Camera for use in extreme cold weather.

RigPig

War Hero
I am lucky enough to be taking the piglet to see Santa in Lapland the week before Christmas. It will be very cold, as we are going into the Arctic Circle. Currently both myself and the Mrs have Olympus Mju Tough compacts which are waterproof and have tap controls, for use with gloves in the cold or underwater. My camera eats batteries, the original is from when I got the camera for my trip to Afghanistan in 2010, so it is fairly knackered and the non OEM spare does not keep charge,

I have a couple of options, either a couple of new Olympus batteries, at about £40 each, or splash the cash and get a new camera with spare battery.

If I get a new camera it must be waterproof, drop proof and freeze proof. I have used the cameras swimming from yachts, so do need the waterproof bit. I have looked at the Olympus TG4 and Canon and Nikon equivilants, but have no experience of them. Has any body used any of these tough compacts or any recommendations.

For use in the cold I will need an easy to use camera which can be used with gloves on. I will be trying to keep it warm by keeping it in a pocket. Again recommendations as to how to get the best out of a camera in cold conditions would be appreciated.

I remember using my first digital camera down in the Falklands. That thing would take one or two pictures and stop due to batteries dying. I know things have moved on since 2003, but I want to be able to record the piglets joy for more than one picture from a set of batteries.

Thanks.

RP.
 

WALT

War Hero
Don't have any experience of photography in the Arctic, but I did hear of an adapter for the batteries which is an extension lead to plug into the camera so that the battery stays in your pocket. Might be useful. I have had batteries freeze on me on the Brecons in winter.
Interestingly, but probably not helpful, is that I did hear that the old analogue photographers working in such conditions had the cameras stripped and all traces of oil removed as it gunks up and jams the mechanism. Probably not helpful and incredibly expensive in the digital age.
 
I'd buy a new (or reasonably modern second hand) camera with spare battery. (Buy as many spare batts as you can afford and keep them in an inside pocket until needed.)

I've never used one, but the Olympus Tough TG-Tracker Action Camera seems to have a good spec.

Olympus Tough TG-Tracker Action Camera - Black

I've bought a lot of kit from Park Cameras over the years and can recommend them.
 
Why not buy something that runs on AA batteries and take a bergen full of them with you?

Boxes of 100 AA Duracell Procell cost about £30.
 
Why not buy something that runs on AA batteries and take a bergen full of them with you?

Boxes of 100 AA Duracell Procell cost about £30.
Assuming that RP's flying, how many batteries will he be allowed in his baggage? I'm not being silly - I genuinely don't know. I believe that you're only allowed to take two spare lithium batteries. A large box of AAs might not be allowed.
 
Assuming that RP's flying, how many batteries will he be allowed in his baggage? I'm not being silly - I genuinely don't know. I believe that you're only allowed to take two spare lithium batteries. A large box of AAs might not be allowed.
Had to go look it up.
Seems dry alkaline batteries are allowed so long as they are protected by tape on the contacts.

Doesn't say how many you can carry though to be fair.
A box full in your carry on might raise an eyebrow or two..
 
Had to go look it up.
Seems dry alkaline batteries are allowed so long as they are protected by tape on the contacts.

Doesn't say how many you can carry though to be fair.
A box full in your carry on might raise an eyebrow or two..
That could still be the answer, though. Perhaps RP could stock up on arrival?
 
I am lucky enough to be taking the piglet to see Santa in Lapland the week before Christmas. It will be very cold, as we are going into the Arctic Circle. Currently both myself and the Mrs have Olympus Mju Tough compacts which are waterproof and have tap controls, for use with gloves in the cold or underwater. My camera eats batteries, the original is from when I got the camera for my trip to Afghanistan in 2010, so it is fairly knackered and the non OEM spare does not keep charge,

I have a couple of options, either a couple of new Olympus batteries, at about £40 each, or splash the cash and get a new camera with spare battery.

If I get a new camera it must be waterproof, drop proof and freeze proof. I have used the cameras swimming from yachts, so do need the waterproof bit. I have looked at the Olympus TG4 and Canon and Nikon equivilants, but have no experience of them. Has any body used any of these tough compacts or any recommendations.

For use in the cold I will need an easy to use camera which can be used with gloves on. I will be trying to keep it warm by keeping it in a pocket. Again recommendations as to how to get the best out of a camera in cold conditions would be appreciated.

I remember using my first digital camera down in the Falklands. That thing would take one or two pictures and stop due to batteries dying. I know things have moved on since 2003, but I want to be able to record the piglets joy for more than one picture from a set of batteries.

Thanks.

RP.
GO Pro, I´ve used them extensively in the north and will be again this winter. I tend to spend 4-6 weeks out in the woods where you just cant keep your electronics warm (usually stuffing them inside you clothing is all that you need to do) but when your out and about for that long it is not possible (recharging for example).

The go pro´s seem to work fine although the battery life is reduced but that is to be expected. With a go pro, they are small enough that you can put one or two inside your inner clothing to keep it warm.
 

RigPig

War Hero
Good point about the batteries and flying, I'll have to look into that. I was intending on dressing like the Michelin man, with warm kit, to fly and just hopefully get away with hand luggage, as full warm kit is provided when we get there, so all batteries would have been in hand luggage. That idea was only put out to avoid the queues for the carousel coming back, as I was meant to be working nights upon return.

My camera in FI ran on AA as a back up and it ate them. I'll have to look at taping the contacts if required. My Canon DSLR batteries all come in a case which covers the contacts, yet the compact batteries do not.

RP.
 

MrMemory

War Hero
I have some experience of photographing in sub-zero environments around -10°c.

Firstly it's worth knowing why batteries become inefficient at low temperatures.

Current is generated by a battery when a connection is made between the positive and negative terminals.
When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to occur more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced and more of the battery's capacity is being used to operate the camera which needs a specific supply of current.

The low temperature can also interfere with camera function as the cold affects its electrical parts for the same reason.

According to the spec the minimum operating temperature of your camera is 0°c or freezing point. Therefore keeping it close to your body, beneath your jacket will help keep it happy when not taking pictures.

Same thing with the batteries but they are more sensitive to the cold and it's best to keep them close to your skin, in trouser pockets or even underwear.

As you have suggested it's wise to get a couple of spare batteries, but rather than Olympus' own brand I recommend Duracell who probably make one for your camera. I have used their copy of Nikon batteries for pro spec cameras in cold environments. They gave the same performance as the originals - and they're much cheaper.
 
....
My camera in FI ran on AA as a back up and it ate them. I'll have to look at taping the contacts if required. My Canon DSLR batteries all come in a case which covers the contacts, yet the compact batteries do not.
RP.
If you take your Canon DSLR with you, it might be worth thinking about a battery grip. This is an accessory that connects to the base of the camera and contains extra batteries to extend battery life. You might be able to get one that uses AA batts if you'll be able to buy batts while in Lapland..
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
If you take your Canon DSLR with you, it might be worth thinking about a battery grip. This is an accessory that connects to the base of the camera and contains extra batteries to extend battery life. You might be able to get one that uses AA batts if you'll be able to buy batts while in Lapland..
If you buy a proper Canon grip, they provide a tray for using with AA batteries in the package.
 
Assuming that RP's flying, how many batteries will he be allowed in his baggage? I'm not being silly - I genuinely don't know. I believe that you're only allowed to take two spare lithium batteries. A large box of AAs might not be allowed.
It can be okay in hold baggage. I'm flown with Maplin plastic boxes of AAA & AA batteries in hold luggage out of major London airports.
 
I am lucky enough to be taking the piglet to see Santa in Lapland the week before Christmas. It will be very cold, as we are going into the Arctic Circle. Currently both myself and the Mrs have Olympus Mju Tough compacts which are waterproof and have tap controls, for use with gloves in the cold or underwater. My camera eats batteries, the original is from when I got the camera for my trip to Afghanistan in 2010, so it is fairly knackered and the non OEM spare does not keep charge,

I have a couple of options, either a couple of new Olympus batteries, at about £40 each, or splash the cash and get a new camera with spare battery.

If I get a new camera it must be waterproof, drop proof and freeze proof. I have used the cameras swimming from yachts, so do need the waterproof bit. I have looked at the Olympus TG4 and Canon and Nikon equivilants, but have no experience of them. Has any body used any of these tough compacts or any recommendations.

For use in the cold I will need an easy to use camera which can be used with gloves on. I will be trying to keep it warm by keeping it in a pocket. Again recommendations as to how to get the best out of a camera in cold conditions would be appreciated.

I remember using my first digital camera down in the Falklands. That thing would take one or two pictures and stop due to batteries dying. I know things have moved on since 2003, but I want to be able to record the piglets joy for more than one picture from a set of batteries.

Thanks.

RP.
I am lucky enough to be taking the piglet to see Santa in Lapland the week before Christmas. It will be very cold, as we are going into the Arctic Circle. Currently both myself and the Mrs have Olympus Mju Tough compacts which are waterproof and have tap controls, for use with gloves in the cold or underwater. My camera eats batteries, the original is from when I got the camera for my trip to Afghanistan in 2010, so it is fairly knackered and the non OEM spare does not keep charge,

I have a couple of options, either a couple of new Olympus batteries, at about £40 each, or splash the cash and get a new camera with spare battery.

If I get a new camera it must be waterproof, drop proof and freeze proof. I have used the cameras swimming from yachts, so do need the waterproof bit. I have looked at the Olympus TG4 and Canon and Nikon equivilants, but have no experience of them. Has any body used any of these tough compacts or any recommendations.

For use in the cold I will need an easy to use camera which can be used with gloves on. I will be trying to keep it warm by keeping it in a pocket. Again recommendations as to how to get the best out of a camera in cold conditions would be appreciated.

I remember using my first digital camera down in the Falklands. That thing would take one or two pictures and stop due to batteries dying. I know things have moved on since 2003, but I want to be able to record the piglets joy for more than one picture from a set of batteries.

Thanks.

RP.
I live in central Alberta and I've not had a problem with camera batteries freezing unless you leave them out for hours, problem will appear it you are in a cold damp environment I live at 3,000 ft above sea level so it's very dry and cold (up to -40c) in the winter, your problem may be damp cold.
 
A bit of thread drift, sorry, but I very well remember using the old 4C mine detector in sub zero conditions. It had a extension lead that ran from the electronics box up your sleeve to the battery, which you secreted in your arm pit.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
As you have suggested it's wise to get a couple of spare batteries, but rather than Olympus' own brand I recommend Duracell who probably make one for your camera. I have used their copy of Nikon batteries for pro spec cameras in cold environments. They gave the same performance as the originals - and they're much cheaper.
+1 for duracells, I've used them for backups for both my DSLRs for a few years now.

if you are going to think about a new one, I find this place - Camera reviews, best buys and photography tips - is as good a palce to start as any review wise.
 

WALT

War Hero
Further to my earlier suggestion, which Eodmatt has also expanded on, I still think your best option is to get the batteries away from the camera and warm. This chap built his own:-

Powering a time-lapse camera for an extended period of time

If you do purchase a new camera I'd suggest asking if the dealer has something similar. Until you decide on a model, it's a bit difficult to research.

Edited to add:-

There's also shed loads of advice on the net, eg.:-
Solutions for Photographing in Cold Weather
 

RigPig

War Hero
Thanks for all the replies Gents. I've been out tonight to a bonfire event and the non OEM took a picture before the battery warning came on. I took the camera out of an internal coat pocket and fired it up to take a picture. On starting it showed a nice full battery. After the picture it showed empty.

With my Mju the battery is in the same compartment as the SD card, all secured with a nice waterproof flap. I don't think I'll can rig up an external battery to keep anywhere warm as it'll leave the innards wel and truly exposed to the elements.

I'll look into the Duracells. I did see one online, but the power output was lower, something like 770mAh against the Olympus 925mAh, though for the price I could get a pocket load of them.

RP.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
I'll look into the Duracells. I did see one online, but the power output was lower, something like 770mAh against the Olympus 925mAh, though for the price I could get a pocket load of them.

RP.
fwiw, I've noticed no real difference in 'real life' usage. your mileage may vary, of course.
 

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