Cold weather shooting

Cid242

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I just bought a Rebel XT and I am headed to NYC for a few days around Christmas and I was wondering if there is anything I should/should not do to keep my camera safe when going from outside and being cold to inside and being warm? I read in the manual that I should put the camera in an airtight bag to acclimatize it; but that seems like a hard thing to do when outside and on the move. Lets just say the temperatures are in the 30's. Has anyone had any problems with DSLR's in the past when shooting in cold conditions and coming inside and letting the camera get warm? Any tips or warnings are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Temps in the 30s shouldn't be too bad...that's just above freezing. I've shot in much colder temps.

As you seem to know, the problem is condensation...which occurs when you take something from a cool (dry) environment to a warm (humid) environment. Condensation will form on the cold surfaces of your camera/lens (anything really)...inside and outside...I'm sure you don't want any water inside of your camera.

To stop the condensation, you can seal the camera in a plastic bag before you bring it in. Yes, that can be a hassle. What you can do, is leave the camera in a zipped up camera bag, and leave it to warm up gradually before you open it. It's not as good as a plastic bag...but it's better than nothing.
 
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Cid242

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But the big question I have is does the bag NEED to be airtight; or can I just bring along a big enough plastic ziplock type bag and get the majority of the air out that I can? Will that do the trick? And what does the bag do for this process? Does it somehow pull the moisture away from the camera? Sorry to sound like a total noob but I am and I do not want to hurt this camera.
 

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The idea is that the bag should be air tight.

Condensation is formed when moisture in the air is cooled by a cold surface (think of a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day). If the bag is not sealed, the warm humid air can still get into contact with the camera.

When the camera is sealed in a bag while still outside in the cold, the air surrounding it is dry...so there is no (or not much) water vapor to condense. Some may form on the outside of the bag which is much preferable to on the camera.

Just a guess...but if the temps are just above freezing, then the outdoor air will probably be fairly humid...and the temperature change probably won't be too dramatic. You may not have any problems at all.

Also, it may help if you have some desiccant in your camera bag. (silica gel) You can buy it in camera stores, craft stores...or you can just take the little packets out of shoe boxes or where ever. The idea is that it will absorb moisture out of the air, in a confined space. I like to have several of them in my camera bag, so that when I do come in, out of the cold...any moisture that might get in through the zipper, is absorbed.
 

(Ghastly) Krueger

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I understand that a zip-lock type bag is enough. (Those are quite air tight). I don't think you need to take the air out... just enought to avoid carrying a balloon :p

The bag serves as a "shield" against the moisture. There coud be some condensation still, but it will be on the outside of the bag, not on the camera. When the camera's temperature is the same as the room, you can take it out of the bag and there will b no more condensation.

Mike, please correct me if I said something stupid;)

Eidt: I'm too slow!
 
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Cid242

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I had no clue that I should/could use silica gel for that. Wow I am a little slow huh? Thanks for the suggestion. I am heading out to get some today and I will for sure take along a large plastic bag also. Thanks for the help.
 

Garbz

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I didn't put it in an airtight bag during my trip overseas. The temps ranged from -5 degrees to a humid +25, I kept them in my backpack for about 30 min after I came in. No problem with condensation at all. The goal really is to subject the air around the camera to a slow and steady increase in temperature. That way the camera stays roughly equal with the ambient temperature and condensation doesn't form so easily.
 

Alex_B

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it does not have to be totally air tight
. just don't open the zipper until your equipment has gotten close to room temperature :)

This is also very useful for lenses.
 

Alex_B

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(think we had the same discussion on here 12 months ago, must be the freaking weather this time of the year ;) )
 

Big Mike

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Don't forget that you must take the same precautions when you take your gear from a cool (air conditioned) room, out into a hot & humid climate.

When I was in Costa Rica, I had a hard time with condensation.
 

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I had 2 Minolta Maxxim 7000i (film) for many years and did a lot of shots in cold weather, I would usually have a big fuzzy sweater I would wrap it in and shove it under my coat. When I got back in, I wouldn't open the sweater for half an hour or so.
I never had any problems so now I do the same with my Nikon Coolpix 8800, I sure hope I have the same luck, I have always kept large silica gel in my camera bag figuring it couldn't hurt.
http://donssite.com
 

Trenton Romulox

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I used my D80 in a blizzard and nothing happened, I just dried it off when I got back inside. I used my D300 at zero degrees fahrenheit for about half an hour. The screen got wet when I got back in the car, that's all. All good. My hands got wrecked though, I didn't have gloves. Bad idea.
 

Sideburns

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Temps in the 30s shouldn't be too bad...that's just above freezing. I've shot in much colder temps.

As you seem to know, the problem is condensation...which occurs when you take something from a cool (dry) environment to a warm (humid) environment. Condensation will form on the cold surfaces of your camera/lens (anything really)...inside and outside...I'm sure you don't want any water inside of your camera.

To stop the condensation, you can seal the camera in a plastic bag before you bring it in. Yes, that can be a hassle. What you can do, is leave the camera in a zipped up camera bag, and leave it to warm up gradually before you open it. It's not as good as a plastic bag...but it's better than nothing.

here's a fun fact: 30 is below freezing...lol
 

frXnz kafka

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Simple solution: Shoot film with an old 100% mechanical camera ;)

I shot a few rolls a couple weeks back during a snow storm. Probably mid-teens/low-twenties out, I didn't fuss about any zip-lock bags :)
 

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