- Probably, the worst-case scenario is that you were in the midst of taking pictures when your camera is dunked in water. It’s a good bet your camera has “drowned” and is no longer operational. Being in the on position almost certainly means water has flooded the interior and ruined the electronics and other mechanisms.
There is some hope for resuscitation if your camera was not activated, or turned off. As soon as you rescue it, you need to remove as much water as possible. As a first step, shake the body, so much of the water drops from the exterior and possibly the interior. Remove the battery and memory card and dry the exterior carefully and gently. Despite this immediate first aid, it’s likely the lens and sensor have been adversely affected.
Another procedure to try is to put the camera in a container for a number of days with moisture absorbent materials, such as silica packs. A hair dryer may also evaporate some of the water, but it isn’t likely to bring your camera back to life much, if at all. At this stage in the process, your only choice is to ship or to bring the camera to the manufacturer’s authorized service center. The technicians will be able to examine it professionally and let you know the diagnosis, but it’s not apt to be good.
It’s also important to remember that your camera’s warranty does not cover just accidents because they are legally defined as human error. If you have insurance for your camera, then be sure to know what the policy covers before your camera is dropped in water. The replacement cost may be less than the deductible, so any insurance may not apply.
Even if you are spending a day on the beach and don’t expect to take your camera near the water, then it is far less costly to rent a waterproof housing for your camera or a waterproof camera than having to replace it. This is also a good idea for any type of boating excursion. At the very least, store your camera in a waterproof container or zip-lock plastic bag, and then in a camera bag, whenever you are not photographing with it. Use that neck or wrist strap, so it doesn’t slip from your hands and into the drink.
Most compact digital cameras are not meant to go for a swim. Some may have seals that will help retard moisture from entering the camera body, but this typically refers to humidity or fog. Most of the major manufacturers do offer adventure cameras for kayakers, snorkelers, scuba divers and water and snow skiers that will operate underwater to a specific depth. This type of camera typically costs considerably more than most compacts and isn’t a worthwhile investment unless you expect to use it regularly. If you enjoy these activities often, then you may want to purchase or rent an underwater housing for a standard compact camera.
It isn’t unusual, however, to see many casual photographers pushing the envelope by bringing their compact cameras to the beach, on board a fishing boat or during a relaxing canoe trip. They may never accidentally drop their cameras in water, but they are flirting with disaster. If your camera ever “decides to go for a swim,” even in a shallow puddle, then you need to be prepared to resuscitate the patient with the following sequence of steps.
Image credit: logos / 123RF Stock Photo
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