gone to this extream or had any major problems. I really would appreciate any feedback.
ranger60 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 02:37 PM
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Recommend you put your camera and lens on your "home owners or apartment renters" insurance..in case... I'd be more worried about the film going through the new x-ray machines. You might solve the problem of buying a digital with a zoom lens.
ParrotMom is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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I suppose the amount of protection you need depends on where and when you are going. I have decent camera equipment and had no problems whatsover. If you were going during the rainy season for multi-day treks, I think that might be another story. I live in South Florida and found the weather in CR in December to be similar to South Florida in the fall (in terms of humidity and rain)... and I never use any special waterproof cases for my camera or lenses here at home.

Having said that, I do recommend that you have some sort of "plan" should you be hiking with your camera and it starts to rain. (I guess that's good advice for any place you'd take a camera). I took along those really large ziploc bags and put a couple in the outside pocket of my camera bag... you can use those as quick cover. Also, I kept a disposable rain poncho in my knapsack for the same purpose. I think this might be good enough of a solution for you.
CarolM is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 07:53 PM
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After loosing a very expensive camera to humidity and moisture in the Drake Bay area my husband bought a new camera and a Pelican case and never travels without it. He has been using it for a few years now with no further problems.
Suzie2 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 12:46 AM
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Some of the more upscale "resorts" like lapa Rios have what are called hot boxes, that you can put your camera in to dry out. Never lost a camera or film to the rain, but they will stop functioning with too much humidity and then you are left with just the mental memories. Can be liberating.
belle is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Going to Costa Rica over Labor Day weekend. Starting to worry about camera. Have two newer digital cameras plus several film-type cameras. Wanted to shoot exclusively digital but worried about humidity and theft. One is a point and shoot digital (Olympus C750) and the other is a Canon Digital SLR Rebel. Any thoughts? Should I risk taking either? Also read in Moon guide that airport xray machines erase computer hard drives. Had not heard that and I travel a lot. Is that an issue in Costa Rica? Or anywhere?
wanderlust123 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 03:42 PM
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A couple of considerations for the pelican (or any other airtight hardside container) are convenience and the extended temperature equilibration time. Hard cases are great for shock and rain protection when the camera is in them, but if they're too bulky to carry on a hike they don't help much.

The other moisture danger to cameras comes after a night in an airconditioned hotel room. The camera is cold, and when you take it outside into the warm moist air you get condensation. You can avoid this by leaving the camera outside over night (not recommended ;-) or by putting the camera in an airtight container before you leave the airconditioned space, and leaving it in the container until it warms up to the outside temperature. This can take a LONG time in a hardside case (especially if you have foam inserts).

After decades of hauling cameras around the backcountry all over the world, I've never found a better solution than the one CarolM uses. Big Ziplock bags! (use freezer bags they're much tougher). They don't provide the shock protection that a hard case does, but they more than make up for it by slipping handily into your pocket when not in use, and much faster temperature equilibration.

X-ray machines will not affect digital cameras or memory cards! If you want confirmation of that from dozens of professional photographers visit http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=001OdM

BTW wanderlust123 the Olympus750 is a pretty rugged camera and does well with moisture electronically, although it does occasionally suffer internal lens fogging issues (maybe one of the hotboxes belle mentioned would help in this case).

Hope this helps

Pura Vida & Buen Viaje
costaricaguide is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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We have the same Olympus camera and have never experienced a problem using it in Costa Rica. It has gotten sprinkles of rain on it and has been exposed to high humidity. It is in a soft case which has occasionally gotten pretty wet, but still no problems. I try to get the camera out of the damp case as soon as possible. Pack a couple of baggies as suggested--it'll be okay! Have fun!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 05:11 PM
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After losing our 35mm Olympus camera to the elements in CR this summer, we're seriously considering a Pelican case for our next visit. HOWEVER, we exposed our camera to some really rugged conditions, lots of rain and high humidity, even dropped it once or twice. I have to agree with the others though, that a hard Pelican case would pose some significant drawbacks in terms of practicality. MOST people seem to do fine with a zip-lock, but we've met up with people who have lost expensive equipment as well.....

Have you heard of an "Aquapac"? It's a very protective waterproof bag that allows you to photograph clearly right through the material. It's quite reasonable - about $30 or so, and I've read some excellent reviews. I think that it will best serve our photograhy purposes for the time being - until our next CR trip - then we'll have to decide - ultimate protection vs. convenience. Good luck with your decision!
Molly2 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 12:41 AM
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This message board is great! I learn so much from it. Thanks so much for the suggestion on the "Aquapak" -- I am ordering one today! I think the larger size will work great with the C750 and then I can decide whether to take the SLR with me as well or if that would simply be too much trouble for a 2-day trip. They have an Aquapak bag for SLRs as well but having one for the C750 at least gives me use of one camera in humid conditions. Thanks again!
wanderlust123 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 12:52 AM
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Oh, and I checked out the web site suggested by costaricaguide regarding airport xray machines and digital cameras. I know I had no trouble with that on a recent trip to Egypt / Jordan / Israel. But now I also have a Nixvue Vista (portable hard drive) to download photo cards to, and wondered about the affect of screening equipment on that after reading the Moon Costa Rica guide (Chris Baker) where he says
"Never allow your personal computer....to pass through and airport x-ray machine. The magnets can wipe out all your data...". I know laptops go through aiport security all the time but wondered if Costa Rica presented any problems that were outside the norm. Sounds like it is fine so no worries there. Thanks again!
wanderlust123 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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You're welcome! Wanderlust, let's compare notes on how we like the aquapac; I'm especially interested to know how well it works for you in humid CR. It sure SOUNDS good! I even read some reviews from fishermen who were quite pleased with it. I'm not sure if it protects you as well from atmospheric changes as the Pelican, but then, I'm not sure I want my camera SO protected that I can't access it! Please, report back!

Also, thanks for the clarification about taking the digital camera through x-ray machines. I am reassured.
Molly2 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Molly2: Sure thing. I will be going to CR over Labor Day weekend and should have the Aquapak by then and can use it on the trip. That way if it rains or I am in a humid situation I will feel much better about my camera and be able to use it as well. I ordered the large size for the C750. It ran around $45 but if it saves the camera and I can use it when there are wet conditions, it would be so worth it. It comes with a strap and a packet of dessicant. I will be most happy to report back on how well it works. I did read some reviews on it and one said that heat could cause the seal to leak (more specifically, it said "Also, around 100?F (40?C), the Aquapac's plastic will begin to soften, meaning that if you are sitting in a hot tub trying to use your camera or PDA, the case may actually begin to leak...") -- the web site is http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/aquapac-review.html

However, that seems to be more of an extreme situation than I would encounter in Costa Rica so I am psyched!

Will do a trip write-up when I return and let you know how the Aquapak works!
wanderlust123 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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Thanks Wanderlust, looking forward to your trip report!
Molly2 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:24 PM
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Just some encouragement--we just returned from CR on Friday and had fantastic weather! I had the same concern about the cameras, and also took an assortment of cameras so that I could use a smaller camera if the weather was bad. But the day we drove to Arenal, it was totally clear and I would have regretted not having the good camera. I went to the camera store to buy dessicant, they didn't sell it, but gave me a handful that they get with the cameras. Do let us know how the Aquapak works, sounds like a great idea.
caribdvr is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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I have returned from my quick weekend jaunt to Costa Rica and wanted to report back on how things went with my camera situation. I had a wonderful time, by the way. I ended up taking just my Olympus C750 and missed my SLR very much. I also took the AquaPak just in case. I would like to think that it provided the "insurance" that I would not need it -- since I had it. (You know how it is -- if you bring an umbrella, it doesn't rain). It rained only briefly such that I never used it for the original purpose. I DID however find it useful at the hot springs to keep my camera and valuables close by without worrying about moisture or theft. So for that reason it was useful. My C750 worked out rather well, being small enough to take easily on the canopy tour and with a "movie" capability, the guides took turns with it (using me as a subject) and it made a wonderfully memorable canopy ride (especially with me as the only client for that run).
wanderlust123 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 10:14 PM
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my guidebook says CR customs will only allow you to bring in 6 rolls of 35mm film? is this true? do they actually check?
sactomama is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 06:05 AM
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wanderlust, thanks so much for the report. Obviously our mistake was not to bring a waterproof bag - therefore insuring plenty of rain, LOL! Glad to know that it worked out well at the hotsprings.

sactomama, I carried on a dozen rolls of film or more, plus a panaramic camera with no questions asked.
Molly2 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 02:57 AM
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Returned from CR August 26th. Brought in 35mm camera and 20 rolls of film and was not questioned at all. Be very cautious I always request a hand check of my camera and films; I never send them through the xray machines. I have never had a problem getting a handcheck; takes only a couple of minutes longer.
lydiaf is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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is it necessary in CR to have them hand-check ALL 35mm film, or only if it is 800 speed or higher (as in US)?
sactomama is offline  

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