Nikon Cameras are designed differently. There are water-proof models and those that are not.
Even water-resistant models have a maximum depth and time beyond which they can no longer withstand.
It is common for cameras (not just Nikon’s) to fail to power on when wet.
If you act with speed–getting out of wet conditions and starting diagnosis–you can save your rig from dying completely.
In this article, we are going to share a few tips on what to do if your Nikon camera gets wet and refuses to power on.
But first, let’s talk about preemptive measures
Protecting your Camera from the rain and other wet conditions
If you are a professional photographer, rain, snow, humidity or any other weather element should not stop you from shooting.
In fact, capturing that dramatic effect that comes with wet conditions will make your footage extremely amazing.
Here are a few ways to protect your gear in wet conditions
Keep your gear in a waterproof bag
Weather will always remain unpredictable and as someone who is always on the move, you need a waterproof bag for your camera.
Camera rain cover
People wear ponchos and they are awesome. So why can’t a camera have one?
There are many professional camera rain covers with a universal design to fit Nikon, Sony, and even Canon rigs.
The rain covers spot adjustable sleeves and zippers that grant you seamless access to the camera controls.
Camera sleeves are much thicker and offer protection not just against the weather but other harsh elements as well.
Sleeves are way cooler than camera rain covers especially when you want your camera close to you and not inside the bag.
Some have shoulder straps and a carabiner clip for hooking on your body.
Waterproof camera housing
There are two routes you can take here if your camera is not waterproof.
You can either invest in a new waterproof housing or an underwater case/bag/pouch. The former is easy to use as you just need to fit it on the camera.
Changing a camera housing, on the other hand, needs one to be properly skilled.
Albeit costing an arm and a leg, there are also marine-quality housings that let the camera go as deep as 60 feet underwater.
On average, most waterproof housing will allow the camera to be submerged up to about 16 feet deep.
Use a lens hood
If you plan to shoot from inside your car or behind windows, then a lens hood can suffice.
A lens hood will prevent splashes from landing on it and causing glitches.
Invest in an umbrella
This should be right top of your mind before you leave for an outdoor shoot session.
A normal umbrella or the big golf kind will get you covered. You can go for portable tents too if you want more room for setting up a tripod.
Tips on How to Fix a Wet Nikon Camera That Won’t Power On
Here are a few approaches to adopt in fixing your wet Nikon camera so it can power on successfully:
1. Dry the camera
Let’s assume at this point you’ve found shelter and are no longer in the rain.
The first thing you must do is not power on your device. By pressing buttons on the camera, you could easily open some gateways for water to seep into the interior parts.
Another reason why you should never power on a wet Nikon camera is due to the charge still existing in the battery.
With water slipping through sensitive components, powering up a camera can result in short-circuiting delicate components.
Next, detach the battery, lens, and SD card from their compartments.
SD cards are designed to be waterproof but there is no need to take risks with your newly captured data.
Now, using a soft piece of cloth, scout for any water molecules and wipe them out. Be careful not to push water further into the rig’s internal mechanics.
If you feel some splashes slipped into the interior components, you’ll need to hold your camera close to a fan for about 15 minutes.
If you are not next to a fan, try a hair dryer.
If you were outside, then fire up your car and hold the camera to the front of the air conditioning vents.
If you feel the camera is dry enough, plug in the battery, lens, and SD card and attempt powering it on.
2. Rinse your camera in freshwater
This step is only for those whose cameras were exposed to salt water.
If that is the case, you need to dip your rig in fresh water for about 5 seconds and then use a wet cloth to soak up any exterior wetness.
At this point, you can also use the same piece of cloth to dry up the battery compartment.
3. Use dry rice
One good old technique for drying shoes and other stuff was to store them in dry rice for a couple of hours.
You can put your camera in a bag of rice, seal it and place it in a dry and warm spot.
Let it remain there for a couple of hours or days—depending on how wet you think it got.
4. Visit a professional technician
If you are like most people who are not good at DIY or just don’t want to compromise the camera further, you could take it to a repair shop.
But before you do so, make sure the battery, lens, and SD card are out.
If the camera dropped in saltwater, rinse it in fresh water, or if in doubt, just rush to an expert repair ASAP.
If you delay for even a day or more, metallic parts will start to rust.
5. Make use of your warranty
Liquid damage is rarely covered by warranties.
Even devices that are rated as waterproof with IP ratings sometimes don’t qualify. Many companies would agree to fix a water-damaged camera but at a fee.
However, if for some reason your camera is an exception, then take advantage of the warranty.
Online reviews indicate that Nikon has a habit of refusing to repair salt water damage cameras.
This is because they know some components could be damaged and would need to be replaced at a steep fee.
Nevertheless, it is best to contact them so they can advise you on the best approach to getting your camera fixed.
6. Consider insurance claim
If you were traveling and by good luck, you took travel insurance, contact the company to find out if the plan you took covers the repair costs of personal property such as a damaged camera.
Professional photographers must expect that during transit, their gear is likely to get damaged. So it’s best to have them insured.
7. Let it stay in the sun
This is more of the last-kicks-of-a-dying-horse approach. It’s dangerous.
But hey, if all the methods above, including a visit to Nikon company repair centers and technicians failed, you could as well leave it in the sun.
Exposing the camera to the sun for prolonged periods might cause further harm to both external and internal units.
So you can proceed with moderation if you hope to salvage some parts for future use just in case the camera fails to power up completely.