Issue with temperature... Canada -25 C.! (-13F)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by elrafo, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. elrafo

    elrafo TPF Noob!

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    Hi there!


    I own a 5D Mark II and enjoy the high Iso performance. I take pictures often at dawn or dusk but the temperatures are really low at this time of the year and I am a bit affraid for the electronics of this camera.
    sometimes, the menu display is not showing and goes back to camera mode for some reasons, and I don't know if it is related to temperature...

    Do you know if there are some recomandations to use cameras like this one in very low temperatures ? do I have to keep it out of the bag for a reasonable time, do I have to use warm fabrics to keep it safe?

    thanks to let me know!
     
  2. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    cold temperatures wont really effect the performance, but you do need to protect it from condensation... the way to do that is when your outside and finished shooting, put it in an airtight ziplock bag... then, once its inside, leave it in their for a while to let it climatize.
     
  3. elrafo

    elrafo TPF Noob!

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    thanks, do you think that a photo bag with zipper is enough ? (no plastic zip-lock)
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Careful about generalisations Chris. Previous threads have talked about cold temperatures, this thread talks about DAMN COLD temperatures, and they can destroy a camera.

    Things like the LCD giving up, shutter damage, all the way to the total giving up of the camera. The other problems is batteries freeze at that temperature meaning you may only get 10-15 min battery life out of them.

    Different cameras handle the cold differently and it doesn't seem to be related to cost or quality. There was a good article at the Luminous Landscape about a large trip to the arctic and a list of damaged equipment. Surprisingly enough all their expensive Leica cameras died as far as I can remember, and their Canon 350Ds did as well.

    Ok that's the scare mongering over. Try and just be careful. Think how long you are going to spend in those temperatures. Keep your batteries in your pocket till you need to use them, see if there's a way you can keep your camera warmer till you need it, and above all be very careful of the condensation when it warms up again.
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It can be done. Chances are that you'll give up before your camera does (except for the battery). I've used my D40 in these temperatures and I've yet to experience any failures in performance or operation. I did kill a lens this way, though.

    Going into the cold and getting your camera cold is not the part to worry about. Going back inside after you've been out for an hour or two is when you need to take action.

    BEFORE YOU GO BACK INSIDE...

    Bring along a hand-held air blower (Giottos rocket blower, for example) so that you can blow off any snow you may have on your equipment.

    Ice can accumulate very easilly around the viewfinder from the body heat around your eye causing condensation that immediately freezes. Melt any ice build-up just by holding your finger to melt it with your body heat and wipe or blow it away (with a hand-held blower, of course).

    You may want to take out your memory card out now as you will not be able to use your camera inside for several hours (that includes connecting it to your computer). You can take an SD card right inside, there's almost nothing in those things. A CF card, I'm not sure about, perhaps place it in a zip-lock bag before taking it in (see below).

    When all of your equipment is clean and dry, put it in a zipped camera bag.

    Now you can go inside. Let your equipment sit in the bag for several hours...as in, until the next day. This will allow it to warm up to room temperature in the same dry-air environment as outside so that it doesn't accumulate condensation.

    If you need to use your camera sooner, you can put your equipment in zip lock bags instead (before you go inside) and then place the bags next to a fan that blows air at room-temperature. This will shorten the wait to about an hour or so or otherwise allow you to "feel" your equipment through the bag to test if it's up to room temperature yet.


    Other things to expect when using your camera in these cold temperatures:


    • The LCDs and LEDs to slow down. They will start cross-fading instead of responding immediately.
    • The batteries will last about 5-10 minutes. Keep one or more batteries close to your body to keep them warm. You will need to swap them often. When I was out doing long exposures on a cold night, I kept my spare battery in my underwear. Yup, seriously.
    • At these temperatures, your warm, moist breath will condense on the rear LCD screen and viewfinder immediately, then quickly freeze. This is usually no big deal, you can warm up the frozen condensation when your breath (or body heat from your face) and then wipe it off with your glove. It is annoying, though, and can result in lost photo opportunities. Hold your breath while take a photo, it's good for bracing yourself anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  6. elrafo

    elrafo TPF Noob!

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    thanks guys for the advice, thats a job! I will follow your steps carefully...
     
  7. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    When my D40 was deliver to me, it was on a cold day like 15 F but I was not aware because the UPS guy didn't ring the doorbell. I don't know how long it was out there. At first I forgot about this condensation stuff so I open up and starting to put the lens on but I didn't turn it on. I then remembered about the condensation business so I brought everything into the basement where it is a bit colder than the rest of the house and left it there for a few hours in the box. Later on, after an hour or so of shooting in the cold, I would put the camera in to a camera bag that I had put outside earlier on purpose and then bring everything into the basemen where everything get climatize, it'll take a few hours. If it's a really cold day, then I would even leave the camera in the camera outside in the garage before bringing it to the basement. The garage is like 35 F, the basement is like 55 F and the house is like 68 F so you get the idea.
     
  8. Megadeth

    Megadeth TPF Noob!

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    wow..Never had to deal with this. I live in a place that's +25 Celcius all through the year :) [​IMG]
     
  9. Cruisn

    Cruisn TPF Noob!

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    mine held up to -35c for aobut 30 minutes, then I notice dthe auto focus having issues. other than that all way good. jsut follow the tips for when you move it inside. oh and mine is a rebel xs
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh, yes, that's another thing. My autofocus became a bit slower and it stopped functioning when a bit of my breath and condensed and frozen somewhere in it. I just switched it to manual, focused it in and out a few times and then it was fine.
     
  11. Cruisn

    Cruisn TPF Noob!

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    that exactly waht I did. lol
     

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