5D2 soft focusing after just 10 minutes of high humidity, even days later

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5D2 soft focusing after just 10 minutes of high humidity, even days later
2 months ago

Hello dpreview folks, Nick here in China. After extensive searching and reading on these forums and elsewhere, I've decided to seek out the wisdom of the dpreview community with my first post. Frustratingly, it's an urgent issue regarding my (for now at least) disabled camera.

I'm worried that I might have damaged my camera and/or lenses by exposing them to extremely high humidity after being in a cool, air-conditioned room.

Here' what happened:

I live in southeast China, which is extremely hot and humid, particularly in mid summer. Keeping my gear in a dehumidified, air-conditioned environment almost 24hours/day while not out shooting, I have not yet had any problems with mold, fungus, haze etc on any of my lenses, until this week.

Now I can't get a clearly focused picture, even though the camera and lenses have been in a dehumidified room for the last 3 days.

Recently, I've been shooting with the Sigma Art 35/1.4 and really love the results. Pretty consistent "wow" reactions from clients, which is a nice benefit to shooting with such nice optics. Unfortunately, the lens is not weather sealed, despite being a very well constructed lens overall, especially in comparison to every other Sigma that I've ever seen. Really great lens.

At the break of dawn earlier this week, the light was incredible from my balcony on the 33rd floor overlooking the city center of Ningbo, where I live (major city across the bay from Shanghai). Usually, the horrendous air-pollution leaves very little to work with in terms of shooting gorgeously clear skies, clouds, etc. More often than not, it's "one big cloud" of China's world-infamous industrial smog. Not that day. The air was exceptionally clear and the sunrise was magnificent. Naturally, I wanted to get some shots.

I took my 5dmk2 and 35/1.4 out on the balcony for only 30 seconds, when I started to notice the glass fogging up with condensation. Bringing my camera and lenses (also an 85/1.2) from a cool, air-conditioned apartment to the balmy weather outside should have been buffered somehow, I think. Strangely, I've never encountered that degree of condensation before. Most of the time, I leave my apartment for whatever shoot is at hand with my gear in my bag, never having any problems by the time I reach wherever I'm going. That morning was unusually humid and, like I wrote, "balmy." Still, I really wanted the shot, so I patiently waited for the lens to clear up. Meanwhile, I set up a tripod, and mounted my 5dmk2 at a nice angle. By then, I'd noticed that the camera body itself was also seemingly covered in sweat from the humidity in the air, what I assume was the result of bringing the the gear from cool AC to hot & humid balminess. I gently wiped down the camera and lenses. The condensation kept coming back in force almost immediately. A bit concerned at that point, I took the gear back inside, this time into a room without the AC on. Worried about water inside the beautiful optics and inside my camera, I used a hair drier on the lowest setting to try to gently dry the still sweating gear.

Now I fear that somehow I overheated the sensor, or perhaps have haze in my glass (although it appears crystal clear to my eye), because ever since then, I have not been able to make a clear picture with that camera or any of my lenses. The Sigma Art 35/1.4 is one of my best lenses optically, if not the best. I've become accustomed to the level of detail and sharpness of focus that I can usually achieve with relative ease with the 35/1.4. Now, I can't seem to get any clear pictures no matter what lens is on the 5dmk2, including my 35/1.4 and my 85/1.2, which are two of my favorite pieces of glass.

In terms of my settings, etc., well, I've tried multiple apertures and shutter speeds, keeping the ISO below 320. Even in daylight with the shutter at 125 or higher, shooting around f/3.5, when I should get a great well-focused and very sharp shot, it's soft and hazy.

If any of you have any experience or advice, please let me know.

TIA from The People's Republic of China

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II
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