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Old 21-10-2013, 15:30   #1
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Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

Hello! My wife & I have both lived aboard before when we were single, but now have 2 daughters, 2 & almost 8. We were thinking of making the move again but had a couple questions for anyone knowledgeable of our concerns. We live in the Florida Keys & thus deal with heat & humidity most of the year. My wife has a successful photography business & together we have an event planning business. Our concern is how to protect our equipment aboard. She has very valuable Canon cameras & an iMac. We both have Macbook Pros & worry how to deal with the harsh saltwater environment. My thought was to have Pelican cases for all the above, but was curious to hear from anyone on here with the same issue(s). I know cruisers travel with cameras & electronics but, with this being our main source of income, it has us concerned & we want to take the best care of our equipment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Old 21-10-2013, 17:35   #2
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

I can't say much about cameras, but it seems like a pelican case and some of those reusable humidity control devices would work well.

As for computers, our 2 MBP's, cheap Acer netbook, Panasonic Toughbook and all of our iPods, phones, Kindles, etc simply sit out in the open for years with no problems. My MBP motherboard recently died at 5yrs, but Michele's is kicking fine at 6yrs old. The Toughbook has been on the boat for 10yrs and the $150 Acer for 4yrs.

I do assume you don't plan on dunking them, so I don't think you really need to worry about the computers otherwise.

One thing - be religious about backups and make two backups (not one), regularly. Hard drives are cheap and it is very easy to make seamlessly bootable drives for the Mac. After all, what you are really afraid of is loosing your data and workflow, not your computers.

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Old 21-10-2013, 18:40   #3
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

The computers will go bad about the same time as they go out of date.
Most high end cameras are weather sealed. Some pelican cases and desiccant works well. The biggest problem will be with lenses growing mildew in the interior. They are toast at that point. But the pelicans will slow that
process down.

Just have to factor in a higher turn over cost into your overhead. In the end it won't be all that much more expensive.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:01   #4
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

We just spent a couple years in the tropics and we had a 27" iMac mounted on our bulkhead in the Settee and a Pentax k-5 with moisture resistant lenses.

Our experience: we kept the Camera in a bag which was fine, it didn't get broken, however we kept a Pentax high quality underwater camera around for "action" shots.

I would suggest a Cedar box and so moisture preventative measures. One of our lenses grew a white mould like substance under the lense. We cannot fix it, and it isn't in the focal point, so the pics come out perfect, it just looks bad.

As for the iMac, I would leave it at home, and get a 12 volt tv and just hook the tv up to your macbook. The computer was fine, the mouse died after 2 years and the keyboard got wonky, but the key board got better once we moved back into a better environment. The biggest issue was the iMac took way too much electricity to run. Way way way too much.

The biggest issue will be moisture, not protecting it from being tossed around. Just keep that in mind and also keep it in a secure place, but be vary wary of moisture.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:13   #5
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Thanks very much, everyone. I appreciate the first-hand knowledge. You're absolutely right about the lenses. The glass is the expensive part of photography & a good way to protect the lenses seems paramount. Sounds like regular cleaning, dusting, & Pelican cases seem the way to go.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:20   #6
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

It was the inside of the lens that had growth in it and we took the lens in and they couldn't fix it. So keep the moisture down and you will be fine.

I worry that Pelican cases will keep the moisture in and keep the lens from breathing, unless you had some silica packs or a cedar lining

my 2 cents
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:25   #7
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

I have tons of gear and rely on it for my job. Over time the ports start to gum up; there's not much you can do about that as the increased salinity in the air corrodes metal. It would happen if you lived near the beach.

Regarding splashes with seawater or a leak in the cabin top, those can be averted by having things stored when on passage, not leaving things about uncovered, and just being careful.

I have one of these for my laptop and another for my tablet (asus transformer prime). It's much lighter and less bulky than a Pelican case and will protect it from total submersion although not to the length of time a Pelican would.

Amazon.com: SealLine Computer Sleeve: Sports & Outdoors

We have the largest model possible of one of these, and it's been a godsend. When you're on shore with your dry laundry, camera, laptop, or whatever else and are looking at a spray filled / rainy dinghy ride, having a cavernous waterproof bag to drop all your stuff into makes a huge difference.

Amazon.com: SealLine Boundary Pack: Sports & Outdoors

Most of it really just comes down to treating your equipment well. If it's wet and dewy at night, keep your Kindle in a ziplock bag. If you're getting spray on a beat, shut all the hatches and don't take your electronics out. If you're sitting at a peaceful anchorage, have a blast and don't worry about anything.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:27   #8
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

For your camera, don't even dream of taking a non-weatherized camera out of it's case (and out of a locker) during anything but settled weather. If there's spray of any type unless you're shooting behind the dodger, don't do it.

We've got a Contour and a GoPro with their associated waterproof housings. A bucking boat in a seaway is no place to have electronics aimed out beyond the safety of a closed up cabin.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:28   #9
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellowsail View Post
Thanks very much, everyone. I appreciate the first-hand knowledge. You're absolutely right about the lenses. The glass is the expensive part of photography & a good way to protect the lenses seems paramount. Sounds like regular cleaning, dusting, & Pelican cases seem the way to go.
Well, yes and no. The boat is also a factor. Some boats deal with humidity better than others. I've owned sailboats where mildew is a constant battle, and boats where it's not a huge problem. Indeed, my last two boats were made by the same manufacturer, and yet they're quite different in terms of ventilation.

Before you purchase the boat, ask yourself about how it's going to breathe with four people living aboard. This question should apply to the storage spaces as well as the living spaces.
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Old 21-10-2013, 20:08   #10
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

I would also vote for the pelican hard cases and rechargeable silica gel packs but also emphasize always making sure the condition of the pelican case gasket remains in good condition and there is no dirt or grime that will prevent a good seal being made.
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Old 21-10-2013, 20:42   #11
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How about those humidity regulated cabin. Need to be plug in electricity.
And i don't know if you can have a O3 ozone a small amount of time. Should reduce the mole.
Computer... Hard to due with. Use a dehumidifier... A/c is worst. Cost make more condensation.
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Old 22-10-2013, 00:17   #12
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

I've given up using a digital SLR traveling. Now I use a travel zoom (Panasonic DMC ZS8) and a tough camera (Panasonic DMC FT25).

Both require special care.
From reviews it would appear that the DMC ZS8 is particularly sensitive to any form of knock so it gets it's own little pouch and special care.
From the instructions that came with the FT25 it seems to be sensitive to any contaminant (including water!) on the seal and salt build up inside the controls so careful inspections of the seals after every use and soaking in fresh water for less than ten minutes after use is necessary. I also use the silicon "case" that came with the camera. It has it's own microfibre cloths when actually being used.

As for the computer I use a base model Compaq Presario CQ82 with RAM upgraded to 8Gb. This computer is sensitive to not having appropriate applications loaded (freezes) so I keep everything related to browsing up to date.

My opinion is that the longevity of everything electronic on Boracay is due to it being a very dry boat - I have dry salt in my bilge!
Being made of welded steel helps and being insulated almost everywhere doesn't seem to hurt. Using an anti skid deck paint that a few shades too dark also keeps things nice and toasty (sometimes too toasty!).

My impression is that some production fibreglass boats can be very wet. Maybe some hull deck join is not all that it could be, and I seem to recall reports of portholes and hatches leaking.

It may be desirable to leave your expensive computers and most of the lenses behind or even to sell them. Your knowledge of what you need would be far superior to mine but I should imagine that a good tough camera in a waterproof case with a flash and a top of the line point and shoot would give excellent results. I consider my computer "disposable" and would replace it at the first sign of trouble.
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Old 22-10-2013, 00:40   #13
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Well, yes and no. The boat is also a factor. Some boats deal with humidity better than others. I've owned sailboats where mildew is a constant battle, and boats where it's not a huge problem. Indeed, my last two boats were made by the same manufacturer, and yet they're quite different in terms of ventilation.

Before you purchase the boat, ask yourself about how it's going to breathe with four people living aboard. This question should apply to the storage spaces as well as the living spaces.
Agreed, the answer to your questions are vessel dependent.
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Old 22-10-2013, 01:50   #14
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Re: Camera Equipment & Computer Aboard

I used Pelican cases for my Nikon D7100 camera, lenses and other equipment. While it is a huge hassle, I always put the camera into the underwater housing if I take pictures where there might be spray (which also limits the lenses I can use). I don't use anything for the notebook and USB disk drives and haven't had any equipment failures.
I did buy desiccant and occasionally will fire up the oven to "recharge" the packs by drying them out. This works very indeed and the desiccant, when bought in bulk, is cheap.

I used Peli cases a lot aboard - I bought most of them used from sites such as eBay at discount. While they are bulky and heavy, they do their job very well indeed!

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Old 24-10-2013, 09:49   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youmeandthed View Post
We just spent a couple years in the tropics and we had a 27" iMac mounted on our bulkhead in the Settee and a Pentax k-5 with moisture resistant lenses. Our experience: we kept the Camera in a bag which was fine, it didn't get broken, however we kept a Pentax high quality underwater camera around for "action" shots. I would suggest a Cedar box and so moisture preventative measures. One of our lenses grew a white mould like substance under the lense. We cannot fix it, and it isn't in the focal point, so the pics come out perfect, it just looks bad. As for the iMac, I would leave it at home, and get a 12 volt tv and just hook the tv up to your macbook. The computer was fine, the mouse died after 2 years and the keyboard got wonky, but the key board got better once we moved back into a better environment. The biggest issue was the iMac took way too much electricity to run. Way way way too much. The biggest issue will be moisture, not protecting it from being tossed around. Just keep that in mind and also keep it in a secure place, but be vary wary of moisture.
I'm curious what your power source(s) was(were). We are boat-shopping and want to mount our 27-inch iMac as you did. We hope to rely on wind and solar in addition to the engine. How much of a power hog was the iMac and how much did you use it, in terms of hours per week?
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