Defogging Viewfinder Tips?

JoeW

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
1,041
Location
Northern Virginia
Website
500px.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I've tried shooting with masks on (pretty much how it works these days unless I'm in my studio by myself) and for anything more than 20 seconds of shooting, my viewfinder fogs up. I have a particular challenge coming up where I'll be outdoors in cold weather for an extended period while wearing a mask (so...hot steamy breath on a camera on a tripod in 30 degree temps).

What tips does anyone have for dealing with this? Please don't say "have a tight seal on the top of the mask" because if your mask has a good seal period you'll get some leakage around the bridge of the nose and then fog on the viewfinder and screen. I know that a neck gaiter is popular (and I've used that pre-Covid in cold weather) but they're crap as a mask (tests show they don't stop droplets and actually turn bigger droplets into smaller ones which will carry a longer distance in the air).

I've heard using shaving cream is one way to defog. There are various sprays. I know when I did scuba diving you'd just spit on the inside of your mask and rub it around. Somehow, the idea of doing this to my camera viewfinder seems just a little less than ideal in some cases.

What have people been doing that seems to work?
 
Holding my breath while I have the camera raised and breathing between shots seems to work best when it’s really cold out! Sounds silly I know but it only took a few minutes for me to start doing it without thinking. Breathe out just before raising the camera, breathe in then hold while shooting. Of course this was not a portrait shoot so I could take my time composing and shooting. Also used my lcd to compose and focus quite a bit more than usual.
 
I don't know what the guidelines or laws (two entirely different things) are where you stay and work but we don't have to wear mask outside (there are a few other exemptions too).

There is of course the moral dilemma, I'd assume based on what science you believe, which I think you are getting at.

I'd certainly not be comfortable either administering anything to the eyepiece but the rear screen does seem a decent option.

You do get masks that seal the face or areas on the face pretty much 100% but they are more industrial like gas masks or respirators without the eye coverings. Something short of breathing apparatus and not as bulky.

I used to wear such things when we were fitting/replacing electrical equipment such as sensors, inside purged vats (distilleries) of fuel bunkering systems. It's been many, many years since I did such work mind so things may have changed.
 
I get a double whammy both glasses and viewfinder. :confusion: One suggestion I've heard about but not tried, consider taping down the top edge of your mask with athletic tape. This creates an additional seal that can help prevent hot air from moving towards your glasses and/or viewfinder. There are also commercial products on the market that you can use to help prevent glasses from fogging up. You should be able to find it in spray or pre-moistened pads at most of the big box pharmacies and Wally world. Also, preconditioning your camera to the temperature before shooting will help.
 
I've had to wear all kinds of masks at work even before Covid. What I've found is fiddle with the wire insert in the nose bridge and get it as good as you can, then put your glasses on top of the mask. Eliminates almost all the glasses fogging.

Viewfinder in really cold weather is just going to fog. I've not found anyway around it, but with a digital camera I can turn on the live view and do what needs doing. Holding your breath if you have to use the viewfinder is about all you can do.
 
I've had trouble with my glasses fogging up. The tighter the seal at the top of the mask the less this is a problem, but, as you say, there is always some leakage. Safety goggles that fit over my glasses and make a very firm seal all the way around completely solved the problem. That might work for you if it doesn't put your eye too far from the viewfinder.
 
Let me share what I've done so far. Yes, I do some breath holding. The challenge is--when shooting wildlife (where I'm waiting for the shot, or movement may startle the critter), that's not always an option. I've tried some chemical options. I talked to a US military member who an operator in a JSOC unit--does HALO and HAHO jumps all the time so has a risk of his goggles fogging as he leaves the aircraft at altitude. He uses Anti-Fog (available on Amazon and in a small, handy, spritzer bottle). I talked to someone in the theater world who said they have a frequent problem because of the heat of some lights--they spray Barbisol shaving cream on a surface then wipe it off. I've tried using the old scuba/snorkeling tip of spitting on the screen and wiping it off. Mixed results with all of them.

Not wearing a mask isn't an option. And shooting in winter (like now, in Virginia in the US) it's an issue even without a mask.

I do play with the nose piece. The challenge is this: a tight mask still has condensation (even more actually) and so some escapes. The best option I've found is a lousy mask--a bandana (which allows hot humid air to escape out the bottom). But bandanas test almost as bad as neck gaiters (which are worse than no mask at all--because they break up big droplets in to small droplets but still allow penetration so you're actually at greater risk).

So...my search continues.
 
Could be worse. I was shooting some nice snow scenes in the mountains back in the 70's and when I put the camera down it pulled the skin off the end of my nose with it. Did I mention it was 20 below zero? Ever since then when shooting in winter I cover the face with something and live with the fog. Lesson learned.
 
What about a N95 mask with an exhaust valve. The exhaust valve is not up at the camera's eyepiece.
IF you know you are COVID free, it will protect you from others.

The N95 masks with two straps that go around the head, fit and seal well. They are both valve and non-valve masks.

The KN95 masks with ear straps sometimes don't fit well around the nose, and leak air and moisture out to my glasses. I have to adjust them to sit well on my face, then it seems to seal. But the fit is fussy. The problem is that the ear straps can't hold the mask tight enough to the face to seal well.

I have to test my other N95 and KN95 masks.
 
Snorkel and nose clip. Put the mask over the top of the snorkel. You'll look totally ridiculous, but no misting.
 
When I would ride my motorcycle in cold weather, having the visor of my helmet fog up was a problem.

I came up with exhaling through my mouth and directing my breath downward.
 
Holding my breath while I have the camera raised and breathing between shots seems to work best when it’s really cold out! Sounds silly I know but it only took a few minutes for me to start doing it without thinking. Breathe out just before raising the camera, breathe in then hold while shooting. Of course this was not a portrait shoot so I could take my time composing and shooting. Also used my lcd to compose and focus quite a bit more than usual.
Yup yup, holding one's breath for a brief moment as one activates the shutter is just good technique anyway.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Back
Top