You were caught out in the rain with a camera that’s not weather-resistant. Is your SD card done for? Are all your vacation photos really gone? To lots of folks, this would be an incentive to not use a dedicated camera vs. their phone. Phones are very secure against the elements, while your dedicated camera probably isn’t. And then think about the lens! Before we go deeper into panic, though, we’ve got good news for you. Here’s how you can dry out your SD card.
Some extra words: don’t worry. Lots of photographers have been caught in the same situation. That doesn’t necessarily make things better, but we have great news for you. Here’s the great news you want to know about how to dry out an SD card.
Hot Tip: Your SD Card is Most Likely Fine
For decades, SD cards have been designed with waterproofing as a major feature. We’re not talking about weather resistance, which is what your camera has. Instead, we’re referencing waterproofing. And we’ve done these tests ourselves. Here’s a quote from one of our PNY SD card reviews referencing the durability:
“After laundry day, we plugged the washed-and-dried SD cards into our MacBooks to see the fate of our photos. (Which were, of course, backed up. We may be a bit crazy, but not that crazy.) Both the tested SD card and MicroSD card survived unscathed.”
Still not convinced? Well, we’ve done these tests a few times. And more importantly, we also do full weather-resistance tests on cameras and lenses. Our tests are famous for making photographers cringe, but someone has to do it. The cameras survived, but none of us have also ever complained about an SD card failing on us. The manufacturing has become so good that it becomes an afterthought. Otherwise, lots of photographers would have filed a lawsuit already.
We’re confident that even the cheapest SD cards could survive, but try to buy from a reputable brand. If you’re a Phoblographer Membership subscriber, you get a discount from Pro Grade Digital. Lots of us on the reviews team use those.
Even if there are problems here, software can recover your images.
How to Dry Out an SD Card
There are a few ways to dry out your SD card. In our case, we did some torture tests on SD cards when we reviewed them. And one of our reviewers quite literally hung it to dry for maybe 15 minutes and then kept abusing it.
Here’s a quote from his review:
“15 minutes later, I carefully took it out. It was still in one piece. I hung it to dry for a short while before heading on to test two. That’s right I didn’t allow it to relax much.”
Beyond hanging it dry, you can just leave it out, put it in rice, use silica gel, wipe it down, or use a blow drier. In fact, during our laundry tests, we put the SD cards in our home dryers and those at laundromats. In each and every situation, the SD cards survived.
Keep Calm and Keep Shooting Photos
Truly, you don’t need to worry about how to dry out an SD card when it gets wet. Your camera is far more likely to be damaged, and the memory card industry has done fantastic work to ensure that their products are pretty fail-proof. But this goes beyond SD cards. It will also work for CFast cards, CF Express type A, CF Express Type B, and more. To recap, engineers have thought about how to dry out these cards for literally over a decade now. More importantly, they’ve been putting it into practice.