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Thread: Do cameras work in extreme cold weather?

  1. #1
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    Default Do cameras work in extreme cold weather?

    I have a Fujifilm Finepix HS10 and was wondering if it will work in temperatures such as minus 50 centigrade?

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    Yes, It will as long as the cameras internal temperature is not 50*c.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    At about -60F (I think that is about = to -50C) you battery will fail rapidly, your lens will get condensation on it fast, and the metal and plastic will be brittle. I would use a pocket point-n-shoot that I could keep next to my body and pull out for quick shots. You do not want to leave a camera out at these temperatures IMHO :-)
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    At about -60F (I think that is about = to -50C) you battery will fail rapidly, your lens will get condensation on it fast, and the metal and plastic will be brittle. I would use a pocket point-n-shoot that I could keep next to my body and pull out for quick shots. You do not want to leave a camera out at these temperatures IMHO :-)
    That's what I do. It stays in my shirt pocket and comes out when needed.
    I was out yesterday in -30C temps (-40 wind chills) and had no issues.

    Here's a couple of shots from the day.




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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Are you using a tripod, or is the first picture of someone you were with? I do a lot of hiking in the 0F to -20F range, I use a Nikon D90, and I keep it in my coat unless shooting. It is a bugger keeping breath off the lens, but it can be done.

    As a FYI in case you did not know...wind chill is a "theoretical" temperature with the wind's effect on skin, not what a piece of machinery is at. In other words, your camera, if left out, would be -30C while your skin would feel the effect of -40C. I am always surprised when people don't know that...I lived north of the Arctic Circle for a number of years and I found out all about the "real cold" :-)

    I am experimenting on taking pictures in the cold, on snow, in shade or clouds, with lots of movement. It is a challenge to get crisp and clear photos in those conditions. Running dogs, in the alders and willows, on white snow, and no sun...now that is fun to shoot!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    Are you using a tripod, or is the first picture of someone you were with? I do a lot of hiking in the 0F to -20F range, I use a Nikon D90, and I keep it in my coat unless shooting. It is a bugger keeping breath off the lens, but it can be done.

    As a FYI in case you did not know...wind chill is a "theoretical" temperature with the wind's effect on skin, not what a piece of machinery is at. In other words, your camera, if left out, would be -30C while your skin would feel the effect of -40C. I am always surprised when people don't know that...I lived north of the Arctic Circle for a number of years and I found out all about the "real cold" :-)

    I am experimenting on taking pictures in the cold, on snow, in shade or clouds, with lots of movement. It is a challenge to get crisp and clear photos in those conditions. Running dogs, in the alders and willows, on white snow, and no sun...now that is fun to shoot!
    The picture is of my buddy.
    I used a tripod for some of the video clips in this movie I put together last spring.
    http://www.trophy-clips.com/view_vid...f89203c2b78c67

    I'm aware that windchill is all about heat loss on exposed skin. It doesn't make my frost nipped ears any warmer though.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    As said, keep it close to your body, and inside pocket on your jacket perhaps. If camping, keep it at the foot of your sleeping bag. Cold weather will kill the battery life for sure, so carrying a spare is a good idea.


    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Also, get a moisture resistant storage case. When you return from cold temperatures with sensitive electronics such as a camera, make sure it is in the case (or put it in a fresh ziploc bag before going inside). After entering a warm room, allow the item to warm up to room temperature and the outside of the case to dry off before opening the case. You'll get a sudden and heavy build up of condensation on everything (inside and out) if you don't keep the warm air from having direct contact with the camera.
    Winter is Coming...

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    I speak from a great deal of experience of using film type cames in sub zero temps.



    I keep them outside for many hours and straight into the house when I am finished. NO bags, no fuss, just place the camera on a towel and let it 'sweat' or let the condensation run its course, just do not open that camera until long after it has reached room temp.

    I have never encountered a problem ! so go figure. I am sure that there will be some that want to disagree, then post photographs - not dribble.

    Just me 2 sents worth (illustrated).

  10. #10

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    I keep my DSLR in cold all the time and I keep the battery inside my pants and when ready to shoot I just put battery in and it`s been working well. I don`t keep my camera inside of my jacket coz don`t want to camera to get warm and cold all the time. when in home. I just put it in ziploc bag before going inside. I was trail marking two days last weekend -20 to -30 temps and D camera was working well in those conditions. And it`s still working

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    -60*C? What takes you into that kind of temperature extreme?

    I've never had a camera that cost more than 500 bucks, so take this for what its worth. I never do anything to protect my cameras. I store them in my handle bar bag while riding my snowmachining in temps down to -30F, when done I dry them on the dash of my pickup on the way home. Or if they got really wet I put them in a bag full of rice to draw any moisture out before I turn them back on. Keeping them in waterproof containers prevents speedy access, but I have considered mounting some sort of container on the cowling of my sled that I can wire a thumb warmer element into to keep the entire camera fairly warm. As others have said, its likely the battery that will give you the most trouble in severe cold.

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    I use mine outside in Prudhoe Bay in the winter all the time at sub zero temps. What I have found is keep the battery in the pocket and use a lens hood to keep the frost off and then keep the camera pointed down. This eliminates a lot of lens frost. Or I switch out uv filters on it. That works as well.

    Normally in my opinion the camera will hold up better in the cold than you will. Just my experiences. You want a carbon tripod in sub zeros or those aluminum ones just kill ya. Even if they have a foam grip.

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