We talk about cameras and lenses all day long. Chances are, the humble dry cabinet will never creep into our conversations. Why would they? They aren’t exactly exciting. However, they might be one of the most important accessories any photographer can own.
We spend thousands of dollars on cameras and lenses. When we’re not using our gear, it just sits in our camera bags. Sure, your gear is protected from bumps while inside your camera bag. However, two things your gear are not protected from are moisture and dust. Both are silent killers of sensitive electronics. This is where dry cabinets come into play.
Editor’s note: B&H Photo sent us the Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet to review and keep. This is an independent review. All thoughts and views about this product are our own. We have not been influenced in any way. We tell you this as we always want to be honest with you.
- Nicely designed
- Easy to use
- Silent operation
- Adjustable shelves
- Thick foam padding
- Lockable door
- Interior lighting
- Well priced
- The trays aren’t made from the highest quality plastic
All of the technical specifications have been taken from the listing on the B&H website:
- Volume capacity: 4.4 ft³ / 125 L
- Humidity control: 35 to 60% (+/-7%)
- AC input power: 110 to 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz
- Power consumption: <15 W
- Construction: Glass, steel
- Interior dimensions: (W x H x D)16.1 x 32.2 x 15.3″ / 40.9 x 81.8 x 38.9 cm
- Exterior dimensions: (W x H x D) 16.1 x 35.4 x 15.4″ / 40.9 x 89.9 x 39.1 cm
- Weight: 42.3 lb / 19.2 kg
What is a dry cabinet?
A dry cabinet, also known as a dehumidifier box, is a simple yet brilliant storage solution. A dry cabinet allows you to organize and display your gear. More importantly, it will protect your cameras, lenses, other electronics, film negatives, and documents from dust and moisture.
Those of us that live in humid climates need to take action to protect our cameras and lenses. In humid areas, fungi can grow inside your lenses and moisture can cause electronics to corrode. Excessive dust causes electronics to overheat and it can enter and stick to the inside of lenses. Active (powered) dry cabinets, like the Ruggard 125L, will protect your investments against both via a gasket-sealed door, and active cooling wafers.
Ruggard Dry Cabinets
The Ruggard Dry Cabinets come in various sizes. So, there’s an option for most content creators out there. The size options are (in liters) 18L, 30L, 50L, 80L, 90L, 125L, 180L, 230L and a whopping 600-liter.
They range in price from $129.95 to $1,499.95. No matter the space in your home, the size of your gear collection, or the size of your budget, there’s a dry cabinet that will fit your needs. As you can see from the title, I received the 125-liter version, which costs just under $400.
Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet — Ergonomics and build quality
Regardless of the size you choose, you’ll receive a unit that’s built very well. The cabinets feature an all-metal (steel) build. The 125L version has exterior dimensions of 16.1 x 35.4 x 15.4″ / 40.9 x 89.9 x 39.1 cm. The interior dimensions are 16.1 x 32.2 x 15.3″ / 40.9 x 81.8 x 38.9 cm, and it weighs 42.3 lb / 19.2 kg.
The door features a thick glass panel that allows you to showcase your gear. You’ll also find a brushed metal handle and a lock that comes with two keys so you can secure your valuables. The trays themselves are made from plastic. However, the plastic used doesn’t feel like the highest quality. Still, the plastic is rigid and it will hold the weight of your cameras and lenses.
It looks great
The foam tray inlays are thick and provide nice protection. The Ruggard 125L comes with a molded foam insert too. This insert is designed to hold longer lenses snugly so that they don’t roll around. You’ll find a large LED control panel in the top right corner. It’s easy to read and displays both the room temperature and the relative humidity level inside the case.
Overall the design and the build quality of the Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet are both great. The cabinet looks nice thanks to the large window and the interior lighting. The black case allows it to blend with most décor.
Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet — Ease of use
The Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet is easy to use. When it arrives, all you have to do is unbox it and plug it in. The shelves and all of the liners are pre-installed. There are adjustable feet on the bottom of the cabinet so that you can level the case quickly and easily.
The first thing you’ll need to do is set the level of relative humidity. You do this via the control panel on the top right. Relative humidity levels around 40-45% are recommended for cameras and lenses. Too little humidity can cause as much damage as too much humidity. If you set it too low, rubber and leatherettes can become brittle. So, set accordingly. You then just give the case one to three hours to stabilize.
It holds a ton of gear
You can remove some of the shelves if you need to give bulkier items more clearance. However, if you don’t need to do that, you can just start loading your gear. Here’s a complete breakdown of everything I have managed to fit into the cabinet so far:
- Pansonic Lumix S5
- A Pentax K-S2
- Pentax K-3 III
- Pentax Q7
- Fujifilm X100V
- 1938 Zeiss Ikoflex II
- Rollei 35s
- A custom built pinhole camera
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV
- Practika Super TL
- Canon Rebel T1i
- Sigma 100-400mm DG DN
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN
- Panasonic S 85mm f/1.8
- Panasonic S 20-60mm
- Pentax DA* 11-18mm f/2.8 ED DC AW
- A Pentax Q 01 (lens)
- Pentax Q 02 (lens)
- Olympus 14-42mm
- Olympus 100-400mm f/5-6.3
- Lensbaby Obscura 16mm
- Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element
- Tair 11a 135mm f/2.8
- Meyer Optik Gorlitz Domiplan 50mm f/2.8
- A Godox/Flashpoint V1
- The Godox TT350
- A Godox/Flashpoint AD200
- Godox/Flashpoint AD400 Pro
As you can see, that’s a lot of gear. There’s still plenty of room for more lenses and cameras. Still, if you don’t need this much space, you can always opt for one of the smaller units. After you have loaded all of your gear there’s nothing else to do apart from close the door.
The 125L cabinet runs completely silently. There are no drip trays to empty. You just let it do its thing. The interior lighting is a nice touch. You can turn on the LEDs to see more easily while you’re fiddling around or to just highlight your collection. It’s easy to keep an eye on the temperature in your room and the relative humidity inside the case via the LCD. You can even change the readout of the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius if you need to. This Ruggard Dry Cabinet is super easy to use and maintain.
Should you buy a dry cabinet?
If you live in a humid part of the world, a dry cabinet, in my honest opinion, is a must. Sure, many cameras and lenses are weather-sealed and they can fight moisture and dust. However, many cameras and lenses aren’t, especially not vintage items. At the end of the day, all cameras, lenses, and electronics will benefit from being kept away from moisture. If you want your gear to last, a dry cabinet will give you a way to make that possible.
The Ruggard 125L Dry Cabinet is well built, it looks nice, it can hold plenty of gear. and it’s easy to use. If you’re looking for a safe way to store and showcase your gear at home or in your studio, a dry cabinet, like the Ruggard 125L, will let you do that with ease. There are no real negatives to talk about. It just works. So, just get the size that fits your needs and you’ll sleep easy knowing that your gear is protected from silent killers.
125L Ruggard Dry Cabinet
If you’re looking for a way to both store your gear and keep it away from moisture and dust in your home or office, the 125L Ruggard dry cabinet might be for you. It can hold a ton of gear, it looks great, it’s easy to use, and it’s affordable. If you want your photography equipment to last, you should consider taking a closer look.