This is going to be the strangest recipe I have ever posted, but bear with me. And I have no pictures of the final product to share because it isn’t exactly a traditional “recipe”. But it is a little trick I picked up while on vacation and it’s definitely worthy of sharing!
Take one wet digital camera. Remove as quickly as possible from the source of water, preferably before water has penetrated the innermost parts of camera.
Do NOT turn camera on. I cannot state this more emphatically, as it will surely ruin the outcome of the recipe. Resist your first inclinations to see if the camera still works after its little bath (or shower, in my case) and follow the rest of the recipe.
Gently remove any excess water from exterior of camera with a dry cloth. Remove battery and memory card. Allow any water from these areas to drain out.
Close battery and memory card door(s). Place camera in ziploc bag filled with dry rice. Remove as much air from bag as possible and seal. Place bag in warm, dry area.
Wait as long as you can, at least 24 hours and preferably more, depending on how wet your camera was. Check camera for any remaining moisture. If it seems dry and there are no more signs of moisture in the screen, viewfinder, etc., try turning it on. If you are lucky, it just may work. If you are really lucky, it might even work as well as it did before you dropped it in the drink!
The success of this “recipe” surely depends on the type of digital camera, the type of moisture, and how long you allowed it to get wet before you saved it. In my case, it was my small point-and-shoot, not my good DSLR, and I had left it outside in the rain all afternoon. It was one of those humid summer days where the storms come up quickly and violently, and I didn’t even realize the camera was out there until the evening. I was utterly distraught when my brother brought it inside, as it had some wonderful pictures and video clips of my kids that I hadn’t had a chance to download yet. Seeing the clouds of moisture in the screen and the viewfinder, I was sure it was ruined for good.
It was the quick work of my sister and brother-in-law that kept me from following my first inclination to turn it on and see if it worked. They told me about the bag of dry rice trick, and at first I was incredulous. But upon some reflection, I realized that it made sense. With the camera off, the water was just sitting there and it hadn’t necessarily effected any of the circuitry yet. If I turned it on, it would create an electrical current and the water would short out various important electronic bits. The most important thing was to remove the power source (the battery) and the memory card and allow the camera to dry out as much as possible. Dry rice acts as a dessicant, drawing moisture from its surroundings, so popping the camera into a bag of dry rice would aid in drying it out.
And miracle of miracles, it actually worked! I allowed it to sit for about 36 hours before I could no longer resist the urge to turn it on. All of the cloudy moisture from the screen and the viewfinder was gone before I did this, so I had some indication that it had dried out. I was fortunate in that there had been little, if any, moisture in the battery case, but I did leave the battery door open for a bit to dry out before I closed it up and put it in the rice.
I can’t promise that this will work for you. If the water permeates too much of the insides of the camera, it might ruin things whether you dry it out or not. And if it’s salt water that gets into the camera, you can kiss it goodbye, as all that salt will corrode the metal as it dries out. But if you are silly enough to leave it out in the rain during a torrential downpour, or you drop it in some sort of fresh water source and quickly fish it out, then this just might work for you too.
Many thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for helping me preserve some treasured memories, like this one!