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Old Feb 12, 2011, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default Protecting Compact Digicams from Sand/Dirt?

For Christmas I bought myself a Casio FH100 to shoot some slow motion video. Loved it immensely, however, a few weeks ago I took it out for a shoot with some rc cars in the dirt.

Later in the day I was ground level for a shot when one of the vehicles lost control and sprayed me (and the camera) with a fine mist of dirt. I thought everything was fine until I went to shut off the camera. As the lens attempted to retract into the camera I heard the dreaded grinding noise of dirt inside of the helical lens gear.

I've since attempted to have it repaired and so forth... but that's not my question. My question is...

I have broken the bank and purchased another FH100- how do I protect this one from getting sand or dirt into the lens gearing?

I plan on shooting in dirt and sand environments... not hazardously so, but the type where there is the risk of a mist-spray of fine particles directed at the camera from time to time. Keep in mind, it's not the lens itself that is the point of failure here- it's the small gaps inside of the layers of the lens assembly:

Fine sand can make it's way into these gaps. (as I've learned)

So what can I do to avoid this?

  • I have been unable to find a hard case for this camera
  • I have purchased a Digipac underwater plastic housing. I was considering attempting to hack this up to protect the front of the camera- as in it's stock configuration the case makes it impossible to access most of the buttons and zoom lever. However, the black plastic cowling on the front of this case is so big, it appears in most shots unless you are most of the way zoomed in. Doesn't seem like the optimum choice.
  • I have considered attempting to cut up a ziploc bag and carefully tape it along the outer rim of the lens (where the "exilim 24mm wide optical" text is) and then tape the other edge to the plastic body of the camera; leaving enough excess material that the baggie would allow the lens assembly to extend and retract without issue. However, this method seems difficult and a bit hokey.
I know I'm not the only one who has wanted to protect a compact digital camera in this way. Again, I'm just looking to protect the lens assembly, while allowing it to extend and retract for zooming. I'm not much worried about any other part of the camera being covered...

Thanks, let me know if you guys have any ideas!
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 7:34 PM   #2
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Get an underwater housing for your camera or buy an waterproof camera. You proven that anything less will be insufficient.

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Old Feb 12, 2011, 8:16 PM   #3
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Underwater hard case would be ideal if there is one available for your camera and you'd rather have the image quality of your current camera. For less than price of the OEM underwater hard case for my Fuji, I went with a new waterproof, dustproof, shockproof camera route. The hardcase would have added bulk to the Fuji, making it hard to pocket it.
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 8:41 PM   #4
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I would try holding a piece of clear lexan or tempered glass in front of the camera. i'm sure you could figure out how to do that. or stand further back, and use the zoom if that would work. No matter what, bring a small air brush and clean the lens prior to turning it off.
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 9:44 PM   #5
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Or make yourself a bellows that you can glue to the lens surround and to the body, allowing of course for full movement of the lens and operation of the flash. Sounds a bit Heath Robinson but can work very well if you think about it and are careful in how you make and fix it.

My preference would be to buy the Casio U/W housing for this camera if they make one. I use an old EX-Z55 in their housing in similar circumstances. It also means I can use the setup in heavy rain with impunity.
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