Camera and Lens Dry Box
Dehumidify your Gear
The big question is do you really need an Electronic Dry Box to store your camera gear and lenses? The short answer is no. If you desire a more advanced approach to the management of your camera and lenses then the answer is yes you do, and can benefit from one.
Described below in this article/review is my equipment maintenance for all photo gear. For storage and protection when the gear is not in the dry box, I use four Pelican Air 1605 cases, and a few other Pelican sized cases for the majority of my gear. The Pelican Air cases are the newer lighter versions of original Pelican "ruggedized" cases. The biggest disadvantage of using those original Pelican cases were the size and weight, but with the new Pelican Air cases, you retain all the protection and ease of transporting convenience while shedding a few pounds. I also use other smaller Pelican cases for specific camera bodies, speedlights, batteries, and accessories or camera/lens combos. So, the Pelican cases serve as the storage solution, while the Electronic Dry Box is used to condition the gear for storage.
I also use inside the Pelican cases Desiccant Silica Gel cartridges, 3 x 40 grams cartridges for the larger cases and 2x 20 grams cartridges for the smaller cases.
When I have my camera and lens out for a days/weekend of shooting following my return from the great outdoors I wipe down my camera and lenses and place them in the Electronic Dry Box. The gear will stay in the dry box until realitive humidity is reached and stable @ around 40%. Once the gear is nice and dry I then move the items into their Pelican case. For the Pelican cases, one just needs to keep an eye on the indicator on the desiccant cartridge, at some point the cartridge needs to be recharged which is easy enough - using a home oven for a couple of hours.
Electronic Dry Box Work Flow
I basically rotate my gear through the dry box to ensure it is fully dry before storing into their Pelican cases. For those who shoot more often, the electronic dry box might just be the permanent place you keep your gear, but for me, I don't shoot every day.
Electronic dry boxes are available from various manufacturers in many sizes/capacities normally measured in liters. I currently use the Forspark 80L 8watt version, which is low power with noiseless operation and is a perfect fit for my end-desk within my home/work office. The concept of the Electronic dry box is rather simple, with no more than three controls - one for lighting, one for setting the humidity and the other shows the temperature. I normally set my dry box to about 40% humidity and leave it be.
How well does it work: Depending on your gear, living location, time of year (winter usually has lower humidity) and shooting situation, the FORSPARK dry box will pull the humidity down to 40% normally in a few hours, obviously you dry the gear off before placing inside the box, I place the lenses and camera bodies in the dry box without any other materials such as lens cases.
Cost and value, The Electronic Dry Box are available in many sizes, so the cost varies - and they all basically use the same concept. If you decide to begin using one I think the cost benefit is worth the investment and puts your mind at eases especially if you have older lenses that don't have weather sealing, to reduce nasty things from growing inside them.
Review of the FORSPARK 80L 8Watt Electronic Dry Box: @ 27lbs, measuring 23.5" by 16.7x23" is fairly easy to position and move into your favorite spot and but heavy enough to prevent it being knocked around accidentally. Has a lockable front door, with a large tempered glass viewing pane, with 4 small LEDs for lighting. I do wish the lights were on both sides - kind of cheap of forspark not to do that given the cost of LEDs.
- 8 Watts of power consumption - easy on the electric grid
- Reduces humidity in the box down to 35% normally in one day
- Moderate capacity to store FX DSLRs and lens up to 70-200 or similar sizes
- Easy to operate, set and forget
- Truly noiseless
Recommended - Yes.