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The winter question
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: The winter question Reply with quote

So far I've used my Nikon DSLR regardless of outside temperature, also at -15C if I was desperate, but I just noticed that thw technical spec says the camera should not work at temperatures below zero.
Do you worry about that with regard to your equipment? Can anything serious really happen?
If it gets down to -10 or so is it safer to take MF lenses instead of AF?


PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the biggest problems you might encounter are, battery life is shortened in the cold, so keep spares in a warm pocket, condensation when going indoors, allow the camera to warm slowly in an airtight container, and lubricant will stiffen in the cold. This could have a severe effect on an AF lens as the drive motor will only be designed to move the lens with the lubrication at its normal viscosity, when it gets thick it could overload the motor. So MF lenses make sense in the cold.
It's hard to judge how the rest of a modern camera might be affected, in theory electronics shouldn't be affected, but the stiff lube problem might affect the shutter mechanism ?
I know that my Pentax K10 records the temperature in the exif data, and I know I've spent hours shooting in the snow when the wind chill took the temp' down to minus 10 or so. But in those conditions I use a padded holster bag and keep the camera in that as much as I can, and in the holster I had one of those chemical hand warmers, they are very good and I keep one in each pocket as well.
I think that if a camera is left on a tripod for long periods then it will suffer in the cold, but with a hit and run technique and a good insulated holster bag the temp' inside the camera will stay perfectly usable.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pentax dslr is safe at cold temp.
The k5 is good for -20, the k20 is -10. I have been using the k20 at -18 many hrs pr day and many days.

In general, the light meter becomes inaccurate, it measures darker, so ev+ must adjust in av mode, as far as +1.3.
The lcd also becomes darker, histogram is good to have. Manual mode might be the best mode in cold and snow.

Canon 5dm2 has difficulties with light meter at -8. Compensation as far as +1.6

Battery depleted quickly in the cold, but recover in room temp, still can count on 50%, grip and/or spare should be fine


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a thread last year, mostly about film cameras but also some digital advice:

http://forum.mflenses.com/viewtopic.php?t=43560

My Rebel 1000D is supposedly rated for 0C but I've been out shooting in -20something and the body was OK.

I find anything colder then mid -twenties Celsius and I'm not having fun anymore, the Scandanavians may freely snicker now.

I'll agree that your battery won't be happy, make sure you start with a full charge. If you had a spare battery and kept it warm with body heat in pants pocket etc. you could probably switch back and forth and do a lot of shooting.

I mostly used a M42 lens, and focus got stiff. I mostly left the aperture at f/8, not sure how sticky it would have been trying to adjust it for each shot.

To avoid condensation, I use a small beer cooler. This cooler doesn't hold the cold for long when cooling beer, so it's nice for slowly bringing my gear back to temp. When I go out to shoot I bring the cooler out to the garage and open it up to get cold. When I come back I put the cold camera into the cold cooler and close the lid but don't get a perfect seal. I bring everything back inside to slowly acclimatize.

last year, -20something


last year, -teens


me on the -20something day, pretty sure I gave up before my battery did Laughing


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzywuzzy wrote:
There was a thread last year, mostly about film cameras but also some digital advice:

http://forum.mflenses.com/viewtopic.php?t=43560

My Rebel 1000D is supposedly rated for 0C but I've been out shooting in -20something and the body was OK.

I find anything colder then mid -twenties Celsius and I'm not having fun anymore, the Scandanavians may freely snicker now.

I'll agree that your battery won't be happy, make sure you start with a full charge. If you had a spare battery and kept it warm with body heat in pants pocket etc. you could probably switch back and forth and do a lot of shooting.

I mostly used a M42 lens, and focus got stiff. I mostly left the aperture at f/8, not sure how sticky it would have been trying to adjust it for each shot.

To avoid condensation, I use a small beer cooler. This cooler doesn't hold the cold for long when cooling beer, so it's nice for slowly bringing my gear back to temp. When I go out to shoot I bring the cooler out to the garage and open it up to get cold. When I come back I put the cold camera into the cold cooler and close the lid but don't get a perfect seal. I bring everything back inside to slowly acclimatize.

last year, -20something


last year, -teens


me on the -20something day, pretty sure I gave up before my battery did Laughing


Shocked Wow I never seen ice form on grass like that before. What a nice capture.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: The winter question Reply with quote

I once had the shutter of a D100 seize during taking pictures in -27C. It returned to normal after I brought it back indoors and let it warm up, no permanent damage. Haven't had this happen with other cameras, but I have to admit I rarely take photos when it gets below -20C.

I combat condensation either by keeping the equipment inside the padded camera backpack or wrapping it into some thick clothes when bringing it indoors and let it warm gradually. Haven't had any water damage problems, but condensation is certainly something to keep in mind.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nikonshooter wrote:

Shocked Wow I never seen ice form on grass like that before.


I live in a weird microclimate Laughing

This was taken a hundred meters from the Peticodiac River. I've never seen the river freeze here. The Petitcodiac is tidal, i.e. rises and falls about 7 meters twice a day and the constant motion keeps the water liquid.

On some cold nights the river adds humidity to the air, which can produce fog, and that fog freezes onto every twig and blade of grass. It's beautiful, delicate and short-lived, once the sun hits the frost it vanishes within minutes.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bigger danger when you bring camera back to warm , humid place... condensation can be an issue on lens and in camera body itself.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I make a note of all the people that shoot below 0c and in the rain. Then I make sure that I never buy any 2nd hand equipment from them. Laughing

Personally, I never use anything other than cheap compacts in rain or extreme cold. You may get away with it, but why take an expensive risk.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checked on my Sony A580's official temperature range which is 0-40. I must say I could be shooting beyond both ranges, which worries me a little. Will check for all my cameras.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

martinsmith99 wrote:
I make a note of all the people that shoot below 0c and in the rain. Then I make sure that I never buy any 2nd hand equipment from them. Laughing

Personally, I never use anything other than cheap compacts in rain or extreme cold. You may get away with it, but why take an expensive risk.


+1


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

martinsmith99 wrote:
I make a note of all the people that shoot below 0c and in the rain. Then I make sure that I never buy any 2nd hand equipment from them. Laughing

Personally, I never use anything other than cheap compacts in rain or extreme cold. You may get away with it, but why take an expensive risk.


That's why i am keeping the pentax, and their newer wr lenses Very Happy
I would never use the nex for cold weather...


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pro bodies are have weather-proof gaskets built inside, also many modern lenses. They are tools built for use, I never understood why only shoot in nice weather. I have never had a lens fail or require service due to climate, and bodies have worked fine as long as I've kept pocket warmer gel packs to warm the spare battery. Focus-motor lenses do tend to focus slower once they have spent several hours outdoors if temperature below -10C, but superteles focus so damn fast they're still faster than other lenses despite it. My previous body (sold it in October) was a Nikon D3 which had seen use in sauna temperatures, desert & tropical temperatures and winter Lapland with -35C - it passed condition check by official Nikon service with only cosmetical wear in the report. This autumn I bought battery-powered heated gloves for 100 EUR at a hunting specialist, slim gloves well suitable for camera or trigger use so now I can use both rifle and camera all day out in nature if needed.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

martinsmith99 wrote:
I make a note of all the people that shoot below 0c and in the rain. Then I make sure that I never buy any 2nd hand equipment from them. Laughing

Personally, I never use anything other than cheap compacts in rain or extreme cold. You may get away with it, but why take an expensive risk.


It's a tool, get it insured and use it. Wink I do try and look after my equipment, but I'm not worried if it does get some signs of use. When I'm photographing my other hobby of off road 4x4 trials my camera goes with me, and spends a lot of time in a Lowepro holster pouch that gets strapped to the roll cage with velcro, if I end up upside down in a muddy river then I just hope the velcro holds! Laughing
The weatherproofing and ruggedness of the camera was the main reason I bought a Pentax K10 when they came out, and why I've replaced it with another one recently. I want to take pictures out there in all conditions. It wasn't water or cold that killed my first K10, I think it just gave up from over use.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear what you're saying, but I, personally, cannot excuse bad care with insurance. But that's just me and clearly not a view you share.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

martinsmith99 wrote:
I make a note of all the people that shoot below 0c and in the rain. Then I make sure that I never buy any 2nd hand equipment from them. Laughing

Personally, I never use anything other than cheap compacts in rain or extreme cold. You may get away with it, but why take an expensive risk.


If consumer level Nikons/Canons had trouble below freezing surely that would be common knowledge in Canada, it seems every soccer mom has a Rebel or the Nikon equivalent. For sure the big box electronics store salesman doesn't try to upsell based on cold tolerance, but rather megapixels.

Around here freezing doesn't count as extreme cold, you'll see a ton of people out snapping pics at Winter Carnival, the rink etc. At the end of winter once things warm up to freezing you're guaranteed to see high school students outside wearing shorts Laughing

Minus twenty is the point where everything with a battery starts to hate you, and minus thirty is miserable for man and machine.

Rain or snow is another matter, I'd not chance getting my kit wet.

But of course each to their own, etc.