Low temperatures: what camera will work?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by ilia, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. ilia

    ilia TPF Noob!

    Oct 25, 2006
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    Colleagues, we are preparing an expedition to Yamal peninsula, Northern Russia, in November-December 2006. This is an Arctic region with very low temperatures that freeze the shutter and kill batteries. Having in mind that there will be no electricity at all and hence no possibility to recharge batteries, digital photography is out of question. Can anybody advice on what camera and additional equipment that should be purchased for the expedition?

  2. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

    Oct 11, 2006
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    Out of curiosity, ilia, where is Yamal peninsula?

    For a camera you'd need a mechanical one, of course. So, a Leica M-series, Olympus Trip, or Rolleiflex, etc.
    At winter temperatures in the Russian taiga, the standard lubricant oil in (those) cams may freeze, coagulate, get thick. Thus it would lock up your cam. So I'd send my mechanical cam in for service before I went, and ask 'm to remove the standard lubricant (completely!) and replace it with one that stays liquid even at 80 degrees centigrade below freezing. Yes, with the windchill factor it easily gets down to temps like that!
    Once properly prepared like that, your camera will be fine.

    Your film, however, is an entirely different matter! At 20 or 30 degrees C below (average outside daytime temps) they will freeze, become brittle, and break up into a thousand pieces....
    I.o.w. you need to carry all your films, your whole stash, INside your clothes, against your body*. That also goes, of course, for the camera, loaded with film. You 'dig out' the camera only to take a photo, 2 minutes tops, then quickly stick it back, deep into your clothing before the film freezes and breaks.

    Also, you may want to get gloves with the tops of the fingers cut off, so you can feel the controls and buttons on your camera.
    Obviously, those are your 'under' gloves, normally covered with heavy-duty arctic outer gloves that you only take off for a quick minute to take a photo, then very quickly put back on.

    * Finally an excellent occassion to use your photo vest, the one with all those pockets! :lol:

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digital cameras operate in low temperatures