Storage Tips

How to Properly Store Vintage Cameras and Lens for Long Term Storage

Back To Index

Cameras are made of delicate materials that require special care. Vintage cameras need extra special attention because classic film and lenses are often rare or even impossible to replace. This means that diligent care and optimal storage conditions are required to keep these cameras in good condition.

Artists who want to make stunning and authentic visual effects depend on classic cameras to make gorgeous images. Storing the camera lens properly will make sure that you can take clear and brilliant photos for years to come. Here is how to store your vintage camera and lens for long-term storage.

Why Store Vintage Cameras?

Vintage cameras are valuable for a variety of reasons and are worth protecting. First, they can have a high value. Classic cameras can be valued at $8,000 or more. Factors like condition, film format, popularity, brand, and history affect the equipment’s worth. By keeping your cameras safe in storage, you can protect them and maintain their value.

Cameras that use traditional film can provide an alternative long-lasting method for storing memories. While most modern cameras are digital, there is something special about vintage cameras that keep images on traditional film and photographic prints. Keeping a vintage camera around can maintain this treasured method of capturing and keeping memories.

Why Protect Your Camera Lens?

A well-maintained camera lens can produce a clear, focused image that is iconic of vintage photographs. Storing your camera lens properly prevents problems like mold, beaten-up housing, a foggy front element, malfunctioning autofocus, and a gummy aperture ring.

Of all the parts of the camera, the lens can retain its value the most. However, a damaged lens can lose more than half its value or not even be worthy of reselling. For instance, a vintage Canon lens that is worth over $5,000 can end up being sold for just $1,000 or less when there is mold or other problems with it. Therefore, maintain the charm and value of your camera by protecting its lens.

Protect Your Camera Against Moisture and Impacts

Vintage cameras and lenses sustain damage from two main sources: humidity and blunt force. Humidity damages camera parts that are particularly sensitive and finely calibrated. A dry, air-tight storage method prevents rust and mold from developing.

  • Invest in good storage gear. When actively using your camera, keep it in a professional-grade protective bag. Always have the neck or hand strap engaged so that you won't accidentally drop it. Leather cases aren’t recommended for cameras or lenses because they trap moisture.
  • Prep the camera lens for long-term storage. Before storage, remove all filters and cover the back and front lens.
  • Do not store the camera with the shutter cocked. This will cause the spring to lose its flexibility.
  • Use an extra container for long-term storage. When it’s time to store the camera for a long period, place it in the protective bag and then place it in another sealable bag. Finally, place a silica desiccant gel pack inside and suck the air out as much as possible.
  • Protect the camera against impacts. Store the camera in a secure container that can shield the camera against impacts in case any items shift in storage.

These preventative measures will make sure that no extra moisture or impacts affect your camera. For extra peace of mind, put your camera’s storage box in an air-conditioned place like a spare room in a house or a climate-controlled storage unit. Air conditioners are good dehumidifiers that can easily keep excess moisture out of the air. Dehumidifiers also provide extra support in particularly humid climates.

Film Storage

Vintage camera film is made of a delicate gelatin emulsion with small silver halide crystals that are highly sensitive to light. Each film has its specific resolution, sensitivity, and contrast based on the sizes of these crystals and other properties of the film. Needless to say, this item must be kept in pristine conditions to produce the best results. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast, and resolution of the film. Most importantly, the film should be kept at lower temperatures to slow down any latent image changes.

  • Storage for less than 6 months: Keep the film at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Storage for more than 6 months: Store the film at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

It is a well-known tip amongst professional photographers to store film in the refrigerator. “Fridge temperatures”, which start at 50°F or below, significantly prolong a film’s lifespan by keeping it fresh. You should put the film in a sealed container before storage. Also, before you use the film again, take out the container and let it return to room temperature while unopened.

Storage Positions

The environment is not the only important aspect of good camera storage, but how you store it also matters.

  • Always store your vintage camera with the front element side-down. This reduces any oil build-up in the aperture blades that can cause gumming.
  • Close The aperture rings at the smallest f-stop setting (the highest number on the lens) to reduce any tension on the springs. Vintage cameras usually have manual aperture adjustments, but newer models will have an automatic setting. Springs fatigue after being engaged for a long time, so it is best to reduce all tension before storing your camera.

Get a Dry Cabinet Dehumidifier

A “dry cabinet dehumidifier” is an electronic cabinet that is air-tight, temperature-controlled, dehumidified, and usually comes with a locking system. These units cost between $200 to $700, which cost less than most professional cameras. It is a vital investment for any photographer who wants to preserve their cameras and lenses under the best conditions. If you need to put your cameras in storage, you can place one of these units inside a storage unit with access to power, which can give you peace of mind that all the best conditions are met for your camera.

We're Your Storage Solution!

Storage Rentals of America is your convenient self-storage solution. So come into our office or give our storage experts a call at 1-800-457-5678. Our call center is available 7 days a week and can help determine which storage unit size best fits your storage needs.

Your Ultimate Guide to a Sparkling Home

Your Ultimate Guide to a Sparkling Home

Read More
Protect Your Wine Collection With These Storage Tips

Protect Your Wine Collection With These Storage Tips

Read More
Guide to Renting Storage Unit for the First Time

Guide to Renting Storage Unit for the First Time

Read More
Our Storage Locations:
USAFind Your State

Reach Out

Follow Us

All offers subject to change without notice. All fees are non-refundable. Special and discount pricing offered only on selected units and subject to availability. Special offer applies only to the rental fee. Other restrictions, taxes, tenant protection and fees, including an administrative fee, apply. See lease for full details. Special or discount pricing good for new customers only. Not available on transfers or additional spaces. Reservation and paid reservation fee required to guarantee price. Actual unit sizes may vary from approximate size estimate on website. Please inspect any unit before renting. Online pricing available only for online reservations and rentals. Lease is a month to month lease prorated the first month only, the final month runs until last day of the month.

Copyright 2024 © Storage Rentals of America. All Rights Reserved.