how cold is too cold for the camera?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by wendy_garrison, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. My son's Varsity football made it to the playoffs---first time in years, so this is a big deal for the team. I have been
    getting a lot of great nightime game shots with my Pentax k100d Super, but now it has gotten really cold here. For
    our next playoff game it is supposed to be a high of 32 in the day and 15 in the evening. Kickoff is at 7:30 and will
    probably be around 25 degrees by then. I will be bringing a lightweight duffle bag to carry all the extra hats, scarves,
    gloves and I will place the camera in that bag to avoid carrying a pocketbook and camera bag. If I keep it in the bag
    until the game starts and bring it out to use it when I need to, will it be okay at the game for 3-4 hours? I will leave it
    in the bag and bring the bag in the house when we get home to get it slowly acclimated to the warmer temps of the
    house. It fhas resh batteries in it but I have an extra set to bring. Thanks for any advice!
  2. Wendy,

    I shoot HS football in Maine, in the freezing cold quite frequently (it was 27 for the high here the other day) and although I use Nikon, there won't be any difference. Your Pentax will be just fine in the cold. I'd only worry about it once you got down to 0 or below. The only things to be wary, as you already know, is about batteries. Those drain very fast in the cold weather...not sure what type your Pentax takes, but I know some of the Pentax's take Double A's in which case you might want more than one backup set. Even my D2H which has excellent battery life drains faster in the colder weather. And keep your batteries close to your body. If you have a coat with inside pockets, that's the place to keep them and they will stay warmer and last longer that way.

    Good luck and happy shooting, and don't forget about keeping yourself warm, hard to press the shutter when you're shivering!
  3. Wendy-

    I've shot outdoors on a number of occasions with the temp below 32 F ... You shouldn't have issues if you do as you said. I'd invest in extra batteries and a pair of half mittens (the ones where the mitten opens up to expose your fingers)

  4. You should be fine. I take my camera out on frozen lakes for iceboating pretty frequently.

    Two suggestions: when you get ready to go back inside. 1) Remove all the memory cards before coming in from the cold and put them in a separate plastic bag - they will warm up faster than the more massive camera/lens, and you can download them to the computer sooner. 2) Put any cold gear you bring back into the house into a plastic bag and seal it (I just put my entire backpack into a garbage bag) before going inside. That will prevent any moist air from reaching the camera. Once the gear is at room-temp you can remove it from the bag.

    Also, you might want to consider keeping you spare battery in an inside pocket so it stays warm.
  5. I carry extra batteries close to my body to keep them warm. When not using the camera I unzip my jacket, tuck it inside
    and zip back up. I usually get clients that get red noses before anything happens to the equipment.
  6. "When not using the camera I unzip my jacket, tuck it inside and zip back up."

    I always worry about condensation on the cold camera/lens inside a warm jacket, so I tend to leave it outside.

    In fact, if I'm going to be shooting a lot when it's cold, I'll often leave all my gear (except cards and batteries) in the car so they just stay cold all the time.
  7. Your camera will be fine. The only issue is going to be the batteries. The batteries do not drain faster, they simply do not have the same amount of power available. The cold affects the chemical reaction. To offset that carry two, or three batteries. The batteries that you are not using should be kept in an interior pocket to keep them warm. Once a battery is low, warm it up again and you can get some extra use out of the battery.

    I did a game once when it was 15. I switched the batteries about every 15 minutes. Rotated through two sets and made it through the entire game.

    Pay attention to YOUR hands. Keep them warm. The pocket warmers do wonders. Keep several, one in each pocket to keep your hands warm.

    And good luck in the game.
  8. Thanks everyone who responded. My camera uses AA lithium batteries and I will have 2 sets with me. I hadn't even thought of the memory card. I will have to remember to take that out and put it in a little ziploc bag while it warms up. I won't be worrying about the camera and now I can enjoy the game knowing it will be fine. Thanks Again!
  9. Wendy, Your camera will do just fine in the cold. I live in South Dakota and have shot pictures below freezing. The one thing to be concerned about is moisture build up inside of the camera when you bring it in out of the cold. Make sure you take your camera and lenses out of your bag so the condensation can evaporate (shouldn't take more than a couple of hours). On the side of caution remove your battery so the camera can not be turned on while it is reconditioning to room temp. Good luck with your game.
  10. If it's warm enough for you to survive it's warm enough for the camera to survive. A camera is a tool to be used, not something delicate to be coddled. One important thing to remember is the flip side of this when it comes to condensation. If you are coming in from the cold to shoot something indoors, like basketball for example, be sure to get their early enough that the condensation that can form on your cold camera has a chance to evaporate before you start shooting.
  11. -20 deg C is just about the coldest conditions I've taken photos. I always leave my cameras in the bag for a couple of hours when I come in from the cold that way most of the condensation will form on the bag not the camera.
  12. I took pictures in Moscow at -25°C and the camera (a Nikon FM2) did the job. Had to operate it with gloves because it was a pain to touch the metal.
  13. Personally, I'd wait for spring. -25 is just a little too cold for me.

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