This explains why my viewfinder got all steamed up when I started using my camera yesterday (ok, I had left it in the boot of my car overnight – this should not be condoned for reasons not only of condensation but also of potential theft). Luckily, condensation doesn’t usually signify resultant damage to the camera or lens and, after wiping the moisture away, I was able to take my intended shots.
Care should be taken though. Rough treatment of your lens with an inappropriate cloth could lead to scratches. Pooling of the water droplets around the edge of the glass could possibly seep into the lens mechanism. Not a good idea.
Most times however, you are advised to leave and store your equipment where there is warmth. You can reduce condensation by storing your camera in a good bag when it is brought in from the cold – the temperature change will be less dramatic. Luckily, most condensation will evaporate very quickly.
I always carry a soft cloth with me. This serves to remove the condensation without risking damage to the camera or lens. So far, I have not had any problems, and don’t expect any.
Condensation that forms on the lens can even be useful! It can give a nice soft focus effect for impromptu romantic images!