Desert Test for a “City Camera”
When I usually go on photo assignments to deserts, jungles or other places that are similarly hostile to technology, I travel with an SLR and L-lenses, Canon’s „professional“ lenses. Aside from many optical qualities, these lenses have dust and moisture resistant rubber seals. I had never really given that much thought and simply accepted that luxury until I headed to the Libyan Desert in southwestern Egypt about 2 weeks ago and packed my Sony Nex-6 with 3 lenses instead of my Canon. I wasn’t on an “official mission” during this trip and I simply didn’t feel like hauling around so much weight. During the previous months, I had added several high-quality lenses to my Sony gear, including a Zeiss 16-70mm zoom and I wanted to see if this gear would be suitable for serious projects in more extreme environments as well.
My verdict is mixed: Photographically, the Sony Nex-6 left little to be desired and the lightweight, compact gear was a joy when it came to climbing to the tops of volcanic cones or fighting my way up a steep dune. But we were also lucky and barely had any wind, which meant that little to no sand was stirred up. And nonetheless: After about a week in the desert, sand was grating inside my zoom lenses, something I had never experienced with my L-lenses. Thanks to a Giotto Rocket Blaster and a lens brush, I managed to get the dust back out of the cracks and my equipment seems to have survived the adventure unharmed but for adverse conditions I would recommend you stick to a slightly more rugged camera :-)