Digital cameras and electronic equipment, as well as analogue cameras and film, are all sensitive to moisture, dust and sunlight.
Accordingly, it’s important to store your camera, photography equipment and film properly whenever you're not using them, whether for a week or months at a time.
Preparing cameras and camera equipment for storage
Removing batteries and memory cards
It’s okay to leave the memory card and battery in your digital camera if you’re using it frequently. However, if you plan to store your digital camera for more than a month, you should remove these to prevent the battery from leaking and the memory card from fusing into its slot.
If you’re storing flashes, light-metres, remotes or other battery-operated accessories, you should also remove their batteries to prevent them from leaking and ruining the device.
Removing lenses and lens filters
When storing your camera for an extended period, remove the lens and any lens filters. Clean these thoroughly to remove dust, dirt, fungal spores and other foreign substances. Once the lens is clean and dry, place caps on each end to protect it from scratches and store it upright, so that if the lubricant in the shutter dries out, it doesn’t drop black flakes inside the lens.
It's best to put a cap on the lens mount – where the lens attaches to the camera body – to protect the inner mechanisms of the camera from dust, dirt, and moisture.
Cleaning and packaging a camera for storage
Clean the camera body with a blower, compressed air or a soft, dry cloth to remove any dust, dirt and fluff.
A camera is a delicate piece of equipment, so always store it in a camera bag, a protective case or an airtight container with foam or packaging peanuts for padding.
If you’re putting your camera in a container along with lenses and other equipment, prevent items from scratching each other by placing lenses in lens pouches, and wrapping the camera body and other equipment in bubble wrap or tissue paper.
Once you’ve done this, add a few silica gel sachets – these will absorb moisture in the container, preventing the growth of fungus and moisture damage to the camera or lenses – and then seal the container.
Storing cameras and camera equipment
Avoid storing your digital camera with electronic devices that generate magnetic fields, such as televisions or radios, because this can damage your camera’s screen and other electronic components.
It’s best to store digital cameras and camera batteries in a cool place that's not subject to significant temperature fluctuations. Excessive heat could damage a camera’s sensor or central processing unit (CPU), and extreme cold can harm the camera's LCD.
Ideally, store both digital and analogue cameras, lenses and other equipment in a well-ventilated area with a relative humidity of 35% to 45%.
If the storage space is too dry, the oil lubricating the camera’s mechanical parts will dry out more quickly, wearing out parts sooner. Too humid, and moisture may get into the camera – leading to the growth of mildew and rusting of the camera’s internal components. In an analogue camera, moisture can also cause the shutter curtain to crack.
When storing analogue film, use the original canister and keep the film below room temperature to prevent degradation caused by heat.
You can store film in a climate-controlled environment or in a refrigerator for up to six months. If you’re storing film for longer, its recommended that you put it in the freezer.
XtraSpace: Ideal storage for camera and film equipment