I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the best camera dry cabinet currently available on the market.
A dehumidifying dry cabinet is an excellent investment for ensuring your gear stays dry. This is especially so during those long periods where you don’t use it and shouldn’t keep it in an enclosed and possibly stuffy bag or backpack.
I set out initially to find the top 5 or 7 models and was amazed to learn that there are not many brands to choose from.
One brand, FORSPARK, stood out head and shoulders above the rest and offered a full range of sizes ranging from 30 Litres to 125 Litres.
- 1 Why Get a Dehumidifying Cabinet For Your Camera Gear?
- 2 Who Should Invest In A Camera Dry Cabinet?
- 3 What to Look For in a Camera Dry Cabinet
- 4 Product Overview FORSPARK Range of Camera Dehumidifying Dry Cabinets
- 5 What People Are Saying About The FORSPARK Range
- 6 Silica Gel Desiccant Packets as an Alternative
- 7 Final Word on the FORSPARK Range of Camera Dry Cabinets
Why Get a Dehumidifying Cabinet For Your Camera Gear?
Digital cameras are ruggedly built and designed for regular use and manhandling. Many of them come with weather sealing, as a standard feature – so why should you spend more money on a dry cabinet?
Fungus … that’s why.
Moisture is your camera and your lens’ worst enemy – dust is a close second.
The truth is …
No weather sealing is 100% and in most cases the sealing applies to the camera body whereas it is lenses that need the most protection – particularly from humidity.
If you’ve got a great waterproof camera bag or backpack it’s a good idea to air it completely, once in a while. When your camera’s not in use give your bag a break and store your gear in a camera dehumidifying cabinet.
Heck if there’s room in the cabinet chuck your bag in too.
Camera bodies are regularly replaced and upgraded but your expensive lenses stay with you forever – or at least until you change systems or brands.
Should you plan to sell your equipment one day it is much easier to get a good price for a well looked after fungus and dust-free lens (or camera body for that matter), than it is to sell a fungus infected one.
Dust and moisture can easily get into to the smallest of openings and both are very difficult to remove.
This is where good care, maintenance and storage plays a big part in preserving your gear – not only from a resale point of view but also to ensure continued top performance from your equipment.
Who Should Invest In A Camera Dry Cabinet?
This is a pretty good question because not everyone should go to the expense of a big electronic unit that takes up a fair amount of space.
Maybe you don’t have much by way of gear – in that case a well sealed storage unit with a few silica gel desiccant bags will do the job just fine. Just remember to recharge or replace them regularly.
For the rest you should consider getting a camera dry cabinet if:
- You live in an area that has high humidity.
Phoenix Arizona is pretty dry all year round I am told whereas Florida has high humidity for a large part of the year.
I live in New Zealand where we get a lot of rain and a fairly big variance in both humidity and temperatures – we definitely need one here.
- You live in an area with extreme weather conditions.
If you can keep your camera stored in an environment that is constant in both temperature and humidity you will get more consistent results and your camera will last longer.
Cold weather is not a camera’s best friend!
Sure you have to take your camera out to take photos but as soon as you are done get it to room temperature and then store the camera body and all your lenses in a dehumidifying cabinet. You won’t be sorry.
- You have a lot of $ invested in lenses.
Camera bodies come and go but we keep our lenses forever – especially the expensive prime lenses we have invested in.
Keep their performance and resale value high by looking after them and ensuring no fungus gets the opportunity to grow and breed in them.
Once it is takes hold fungus is difficult, or expensive, to get rid of it.
- You don’t use your gear often.
Surprise, surprise! You thought storing your seldom used gear in a dark cupboard will be fine. Well the truth is those are the exact conditions under which fungus thrives.
Ever seen fungus grow on an area that is constantly exposed to sun?
Nope never.. Sun is fungus’ worst enemy
Ever seen fungus on areas that are dark and never get the sun?
- And if …
You just want to look after your gear properly. It’s not a huge investment to secure high end items.
For example …
- You wear hearing aids.
Yes you “heard me right”.
Expensive electronic items like hearing aids also suffer from moisture getting into them. I’ve had two hearing aids go on the blink because of moisture and at NZ$4000.00 a pop (I know – insane right?) they now reside in the dry cabinet when I’m not wearing them.
What to Look For in a Camera Dry Cabinet
Camera dry boxes are well … just boxes, nothing too complicated about them but you still need to ensure you get one that suits your needs.
Check for the following features when selecting your dehumidifying camera cabinet.
Adjustable Humidity Control with LED or Analog Display
Obvious that you need a reliable humidity controller that can be adjusted and seen at a glance to check that it is working at the right temperature and humidity level.
Airtight Seals and Solid Construction
Your unit needs to be airtight to function properly so a solid construction is important.
Door seals should be similar to those found on a fridge or freezer.
Check them regularly and if perished replace as soon as possible.
Where power cables lead into the box ensure that these are well sealed.
I like a dry cabinet with a locking facility – not for security from theft but more for security from accidentally opening it.
A lock may act as a deterrent for a thief but smashing the glass would be easy enough for a determined thief.
Shape and Size Both Count - no matter what others may say ...
You’re probably going to buy more gear at some time in the future and it is a good idea to allow for it when deciding on the dehumidifyer you are condisering purchasing.
And once you have your cabinet you will find other items that could benefit from humidity control – as I did with my hearing aids.
Dry cabinets come in different configurations (vertical or horizontal aspect) – get one that will fit the space you intend placing it in.
Product Overview FORSPARK Range of Camera Dehumidifying Dry Cabinets
Size options, Internal dimensions and shelving:
- 30L – 11.34″ x 11.42″ x 14.37″ – 1 adjustable shelf
- 50L – 11.34″ x 11.42″ x 20.87″ – 2 adjustable shelves
- 80L – 21.06″ x 12.95″ x 17.72″ – 1 adjustable shelf
- 100L – 14.88″ x 14.09″ x 27.17″ – 4 adjustable shelves
- 120L – 28.5″ x 27″ x 18.5″ – 2 adjuatable shelves
- 125L – 38″ x 18.8″ x 18.4″ – 4 adjustable shelves
Click on relevant image on the right to check the latest price and packages from Amazon.
The image on the top is the 30L followed by the 50L then the 80L and the 100L.
All units are powered by 110 – 220 AC/5V 2A DC except the 2 larger ones which are 110 – 220 AC/DC/ 5V 5A
For the 30L – 100L range the output is 8 Watts and for the 2 larger models it is 15Watts.
All models are very economical and silent.
Controlled Humidity Range:
25% – 60% (+/- 5%)
Stainless steel box with lockable tempered glass door.
What People Are Saying About The FORSPARK Range
As always I take time to read reviews before I buy a product and the FORSPARK range of dehumidifiers had nothing but great reviews – the following is a handful of them.
Silica Gel Desiccant Packets as an Alternative
Don’t get me wrong …
Silica Gel desiccant packets are a great dehumidifying option – but only in small and well sealed containers.
I use them all the time and have several in my camera bag at any one time. But that is as far as it goes – they are not a long term storage solution in my opinion because:
- once saturated they either need to be recharged or
And there is my problem – I tend to forget when they need to be replaced!
My advice is to keep these on hand and in your camera bag for short term storage but not to rely on them for the long term.
I wouldn’t think that a $5.00 – $10.00 purchase is going to be a long term storage solution to my expensive camera gear – would you?
And guess where I store my silica gel packets?
You got it – in the dry cabinet!
There are two types of Silica Gel Desiccant bags; the rechargeable ones as per the top image below, and the cheaper, throw away ones pictured at the bottom.
Final Word on the FORSPARK Range of Camera Dry Cabinets
I think you will agree that the FORSPARK range of camera dry cabinets cover all options including size and budget preferences.
Let me know what you think and if you have found other brands you’d like me to research I would be more than happy to do so.
Leave all your comments, questions and suggestions below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Until next time …