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Camera Operating In Extreme Cold

  
 
SSISteve
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


I am heading to Alaska in a couple of weeks for a photo trip and taking along my Z8. Temps could go as low as -40F and outside of keeping your batteries warm does anyone have any other method to keep the camera from possibly freezing up. I have a friend who just returned from Canadian Rockies and it didnít matter if they were shooting Nikon, Canon, or Sony they all had problems with their cameras not working all of the time.


Jan 20, 2024 at 02:13 PM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


your biggest issue is electrical on both the Z8 and Z9 keeping the juice flowing which is swapping out batteries as needed.
moving parts like zoom, focus and aperture depend on the lubricants used. it has been less a potential issue these days. condensation due to in/out transfers and the temperature differentials can be problematic if your in and out often. this of course all depends on the actual environment that turns up when you are there.

there are a few here who live up there that will probably check in and correct my statements. i have spent much time in cold environments in various locations in the world.



Jan 20, 2024 at 03:08 PM
genjy
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


Someone asked me about the same thing. She's going to Alaska soon and understandably doesn't want to damage her phone taking photos while on the trip, so she asked me if there's a small camera she can bring just to take snapshots. I am a warm climate person and see natural snow maybe once every 3 years.. so I have no idea.

I do think moving parts like an extending zoom (think Sony RX100) would freeze up and get damaged in extreme cold, if the camera even turns on at all.



Jan 20, 2024 at 05:02 PM
justashooter
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


I have never had a problem with my equipment when shooting in the cold (focus, shutter, Etc.) but have taped chemical hand warmers along the bottom of battery grips, warms the battery and your hand holding it.


Jan 20, 2024 at 05:19 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


Wear an oversized jacket and keep your camera inside it until you are ready to shoot. Keep Little Hotties hand warmers in your pockets to keep both your hands and batteries warm. Worked for me at -40 with film camera and camera worked fine. Just had to advance film very slowly to prevent white streaks on film from static electrical charge.


Jan 20, 2024 at 05:56 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


SSISteve wrote:
...does anyone have any other method to keep the camera from possibly freezing up...


For batteries, yes: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1235872-REG/tether_tools_crups110_case_relay_camera_power.html

I've been using an earlier version of the TT Case Relay system, since 2017. It powers the camera from a USB battery bank inside my outer clothing, through a wire that runs to a "dummy battery" in the camera. The central unit has an internal battery, and so you can change the USB battery (or switch to 120VAC), without disrupting power to the camera. I use it in very cold weather, and for long-duration situations, like a long term time-lapse, where a single battery won't do the trick.



Jan 22, 2024 at 07:40 AM
tntcorp1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


z8 can be powered by an external usb power pack via the ubc-c port. with an adequate cable length, the pack can also be kept inside your coat to maintain warmth while shooting.




Jan 22, 2024 at 08:18 AM
 


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sirimiri
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


At a certain point, your fingers don't really have any dexterity left after some exposure, and you have to warm them. Keep that in mind, as you also consider the technical aspects of "gear, in cold".


Jan 23, 2024 at 01:08 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


Just came back from a week of shooting at -40F in Alberta. A few observations

My S23U did far better in the cold than my Nikon Z6. The S23U worked flawlessly while the Nikon screen update and AF became very sluggish. However, beyond that I had zero problems with the camera. Everything worked fine. However, in this environment my camera backpack never leaves the back of the car. I put the camera and lens back in it outside the vehicle, zip it up carefully, and then bring it in the vehicle. At night I just leave the backpack in the car and never, ever, bring it into the hotel room. For situations where I know I will be frequently stopping, hopping out of the car for a quick shot and then moving on I brought several 13 gal trash bags. Camera went inside the trash bag before being returned to the car. You will often see advice to use gallon sized ziplock... which is bad advice. You can't fit a camera with a lens attached in a gallon ziplock, particularly not something bulky like a 100-400 lens.

A battery taken out of an internal pocket is capable of keeping the camera running for longer than most people will last outside at -40F. I was able to run for 3 hours at -40F + unkown but substantial wind-chill.

Gloves that will keep your hands warm at -40F yet allow you to operate the camera don't exist. You have to choose one or the other. Much of my shooting was on ice close the the ground hand held. Unused these gloves stand-alone
https://a.co/d/jbqfI4p

They are somewhat fragile but are amazingly warm and operate touchscreens flawlessly. I would take my hands out for a few minutes, take some shots, when I felt my fingers starting to get numb I would put them back in the outside pockets of my parka where I had two chemical warmers in each pocket. Worked very well.

You don't need top of the line parkas and bibs to stay warm at -40F, just careful layering. For the body I used a wool Tshirt, a poly base layer, a Patagonia R1 hoodie, an Eddie Bauer Microtherm jacket and a Mountain Hardware Phantom parka. Never, ever felt cold. For the legs it was a lightweight Smartwool long Johns, expedition weight North Face long jobs, down long Johns if it was a sunrise shoot when it was particularly cold, and an uninsulated gore Tex shell on top. Same as the body, never felt cold. For the head I did not bother with a hat. The combination of 3 hoods on my layers was more than enough to keep the head warm.

The trickiest part to keep warm is the face. I had a polypro balaclava that tuned out to be worthless. It got wet, froze on my face and was very cold within minutes. A wool neck warmer was much, much better but it did not cover my nose and cheekbones sufficiently well. My parka did not have a sufficient tunnel nor a ruff which left me with light frostbite on the face and nose. As soon as I can back I bought this
https://armysurpluswarehouse.com/extreme-cold-weather-shore-parka-hood-a-1/

It looks a bit ridiculous but it is built like a tank, can be folded back when.youmdont need a full tunnel, is only $27 delivered, and can be used with any jacket only when needed. Couple with a neck warmer this thing will keep you warm at any temperature where you would still want to be shooting.

The last failure point is the boots. If you want to be unquestionably warm you would wear BATA bunny boots. But they are heavy and unwieldy. Do not trust the temperature rating on any other hiking boots, particularly the Baffins. If you subtract 20 degrees from the advertised temperature rating you may or may not be comfortable. The failure point is simple to identify - the flimsy high tech insoles. Do yourself a favor and throw them away as soon as you receive the boots and replace them with $5 pair of felt or compressed wool liners. Ignore anything with aluminized surfaces, which are too thin, too easily compressed, and prone to delamination. As long as you upsize your boots correctly these work extremely well
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/moneysworth-best-polar-felt-insoles-2-pk-1873145p.1873145.html

These are compressed wool and should be good too
https://a.co/d/crGl9t6

As mentioned previously stay away from newfangled ones like these

https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/moneysworth-best-men-s-arctic-thermal-insoles-0890158p.0890158.html

They are notably smaller and narrower than the felt only ones, have the exact same temperature rating, but feel flimsy and by the nature of their multiple layer lamination construction have too many failure points. The only upside is that they are slightly thinner and may be usable in boots that were not properly upsized. They remind me of the Baffin OEM liners which compressed and delaminated on me within one week of use.

Have fun, stay close to the car until you confirm that you are comfortable, and happy shooting. I had never shot at -40 before but found it to be very enjoyable when properly dressed.

And one last thing - make sure you bring the tallest tripod you have a d wrap the legs with pipe insulation and hockey tape (look for yt videos). Carbon Fiber is highly thermally conductive and will suck the heat out of your hands in no time at all. For under $10 you can resolve the situation and remove easily if you are so inclined (I leave this insulation on all the time, it helps cushion the tripod when carried on the shoulder in warmer climates). And height is super important. It is likely that the legs will sink a substantial depth into the snow unless you put baskets or tennis balls on them. Without that anything less than a Gitzo series 3 or equivalent is likely to be too short.



Jan 23, 2024 at 02:18 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold



Imagemaster wrote:
Wear an oversized jacket and keep your camera inside it until you are ready to shoot. Keep Little Hotties hand warmers in your pockets to keep both your hands and batteries warm. Worked for me at -40 with film camera and camera worked fine. Just had to advance film very slowly to prevent white streaks on film from static electrical charge.


IMO that is a recipe for disaster. There is too much humidity inside the jacket. Bringing in a camera there is guaranteed to cause condensation - best case on the exterior of the body, worst case on internal surfaces of the lens (most zoom lenses the days are not sealed along the extending barrel). Moisture on the external surfaces if the body is likely going to result in frozen buttons.

The body itself will do just fine at -40, you don't need to keep it warm. And as I stated in another message above, a Nikon Z6 easily kept shooting for 3 hrs at -40 with a single battery that was kept in an internal pocket until it was inserted in the camera. I left the camera on at all times since the battery draw keps the batteries warm. As a backup I always had two batteries in an internal pocket but found that I never had to swap batteries within a single session. YMMV with other cameras and batteries.

When shooting at the temperature I avoid putting even a lens cap inside my pockets. I have noticed that it traps enough moist warm air that when I put the cap on the lens I get condensation and frost on the glass. Best to keep everything consistently cold.



Jan 23, 2024 at 02:44 AM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


GroovyGeek wrote:
IMO that is a recipe for disaster. There is too much humidity inside the jacket. Bringing in a camera there is guaranteed to cause condensation - best case on the exterior of the body, worst case on internal surfaces of the lens (most zoom lenses the days are not sealed along the extending barrel). Moisture on the external surfaces if the body is likely going to result in frozen buttons.

The body itself will do just fine at -40, you don't need to keep it warm. And as I stated in another message above, a Nikon Z6 easily kept shooting for
...Show more

Maybe you missed where I said Worked for me at -40 with film camera and camera worked fine. And it did so for the 9 years I lived in northern British Columbia. If your jacket has buttons instead of a zipper, you can always have just the lens sticking outside. And at those temperatures, the last thing I wanted to do was change batteries.

As for how much humidity is inside the jacket, that depends on the person and how many layers he is wearing, and other factors.



Jan 23, 2024 at 11:50 AM
RZ350
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


Imagemaster wrote:
Maybe you missed where I said And it did so for the 9 years I lived in northern British Columbia. If your jacket has buttons instead of a zipper, you can always have just the lens sticking outside. And at those temperatures, the last thing I wanted to do was change batteries.

As for how much humidity is inside the jacket, that depends on the person and how many layers he is wearing, and other factors.


You brought back memories of shooting in cold weather in Alberta. My first SLR was a Canon FT-QL. I never had the electrostatic discharges across my film with that camera. Later, when I had a Pentax, it became a problem. For whatever reason, it would streak whereas the Canon didn't.
What the Canon did do was slow the shutter down as it went across the focal plane in the cold. A friend had the Canon F1. He had the same problem. I told him to send it into Canon for cleaning and lubricating. That cured the problem.
I never had an issue with putting my camera in and out of my coat, but I now have an OM-1 and just leave it out in the cold. I am amazed how well the batteries last in the cold. They have not been an issue. The battery percentages just don't drop as I walk around in the cold.




Jan 23, 2024 at 12:29 PM
Charlie52
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Camera Operating In Extreme Cold


A little late to the game here, but if you have a battery grip; ditch it. Keep one battery in the camera and switch it out (with the one in your warm pocket). Having that extra battery in the grip exposes it to the elements and the power is diminished.


Apr 13, 2024 at 08:20 PM







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