Cameras and cold weather

#1
The icy snap around the corner will no doubt provide some cracking opportunities for some top shots -but what precautions should I take when using my camera in freezing conditions?
I have a canon 500D and use a sigma 150 - 500mm lens for wildlife photography. My main concern is taking it from a warm house out into freezing temperatures and vice versa. My glasses always steam up, so I'm guessing the camera and lenses will do the same? I don't feel comfortable with the insides of them getting condensation build up!

Any advice, or am I worrying unduly??
 
#4
Is that an adder ? nice photo ...... all I do is leave the camera in its bag in the outside hallway for an hr or so ..... its not realy heated so it gives the camera chance to cool down .... to be honest I've just picked up the camera and walked outside in freezing conditions with no problems .... I also have a cannon SLR but use a cannon lenses ... one thing I find is that below -15 or so battery life seems reduced .... at -30 in Canada a few years ago my little cannon Ixus was not at all happy... resorted to keeping it under my jacket ... found it to be a fantastic little camera for skiing and mountain pics though.
 
#5
As Jarrod said, I've never had many issues in this country, viewfinder/pentaprism mist up a bit, but no problems.

Grimbo's advise is sound as well, a padded camera bag adjusts the step down in temp well, remove lens, as well.

Batteries really don't like cold, they rapidly drop charge, top end stuff(camera's), have the ability to connect to an external power source by cable, so the battery pack can be kept warm or fitted with cold weather cells.

Don't go mad with the special effects/filters, every ****** has done the sky tobacco grad on a snow scene.
 
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armadillo

Guest
#6
get your camera out in the open is fine. However never change your lens out in the cold. carry spare batteries and put them in a inside pocket of your jacket this will keep them warm. On older cameras the lcd display top right by the shutter can sometimes not work. This is due to the extreme cold.

Another big tip is the self heating pads for sports/arthititis injuries with the self adhesive pad, stick one of them on the battery pack makes it last longer.

In your camera bag, i put a couple of packets of dessicant in (the type you find in trainer boxes). The warm fug of your car can cause some condensation. This will help.



A cotton wool bud with a tiny drop of toothpaste (and I mean tiny) coating the viewfinder will prevent it fogging up if you accidentally breathe into it. Cameras have come a long way especially the canon you shouldnt have too much trouble.

Best time of day is dawn and dusk for shots, bit patronising let someone know where you are, also in your car for example in yorkshire dales if you leave it on the side of the road in deep snow you may end up with some do gooder trying to find you. Leave your mobile number on a card in the window. It happened to a friend of mine last year, the police thought he had broken down and gone on foot and started looking for him.

Winter is awesome for photography, be safe and show us your pics when you get back.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
get your camera out in the open is fine. However never change your lens out in the cold. carry spare batteries and put them in a inside pocket of your jacket this will keep them warm. On older cameras the lcd display top right by the shutter can sometimes not work. This is due to the extreme cold.

Another big tip is the self heating pads for sports/arthititis injuries with the self adhesive pad, stick one of them on the battery pack makes it last longer.

In your camera bag, i put a couple of packets of dessicant in (the type you find in trainer boxes). The warm fug of your car can cause some condensation. This will help.



A cotton wool bud with a tiny drop of toothpaste (and I mean tiny) coating the viewfinder will prevent it fogging up if you accidentally breathe into it. Cameras have come a long way especially the canon you shouldnt have too much trouble.

Best time of day is dawn and dusk for shots, bit patronising let someone know where you are, also in your car for example in yorkshire dales if you leave it on the side of the road in deep snow you may end up with some do gooder trying to find you. Leave your mobile number on a card in the window. It happened to a friend of mine last year, the police thought he had broken down and gone on foot and started looking for him.

Winter is awesome for photography, be safe and show us your pics when you get back.
You do know toothpaste is abrasive, no way put it near any optic, only times I have ever had a problem is when its really cold and I mean -20 or so in the Himalayas,

last year
 

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armadillo

Guest
#8
you done the Himlayas, awesome, for the toothpaste i meant really tiny, and on the viewfinder only. Never had any probs with that.

Himlayas is one of my big five places,


Las Vegas
Iceland (the black beach)
South Georgia
Himalayas
Hong kong

I am going to do them all,
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
My only regret was I did not have a digital Camera at that time, because now the photographs I'm taking are on a different planet to the old days of 35mm,even my HTC Wildfire phone can do some pretty nifty things that my old Pentax, and Fuji could never do

my dogs eye taken 2 minutes ago
 

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armadillo

Guest
#10
your dog looks quite scary, the kind of view your postman gets when looking through the letter box!, the colours look good and even at 72 dpi it looks sharp, though nearly all camera phones have a sharpening algorithmn in built,

I actually miss shooting on film, I think the photographers that were brought up on film make better digital photographers. Because we have are not lazy and know how to shoot economically.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
I only got this camera phone yesterday and have been playing with it all day, must admit I'm very impressed
 
A

armadillo

Guest
#13
I am off to bed now, so to cheer you up, whats yellow and red and looks good on a hippy?

















































Fire

Night
 
#14
I work mainly at night when taking photographs but on one occasion the batteries in my camera actually froze. I tend to leave the lenses in a bag and the camera for about 40 minutes before I use them. This way there will be little distortion on the image. I've never had a problem with damaging the camera or lenses other than just steaming up.
 
#15
Never had problems here in pomland (well, ok, Naarfolk) with condensation on my 400D. I'll be trying with my new 500D over the weekend. Batteries will last a little less time, and don't change lenses out in the open. Advice already given by others.
 
#16
As Jarrod said, I've never had many issues in this country, viewfinder/pentaprism mist up a bit, but no problems.

Grimbo's advise is sound as well, a padded camera bag adjusts the step down in temp well, remove lens, as well.

Batteries really don't like cold, they rapidly drop charge, top end stuff(camera's), have the ability to connect to an external power source by cable, so the battery pack can be kept warm or fitted with cold weather cells.

Don't go mad with the special effects/filters, every ****** has done the sky tobacco grad on a snow scene.
Ha! this is so true - graduated filters can look lovely but in moderation . Someone should tell TopGear! Generally when I'm shooting a docco I used to shoot a bit with filters and then the same shot without -other wise the editor starts moaning about wanting it unadulterated.

Nowadays (for video) post production effects like Magic Bullet or Quantel can add all the effects you need. Same with PhotoShop - but personally I much prefer to have created the shots myself.

Re: camera fog etc. Acclimatization is the key whether going from cold (aircon can be a killer) to warm or vice versa. Worst case scenario involves taking a hair-drier to the rear element. Basically roll the windows of the car down. Keep a spare battery in your pocket near warm flesh. When we were shooting a story just south of the Arctic, Spitzbergen, we had to use electronic battery mitts to keep the bloody things warm enough for more than 15 mins life. The battery mitts run on batteries too.
 
#18
Thanks for all the tips people. Looking forward to getting out there this weekend! I use Flickr for sharing images Flickr: DWT Steve's Photostream.

Yeah, I found out the hard way in Lapland last winter about camera batteries. Only a little compact thing, but the Duracell extra strengths only lasted about 5 minutes!

I have a battery pack for my 500D, which is essentially two batteries in parallel. Also carry two spares in my jacket pocket.
 
#19
I may seem an oddball but I still do film. I have never had a problem with my Leicas. (M6 and MP) but have had problems with shutter either delayed or slow when using the Nikon F2 at temps at or below 0F (-18C) One good thing about the MP is that the battery is only needed for the meter. All else is purely mechanical. I think the delays are due to the lube gelling. I have been told that a good camera tech can do a cold weather lube if the camera is used in the cold.
 
#20
Going from hot to cold is never really a problem, I keep two spare batteries in my inside pockets as battery life will be significantly reduced, however going from cold to hot! I've just got back from a week away in Cornwall, my trip to the Eden project consisted of me mostly sitting in the hottest part of the tropical dome waiting fro my camera and lenses to reach ambient and stop fogging up! Cold is a gift for a photographer it gives clarity to the air and those short winter days mean you don't have to get up at stupid O clock to get those fantastic dawn shots.

A few rejects from my week away, all constructive criticism welcome ;-) Seriously these 3 landscapes were just rejected by the stock company I put stuff up on (it pays a little towards my endless collection of kit) whereas 22 others weren't and I can't work out why (the mysteries of stock photography to the amateur)







Edited to add: I should have added that there is one big thing to always remember! If you come in from the cold never ever ever put your camera away in it's bag until next time! Strip it down, leave it in a dry warm room like the living room for a day, clean it - properly! and then re-assemble, put it away and ensure you keep a few silicon sachets in your kit bag. Once you've lost a very expensive lens to mould you'll never make that mistake again.
 
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