Temperature extremes

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Lord Blackadder, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #1
    We all know that temperature extremes play havoc with technology, and cameras (having both optics and electronics) seems particularly sensitive.

    I live in the northern Great Lakes region of the USA, which is subject to fairly harsh winters - last winter we had sustained temperatures as low as -20F. More importantly, going from outdoors into a heated building produces up to 90F degrees of temperature variation in just minutes...:eek:

    My Nikon Coolpix 4300 point-and-shoot has survived outdoor shooting sessions in this weather; usually I would shoot, turn off the camera, bring it in and let it warm up before downloading or using it again. Condensation would form on the lens and viewfinder (I allow this to evaporate rtaher than trying to clean it).

    Do any of you shoot in extreme temperatures with your DSLRs? How do you keep your gear in good shape? My new Rebel XT is not sealed against weather nor are my lenses...is it a bad idea to take them out in extreme cold?
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    Double bag everything before you come inside, you want a vapor barrier to stop moisture from showing up in all the wrong places.
     
  3. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #3
    Hmm...If I bag everything and condensation forms it will not evaporate as easily though. I'm wondering how much the lenses and body will tolerate.
     
  4. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #5
    There's two scenarios. First is you taking the gear out from a warm environment into a cold one. In this case, you want the air to circulate, so that the warm air inside the gear drops its moisture outside the gear as much as possible.

    The second is when you bring the gear from a cold environment into a warm one. In this particular case, when warm air touches the cold surface, it will cool, tending to drop (some of) its water load - so you get condensation.

    Putting the cold gear inside a sealed bag before bringing it inside will cause the condensation to form on the outside of the sealed bag, not on your gear. Let the bag and contents warm up to the ambient temperature before opening up, and you won't get condensation on the gear.

    All this is because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. So cooling warm air will tend to cause condensation to form; warming cool air will tend to cause small amounts of moisture to evaporate.

    Hope this helps clarify things a little.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #6
    When I was doing fieldwork in central Greenland, (like everyone else there) I'd just use a single ziploc-type heavy duty freezer bag. Pop the camera in there before you bring it back in to warmer temperatures.

    Like sjl said, you don't really have to worry about condensation inside a sealed bag in that scenario - very cold air just doesn't have the ability to hold a significant amount of moisture. That's why on the ice sheet most of the precipitation falls in the "warmer" seasons - you know, when it gets up to -10C or so. :D

    There may be other issues with digital cameras in the cold. I was in Greenland in the early 90s, so obviously I was shooting film back then.
     
  6. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #7
    My challenge is the other extreme, going from an air conditioned environment outside to the humid Florida heat. I didn't realize a twenty degree F change would cause so much condensation on my lens! I didn't do any damage, did I? (not to hijack the thread, but i'm a noob.:eek:)
     
  7. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #8
    Thanks, that makes sense...I'm planning on doing a good amount of outdoor shooting this winter, so I'll be giving the old Ziploc a try.
     

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