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Old Feb 9, 2005, 10:20 AM   #1
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I am going to Mt.Everest this year and I need info using my digital cameras in extreme temperature (-0 to -40 F). I currently have Sony DSC-V1, DSC0F828 and PC-120.

Biggest challenge is keeping camera from freezing and battery's from dying in cold weather.

I need advise and is any company out here make camera that can operate in cold weather?


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Old Feb 9, 2005, 12:22 PM   #2
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I have Contax several film cameras that take batteries (The Contax RX SLR, the Contax G2 rangefinder and the Contax T3 point and shoot) and they have a very nice approach to saving battery life in very cold weather. (I'm up here in Canada so we get our share! VERY )

They have a wired battery pack (that takes 4-6 AA Alkalines) that plugs into the camera while the batterys themselves are inside your coat...nice and warm. The wire is long enough to fit into a shirt pocket and I run theother enddown my right sleeve and have the plug come out at the wrist with enough length to plug in to the camera. Contax has the same battery pack (with different adapters) for their different cameras so I am always supplied with power.

I have never had battery problems with the film cameras even as cold as -20C (although you don't handle a metal camera body with bare hands :?at that temp!)

It is too bad that digital cameras didn't have a similar system but, my Sony V3 has a solid battery door cover that can't allow a wire to plug in. I suppose that the A/C adapter socket that is used to charge the camera could be used to power it if the proper voltage (4.2 V DC 1.5A for the V3) could be provided...then all we would need would be the proper cable connection and we could have a similar setup to the Contax.
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 3:06 PM   #3
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Something else to consider is moving parts. I wouldn't be surprised if the moving parts of the camera will freeze up. Now, most digitals don't have a shutter, but some have extending zoom lenses.

Also the problem of moisture and condensation will be a problem. When you bring the camera inside somewhere that will get warm (not many of those on Everest, true) the moisture in the air (from your breath) will condense on anything that is cold... including the camera and if it can, inside the camera. This is really bad.

So you'll need to store the camera inside something that is air tight (a bag, usually) so that it can warm up to the temperature of whatever you are inside while not being in air with moisture.

Eric
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 3:16 PM   #4
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this is basic problem of the digital camera plus of couse the charging of the batteries. humidity at high altitude is not so much of a problem. this to me as the owner of some really nifty digital wonders is where a good simple film camera excels and can just abou guarentee you'l get images. the primary question is are you actually climbing everest or doing the high altitute trek? there is quite a difference between the two.

i used my OM1 and 3 and it functioned well in just about every type of nasy weather you can have. once the meter died i just used a handheld one.
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 3:20 PM   #5
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medenjaci wrote:
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I am going to Mt.Everest this year and I need info using my digital cameras in extreme temperature (-0 to -40 F). I currently have Sony DSC-V1, DSC0F828 and PC-120.

Biggest challenge is keeping camera from freezing and battery's from dying in cold weather.

I need advise and is any company out here make camera that can operate in cold weather?

if you think your biggest challenge is the keeping the batteries from freezing i think you better reevalute your situation. i have spent a good bit of my life in cold enviornments and that doesn't include NJ
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 4:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for replay to all.

When I was writing about biggest challenge I was referring to Technical challenge of making digital camera working in cold weather not to climbing it self.

I am planing to climb Everest and hopping to make video of expedition.

I want to use digital camera since I can make much more photos then 35 mm.

Size and weight of camera is important.

Up high there is no humidity and I have made sort of protective cover out of neoprene rubber (diving wet suit material) for camera.

WhatI have found is freezing camera and battery dying is two things that I need to worry about.



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Old Feb 9, 2005, 6:45 PM   #7
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This is, I admit, from a place of relative ignorance (I go out in the cold quite often... even fairly cold. But not that cold or that hight.)

A tent for the night at that climate and cold is fairly well sealed. Not perfectly air tight (of course) but well sealed. And you are breathing all night, which adds moisture to the air. Will it just not be enough to condense on things? You'll warm it some by your body(ies) and maybe you'll have something to warm it as well... will it get warm enough to hold moisure? I truly don't know. But I know I have fogged some nice optical gear just by staying out in 10 degrees below 0 weather and then coming into my car for 15 minutes.

As for an alternative, I'm with sjms. I know the digital sounds practical, but this is why very simple no-battery cameras still sell. You can use them in a variety of places you wouldn't use a more modern 35-mm.

I understand why you'd want to use digital, but its something to consider.

To me, the best place to ask is a mountain climbing forum. While we know cameras and photography here that isn't the most important thing. The location/weather is more important to your choice.

Eric
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 7:51 PM   #8
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eric is right, one of the enemies of cold is vaporization on/in the camera. I have not been in that kind of cold, but believe it is similar.
Digital cams seem to work ok in cold as long as the battery is good. Cold battery life is reduced considerably [but you knew that].
Suggestions:
1. Store the camera outside when not in use. Avoid bringing it in to a tent or hutch unless you plan to use it. Even then it may fog and freeze up instantly.
2. Store the batteries inside or on your body to keep them warm. Be prepared to change them. Plan on approx. 1/3 to 1/4 battery life, so bring enough batteries.
3. Store you lenses with your camera.
4. Get better advice than this.
5. Test your camera before you go.
6. Bring a spare.

Hope this helps. Really pretty obvuious and you probably thought of all this. IMO numbers 5 and 6 are very improtant.
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 9:25 PM   #9
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You might want to check out this site... maybe e-mail people there.

http://www.mounteverest.net/


Also, I found this... http://www.alanarnette.com/alan/gearlist.htm
It's a list of what this guy brought to his mt. everest climb. If panned the list to the bottom, you'll see what digicam he used. Not sure if he used it on the summit (I think he have yet to hit the summit) butthe guy did list that it was used during trekking, climbing, and up to 8,000 meters (that about 24,000ft, sorry for the rough estimate). And guess what, this guy is also into digital photography. So he might be a good source for your query.
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Old Feb 10, 2005, 4:34 PM   #10
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"Up high there is no humidity and I have made sort of protective cover out of neoprene rubber (diving wet suit material) for camera."

that unfortunately won't help a device that does not make its own heat. once an item cold soaks there it pretty much remains that way.
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