Sub Zero condition..what precautions?


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Mikefellh

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Oct 9, 2005
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#2
Originally posted in http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=312112 but moved to here:

The most dangerous part of using a camera in below freezing conditions is bringing it back in to the warm temperatures, because on any cold surface moisture will condense on an it when it is taken from a cold environment to a warm one (like moisture that forms on a cold drink on a hot day)...this moisture can cause short circuits and damage the camera!

Many people recommend having a plastic bag that can be sealed when you go out, and when you're ready to go back inside put the camera in the bag and seal it and once inside keep it sealed for at least 20 minutes...all the moisture will condense on the OUTSIDE of the bag. Make sure you don't blow into the bag or suck out the air...you WANT some outside air in the bag as it was the air (temperature and humidity) the camera was in.
 

Blu-By-U

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Aug 2, 2006
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#3
Would a ziplog bag be enough? What about lens in the pouch? Should one ziplog them as well?
 

Mikefellh

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#4
Also is there any glove that in available that can be worn and still press those small buttons on the camera.
As for gloves, some people use this type with the dimples:
http://williams.smugmug.com/photos/2207693-M.jpg

Another type of glove is this one that's normally a mitt, but you can slip out of the mitt and have a glove, but your index, middle, and thumb are bare to easily access the controls (it will make sense when you see it):
http://www.photocritique.us/images/photography_gloves.jpg

Hope that gives you some ideas. If you live in a warm climate, you may have to mail order theses from a cold climate.
 

Mikefellh

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#5
Would a ziplog bag be enough? What about lens in the pouch? Should one ziplog them as well?
Never heard of "ziplog" (it might be a local name for Ziplock brand...anything that will seal the equipment up and doesn't breathe).

And yes, I would seal the lens too.
 

Blu-By-U

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#6
Ok. Wait till you see what I did to a pair of mine....:bigeyes:

What about you, what do you use and uncle Olyflyer??

my bad...ziplock not ziplog.
 

Blu-By-U

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#8
almost...only the index finger..but only about 1/2 inch. hehehe..so far it works for -1C and up. I am worried as I am going to colder places this coming January. -20C
 

troyjbon

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Aug 17, 2007
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#9
Wah -20. Go broke back moutain take picture. hiehiehi ~just kidding.
 

OlyFlyer

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Mar 22, 2006
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#10
As for gloves, some people use this type with the dimples:

I like this one. I wonder what I have to do to get a pair of those. I already bought two expensive Lowepro bags, both of them all weather type, but none of them had the gloves included.
 

OlyFlyer

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Mar 22, 2006
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#11
Ok. Wait till you see what I did to a pair of mine....:bigeyes:

What about you, what do you use and uncle Olyflyer??

my bad...ziplock not ziplog.
Actually, I don't use anything when taking photos. I have a pair of very warm gloves for walking around for a few hours, but every time I want to take a picture I remove my gloves. Not really a good method for quick action, but I have some problems also with my eye glasses. When it is too cold outdoors, my glasses cool down as well. After a while they radiate so much cold air (before somebody comments, I know cold can not radiate, but it feels like it does) my eyes starts to hurt. So, I find that a bigger problem, especially if it is windy as well, which is often the case here. I am never going to slaugther any gloves and make them into hobo gloves because in that case my fingers would freeze anyway.

Regarding the plastic bag, I have never heard of that problem. Condensation is normally only on the outside, mostly on glass surfaces. Never heard of short circuits caused by "normal" condensation under normal room temperature and humidity. My glasses become foggy due to condensation if I enter a crawded bus or train, but never happend when I enter my own home. Even so, it only happens to the outside of my glasses, never nearest my eyes, which I suppose is normal, and is due to the fact that the coldest surface is the one which will drag all the water to it. That is the same with lenses. I have never experienced any problems inside any lens, but the front element or the filter can get some condens water. And the cure is simple. I do nothing. Just leave the camera in the room and a few minutes later it fixes itself. If you are affraid of the short circuit, just don't use the camera for about an hour when you go indoors.

Sorry Mike, I think the short circuit is just a myth, even if in theory, the plastic bag trick may work. To speed up the process if I'd use a bag, I'd put a silica gel bag inside.

BTW Blu, don't test it in your freezer. :nono: The camera storage temperature is down to -20C, but when you'd take it out the humidity in your home may cause some serious problems. The air is normally drier in countries with cold weather, which effects even indoor humidity. Not the same as if you freeze down the camera and take it out in a Singapore or Malaysian home. My comments about not seen the problem of condensation inside any equipment is only valid for normal winter conditions, not a non scientifically simulated one with a freezer. I hope I am not too late about this warning.

Anyway, I can be wrong, so bringing a big plastic bag with you is not as complicated as if I was going to Singapore and would need to bring a dry box with me. But if you do the plastic bag trick, bring a few silica gel bags as well. It can never hurt to be careful.

Be careful with the LCD display. That contains liquide and may not survive too long periode. I don't know what it takes to freeze the crystals to death.

Another warning, more important than your camera, if this is the first time you will spend time in that temperature, be very careful to your own body, especially feet, toes, fingers, nose and your chin and ears. I am not joking! I am dead serious! If you are not careful with your own body it is very easy to get frost bites with prmanent damage to your body. It is very important to use proper shoes, cotton socks and generally as little syntetic clothing as possible, especially near your body. Your own body sweat can freeze on your body if you are not properly dressed, and cause frost bites without you noticing that you are cold. No joke, I actually know people who got frost bites outside a night club while waiting to be let in.
 

#12
What i did when i went to China was to put warmers in my pocket. So basically i snap and put my hand back into my pocket. I didn't take condensation into consideration so after returning from China, my flash couldn't pop up. Yeah so do take precautions.
 

Blu-By-U

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#13
oops..never though of myself :embrass: only the equipment...how stupid. Thanks for the warning.
Winter top, I got 1. woollies like long john got 3 sets, scarf, hat...what shoes for winter icy condition?? Will my timberland do? Or should I get a pair of golf spikes? oops OT again.

What's a warmer?

Would it be better then to go with a P&S instead of a dSLR? BTW, me planning to venture to Harbin in January 08.
 

wind30

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Mar 14, 2004
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#14
there are some thinsulate gloves that are thin enough to operate camera but provide some BASIC protection. That is what I used in Winter Beijing. Harbin should be freezing in January...... I remember going to chengde in around late Dec, it was like FREEZING.

GOOD shoes is a must. You probably need high cut boots, I wore a pair of timberland high cut boots and it was ok but some of my tour mates who were wearing like normal walking shoes all complained about their feet....

Yup the LCD display goes crazy in sub-zero condition :)

Agreed with olyflyer about the condensation thing. When I went Korea in winter, my lens had MASSIVE condensation everytime I step into the ski resort, but it clears within minutes. no problem. Anyone had actual problems with condensation?
 

Blu-By-U

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#15
Looks like this coming trip is gonna break my piggy bank :(

What do you mean by LCD goes crazy? :eek: Does it mean I cannot use the LV?
 

wind30

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#16
Looks like this coming trip is gonna break my piggy bank :(

What do you mean by LCD goes crazy? :eek: Does it mean I cannot use the LV?
the refresh rate becomes very slooooww... I think it was either my E-1 or s3pro.... basically the LCD will not update....
 

Blu-By-U

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#17
:cry: No LV for framing. :( other than that, any other problems to expect?

Battery life shorten, LCD may not work, camera AF freezes up, anything else?
 

Mikefellh

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#18
Sorry Mike, I think the short circuit is just a myth, even if in theory, the plastic bag trick may work.
I've heard about it from a friend who repairs PDAs and other mobile equipment...he's done repairs of equipment that was left in cold cars during winter, that equipment was taken inside, powered on, and then zap!

Not a myth!
 

OlyFlyer

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Mar 22, 2006
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#19
I've heard about it from a friend who repairs PDAs and other mobile equipment...he's done repairs of equipment that was left in cold cars during winter, that equipment was taken inside, powered on, and then zap!

Not a myth!
Sure, I really believe that. Most of PDA's are not even made to be stored in sub zero, the E-500 is made to be stored down to -20C. I used my cameras outdoors in -18C (and my OMs even below), and I reviewed my images almost immediately after coming indoors, using my camera. I never had condensation anywhere else than glass surfaces, never in my life. That includes my eye glasses as well, always only on the outer side, never neares my eyes, and that is a fact. Actually, that was the case even with my metal OMs. Of course, I never actually left any PDA, mobile phone or camera in my cars overnight, and also, I think PDAs are more sensitive than cameras, due to the larder LCD. Another question, I am not saying it can never happen, but how does your friend knows it was condensation that killed those PDAs? As said, storage temperature may have been well passed in the car, the batteries, or LCDs may have got frozen, so what means 'zap'? Zap after cold store? Yes, I buy that. Zap after some hours of shooting? No, I don't buy that. I think that is a myth. Also, I stand for this, condensation inside the body, I think that is a myth as well, except maybe in extreme cases, very high humidity and very very cold gear, like a camera left in a car overnight and brought into a very warm and humid room. But, just to be on the safe side, if somebody is not sure, just use the plastic bag trick, that will definitely work, and I actually propose an improvement by using silica gel bags as well in the plastic bag. Not much of a trouble to wait 20 minutes after coming indoors, for me takes that long to get undressed, change, wash myself and maybe fixing some needs after a few hours outdoors in cold. By the time I am ready to switch on the camera, usually passed 20 minutes.

Another thing is that we are discussing using the cameras in cold weather, not forgetting them in a car. I actually read about a guy who dropped his Ipaq in a pile of snow without noticing it, and several months later, when the snow melted, he found it, dried it out, charged it and according to the story, he was using it happily ever after. I think even this is just a myth.

Of course, every man is his own master, better to be safe than sorry, which goes even for this discussion.
 

OlyFlyer

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Mar 22, 2006
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#20
:cry: No LV for framing. :( other than that, any other problems to expect?

Battery life shorten, LCD may not work, camera AF freezes up, anything else?
Blu, don't be so blue, cheer up. You live in a different world with diffrent problems, like high temperature and humidity, so you have dry boxes to keep your camera and lenses in. We have other problems here. I doubt there is one single person on my part of the world who actually uses dry boxes, but that does not mean we don't have to be careful and think of other problems. Rain, wind, fog, snow, temperature are some elements which are a real pain in my pants some times. But that does not mean we can not go out to take pictures, but we have to be careful a different way. Don't leave your camera unprotected, use good quality, weather proof bags and you should be safe. You can actually keep the camera under your jacket whan not needed. I still think that the biggest problem is going to be with you, not with your camera.

Acclimatization can be a problem, coming directly from +35C and 90% humidity to -20C and maybe 30% humidity is not easy. I think the most important thing is to try to keep your body dry, no sweating, keep it warm, but not make you sweat. Don't use Malaysian street walking shoes for anything else than indoor walking. No big deal, better to have too much cloth on you and with you than too little. If you are too warm, you can always reduce the number of layers, it is more difficult the other way. If you have too little with you, you will freeze. Try to compile all the advises here and elswhere and make the best of it and have a good time. Take the E-330 with you and show us some pictures later when you return.
 

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