DSLR + Extreme Cold = ?

bigislandgrrl

Active member
Dec 17, 2010
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31
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40
Milliken, Colorado
We havent brought our Nikon D90 with us riding yet and I was curious how the cameras work in extreme cold? Is there anything we need to be cautious about while using it in below zero temps?

Thanks!
 

jpstrr

Member
Mar 14, 2009
105
8
18
Midwest
I ride with a Canon 7D and don't have any problems, I keep it in a padded form fitted caseand then put that in my back pack, been using it for 4 years like that with no problems. Does get alittle heavy some times, I was thinking of a pelacan case on the tunnel but not to sure about that.

Its awesome to have a good camera out there, makes the pictures looks so much better.
 

davefox

New member
Lifetime Membership
Jan 27, 2013
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Seems the auto focus is more related to background than cold. I have a 7D and it is not real fond of red against green on water. They all work on grayscale and some cameras do a better job of handling it than others, but they all have little quirks about color. Seems to me if you are shooting anything other than sunny days you may have that problem.

Mine seems to throw a fit on a hazy overcast day when it acts up, hot or cold. Take it outside in the snow from the house on a really gloomy day and try focusing on a like colors in the foreground and background and it just hunts from infinity to minimum focus, my 60D does the same thing. Just not enough contrast to focus on.

If you are using batteries that are few years old replace them, LiOn batteries do not like the cold anyway. As they get old like some of us they just have less energy. The mind/battery is willing but just wants to be in by the warm stove.

If they make a dual battery grip for your body that will help. You will get a little better than double the shots as the voltage stays up longer before it starts to tail off. I get over 1400 shots at 90 degrees with 2 batteries with my finger on the button all day long instead of the 500-600 on one battery. It never fails, the shot you really want is wasted on a battery change.

Use of faster memory cards also reduces battery loads as the camera does not spend as much time downloading them to the card. They get a little slower in the cold also. Really, what is it about age and cold anyway???

If you are using the preview screen in the winter it is just sucking the life out of your battery. It is bad enough in the summer time. That little screen is the battery demon incarnate, turn it off in cold weather.

Dave Fox
 

OhioMitch

Member
Premium Member
Nov 15, 2013
38
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8
Seems the auto focus is more related to background than cold. I have a 7D and it is not real fond of red against green on water. They all work on grayscale and some cameras do a better job of handling it than others, but they all have little quirks about color. Seems to me if you are shooting anything other than sunny days you may have that problem.

Mine seems to throw a fit on a hazy overcast day when it acts up, hot or cold. Take it outside in the snow from the house on a really gloomy day and try focusing on a like colors in the foreground and background and it just hunts from infinity to minimum focus, my 60D does the same thing. Just not enough contrast to focus on.

Dave Fox
What lens are you shooting when you are having these focus issues? The 7D has a rather advanced AF system for a cheap DSLR and usually doesn't struggle to focus however if you are shooting low end lenses that stop down to f4.0 or f5.6 at full zoom this will kill your AF. The AF system needs both contrast and available light so when your lens stops down to f5.6 from say f3.5 your body is basically trying to focus in the dark and it will struggle.


As far as cameras in the cold the biggest thing isn't prolonged low temps its the swing from warm to cold and back. If you bring a cold camera into a warm house or car water will condense on literally every part of it, even the inside which is bad news. If you are going to be shooting outside try to let your camera equalize to around the outside temp slowly (in a bag inside your trailer, leave it out it the car the night before) and do the same thing in reverse. Just keep the batteries separate and warm. This will help keep your body happy!
 

Environmentalist

Well-known member
Nov 28, 2007
596
92
28
Coeur d' Alene, ID
My daughter takes her Canon T2i with her lenses every ride. We took a tunnel bag and used foam to tightly fit the camera and lenses in the bag. She puts the camera in double ziplock bags. She keeps the battery in the camera, she hasn't had too much issue with battery life.

She does also allows her camera to slowly cool down and slowly warm up. The condensation will kill the camera. I had a Point and Shoot that I stored on the inside of my jacket. WAY too warm, and it only took two ride before that little guy was toast.

It is nice having my own personal photographer every ride. :face-icon-small-hap

 

griffin86

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Lifetime Membership
Dec 29, 2008
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Took my D800 and D4 out last weekend and it was -40. Didn't auto focus properly, had to manually focus. Still got some nice pictures.