Cold Photography Procedures

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Rob, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. Rob

    Rob Guest

    What is the recommended "procedure" for shooting with digial cameras in cold
    conditions? Let us say, -10 degrees C (14F) for the sake of argument.

    The camera (ignoring the battery for now):
    Is it best to keep the camera inside your jacket for warmth, or is it ok in
    a bag? It would seem to me that it is best to keep it in the bag to avoid
    condensation problems when you take it out for pictures. However, I expect
    if you were in extreme cold, you would have problems like LCD freezing, lens
    siezing up, etc.

    Batteries:
    I know that using litium-ion batteries when they are cold kills their life.
    However, is keeping them in the cold a problem too? I have read places that
    say they _should_ be stored cold. If both these things are true, it would
    seem a good procedure would be to keep them in your bag until you need them,
    then warm them up inside your jacket, then put them in the camera. This is
    obviously quite a hassle for one photo, so would it just be easier to keep
    everything inside your jacket and just be quick to avoid the condensation
    issue?

    Note: I am talking about rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, as opposed to
    non-rechargeable lithium ones (I presume differences apply?). I am also
    interested in procedures for 35mm cameras with lithium batteries, but I
    realise this probably isn't the place to ask...

    Forgive me if this has been covered before, but I couldn't find any complete
    answers when searching.

    Thanks,
    Rob.
     
    Rob, Oct 16, 2004
    #1
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  2. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 16:00:39 +0000 (UTC), "Rob" <> wrote:

    >What is the recommended "procedure" for shooting with digial cameras in cold
    >conditions? Let us say, -10 degrees C (14F) for the sake of argument.
    >
    >The camera (ignoring the battery for now):
    >Is it best to keep the camera inside your jacket for warmth, or is it ok in
    >a bag? It would seem to me that it is best to keep it in the bag to avoid
    >condensation problems when you take it out for pictures. However, I expect
    >if you were in extreme cold, you would have problems like LCD freezing, lens
    >siezing up, etc.


    The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.

    >
    >Batteries:
    >I know that using litium-ion batteries when they are cold kills their life.
    >However, is keeping them in the cold a problem too? I have read places that
    >say they _should_ be stored cold. If both these things are true, it would
    >seem a good procedure would be to keep them in your bag until you need them,
    >then warm them up inside your jacket, then put them in the camera. This is
    >obviously quite a hassle for one photo, so would it just be easier to keep
    >everything inside your jacket and just be quick to avoid the condensation
    >issue?


    Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
     
    GT40, Oct 16, 2004
    #2
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  3. Rob

    andre Guest

    GT40 wrote:
    > On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 16:00:39 +0000 (UTC), "Rob" <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>What is the recommended "procedure" for shooting with digial cameras in cold
    >>conditions? Let us say, -10 degrees C (14F) for the sake of argument.
    >>
    >>The camera (ignoring the battery for now):
    >>Is it best to keep the camera inside your jacket for warmth, or is it ok in
    >>a bag? It would seem to me that it is best to keep it in the bag to avoid
    >>condensation problems when you take it out for pictures. However, I expect
    >>if you were in extreme cold, you would have problems like LCD freezing, lens
    >>siezing up, etc.

    >
    >
    > The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    > from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >
    >
    >>Batteries:
    >>I know that using litium-ion batteries when they are cold kills their life.
    >>However, is keeping them in the cold a problem too? I have read places that
    >>say they _should_ be stored cold. If both these things are true, it would
    >>seem a good procedure would be to keep them in your bag until you need them,
    >>then warm them up inside your jacket, then put them in the camera. This is
    >>obviously quite a hassle for one photo, so would it just be easier to keep
    >>everything inside your jacket and just be quick to avoid the condensation
    >>issue?

    >
    >
    > Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >
    >

    I agree. You might even get less noise (thermal noise in sensor and
    signal conditioning circuits). When you go inside, try bringing the
    camera in slowly (I have no idea how). Otherwise you get condensation
    inside your lens. This will be good breeding ground for some spores that
    I have hard can make the lens unsharp. (Never happened to me but to others).

    Andre

    --
    ----------------------------------
    http://www.aguntherphotography.com
     
    andre, Oct 16, 2004
    #3
  4. Rob

    Rob Guest

    "GT40" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    > from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >
    > Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >


    Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?

    Cheers,
    Rob.
     
    Rob, Oct 16, 2004
    #4
  5. Rob

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Rob wrote:
    > "GT40" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>
    >>Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>

    >
    >
    > Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    > (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?
    >


    LiIon batteries and Li batteries do work well when cold.

    Beware of lens fogging if you keep the camera warm and then take it out
    to shoot.

    Phil
     
    Phil Wheeler, Oct 16, 2004
    #5
  6. Rob

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    andre wrote:

    >
    >> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>


    Indeed. Ten days ago I was shooting in the tropical plant greenhouse in
    Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Talk about instant fogging when
    entering the building (went from maybe 60 deg to 85-90 deg)!

    Phil
     
    Phil Wheeler, Oct 16, 2004
    #6
  7. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 20:14:24 +0000 (UTC), "Rob" <> wrote:

    >"GT40" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>
    >> Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>

    >
    >Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    >(e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?



    I keep batteries warm, but then my camera won't fit under my coat with
    a big lens on :) The other advantage is, the camera isn't swinging
    around so its eaiser to keep containted.
     
    GT40, Oct 16, 2004
    #7
  8. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 20:56:15 GMT, Phil Wheeler <>
    wrote:

    >
    >
    >Rob wrote:
    >> "GT40" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>>The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>>from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>
    >>>Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >> Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    >> (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?
    >>

    >
    >LiIon batteries and Li batteries do work well when cold.
    >
    >Beware of lens fogging if you keep the camera warm and then take it out
    >to shoot.


    I shot swimming at high schools. So its -10F outside then you go into
    a pool where its 80F (guess) and 100% humidity. Takes about 30min
    before the camera gets used to the conidtions and wont constantly fog
    up, I mean water is all over the camera and lens. Just have to keep
    wiping it off.
     
    GT40, Oct 16, 2004
    #8
  9. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 21:04:36 GMT, Phil Wheeler <>
    wrote:

    >
    >
    >andre wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>

    >
    >Indeed. Ten days ago I was shooting in the tropical plant greenhouse in
    >Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Talk about instant fogging when
    >entering the building (went from maybe 60 deg to 85-90 deg)!


    Try -10F outside to an indoor swimming event!
     
    GT40, Oct 16, 2004
    #9
  10. Rob

    Gadgets Guest

    I've done some (film) shooting in -30C and followed what climbers have been
    doing for years - keep camera inside jacket as much as poss. and at night
    throw it in the foot of your sleeping bag. Lithium batteries are the most
    cold tolerant, but besides batteries becoming less efficient in the cold,
    people shooting in extended extremes may sometimes have the greases replaced
    in-camera. Many an Everest climber has had their camera seize up after a
    few minutes extreme exposure (windchill plus cold), but warming up again
    will thaw it... If your batteries have died from the cold, removing them and
    warming in hands or armpits will get you a few more shots.

    For digis, you often get better battery life by leaving camera turned on,
    than often switching it on/off - the battery is kept warm - so this might be
    worth doing if you expect battery charge to last the duration of your trip,
    just turn it off at the end of the day.

    For preventing condensation, leaving it inside a camera bag allows for a
    slower warmup, which should avoid the problem if you can wait...

    For the pool shooting, any way you can pre-warm the camera before arriving
    at the event? Like car heater or hot water bottle outside camera bag/heat
    pads in camera bag or something?

    Cheers, Jason (remove ... to reply)
    Video & Gaming: http://gadgetaus.com
     
    Gadgets, Oct 17, 2004
    #10
  11. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 23:47:33 GMT, "Gadgets" <info@gadgetaus...com>
    wrote:

    >For the pool shooting, any way you can pre-warm the camera before arriving
    >at the event? Like car heater or hot water bottle outside camera bag/heat
    >pads in camera bag or something?


    There wasn't in my case, becuase I was shooting something outside
    before hand.
     
    GT40, Oct 17, 2004
    #11
  12. Rob

    Paul J Gans Guest

    GT40 <> wrote:
    >On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 20:14:24 +0000 (UTC), "Rob" <> wrote:


    >>"GT40" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>
    >>> Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>

    >>
    >>Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    >>(e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?



    >I keep batteries warm, but then my camera won't fit under my coat with
    >a big lens on :) The other advantage is, the camera isn't swinging
    >around so its eaiser to keep containted.


    Why should a digital camera react worse to cold weather than
    a 35 mm SLR? Both have batteries and the film gets brittle.
    We coped with those problems for years.

    Or am I missing something?

    ----- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Oct 17, 2004
    #12
  13. Rob

    Charlie Self Guest

    Paul Gans asks:

    >>I keep batteries warm, but then my camera won't fit under my coat with
    >>a big lens on :) The other advantage is, the camera isn't swinging
    >>around so its eaiser to keep containted.

    >
    >Why should a digital camera react worse to cold weather than
    >a 35 mm SLR? Both have batteries and the film gets brittle.
    >We coped with those problems for years.
    >
    >Or am I missing something


    They shouldn't, except for the batteries. Keep them warm, or have extras, and
    you're in good shape. Many years ago, I was using a Canon F1 to shoot
    motorcycle ice races in the Lake George, NY area. Something like 10-15 below
    zero, F. Biggest problem I discovered was flashmarks on the film. Static
    discharge from too fast winding or rewinding. Some film brittleness problems. I
    had had the camera prepped--in essence, I was told, removal of the standard
    lubes and insertion of light lubes--for super cold, so the shutter didn't hang.

    I found the best way to avoid condensation/fogging problems was to just stay
    outside, which means appropriate dress, because 15 below is approaching a
    temperature danger zone when you're out for extended periods.

    Charlie Self
    "There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other
    is pulling up." Booker T. Washington
     
    Charlie Self, Oct 17, 2004
    #13
  14. "Phil Wheeler" <> wrote in message
    news:pVfcd.7336$...
    >
    >
    > Rob wrote:
    >> "GT40" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>>The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>>from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>
    >>>Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >> Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything
    >> warm
    >> (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?
    >>

    >
    > LiIon batteries and Li batteries do work well when cold.
    >
    > Beware of lens fogging if you keep the camera warm and then take it out to
    > shoot.
    >


    It is the other way around, as anyone who wears eyeglasses can tell you.
    Come from the cold into a warm, moist room, and your glasses fog up.

    > Phil
    >
     
    Marvin Margoshes, Oct 17, 2004
    #14
  15. Rob

    Al Dykes Guest

    In article <cksm2b$bcj$>,
    Paul J Gans <> wrote:
    >GT40 <> wrote:
    >>On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 20:14:24 +0000 (UTC), "Rob" <> wrote:

    >
    >>>"GT40" <> wrote in message
    >>>news:...
    >>>> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>>> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>>
    >>>> Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    >>>(e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?

    >
    >
    >>I keep batteries warm, but then my camera won't fit under my coat with
    >>a big lens on :) The other advantage is, the camera isn't swinging
    >>around so its eaiser to keep containted.

    >
    >Why should a digital camera react worse to cold weather than
    >a 35 mm SLR? Both have batteries and the film gets brittle.
    >We coped with those problems for years.
    >
    >Or am I missing something?
    >
    > ----- Paul J. Gans



    In general, I agree, but there's about 1000x the electronics in a Dslr
    as a film camera, and the engineers that design this stuff don't have
    a budget to make it mil-spec.

    FWIW I put my shiny new 300D out on the back porch one night last
    winter when the temps were going to drop into the singe digits. It
    sat there overnight. In the early morrning I went out, picked up the
    camera and immediatly took a burst of shots. It worked fine. I
    probably had the kit lens and a iGB microdrive on it.

    If I was going out for the day in those temps I'd have at least two
    battery packs, one in the camera and the others inside my jacket, and
    swap them each time the one in the camera showed signs of low power.

    It's possible that cold-tolerance may vary with lens model.
    The little moters must work really hard if the lubrication is a
    little thick.

    If I was going to work in _really_ cold temps I'd check with the
    manufacturer to see if there should be special lube, same as film
    cameras, and check what temp the battery packs actually sustain damage
    due to freezing.

    In deep cold there's always static. I'd be nervious about zapping a CF
    card while handling it, out of the camera. A really big CF dard solves
    that problem.

    Always carry a plastic bag with you and stuff the cold camera in it
    before you bring it indoors.






    --
    Al Dykes
    -----------
    adykes at p a n i x . c o m
     
    Al Dykes, Oct 17, 2004
    #15
  16. Rob

    Al Dykes Guest

    In article <>,
    GT40 <> wrote:
    >On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 20:56:15 GMT, Phil Wheeler <>
    >wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>
    >>Rob wrote:
    >>> "GT40" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:...
    >>>
    >>>>The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>>>from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>>
    >>>>Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything warm
    >>> (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?
    >>>

    >>
    >>LiIon batteries and Li batteries do work well when cold.
    >>
    >>Beware of lens fogging if you keep the camera warm and then take it out
    >>to shoot.

    >
    >I shot swimming at high schools. So its -10F outside then you go into
    >a pool where its 80F (guess) and 100% humidity. Takes about 30min
    >before the camera gets used to the conidtions and wont constantly fog
    >up, I mean water is all over the camera and lens. Just have to keep
    >wiping it off.



    Take the batteries out and wrap it in a plastic bag before you leave
    the house, and when you're in the gym leave the camera out for at
    least 15 minutes before taking it out of the bag.

    Keep the batteries on your person, so they'll be warm when you pop one
    in the camera.

    --
    Al Dykes
    -----------
    adykes at p a n i x . c o m
     
    Al Dykes, Oct 17, 2004
    #16
  17. Rob

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Marvin Margoshes <> wrote:

    >"Phil Wheeler" <> wrote in message
    >news:pVfcd.7336$...
    >>
    >>
    >> Rob wrote:
    >>> "GT40" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:...
    >>>
    >>>>The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>>>from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.
    >>>>
    >>>>Always keep batteries as warm as possible.
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for the reply. So essentially, you should just keep everything
    >>> warm
    >>> (e.g. inside the jacket) until you need it?
    >>>

    >>
    >> LiIon batteries and Li batteries do work well when cold.
    >>
    >> Beware of lens fogging if you keep the camera warm and then take it out to
    >> shoot.
    >>


    >It is the other way around, as anyone who wears eyeglasses can tell you.
    >Come from the cold into a warm, moist room, and your glasses fog up.


    All that is required is that the lens or glasses (or whatever
    surface) be below the dew point for the current conditions.

    I was in Florida last summer (not a good time to go) and
    had to leave my car outside in the sun one day. So I went
    from the 101 degree outside temperature into my car and
    my glasses fogged up.

    That's how hot the air in the car was. My glasses were like a nice
    cold surface to it.

    ----- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Oct 18, 2004
    #17
  18. Rob

    Mark Johnson Guest

    Phil Wheeler <> wrote:

    >andre wrote:


    >>> The battery is the only problem shooting in cold, its the act of going
    >>> from hot to cold thats the issue. Worse is cold to hot.


    >Indeed. Ten days ago I was shooting in the tropical plant greenhouse in
    >Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Talk about instant fogging when
    >entering the building (went from maybe 60 deg to 85-90 deg)!


    If you give the camera a chance to settle - it'll slowly 'defog'. You
    might have to use the microfibre to wipe the lens a few times. But it
    should go away. Maybe if there were a cooler area, try there first, or
    a fan? And then walk back into the humidity.
     
    Mark Johnson, Oct 18, 2004
    #18
  19. Rob

    Mark Johnson Guest

    GT40 <> wrote:

    >I shot swimming at high schools. So its -10F outside then you go into
    >a pool where its 80F (guess) and 100% humidity. Takes about 30min
    >before the camera gets used to the conidtions and wont constantly fog
    >up, I mean water is all over the camera and lens. Just have to keep
    >wiping it off.


    Right. You have to maybe wipe it a few times. But it will eventually
    stop fogging. The problem is that, as others have mentioned, it's
    almost impossible to keep the elements inside the lens from acquiring
    the same moisture. It can be a breeding ground for fungus which can
    etch the inside of lenses, over time. Something to check days or
    weeks, later. And if it's a digicam, with a non-servicable lens, then
    you have to buy another if it got to be a problem. If it's a lens for
    a dSLR or SLR, if you have the rubberized press pod, you can unscrew
    the retainer and carefully clean the elements inside and out.

    Particularly with a dSLR, I would think the best thing is to bag the
    camera, or use a water-proof housing. It's not just the camera - it's
    the lens!
     
    Mark Johnson, Oct 18, 2004
    #19
  20. Rob

    GT40 Guest

    On Mon, 18 Oct 2004 03:48:28 -0700, Mark Johnson
    <> wrote:

    >GT40 <> wrote:
    >
    >>I shot swimming at high schools. So its -10F outside then you go into
    >>a pool where its 80F (guess) and 100% humidity. Takes about 30min
    >>before the camera gets used to the conidtions and wont constantly fog
    >>up, I mean water is all over the camera and lens. Just have to keep
    >>wiping it off.

    >
    >Right. You have to maybe wipe it a few times. But it will eventually
    >stop fogging. The problem is that, as others have mentioned, it's
    >almost impossible to keep the elements inside the lens from acquiring
    >the same moisture. It can be a breeding ground for fungus which can
    >etch the inside of lenses, over time. Something to check days or
    >weeks, later. And if it's a digicam, with a non-servicable lens, then
    >you have to buy another if it got to be a problem. If it's a lens for
    >a dSLR or SLR, if you have the rubberized press pod, you can unscrew
    >the retainer and carefully clean the elements inside and out.
    >
    >Particularly with a dSLR, I would think the best thing is to bag the
    >camera, or use a water-proof housing. It's not just the camera - it's
    >the lens!



    The newspaper didn't own an underwater housing for the Nikon D1h with
    80-200 2.8 lens. Never had a problem with the camera or lens growing
    anything, but maybe the clohrine in the moist air killed it off :)
     
    GT40, Oct 18, 2004
    #20
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