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Old Jul 10, 2015, 4:58 PM   #1
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Default Temperature extremes and effects on cameras

I see the Fujifilm X-T1 is offering freeze resistance to -10C (14F). This could be handy as I live in the north and temperatures in winter routinely drop to -20C (-4F). As a result I have always tried to keep my camera warm under my jacket etc. Something that can be a bit awkward.

But what are the potential problems and breakages that modern digital cameras face in the cold, which a camera like the X-T1 is not going to suffer?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Jul 10, 2015, 5:25 PM   #2
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Humidity can condense, freeze and expand, which can break stuff.

Lubricants can stiffen, causing motors to overload.

Batteries are less efficient at lower temperatures.
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Old Jul 10, 2015, 9:55 PM   #3
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It's the weather sealing that's the key feature of the XT-1, not the temperature rating.

The cold weather rating is a plus, but it's resistance to foul weather conditions like rain, snow, sleet, etc. is the real advantage.
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Old Jul 11, 2015, 7:58 AM   #4
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As well as other things mentioned, some plastics get extremely brittle and prone to breakage at colder temperatures.
The main problem seems to be with batteries, though. I have used my Minolta Dimage 7hi in temps down to 0 degrees F, with no problems but needing frequent battery replacement. Using Lithium AAs helped, but best would have been an external battery pack kept in an inside pocket. Working controls with gloves on is no picnic, either, but beats having your fingers freeze to the buttons.
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Old Jul 12, 2015, 4:28 PM   #5
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Thanks everybody for your input. Much appreciated.
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Old Jul 14, 2015, 9:31 AM   #6
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I've used my Canons (5d II, 7d II, even the old 20d) in -35C while hiking Algonquin park and Lake Superior north side.
Never had any issues with them, except batteries do not last long in the cold. So carry lots of spares in an internal warm pocket.
I normally carry 5 or 6 spare LPE6/LPE6n's with me.
When a battery stops working due to cold swap it out and let the frozen one warm up in your pocket, it will start to be usable again.

You do have to be careful bringing cold soaked equipment back into the warm,
done wrong and instant condensation externally and internally.
That can be a killer especially if you take a camera that has developed internal condensation back into the cold. Instant ice which can cause serious damage.

I drop my entire backpack into a large ziplock vacuum bag and seal it before bringing it indoors,
then work on resisting the temptation to open it until temperatures have equalized. Which can take many hours.

I've had more issues with support equipment like aluminium tripods seizing up and becoming inoperable in the cold.
Not so much with Carbon Fibre, but I worry about them shattering in the cold.

More potentially damaging to cameras are the warm humid tropical rainforest regions!

Oh and those cold temperatures can wreak havoc with your beard!
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Last edited by PeterP; Jul 14, 2015 at 9:47 AM.
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