Very cold

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Peter, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Can temperatures in range of -15C...-20C (about -10F) stop lens from
    working? I've had it several times when aperture control + AF wouldn't work
    outdoors. Cycling battery power usually helped. Is this a problem with lens,
    or 'normal' and I simply shouldn't expose camera to such temps? Canon 20D +
    Sigma 28-70 f/2.8

    Peter, Jan 23, 2006
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  2. At -10F the battery is dead and any lubrication becomes thick,
    or even solid.

    I wouldn't know about a Canon 20D / Sigma 28-70, but generally
    if you want a camera to work at those temps you'll have to have
    it specially serviced. All lubrication is removed, thus it will
    wear out relatively fast. Also you need something in the way of
    an external battery pack that enables powering the camera with a
    battery that is inside your coat.
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 23, 2006
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  3. Peter

    default Guest

    I took my Canon Rebel Rebel XT 350D and subjected it to taking about 1000
    pictures in some serious cold at times. The humidity is usually quite low
    though when it was really cold. The 18-55mm Canon lens always did fine in
    the cold as did the camera. I used the battery grip with two lithium
    batteries and it was never a problem. The main thing from the Canon
    literature is not to charge the batteries below O C. I have read in other
    places of people using Rebel XT's to -20C. The 20D is similiar so I would
    expect it to work ok. The salesman where I bought the camera told me that
    many do not work well in cold but that he had many reports of the canon
    DSLR's working good in the cold. The Canon manual lists operating
    temperature of 0-40C and <80% relative humidity.

    The Sigma 70-300mm DG Macro lens worked great most of the time, but did stop
    working a couple of times. I turned the power off, pressed the lens
    release, rotated the lens just a bit and then back to seated, then turned
    the power on and it worked again. I imagine that removing and re-inserting
    the batteries would have a similiar effect.

    The Sigma documentation doesn't show the operating temperature limits, but I
    imagine it isn't designed to be too cold. The Canon kit lens has very loose
    construction, but it feels like the Sigma has much closer tolerances
    mechanically. Possibly it gets too tight although it felt ok turning the
    zoom and focus rings.

    The pictures turned out great though. It was extremely bright out so even
    the "cheap" lenses did quite well. Shutter speeds were usually 1/500 -
    1/1000 sec at ISO 100-200 even at F8-11.
    default, Jan 23, 2006
  4. Peter

    Mike King Guest

    -10F isn't cold, we have temperatures in that range most winters. The only
    camera I couldn't use at that temp was my Contax RTS, the battery shut down.
    Not a lubricant problem. Lubrication issues are more common at 40 below
    (either C or F it's the same point on both scales). Look into a remote
    battery pack that you can keep inside your parka and run a wire down the
    sleeve to your camera.
    Mike King, Jan 23, 2006
  5. Peter

    Mike King Guest

    Lithium batteries are better than alkaline or silver oxide at low temps but
    there will come a time when they all loose power.
    Mike King, Jan 23, 2006
  6. Well, we do get that warm now and then...

    Current temperature here is -15F with a windchill of -43.
    Lubrication can be a problem at much warmer than -10F. Typical
    non-synthetic motor oil is jello at -10F. Almost any kind of
    grease that is not designed for Arctic use is solid at -10F.

    Typcically the light oils used in cameras won't be that bad.
    But it may be difficult to focus lenses, and AF may not work.
    Shutter speeds may be inaccurate, and the aperture blades may
    stick without closing down completely.

    Hence it isn't so much that the camera will refuse to function
    at all, but a question of just what it does when it functions.
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 24, 2006
  7. Peter

    Ray Heindl Guest

    Or you could carry two batteries, one in a warm pocket and one in the
    camera. Switch them when the camera starts to have problems. You
    might want to put the cold one in a plastic bag before putting it in
    your pocket, to keep condensation off.
    Ray Heindl, Jan 24, 2006
  8. Peter

    Alan Browne Guest

    I've shot below -20°C and never had a lens problem (I don't use AF very
    much, however).

    I have had film jam once in the body at -17°C on a very windy day (and
    close to a helicopter operating above/around me). Same camera at below
    -20°C on other occasions, no prob.

    Digital: if the monitor LCD gets very cold it may become very sluggish.

    Alan Browne, Jan 28, 2006
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