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Old May 28, 2003, 11:02 AM   #1
SJC
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Default Absurd Operating Temperature and Humidity Limits

I recently bought a Cannon A60 camera for my daughter who lives in Texas. She was concerned about the heat so I checked the Specs on Cannon's Website. I was surprised to find

> Operating Temperature 32 104 F (0 40 C)
> Operating Humidity 10 90%

I couldn't believe it. I guess they don't plan on selling cameras any place but San Francisco. Want to take a picture outside in the summer or winter? Too bad.

I wrote to them to ask if the camera would be damaged if operated outside that range. Here is the (non) response I got:

> The PowerShot A60 is designed for use in the temperature range
> you've specified. Unfortunately, we cannot speculate as to the
> reliability or performance of the camera at temperatures above
> or below this range. We regret this inconvenience.
>
>Thank you for choosing Canon.
>
>Sincerely,
>
>Jenny
>Product Support Representative

If I had known this, I wouldn't have bought the camera. I didn't even think to look.

Does anyone know if this is a common range for digital cameras or peculiar to Cannon? Also, any guesses as to what will happen outside this range? My guess is that the camera won't be damaged but the pictures might not be so good.

Thanks for any help,

Steve
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Old May 28, 2003, 11:32 AM   #2
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A very common range for all digital cameras.
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Old May 28, 2003, 11:33 AM   #3
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I think that is the standard opperating range for most electronic products.

Living in Minnesota, I have been paying attention to the lower end of that temp range and haven't seen anyone reporting problems with any camera down to something like 0F/-18C other than condensation. The LCD in some cameras seem to stop working somewhere near -40 but recover just fine when warmed up.

At the high end, you can expect more noise in the image.
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Old May 28, 2003, 11:51 AM   #4
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Environmental specs need to be looked at practically. If it's temperature, you shouldn't leave your cam on the back shelf of a car in the desert sun and expect it to work. If you were in a very cold environment you wouldn't take your clothes off, so would you pull your cam out of the trunk, having been left there at -30 and expect it to work?

These specs are tested by immersing the whole camera in a test chamber for considerable time. They are a bit artificial, because if the cam is on and running, components will be warm and the test is forcibly removing/heating them up.

Cameras have batteries, which when used generate heat. If you carried a camera close to your person then took it out of a padded bag (previously in a warm environment) It is unlikely the electronics would cool or heat up to excessive temperatures in a short period. The surface of the lcd would probably the first indicator for extreme temperature.

The chances are, if you're at these extreme temperatures you would protect yourself - so just apply the same logic to your camera - until you need to use it. Just remember freshly charged and discharging batts in use will warm up a camera.

Humidity is difficult, if you want to go scuba diving in the 'Glades - perhaps you need a sealed poly zip bag for your cam.

If electronics suffer at the temperature extremes, the results will be obvious not gradual. This is digital! It's likely the lcd/evf will suffer first ,but shots could be OK. A film cam would probably suffer more at high temperatures - and you wouldn't know 'till you developed the film. Treat your camera to the same level of comfort as yourself, and worry less.
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Old May 28, 2003, 1:20 PM   #5
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Hi SJC,

There have been some great responses to your concern.

Here is one more...

All manufacturers build in a "fudge factor" in the
specifications they quote.

I suggest you do this:

Shoot all you want of photos you can afford to lose
on the most humid, hottest day you can "find".

See how the camera performs and the photos "turn out".

Good luck!
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Old May 28, 2003, 1:23 PM   #6
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Living in the tropics, my concern is humidity, not temperature. As long as you don't have condensation, even 100% relative humidity should not be a problem. If humidity was such a big problem, then most electronics would be useless in a rainy day, when humidity normally exceeds the 95% RH mark.

However, if you have your camera in a cooler environment, say an air-conditioned room, and go out during a rainy day, condensation will occur and you should be careful in these cases.

I don't think you should be too concerned about the recommended temperature range.

I am curious as to why manufacturers specify a minimum relative humidity such as 10%. This is an extreme condition anyhow, but what if I go to 0% RH? I don't think this will have any effect at all.
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Old May 28, 2003, 1:39 PM   #7
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Ah, but I seem to remember in my forgotten schooldays that humidity was linked to 'dewpoint' so if you had humidity, it didn't result in surface condensation (the killer for electronics), until you reached the dewpoint temperature - and isn't this tied in with barometric pressure as well?

So putting the environmental specs on one side for a mo. you could be at say 80% humidity within spec, but transfer the camera from one temperature (cold) to another (warm) still within spec , but have the lenses steamed up, moisture all over the internals and a cam not working for a while. If you live on the coast and there's a lot of Sodium Chloride (that's salt) and high humidity, your pc hard drive will probably fail before your memory card - so what's the point of the environmental spec?

Quote:
what if I go to 0% RH? I don't think this will have any effect at all.
I can only guess there are some materials with natural moisture content, which if lost cause failure. Wouldn't leave cam in Sauna then!
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Old May 28, 2003, 1:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
So putting the environmental specs on one side for a mo. you could be at say 80% humidity within spec, but transfer the camera from one temperature (cold) to another (warm) still within spec , but have the lenses steamed up, moisture all over the internals and a cam not working for a while.
The magic word is "condensation" which I used in my previous message. If fact, many manufacturers add the words "non-condensing" to their relative humidity specifications. And that's why I said that the humidity can be 100% and it is ok as long as there is no condensation.

Quote:
If you live on the coast and there's a lot of Sodium Chloride (that's salt) and high humidity, your pc hard drive will probably fail before your memory card - so what's the point of the environmental spec?
That's an entirely different story. The problem here is not the humidity but the salt which is corrosive. And you are right, the hard drive will probably fail before the memory card.
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Old May 28, 2003, 2:16 PM   #9
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...Unless it's a Microdrive!
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