Northern Ireland Outdoors Forum - Hiking, camping and more

Outdoor Activities => Photography => Topic started by: Big Dod on November 25, 2012

Title: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: Big Dod on November 25, 2012
Hi Folks,

Appreciate your thoughts/views/experience on this one.

I have a 550D and am looking forward to trying to get some nice photos during my future trips up into the Mournes but lately I've been a bit worried about how the cold, on a winter summit camp for example, might affect the camera, if at all, and how I could best store it to protect it.

Have any of you done this before / had any issues / come up with any handy solutions?

Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: LennyJ1 on November 25, 2012
I took my DSLR on top of kili and it worked fine at -20. I had it in a protective case.
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: RedLeader on November 26, 2012
I think the camera should be physically okay but you might have some issues with the mirror fogging up depending on the conditions.
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: phil_b on November 26, 2012
Check this out,, it might help. Loads of other usefully photography stuff on there too if u r interested.
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: Big Dod on November 26, 2012
Thanks folks,

Appreciate the feedback..
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: LandyLiam on November 26, 2012
I find its the dampness thats more of a problem, had to warm my camera up for an hour on sunday morning to dry it out before the internal fogging dissappered
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: twentyclicks on November 27, 2012
Funny, people have all answered the usually forgotten problem of condensation! Well done.

The other concerns I'd note are mainly the battery life will be severely shortened in very cold conditions, so always have a spare and keep it warm close to your body. Swap them as it dies (it will operate again when reheated... unless actually discharged).

Operating with thick gloves or on icy ground can also lead to drops or falls... which can hurt you as well as your equipment.

Also be careful of bare metal surfaces. Many cameras these days are polycarbonate or have rubber coatings so not so bad touching your face to it unlike my old FM2, but tripods can become very cold: mind frost-nip on hands... or general heat loss if carrying them. Any water can also freeze up the moving parts...bit of WD40 (tripod still, not camera!) before going out may prevent fighting with a jammed leg lock.

In extreme cold, the materials themselves can become brittle and the lubricants in the lens and camera mechanisms cease to be effective. Cameras can be prepped for extended use in these conditions... we are talking Antarctica here, but saying that I know a guy works regularly in Antarctica who is a big photographer and he just uses a regular Canon.

Wrap up warm, have a flask or stove, don't lose your gear set down in a monochrome winter landscape, overexpose for snow, and make sure to get your results wangled in to the monthly photo comps  ;D
Title: Re: DSLR on cold nights
Post by: bigq on December 06, 2012
Some good suggestions so far, here's a few things I have to add:

 - let the camera cool down slowly and warm up slowly (while packed) to prevent condensation. Obviously you state mournes, so this should not be a problem in your rucksack. If you were taking the camera out of your house to the back garden and then back inside it would be a problem.

 - spare battery essential, kept close to body.

 - when finished, take out memory card put in a jacket pocket. When you get home, you can immediately use the memory card, while keeping the camera in its bag while it slowly gets back to room temperature.

 - wrap warm, especially the feet. Standing around  taking photos, your upper body will likely be moving around, changing camera settings etc, but your feet will likely be in the one spot and therefore get colder much quicker.

 - obviously up the mournes, wind is a problem, keep tripod as low as possible to avoid wind shake.