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Old Jan 17, 2004, 11:16 AM   #1
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Default Question for Bob: temperature

Hello Bob,

We've had some cold weather recently, down to -24C (-10F for you Yanks) nominal (excluding the wind chill factor) and I was wondering how will such temperatures affect my FZ1.

The manual says that the operating temperature is 0-40C (32-104F) but that may just be the range in which the FZ1 performs "as advertized". What will happen if the camera is operated (or just transported) at temperatures outside the range? Will it just operate at sub-optimal efficiency or is there a danger of permanent damage?

I know that the battery refuses to play nice in cold weather but the quality of the shots that I took at about -10C (14F) seems to be fine. Will it deteriorate in lower temperatures?

At what temperatures am I risking damage to the camera?

Thank you,
Alex.
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Old Jan 20, 2004, 11:43 AM   #2
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The temperature we advertise is that at which we do testing. Using the camera within that range will not cause any performance degradation.

Recently here in NJ it went down to about 0 F. I accidently left the FZ10 in my truck. In the morning I took it out and shot about 20 photos of the newlly fallen snow. Pictures look fine and I didn't observe any problems.

The question is how low can ou go before any problem is realized. Sorry, I have no answer and officially I can only comment of the 0-40 C spec.

I don't think any "damage" would result, but it's very possible that some aspects may not perform to spec.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:05 AM   #3
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Dear Bob,
I think it would be important to check your cameras ("officially") at low temperatures (0F-10F). These temperatures are quite common in many countries (except probably in countries near the equator). Digital cameras are no "new products" anymore. It is not an extreme expectation, that companies can assure the full functionality of DC's in a moderately cold winter in Europe or in North America.
Robert
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:11 AM   #4
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[to check your cameras ("officially") at low temperatures (0F-10F).

Sorry for the mistake! Correctly "at low temperatures (10F-20F)"
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:51 AM   #5
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The official spec is 32-104 and that's where virtually all consumer products are tested. I agree, it would be nice - but I seriously doubt the standardized testing will change.

If you have specific examples where other manufacturers are providing this data for DSC's, send it to me. I'll be happy to use it to give added priority to such a request.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 11:02 AM   #6
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That temperature range for testing sounds like it's designed to cover the chips and sensors. Those will function pretty much in the same temperature range no matter what product they're in or who made them.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 9:45 AM   #7
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Perhaps, but testing and meauring methods are standardized and that's what's going to be used. You deviate from these standards when marketing designs a product for a speific use - such as an outdoor camera. I'm not saying you are wrong - I'm just explaining why it's done the way it is.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 10:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Perhaps, but testing and meauring methods are standardized and that's what's going to be used. You deviate from these standards when marketing designs a product for a speific use - such as an outdoor camera. I'm not saying you are wrong - I'm just explaining why it's done the way it is.
That is why we sometimes need a source for unofficial "off the record" data that does not imply any liability but still carries some useful information.

For example, if some hypothetical engineer at a hypothetical company that produces a hypothetical camera were to privately contact a hypothetical maintainer of a hypothetical FAQ and say that he "heard somewhere" that said camera is safe to operate at a certain temperature range, that information, sans attribution ("sources say that..."), could be offered to the public without compromising neither the source nor the company.

Disclaimer: the above is just wishful thinking on my part and in no way constitutes solicitation for anyone to break confidentiality guidelines.

Best wishes,
Alex.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 3:26 PM   #9
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You're elected - buy an FZ10 and freeze it!

Seriously, do you really expect a prominent manufacturer to publish "unofficial" specifications? It's unethical and if were to even try it I would be “out of here” faster than our shutter lag. “Unofficial” also means inconsistent and from an engineering standpoint that’s unacceptable.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 5:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
You're elected - buy an FZ10 and freeze it!
I'm more of an FZ1 type of person myself but, yes, I did just that (if -15C can be considered "freezing").

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Seriously, do you really expect a prominent manufacturer to publish "unofficial" specifications? It's unethical and if were to even try it I would be “out of here” faster than our shutter lag. “Unofficial” also means inconsistent and from an engineering standpoint that’s unacceptable.
No offence, Bob. The following is directed not at you personally but at the "prominent manufacturer".

From an engineering standpoint, I have a problem with a user's manual that uses vague wording that can be interpreted as saying that the camera cannot be used at all when the temperature is below 0C. That can easily mean no outdoor shooting at all in the winter or even a risk of voiding the warranty if I try to do so. Is that acceptible?

If the manual had stated something like:
"Normal operating conditions: t1-t2 degrees.
Outside this range, the camera may not perform according to specifications.
Do not attempt to operate the camera in temperatures under t3 degrees or over t4 degrees as this may damage it.
"
The question would not have arised at all.

If a resident of Montreal or Moscow cannot use the FZ* outside 4 months out of the year, the manufacturer should state so. If they can, the manufacturer should also state so.

Why do I have to guess, *after* I buy the product?

Personally, I feel that the current situation is not engineering but rather something concocted by either marketing or legal department.
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