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  • camera info

    i feel like an absolute idiot of asking this, but is there any chance my DSLR camera might not work because of the low temperatures? i live in texas so it's not like i could walk outside and see if freezing temperatures could possibly affect electronics.

  • #2
    Re: camera info

    Hi Lilith

    I used my Canon 300D (I think it's called a Canon Rebel in the US) at -35 degrees Celsius on Ross Island and it worked just fine. The main problem with any electronic camera gear in very cold temperatures is that battery life is much reduced - the solution is to take a couple of spares with you, keep them in an inside pocket for warmth and then swap them over when needed.

    One other tip - when coming back indoors from the cold, give the camera a chance to warm back up rather than opening it up immediately, so that the risk of condensation inside the body and lens is minimised.

    Hope this helps!

    Mike

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    • #3
      Re: camera info

      The cold can in fact affect cameras. As Mike notes, the chief issue is battery life, and there is also the problem of condensation after coming back indoors.

      I took two cameras with me - one for still shots (though it also does video to the old US standard), and one for high definition video (though it also does poor quality stills). The still camera worked great. See below.

      The video camera gave me problems, both at McMurdo at about 0 degrees F but a wind chill about -20, and at Pole at about -20 F (wind chill, maybe -40). On the latter occasion I carried the video camera with me on the Race Around the World, and tried keeping it warm under a couple layers of clothing - but it still failed after about 15 minutes. It wasn't the battery, because the camera would turn on and the screen would turn on, but an error message would pop up, telling me that the camera was too cold. Perhaps this had to do with the internal hard drive - I don't know.

      My still camera worked great. Before going, I looked online to find if there were any cameras designed for cold weather - and I found exactly one. It only claimed to be good to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but I carried it with me everywhere - even in the ice tunnel at Pole where the thermometer read -65 F - and after an hour or more in the ice tunnel, it still took great pictures (as long as I didn't use the flash - the flash doesn't work well when lots of ice particles are hanging in the air). It is an Olympus Stylus 1000, 10 megapixel camera. I also carried it on further travels, and it performed well everywhere. That said, other cameras seemed to work well enough, most of the time, if kept warm.

      As for the SLR type cameras - if you are really into photography, and your main purpose in being there will be photography, that's fine. Otherwise, you may want your SLR type camera, but you might also want a point-and-shoot type. One of my co-workers took only an SLR type to Pole, and near the end of the tour he said he had learned his lesson, because the rest of us could carry our little cameras with us all or most of the time, and any time we saw something interesting, we'd take out the camera and get a picture - whereas his camera was mostly back in his room, being too bulky to easily carry while working.

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      • #4
        Re: camera info

        Ah - how times have changed! I went with a totally manual 35mm SLR which still worked fine after many hours below -30C though the light meter usually packed up about -25 and I had to wind the film on carefully in case it cracked in the process.

        As mentioned the trick with digital cameras is to have fresh batteries to hand and warm them up before use. You used to be able to get remote battery packs that plug into the camera with the battery kept warm inside your clothes connected by a wire, might be worth a google? When you get back inside after it being cold out, leave the camera in its bag for a few hours before you open it up or you get loads of condensation on it.

        I have to disagree with the comment about compact cameras v SLRs. I had a quality SLR and a quality small compact. At first I used to carry the SLR most of the time and the compact all the time. Then I realised that ALL of my best pictures and the great majority of the good ones were taken with the SLR. So I then took the SLR with me everywhere and compact took up duty for party-type shots only as it was drunk-proof in operation and bounced better when dropped (care still needed though).

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        • #5
          Re: camera info

          thanks for the info, guys. i knew the batteres could die quicker, but condensation hadn't even crossed my mind. i intended on bringing both my manuel SLR for either B&W/ infared shots and my new DSLR, an Olympus E-510 (10 megapixel) for both color and monochromatic shots. have any of yall used infared in antarctica? my best IR photos have been taken in intense summer heat, but i've also got some good winter shots. i figure it could make for some really beautiful sky/landscape shots.

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          • #6
            Re: camera info

            Originally posted by Paul Ward
            I have to disagree with the comment about compact cameras v SLRs. I had a quality SLR and a quality small compact. At first I used to carry the SLR most of the time and the compact all the time. Then I realised that ALL of my best pictures and the great majority of the good ones were taken with the SLR. So I then took the SLR with me everywhere and compact took up duty for party-type shots only as it was drunk-proof in operation and bounced better when dropped (care still needed though).
            When were you doing this? The quality of point-and-shoot digital cameras has improved greatly in the past few years. I'm not a professional photographer or anything, but as far as I'm concerned I've been able to get some great shots. I hope to have everything ready and start offering some free DVDs of my pictures (mainly of Antarctica) to interested parties soon. It's taking a while, because I'm going through a LOT of pictures. Then you can judge for yourself.

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            • #7
              Re: camera info

              Originally posted by Paul Ward
              Ah - how times have changed! I went with a totally manual 35mm SLR which still worked fine after many hours below -30C though the light meter usually packed up about -25 and I had to wind the film on carefully in case it cracked in the process.

              As mentioned the trick with digital cameras is to have fresh batteries to hand and warm them up before use. You used to be able to get remote battery packs that plug into the camera with the battery kept warm inside your clothes connected by a wire, might be worth a google? When you get back inside after it being cold out, leave the camera in its bag for a few hours before you open it up or you get loads of condensation on it.

              I have to disagree with the comment about compact cameras v SLRs. I had a quality SLR and a quality small compact. At first I used to carry the SLR most of the time and the compact all the time. Then I realised that ALL of my best pictures and the great majority of the good ones were taken with the SLR. So I then took the SLR with me everywhere and compact took up duty for party-type shots only as it was drunk-proof in operation and bounced better when dropped (care still needed though).
              drunk-proof, eh? hmm, i had been wondering if there was any liquor in Antarctica. well, not that i'd want to get sh**-faced, fall into the water and die; but i would mind saying i had a shot Jack at the bottom of the world. anyway, i plan on being there within the next 3 years by my 29th birthday. saving up for the trip is slow goings since i'm a drive-thru cashier at a fast-food-hell. at least it gives me plenty of time for research and getting everything i'll need together.

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