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Thread: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

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    neverhood311's Avatar
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    Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    So it just got cold here in Utah. I'm wondering how cold is too cold to take my camera out for a spin. I read in the manual that the operating temperature is something like 32-104 degrees Fahrenheit (0-40 Celsius) but all it says is that the battery life will decrease as it gets colder. I know for a fact that my camera can be used just outside that range on both ends (at the very least 25-109 degrees F. That's about what my camera and I have seen together). But what's a reasonable range for safe temperatures to expose your DSLR to? I'm not really worried about battery life. Does it also have to do with what camera and lens are used?

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    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    It is going to vary greatly, depending on your camera and its servicing history.

    The electronics of the camera are going to be affected by temperature extremes, but (usually) will not be damaged by cold, just stop working or get sluggish. High temperatures can damage the electronic bits in the camera.

    The bigest potential for problems will be in the moving parts and their lubrication. When I was shooting in Alaska, above the Circle, I first sent my camera and lenses in for servicing and maintenance. I specified that only silicon be used for lubrication, as it does not gel at temperatures humans can withstand. This was back in the mid-60s and there wasn't the broad range of lubricants available then. Now, I would just notify the shop that the equipment was destined for VERY cold or VERY hot conditions.

    Your batteries will lose power at very low temperatures. Swapping the "dead" one solves that problem. Once the cold one has warmed in you inner pocket for a bit, it will come back to life. Be careful in using hand warmers to warm batteries. If the heat source is uncomfortable to touch, it is too warm to put next to a battery. This is particularly true of the Li-Ion ones.

    Pops

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    And if your hands can't stand the temperature for too long, then your camera stability will suffer as you increase the potential for camera shake.

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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    And if your hands can't stand the temperature for too long, then your camera stability will suffer as you increase the potential for camera shake.
    If your camera shakes even with a 3-point monopod stance, it is time to take the camera back inside.

    Pops

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    neverhood311's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    So, in general, I don't really plan on using my camera in anything less than about 10 degrees, and I never plan on going back to Calexico (where it gets up to 120 in the summer......yuck). I should be fine without making any changes, then?

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    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by neverhood311 View Post
    So, in general, I don't really plan on using my camera in anything less than about 10 degrees, and I never plan on going back to Calexico (where it gets up to 120 in the summer......yuck). I should be fine without making any changes, then?
    I would not be worried taking a camera into what you are likely to encounter, even when you take off up Ranier or Hood or such. If it is too cold to keep you bare hands out any longer, it is also too cold to leave the camera out much longer. If you stop sweating, it is time to take both you and the camera inside.

    If you don't like Calexico at 120F, then don't go rock climbing around Southern Nevada in August. I've seen 125 many times there and recorded 128F on one particularly warm day in 1952.

    Pops

    Just noticed you were asking about Utah, and I answered for your location shown under your name. Answer is the same, location is different.

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    As an aside, I'm hoping that "neverhood" doesn't allude to a very poor practice you employ in photography.

    Glenn

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    I've seen photo's taken in Siberia in -50 c so I don't think it will hurt that much but; how warm does the camera get when it is pointing at the sun?

    Now just simple straightforward sunsets will never win any competitions and recently now it is winter I've been thinking about getting the sun in the shot.

    I wasn't too much bothered with my old 10D but my new camera, an HDR either turns blown bits pink or is too dark with only 3 frames, but going to 6 frames means the sensor is exposed 64X longer in the longest exposure. 1/60 becomes 1 second and looks like it could cause damage since 1/1000 was banged up to the right.

    So, can this cause warping or some kind of damage, and how do you get the sun in shot if it does?

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    neverhood311's Avatar
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    Re: Practical operating temperature of a DSLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    Just noticed you were asking about Utah, and I answered for your location shown under your name. Answer is the same, location is different.
    Yeah, I should probably change that. I'm from the Seattle area but I go to school in Utah.



    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    As an aside, I'm hoping that "neverhood" doesn't allude to a very poor practice you employ in photography.
    Actually, 'neverhood' refers to an old computer game from the late 90s that I was infatuated with. It's just stuck with me since then.



    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I wasn't too much bothered with my old 10D but my new camera, an HDR either turns blown bits pink or is too dark with only 3 frames, but going to 6 frames means the sensor is exposed 64X longer in the longest exposure. 1/60 becomes 1 second and looks like it could cause damage since 1/1000 was banged up to the right.

    So, can this cause warping or some kind of damage, and how do you get the sun in shot if it does?
    I second this question. How is it done?

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