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Old Aug 8, 2003, 6:32 PM   #1
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Default Digital cameras in Arctic/Antarctic Conditions?

I will be going on a five week expedition to the Antarctic this fall (their spring) and plan to purchase a moderately priced ($250-350) digital camera to supplement my 35mms. My question is for anyone with experience with these cameras in extreme cold. At our location in Antarctica, the termperatures are expected to be between 0-10 degrees F. I would keep the cameras in a pocket to keep them warmer.

Will these cameras perform for short periods of time in this temperature range?

What effect would being exposed to these temps and returning to warmer temps have?

Any guidance or ideas greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 8, 2003, 7:47 PM   #2
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Hi. I live in winnipeg and in winter it gets kinda cold here. I used my kodak dx4900 in winter in temperatures around -30 to -35 C. I had no problems with it. I tried to keep it in my pocket to keep it warmer though
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Old Aug 8, 2003, 8:23 PM   #3
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I have also used my digital camera many times in the winter below 0 C. Indeed it is best to keep it in a warm pocket or super isolated extra bag.

The problems is the batteries and the lcd screen. Batteries drain faster in cold. Lcd screen don't like to get below 0 'C Someone once told me they can damage if they 'freeze'. Is there an lcd expert in the house?

Good luck on your trip (eclipse voyage?)
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Old Aug 8, 2003, 8:37 PM   #4
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Regarding batteries, you'll want a camera that uses either lithium-ion rechargeables, or a camera that can take a special non-rechargeable lithium battery...lithium does a lot better then NiMH in cold weather.

There are also external lithium-ion battery packs you can buy for most digicams.

The really dangerous part is going from the cold to warm...moisture will condense on electronics...one trick some recommend is when outside is fill up a bag with the outside air since that will be dry (DON'T blow into it), put the cold camera into it, and then bring it inside...moisture should only condense on the outside of the bag.
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Old Aug 8, 2003, 10:29 PM   #5
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Mike has it right, batteries and condensation are the main issue. Condensation is pretty much the same issue with digital as with chemical cameras - perhaps a bit worse for digital since there are more electronics. NiMH just don't work at all well in the cold, disposable lithium AAs are very good though.

I don't like the idea of shuffling a camera from a warm pocket into the cold and back repeatedly. I let my camera get cold and stay cold.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:37 AM   #6
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Bill Drew, at what minimum temperature did you keep your camera cold? The word cold is subjective to local experience. Maybe manufactures are over cautious stating the operational temperature at 0'C - 40'C.

However I still have doubts if it wise to freeze the LCD(liquid crystal display) screen. If you have a 'C number instead of 'cold' it could greatly help. (Also to those who cannot put that big slr in a pocket)
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Old Aug 13, 2003, 4:05 PM   #7
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Soon the winter season will arrive, and I'll have outdoor assignments to shoot again, usually around 1.5-3 hours long in New York City winter. My camera uses a Li-Ion battery so cold weather doesn't have much impact on power supply. After the shoot I place the camera and lens into my camera bag, with a lot of desiccant packets (I must have nearly 30 packets). In my experience they rob the moisture off the equipment while it warms back up to room temperature.
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Old Aug 18, 2003, 1:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathilde uP
Bill Drew, at what minimum temperature did you keep your camera cold? The word cold is subjective to local experience. Maybe manufactures are over cautious stating the operational temperature at 0'C - 40'C.
Fairly regularily several hours at 0F (-18C) and on occasion -10F (-23C). My hands get numb much below that. I think the manufacturers are over cautious based on folks not knowing how to deal with condensation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathilde uP
However I still have doubts if it wise to freeze the LCD(liquid crystal display) screen. If you have a 'C number instead of 'cold' it could greatly help. (Also to those who cannot put that big slr in a pocket)
I haven't had that happen, but have heard of it - those folks said the camera and LCD worked just fine after it warmed back up.
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Old Aug 18, 2003, 3:13 PM   #9
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My dad's digital camera (some cheap Polaroid model about 5 years old) won't even switch on if it's around 0 degrees C or colder, so it shows some work better in cold temperatures than others :S
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Old Aug 18, 2003, 4:15 PM   #10
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Thanks, that is good news :-)
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