Lens coolers

Most of us often get our camera gears serviced (the camera & lenses) and ever so often the technician informs us about some dust particle and moisture formations that has to be cleared. This is all good when your equipment is within the warranty but its a whole new ball game when you start paying ridiculous amounts of money just to get the fungus out (which at first looked like a harmless dust particle) especially once your warranty has becomes avoid and if you are a photographer like me, you may have decided not to renew the contract thinking i won’t be needed it anytime soon .. right? Wrong.

Equipment storage is something we all take for granted. Most of us keep all our gear (cameras, lenses, flash, memory card) in the camera bag itself and we throw in some moisture bags or silica gel packets. Now i am not saying that doing this does not work, it does but there is a better alternative which ensures longer life to the photography gear. I too stored my camera & lenses in bags for the longest time; almost two years but then i decided that i need to store them properly and started looking for dehumidifying cabinets.

Dehumidifying cabinets are a storage container in which the interior is kept at a low-level of humidity. It also has knobs that help you regulate the temperature within if there is an sudden increase or decrease in humidity due to changing weather conditions.  


We, often on a daily base change lenses on the camera; and for that brief time both the camera and lens is exposed to dust particles (which is still harmless). The bigger risk is when moisture finds its way in into your lens, which basically creates a backdoor for the fungus spores to connect with the dust particles (which in this case must have already been inside) to grow and thrive in humid conditions. If you don’t spot the issue early or continue to ignore it they will result in permanently damage and leave behind marks in the lens coatings effecting the quality of the image. This Fungus can also move from one lens to another so it only means that if you have stored everything together in one bag, chances are it may infect all the other lenses as well.

How to inspect your lenses:

It very easy actually, Either dismount the lens from the camera or remove both the lens caps and filters (if any). Look straight through the lens when pointed directly into a light source (like the sky or white wall). There is a high probability that you might come across some specks of dust however if you see any small water spots, web formations or worse (fungus) please keep the infected lens away from the other equipment and walk into a service center as soon as possible.

A little bit of trivia: In india humidity levels can reach more than 70% especially during monsoons. I think that is reason enough.

Where to buy?

So there aren’t any stores where you could walk in and inspect a dehumidifier before buying, at least not here in Bombay. I was recommended by a couple of friends/photographers to call and book one from an authorised dealer. Attaching link:


There are a couple of variants depending on how much equipment you have. They send you a price list which makes things easier.

Now i do understand that buying dehumidifying cabinets may not be part of the plan or a cost that you must have anticipated but if you have a butt loads of equipment then i suggest you start saving up. On the plus side: you can even store your HDD, memory cards in them as well.

Other alternatives that some photographers use:

  • They place everything in a build-it-yourself cupboards with a zero watt bulb.
  • Some store a lens in a air-tight containers or zippered bags. It may not be the best thing since it can’t “breathe”. I think the important thing to consider is to store your lens in a dry place that has reasonable air exchange.

Image source via google.

If you know of alternative ways to store equipment effective, i would love to hear & blog about it. Remember to keep the process simple and make decisions based on what you need.

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

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Parallax, coming soon!


Buying a camera – Users guide.

I/We as photographers often get asked “Can you recommend a camera?” “Which camera brand do you recommend?” “What lenses do you use?”. We all have questions when it comes to buying our first camera and this topic should interest anyone who is looking to buy photography gear for professional work. I remember when i was looking to buy my first DSLR, i spent days visiting online forums, comparison websites, spoke to tons of people (both hobbyist and professionals) which i am sure most of us can relate too. In the end i still remember being very confused & unsure as i walked into the store. I picked the canon 550D and not because of any research but because i knew somewhere in my mind the brand is what i wanted to go with. However all that changed when it came to picking my first semi-professional full frame Canon 5D-Mark III. This time around the process for selecting the equipment was different and hopefully this process should help you understand in choosing your next DSLR with some clarity.


1. Forget the brand, think of a budget. Photography gear is expensive and not a cheap hobby either. We all can go over board when it come to buying gear, and like some of us you too can suffer from what we call the gear-acquisition-syndrome, we can never be satisfied.  Start by making a list of cameras, lenses, bags, accessories etc & then mark their price besides them. Think of the budget you have set for yourself , automatically you will find yourself eliminating & narrowing down that list by brand & gear.

2. Hire & Play. The next best way to decide what equipment you want is to try out the equipment. Borrow a camera from a friend or hire it for a day; which by the way is very easy these days. This i believe is the best way to eliminate any doubts about the functionalities of the camera or gear. In the end it also comes down to ergonomic & how it feels in your hand.

3. Ask not what your camera can do for you, ask what you can do with the camera. I can answer this best by example. When i was looking for cameras my two options were the Nikon D800 & the Canon 5D-Mark III. The Price was within my range, both camera’s got great reviews and after spending hours stalking canon vs nikon forums online i narrowed down on the nikon & why not, right?. 36 megapixel, great dynamic range, sharpness and and some great lenses to go with. I began to evaluate and weighed my options which made me eventually tilt towards canon. Why?

– Canon has a variety of lenses and today most of them are available on rent/hire, an option that is not freely available with Nikon then, not sure what the scenario is now. This gives me the option to hire lenses, than burn a hole in my wallet buying expensive lenses. Basically it did not limit my skills as a photographer.

– I shoot for commercial assignments as well as weddings, so obviously I cared about file size or at-least at that time i did. I did not want to spend money buying new storage space or hard disks every other month plus processing heavy files means upgrading the computer hardware which i wanted to avoid at that time.

– Iso and great video capabilities. Canon 5D’s does wonders with its video capabilities and i wanted to be ready if ever i decided to take the route. These days the new Sony camera’s are killing it in the video space but that is a topic for another time.

– True colour & higher resolution screen.

– Faster frames per second.

4. Use: If you are looking to buy a camera to take on a holiday (which most of us do) or picnic you need to evaluate just two things. Weight & Use. Sounds strange but think about it. If you plan to use a camera twice or three a year then maybe buying a DSLR isn’t the best option. A compact mirror-less cameras should do the trick since you don’t want to carry a bulky camera around your neck or pull it in and out of the camera bag all the time. It can get very frustrating, but that might not an option if you do professional work. At entry-level, camera brands like Sony, Nikon, Canon and some others popular ones in my opinion offer similar features & output. Only draw back I saw was with canon, with its 9 focus points for beginner camera, then again it won’t matter depending upon the use.

Remember to keep the process simple and make decisions based on what you need. In the end its not the camera that shoots the pictures, it’s the photographer.

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

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Some sites that should get you started specially if you want to stay informed:

Parallax, coming soon!

behind the scenes

A photo essay, of sorts.

As a wedding photographer i get to see and experience a lot that gets missed during a big fat indian wedding. When i started shooting weddings i was extremely overwhelmed by the sheer number of studio photographers and videographers that were present to cover a single event and on one stage. Over a period of time I genuinely became amazed at the innovation and ingenuity they used in order to achieve a shot they desired. The first time i took notice, i took a picture which soon became a habit and over several weddings i started taking snapshots of the camera crew covering these events. Over a period of time i realised that i have with me a handful of photographs of not only the camera crew but others who walked into my frame during this process. In my mind i named each image as i photographed them, each having a story of its own.

Behind the scenes: Series one.

Click images to enlarge.

(All rights reserved, Images shot & posted on the blog are © and property of Joy Manavath Photography) write to me: India.

Pixel Trade

The idea behind pixel trade came from international photographer Shantanu Starick. It was a simple idea that grew from a much complicated stereotypical society that typecasted working cultures. He goes on to give an example that is very much existing within the fields of photography today. If you are a photographer and you do not have a speciality or are a generalist (shoots everything) then there is a possibility that people will not hire you for work because of that, maybe its a sense of security of trusting someone who is doing something for a while or even years & its not wrong to think that way but should that restrict creativity or growth of an individual. A situation most photographers today face, at-least i did. “We are not allowed to be perceived as jack of all trade” he says; and i agree with him on that. I am very happy with being called a food & wedding photographer but i would like the chance to shoot fashion, portraits,a music gig, pets or even a flower for someone.

We as photographers have the skills and understanding how to light the subject, to learn & grow with every assignment, to look at perspectives differently from someone who has been looking through the same angle doing the one thing over time. As photographers we should be allowed to experience every possible assignment.

So this is me taking something away from pixel trade and making it my own. I would like to offer my services as a photographer to whoever needs a photographer. If you need someone to photograph a product line, fashion store, design house, conduct a workshop, photograph an industrial site, photographs for a book, work for a cause or even shoot your breakfast. Come to me with an idea, an assignment that needs a different outlook & a new perspective, as long as we are allowed to work within a creative flow of design and have the freedom to think of something out of the box.

In return you will need to trade something for the beautiful pictures you will get. Barter with me something that i need or will need. The barter or trade off should be fair and at least be of equal value of my time spent. Buy me movie tickets, supply me cookies for a month, built my website, donate on my behalf to a charity or even send me on a holiday … trade something that i need at that time. The only one important thing to remember is during this tradeoff i don’t get to spend any money of my own.

Currently I hope to take up not more than two assignments a month since i plan to continue work and earn from my commercial assignments :)

I promise this will be a fun project, it will be a fun pixel-trade. I encourage others to be part of this pixel trade in whatever way possible and i would love to share your experience or hear about them.


P.S: One thing i won’t accept are food coupons because my wife takes very good care of me in that department.

“Give a little, and you get a lot back” – Shantanu Starick

(All rights reserved, Images shot & posted on the blog are © and property of Joy Manavath Photography)

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