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OCF in cold weather?

lisakaycreative

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I had an engagement shoot last night in 20 degree weather and attempted to use my OCF to get some really cool shots in the snow. It only worked for about 5-10 shots in the beginning total. When I was practicing at home (in my warm condo) it worked perfectly....then I get out there and failed miserably. I'm trying to figure out what the problem was. The cold?

Any comments appreciated!
 
Yep, my guess is the cold playing havoc with the batteries.
 
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You need several sets of batteries; use one for as long as it lasts, and keep the others inside your clothing, preferably next to your skin, and swap as needed. Even better, get an external battery pack for your speedlight (if it supports such) and keep that inside your clothing and you can flash all night long.
 
I'm trying to figure out what the problem was. The cold?
Exactly!

Batteries lose efficiency and longevity when subjected to extreme temperatures. Even if you started out with completely FRESH batteries, those batteries will not continue to function at peak performance when in the cold. You should take (for a casual 1-hour shoot) three sets of NEW or NEWLY-CHARGED batteries with you in an inside pocket. Don't even load the first set until you get to the location. As soon as the electronic flash seems to take a bit longer than normal to recharge, change the batteries with warm ones. Or some other convenient stopping point.

Don't forget to count (and change) the batteries in the electronic transceivers as well. Your camera battery is subject to the same torture, so bring your spare camera battery also, and keep it in an inside pocket also.

BTW: if the batteries are just loose in your pocket and they happen to get all lined up just right and make a complete circuit, they will begin to discharge immediately (and maybe start a small fire in your pocket), so what I do with my spares is to rubber-band a group of four together and place the bundle in a plastic storage bag.

Keep track of the batteries that have been used so you don't rotate them back into use when they are partially depleted. Keeping charged and discharged in different pockets is one way to keep them sorted.
 
... but remember not to place them in a pocket together with keys or other metal things, to avoid short-circuits. Contacts are normally recessed but nevertheless, some prudence does not harm.
 
it is possible you were firing at 1/1 power outdoors and overheated the flash?
 
I'm currently looking for external battery packs that are comparable with Nikon SB-700 speedlights-would this solve the problem (or help?)

Anyone suggestions?
 
I'm currently looking for external battery packs that are comparable with Nikon SB-700 speedlights-would this solve the problem (or help?)

Anyone suggestions?

You'll end up with the same problem if it freezes, having more capacity helps, but it still.. a battery.
I've never had this issue with Eneloop batteries, even if I DID notice they die faster but it's nothing extreme.

Just get 2-3 sets of the black or white (I recommend white ones always) Eneloops and you're set. You need to keep the ones
you're not using close to your body.
 
Make sure you have spares and that they stay relatively warm.
 
I already use Eneloops in my flashes. Maybe I should get some for my transmitters too. Thanks!
When not in use Eneloops lose their charge relatively slowly, but are affected by cold like most other batteries.
That is their only advantage over regular rechargable NiMH batteries.
The currently produced Panasonic Pro AA Eneloops hold a max charge of 2550 mAh (milliampere hour).
Regular AA Eneloops only hold 2000 mAh of charge.
AAA Eneloops hold 800 mAh of charge if your transmitters use AAA.

There are other NiMH batteries that hold more charge than Eneloops.
These hold 2700 mAh and are what I used for years and years:
Powerex MHRAA4 Powerex AA 2700mAh 4-Pack Rechargeable Batteries
 
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I already use Eneloops in my flashes. Maybe I should get some for my transmitters too. Thanks!
I hope you didn't miss the most important part of the several replies.

It has very little to do with the brand, and lots more to do with environmental conditions.

ALL batteries will be affected by extremes of temperature, both cold and hot.

Do not store batteries in cold or hot places.

If you go out into the cold to take pictures, have spare batteries in an inside pocket, staying warm for when the first set gets too cold to function.

The cold batteries are not junk, they can be warmed up and will function normally again.

That advice goes for all batteries, including the ones in your transceivers and camera.

It's not rocket surgery, just batteries. All batteries. Everywhere.
 

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