Winter/Snow Camera Protection

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by footballfan993, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. footballfan993

    footballfan993 TPF Noob!

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    Hi, so this is the first winter (more like lack of, we don't have snow in Wisconsin) that I have owned my DSLR. I am wondering what are some tips to keeping your camera/equipment save from snow/water. I read that putting the equipment into Ziploc bags will keep lenses/cameras from fogging up when taking them from outside to inside in cold temperatures.

    Does anyone have some tips on protection during a photo-shoot outdoors, what about when it is actively snowing?

    Thank You!


     
  2. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Multiple comments about cold weather and snow:

    1. The risk isn't so much getting snow on your camera, it's when you go inside and it's warm and the snow melts. So I don't change lens outside (both for snow and condensation issues).

    2. Shoot with a lens hood (even if it's overcast and no direct sun) to help protect your lens. I gave up using UV filters to protect the lens a long time ago--they just add a cheap piece of plastic that reduces the quality of your picture.

    3. Definitely have several microfiber cloths handy--if you only have one it will get wet quickly. Your lens is going to fog up when you go inside. If you are jumping in and out of a warm car, then it will happen constantly. It's good to keep your camera in a holster or sling (as it's a way of moderating the temperature...when you step outside or go in to the car, your camera doesn't instantly go hot or cold but has a transition.

    4. If the snow is coming down heavily or it's a wet snow or it's rain/ice, then get a camera sleeve. You can buy one. Or you can go to good will and (especially if you're shooting with a long zoom) get a child's coat. Run the zoom through a sleeve. The body and your head are under the jacket/torso of the coat.

    5. Depends upon what you're shooting but if it's a model, it definitely makes sense to go to the trouble of setting up a pavilion or tarp or cover for you (but not the model...who I assume you want to have snow on her). That allows you to control lighting much more effectively (and keep your lights dry). It allows you to get a pleasant blur from snowflakes (or to freeze them if you shoot fast enough) without distracting flakes right in front of the lens

    6. Bring 2 batteries. The second one goes under your armpit or in your underwear. I'm serious. Cold doesn't take your battery's energy (cold actually helps maintain it...which is why some people store batteries in the fridge). But what the cold does it make the connections in the battery more problematic. So the "life" of your camera and speed light batteries will be significantly shorter than what you usually expect. So switch 'em out--rotate. And yes, it's hell switching out the batteries and then sticking those cold pieces of metal someplace warm and cozy next to your body. But this tactic will allow you to shoot all day (vs. 30 minutes).
     
  3. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Trash bag or large Ziplock (depending on lens size). Punch a hold for the lens, poke the lens through, use electrical tape or duct tape to seal the hole to the lens hood. Leave the back open so you can handle the camera. When you go inside seal the back up to limit condensation until things warm up.
     
  4. AKUK

    AKUK No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depending on your lens, you might be able to purchase a neoprene Lenscoat. I had to make one for my 300mm f/4 AF, as it the version before the 2001 AF-S. I also made one for the 105mm VR, as I had plenty of fabric left over. I did this mainly to help with the cold radiating into my hands in extreme weather. If you purchase some Nikwax spray, you can then waterproof the neoprene (don't spray it when fitted to the lens). This will help repel sleet and rain, as well as any snow that find it's way onto the coat and melts when indoors.

    I went to a Canadian provincial park in -37c and could barely stand to hold the camera with my gloves on, because the magnesium alloy body was like a block of ice. For this reason I bought a silicone body cover for the D800, which just adds another barrier between the cold and your hand, whilst still being able to use all the controls on the camera. Mine is camouflage patterned, as is the neoprene for the 300mm f/4. It just helps break up the camera profile and blend into the surroundings a bit better, which if you are shooting wildlife can make a big difference. The frigid air temperatures also caused the grease in my lens to congeal. Nothing I could really do about that though lol.

    You can also purchase nylon rain covers. These simply slip over the lens and camera body to keep the water off. You can buy larger ones that cover your head and hands too. They are readily available on eBay and Amazon for a few dollars for the basic ones. That's all I have and it does the job. Ensure your bag has a rain cover. If not, you can purchase those separately too in various colours including camo. Keep a small tea towel (type you dry dishes up with) in your bag. If it belts it down with rain, you can at least dry your camera off when returning to the vehicle or shelter. A lens cloth will get soaked in no time.

    Save the silicone packets that you get in vitamin and drug bottles. I have several of these that I leave in my camera bag. They help absorb moisture and help protect the lenses when stored away. You can also purchase these from eBay and Amazon too.

    As mentioned above, keep spare batteries next to your body. I normally wear a few layers, long sleeve thermal t-shirt, sweater, micro fleece, coat. I keep the batteries in ziplock bags in the micro fleece inside pockets. This keeps them warm and dry. You don't want to sweat onto the batteries.

    Good quality gloves are important. I wear thin Northface ones, under mitts in extreme cold. That way you can still shoot and then replace the mitten when moving again. You can get mitts that flip the end up, so that more of your hand stays warm. You can also purchase little heat pouches that contain chemicals. When you crush the pouch the chemicals mix and create an exothermic reaction, which warms your hand. Great for slipping inside a glove or mitten when it's really cold out.
     
  5. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I run into this with both photography and astronomy -- and the whole issue is that once the gear has been out in the cold for hours... bringing it into a house is the same as storing your beer glass in the freezer and then taking it out -- it'll will fog and even frost over pretty quickly.

    The key is to put everything away while you are still out in the cold.

    1) Put all lens caps on. If you store the camera with a lens attached, just make sure you have the lens cap on. If you store your camera with lens removed, then make sure the body cap is on the camera and the front and rear dust caps are on the lens.

    2) If you want to get straight to work on your images once you get inside... remove the memory card now (while still outside). If the battery is going to need to be recharged. Remove it now.

    3) Now that you have your memory card accessible, your battery accessible, and all dust caps on the camera... put the camera in your camera bag (assuming you own a camera bag) and close all zippers. The "air" in your bag is dry winter air. When you take the bag inside, the "air" inside the bag is still "dry" air because the air cannot freely exchange with the warm house air.

    Once the camera has been in the house (still in the zipped bag) for about an hour, it's probably no longer so cold that it needs to remain in the bag.

    If you don't own a camera bag with zippers, put the camera into any reasonably air-tight bag (most any plastic bag would work).

    If for any reason you forget to seal things up and you see your camera or lenses starting to fog over... grab your hair-dryer. It makes an excellent de-froster. While the glass on your lens is fairly durable and difficult to scratch... you should avoid ever touching things like the reflex mirror in your camera. If that fogs over do not wipe it with a towel... grab the hair-dryer and de-fog it with warm dry air.
     
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  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have to second this. Even in casually cold but not bitter cold weather the all metal or even plastic bodies of lenses get cold very fast. A neoprine coat isn't very thick but makes a massive difference in keeping that cold locked in the lens and not on your fingers. Since fitting my lens with a cover I've not used my gloves half as much.
     
  7. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've never had problem with snow and cold weather (Canon DSLR) but if it's snowing hard a plastic ziploc bag is good and I've heard keeping a spare battery in your pocket is advisable if outside in sub-zero weather.
     
  8. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are thermo-heating pads to keep the battery warms.
     

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