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Author Topic: What to use to protect your camera when shooting in the cold?  (Read 916 times)
cottagehunter
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« on: December 16, 2013, 10:51:02 AM »
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Last night I was shooting Christmas lights using a Sony a99 with the Zeiss 24-70 on a tripod. Temps were in the - 15c range and after about 25 min with the multiple bracket framing, would give me only  2 of the 3 shots then the autofocus feature stopped working. Okay I switched to manual focus but this caused me to think that there should be some gear to keep the camera warm in these situations. Sticking it in your coat when using a triod doesn't work. I was thinking of a work sock toe cut off for the lens to poke thru and a hot pack inside the sock to keep things warm.
Any thoughts?

Pierre  Cheesy
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Hulyss
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 11:12:50 AM »
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Hello Pierre,

There is no real solution for the problem you are mentioning. -15 is not what I call "cold" anyway. If you want to warm up your camera body during the shoot you take a high risk. The residual humidity in your camera can condensate and froze, making more damages than you expect. You really need to avoid thermal shocks as much as you can. Cold make your material more fragile, contracting the alloy of the body, harden the sealing and so on ...

Either you shoot from a controlled environment, like a cabin, or either you seek a better material for your shoots. Medium Format digital backs are made for this, especially the "+" line of Phase One. Try to avoid as much as you can electronics controls like AF and go manual lenses. In the manual lenses there is different behaviours between metallic lenses and composite lenses. When you will face -40 and + temperatures ... you will develop a more scientific approach of your material Wink

When you plan to go in "very cold" zones, you can train your setup in frozen warehouses. If you have one of them around you, like meat or vegetables warehouse you can test it under - 25°C.

Try Nikon pro bodys like D4 Wink
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 11:22:57 AM by Hulyss » Logged

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SZRitter
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 02:43:39 PM »
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I've shot Nikons in that temp (D200 and D7000) and have to say, it seems to be lens construction that is the problem. The f2.8 Sigma I was carrying failed in as little as 20F, while every Nikkor I had was fine well below 0F. That is mostly consumer level Nikkors, so I can only assume the high-end pro lenses are better. Haven't tested my Olympus in temps that low yet, but wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happen.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 03:27:59 AM »
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Here in Scotland we rarely get temperatures as low as -10C but when, occasionally, it does drop to that sort of level, I find it best to allow the camera to get there gradually (for example by leaving it in the porch overnight) rather than trying to keep it warm. The exception is batteries - best to keep it (and a spare) warm in your pocket until required.
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NancyP
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 11:47:39 AM »
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For true cold, "keep it simple" is a good motto. Keep spare batteries in a pocket next to your body. Forget about autofocus if it is inconsistent, use manual instead. Autofocus ought to work to -10 or -15 C, but the motor isn't very powerful, any lubricants tend to stiffen up, and other mechanical properties of lens components may change at truly low temperatures. If I know that I am going to shoot in standard cold situations (0 to -10 C), I leave my gear in the car trunk overnight. Plastic bag the camera before you bring it into the warm. If you want to shoot for multiple sessions, leave the camera in the car trunk in between, if you need to chimp, take only the card inside.
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fike
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 03:22:09 PM »
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I have frequently worked in those sort of conditions (sometimes colder) and have never had problems with my variety of mid-range Canon or Olympus cameras.  Honestly, that behavior looks like a bad sign for this model or this particular sample.  -10 C isn't THAT cold.  A good SLR should work in those conditions, albeit with reduced battery life.

Spare batteries and a large ziplock bag for when you come back inside is all you should need. The only time I had trouble was when I fell into a snowdrift and buried my camera beneath me.  The problems didn't show up for a few months, though.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
AlfSollund
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 04:29:17 AM »
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I agree with others. Minus 15 is not cold. Imo its not a good solution to try to heat up camera. What you should do is to make sure that both lens and camera have as little condensation/water inside as possible, because this will freeze and jam up mechanics. During minus degrees and in combination with snow I always make sure camera temperature is below zero before photography, because then snow is not a problem. It will not stick or melt. Btw the same as driving in blizzards, turn off heating in car, and no problem (except the morons that keep their heating on and block the road).
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Isaac
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2013, 05:48:50 PM »
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A good SLR should work in those conditions, albeit with reduced battery life.

fwiw "Operating temperature 0C to 40C (32F to 104F)", page 90 SLT-A99/SLT-A99V Instruction Manual
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 05:52:53 PM by Isaac » Logged
fike
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 08:49:35 AM »
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fwiw "Operating temperature 0C to 40C (32F to 104F)", page 90 SLT-A99/SLT-A99V Instruction Manual

I don't know if my previous cameras have had similar operating conditions disclaimers, but that is not very good, if it really starts to fail when you go just a little bit below freezing.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
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