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Old Nov 5, 2010, 8:42 PM   #1
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Default it's that time... time to talk about winter camera care.

I am totally new to dslr cameras (as of about 2 weeks ago). I live in New England and i am really worried about the temperature and what affect that will have on my lens's and camera body.

Soooo... what do i need to be aware of? I have heard about this plastic bag thing when going to from cold to hot.. but I have a camera body plus 4 lens's that i regularly carry with me... do they all need to go into a bag?

I am apprehensive right now as to any temperature difference and what it could do... Soooo... what is the worst that could happen? the lens's get foggy, and i'd have to dry them down? could mechanics get screwed up?

If the camera body stays attached to the lens, can the sensor and mirror condensate still?

so many questions..
any help would be greatly appreciated (and I'm sure this has been on other people's minds as well.)

if there is another thread on this already, feel free to point me in that direction. I could not find any in the search.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 8:56 PM   #2
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One problem with really cold weather is that your batteries won't last as long.

I live in a relatively dry area, humidity rarely gets high. I just leave the camera with lens mounted in the camera bag until everything warms up and haven't had a problem. It's the electronics you really need to worry about (beyond foggy lenses).
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 8:58 PM   #3
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i have the tenba messenger bag which holds all my gear, do you think that would be sufficient enough to avoid damage if i just leave everything in there until it reaches room temp?
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 9:53 PM   #4
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mntgal has it right. Batteries don't like cold.

Condensation can be a problem with any temperature difference, even going from an airconditioned area to a hot humid outside. If you see condensation forming, it ain't good. Watch what happens and you will figure it out.

It is humidity as much as temperature difference that is the source of potential problems. Cold is always dry (I think of cold as anything below about -20F (-33C)). At something like -40F (-40C) a good measure of humidity is micrograms of water per cubic mile of air.
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 12:32 AM   #5
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Condensation on external surfaces really isn't as much of a problem as what happens internally. If your lens gets foggy on the inside, some of that condensation will leave spots when it dries, and getting the lens apart to clean that out, is not for the faint of heart or mechanically challenged. I recommend sealed plastic bags, with dessicant, to prevent problems, and allow up to several hours for everything to warm up to room temps.
If you think I am being paranoid about it, consider the film that builds up on the inside of your car windshield in the winter. I have an old lens with fungus spots inside, probably because I didn't care for it well enough. (Vivitar Series One 70-210mm, first run).
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 9:34 AM   #6
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it sounds like i just need to bring 3 or 4 large ziplock bags in my camera bag.. and i'd have to put all my lens's and body in them... sounds like a pain, lol.
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 9:46 AM   #7
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i am looking at purchasing some silica gel. The indicating stuff is pretty cool so i know when it's "full" and can then dry it out.
I saw a 1/4 lbs bag of the silica gel online, what type of package could i put them in (in smaller quantities obviously) that would breath enough for the gel to actually to anything?. i am assuming a small plastic baggy would not work...
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 9:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewheeler20 View Post
it sounds like i just need to bring 3 or 4 large ziplock bags in my camera bag.. and i'd have to put all my lens's and body in them... sounds like a pain, lol.
Unless you are planning on throwing your gear into a swimming pool, there is no reason to use ziplock bags. Plastic bags that are long enough to be able to twist the top and fold it under when set down work just as well. Bread bags as an example. That is more reliable as well since it is never going to pop open after you turn your back. And it is MUCH easier to deal with when your fingers are cold.
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Old Nov 6, 2010, 10:14 AM   #9
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bread bags.. excellent idea.
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Old Nov 7, 2010, 10:03 AM   #10
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Condensation will wreak havoc on your gear, anyone who says different is not well informed and hasnt had a warranty repair turned down because of condensation.

There are many options to resolve this, silica gel isnt one of them...its for keeping it dry in a humid envornment..not for condensation prevention.

The ziploc bags will work but I dont see the need for them. If you have a good well padded and insulated camera bag that will suffice. Just leave it zippered up when you go from cold to hot for an hour or two. If its just plain butt chillin cold mine transition to the garage for a bit then inside for a bit. Either you take the path of moisture proofing or control the rate of temperature change....either works fine. The only time I could see a ziploc being needed is if your gear is cold and you need to shoot with it quickly after bringing it to a warm environment.

If you are not shooting outdoors and the transition is just to your car and back there is little worry.

Batteries are of course a chemical reaction to produce useable electric energy. If they are always cold they will not deliver as much run time but will have a longer over all life span. If they are hot then they will give much longer run time but battery lifespan is cut in half for every 10C above 25C. Heat is what is detrimental to battery failure, cold just slows the chemical reaction that results in less run time but makes the battery lifespan much longer. Give and take depending on your use.
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