The Mob over at ZGC have posted a nice Blog article highlighting what to do if you accidentally drop one of your lenses into water. Fresh or salt water.
ZGC point out ways to save your precious glass from being a complete write off.
Please don’t let your mistake end like these poor lenses…
Unlike a fresh water pond or river, sea water has an element that just doesn’t mix well with lenses. Sodium Chloride (NaCl), otherwise known in its common term as SALT. NaCl, aluminum and brass don’t go well together.
While dropping a lens into a fresh water pond or river is reason enough to cause the onslaught of anxiety, it’s generally not the end of the world. The lens can be shipped in a plastic zip-lock bag to a repair facility where technicians will dismantle the lens, clean it as they go, check for parts that may need replacing, and then reassemble the lens to factory specs. Hours of work, and maybe the cost of some parts but the lens will likely live to work again. Not too bad, considering.
On the other hand, if the lens was dropped into salt water (ocean, salt water aquarium, brine tank, etc.) more severe challenges await. The salt water must be promptly flushed from the lens or corrosion will set in. “What”, you exclaim, “Put the lens in more water?” Yes, Please! Not only put it in fresh water, but thoroughly flush it with fresh water to try and displace as much of the salt water as possible. After doing this, seal the lens up in a zip-lock bag and immediately send it off to the repair facility with a big note providing notice of what happened and what steps you took. Delays here will only make recovery more unlikely.
Maybe, if you’re lucky, there will be minimal damage. Yes, there will probably be parts that have to be replaced, and there will be many hours of billable time for the technician to strip the lens down to individual parts, to wash each and every one of them in fresh water, and to carefully dry them so they don’t rust and/or corrode. And, again if you’re lucky, the technician will provide you with an estimate of what the charges will be to put everything back together again instead of announcing it was a total disaster and loss. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the “accident” the technician can’t provide you with a warranty on the service he’s performing. You sigh, as you realize you won’t have to buy a new lens; but if the lens was insured, you’ll probably now have to pay higher insurance rates due to the claim you file.
Life goes on.
Please see ZGC for more information about their water logged lens recovery techniques.