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Re: Shooting in cold weather conditions?

Posted by Steven Endres on 01/02/08 18:00

"nobody special" <> wrote in message
>I have shot in winter conditions since the umatic days. Heat packs on
> the camera won't help if you don't defend against the condensation
> problem first. A plastic bag with a lot of silica gel drying packets
> can help. The idea is to get the air in the bag bone-dry and never
> open it until the job is finished, working thru the bag is not easy,
> nor is sealing around a lens opening. One of those cheaper shallow-
> depth underwater camera bags might work for this.
> You'll get dew warning shutdowns any time the camera has moisture or
> humidity around it and a component colder than room temp. Heat packs
> randomly applied to the outside are better than nothing but can't make
> the whole camera equalized in temp, and not the lens components
> either.
> You will want to let the camera gradually acclimate to the lower temps
> over an hour or more before you try to shoot with it. Put it on AC
> power while you wait, if you can. When done shooting, eject the tape
> while still outside, leave the hatch open, then re-warm the camera
> gradually as well. If you just can't do that, plan to have a hair
> dryer to blow room-temp (not hot) air at the innards for a while to
> help clear the dew. This could sometimes help in the field, if you
> have a battery powered blow dryer handy :-). Do not shuttle or review
> your tape in these conditions, you are only asking for trouble, just
> record, stop, and eject. Let the tape acclimate indoors for two hours
> before you try to play it, and baby it until you're sure it's not
> going to stick and snarl in the transport.
> Lithium batteries don't handle the cold as well as nicads did. Keep
> the batteries in your coat next to your armpit to keep them warm. Have
> some gum erasers in your pocket, use one to clean the power contacts
> just before you hook up. ptravel already warned you the LCD will be
> useless, he's right, best not even deploy it in the first place, lest
> you permanently damage it, crt viewfinder is better here. Super-deep
> cold will make the circuit boards in the camera contract and flex at
> dissimilar rates to other components and might lead to popped solder
> joints on smt chips and other weak components. So if your camera picks
> up a new quirk after a run in the deep coild, this may be the problem.

I agree that you need to avoid abrupt changes in temperature. I've found
that the rate of change is more critical than how cold you go.

If you have the option, I'd go with the CRT black-and-white viewfinder over
the color LCD. You might be able to rent or borrow one.

Watch out for static electricity as well. When I bring my cameras in, I use
computer-type electrostatic discharge (ESD) bags that have a ziploc seal on
one end. I toss some silica gel packs in there with the camera. It prevents
static buildup and keeps the condensation outside. Never had a problem.

I shot ski videos with my batteries rigged up under my coat. I used an old
camera strap to suspend the batteries over my shoulder, and a cable run to
the DC power input.




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