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Analog M dust protection?

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Hi guys,

I recently picked up a nice classic M6 with a voigtlander nokton 35mm 1.4

I'm really enjoying the setup. I live on a cattle station in western Queensland, Australia and usually take a camera with me when mustering (herding cattle). As it can get quite dusty, I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on protecting the camera/lens from said dust apart from the usual. I won't be changing lenses as I only have the one at the moment but would expect to pick some dust up when loading film etc.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!




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Welcome to the forum Butch and congrats on the M6.


I deal with very dusty environments in the same way I deal with sandy environments (beaches etc), by carrying the camera in a bag that has a good lid, preferably with side flaps that fold in on the sides under the lid.


Depending on how dusty/sandy it is, I also keep the camera and lens in a plastic bag. I do the same with my lenses in the bag. The bags I use are just simple 2-litre plastic bags that are large (long) enough to fold once the camera+lens/lens is inside. I always have the lens cap on when the lenses are in the bag.


In addition I have a micro fibre cloth that I keep in a little bag, stuffed away in a side pocket.


This works for me, and I have put it to the test in pretty dusty/sandy environments. I am sure other people will chime in with other and better ideas.




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First off, welcome aboard! Glad to have you here.


In the environment you describe, there are ways to carry the camera with you and keep it dust free. A small Pelican box ( Pelican 1300 Case with Foam (Desert Tan) 1300-000-190 B&H Photo ) would do the trick, as would kayak dry bag ( SealLine Nimbus Dry Bag - 5 Liters at REI.com ). Either of these would do the job.


If you take the camera out and use it however, all bets are off; it (obviously) will not stay dust free.

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Welcome Butch,


A hard Pelican case with a gasket seal is really the only effective way to keep all that superfine red bulldust off and out of your camera equipment (avoid dark colours and black - choose a light colour or silver if it is available). It is also advisable to keep all your rolls of film in their individual plastic containers until absolutely needed and replace them immediately after the roll is finished. Of course, you should only open your camera in the most dust-free place you can find. A tin of compressed clean air (for photographic use) will be one of your greatest allies in keeping most of the dust out of your camera when you are loading films or changing lenses. A protective filter on the front of your lenses is also advisable - much easier to clean than the coated front element of a lens, and replaceable if really scratched.


The other real killer in your location is heat - as you know, the temperature in the cabin of your 4WD can go well over 50-60 Celsius in the heat of a summer day if you don't have the air conditioning running all the time. Otherwise, anything in the cabin will get very nicely baked, which won't benefit a lot of your expensive photographic gear or retain the fidelity of the photochromatic dyes in colour films.


Are you going to process your film yourself? If so be extra vigilant about dust and cleanliness when you are loading the reels, when you are drying the film after processing, and when you are handling the negatives - electrostatic charge on film attracts the finest dust out of the air and it sticks to film like the proverbial you-know-what on a blanket. It is a real pita to remove dust once it is on the film. Also, be extra careful with processing temperatures - a calibrated darkroom thermometer is essential.


With no affiliation on my part whatsoever, Vanbar Imaging in Melbourne has a wide range of Pelican and other hard cases and all the darkroom equipment you are likely to need. By all accounts their web catalogue and mail-order service are pretty good.


Ask if you would like more advice - Good Luck!!

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There are a lot of photographers who have used and continue to use their cameras in harsh environments. I think there comes a point when over thinking a problem leads to the whole thing becoming a chore and you end up leaving the camera at home.


If you are in the middle of thick fine dust a zip lock bag (like a clear map case) is good enough for the camera, if out and about a regular zippered camera bag is good enough to quickly put your camera in if gust of wind blows up, it needs no more than the things you'd do on a beach. A UV filter on the lens means you can clean it and should it get scratched it is after all only a UV filter, get a new one.



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