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Photography Question 
Gisela Hunermund

Camera Care in Low Temperatures

I am trying to find a digital camera with IS and long zoom that works between 1 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. I was interested in the Canon S3IS, but it works only above 32 degrees F. Do you know of any camera that will work below that temperature. Thanks. Gisela

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3/20/2007 8:45:24 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  It's not that the S3, or any other digital camera, will just quit at 31F and lower. It will continue to work, but it will just gradually become less responsive. You can use it in lower temperatures, but you just have to take precautions to keep it warm, such as keeping it close to your body under your coat.
The biggest problem is that battery power decreases precipitously with temperature. Take extra sets and keep them in a warm pocket. Switch them out when they appear to lose power. Conserve power by leaving the LCD turned off. The sensor and memory will work better in low temperatures, but the LCD is literally liquid and can freeze and be damaged.

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3/20/2007 12:53:40 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  In addition to Jon's advice - plan to keep the LCD folded into its closed position and use the viewfinder to compose your pictures. If you've gotten used to holding your camera out and composing using the LCD, you should practice doing it the "old-fashioned" way, with the camera up to your eye before you go on your trip.

Chris A. Vedros

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3/20/2007 1:45:00 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Gisela and welcome to BP.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a thread on this topic, you can do a search if you want just type in keeping warm in extreme weather. I had just returned from working up in Northern Minnesota where the temperature rarely rose above minus 20 on most days. I used my Canon 5D without trouble by taking some common sense precautions. Because batteries fade fast in such temps, I kept a spare battery in an inside pocket and also packed a hand warmer (those little chemical packs) in the same pocket. This kept the battery toasty even when the wind howled. Keep in mind that the elements in a lens can freeze if they get damp. So, keep your gear as dry as possible and if it gets wet (think snow, rain, etc.) make sure you dry it completely before putting it away even for a short time. Also, you need to be aware that when you take a lens from a very cold space into a warmer space (from outside in or even when shooting from your car and taking the lens back into the warmed car) condensation can be a problem. I took a couple of giant size zipper lock back and placed my camera in one while it gradually acclimated to the warm temp.

I never knew that the LCD screen could freeze although that is logical! Thankfully, mine survived without problem, but I will remember for the future (thanks Jon).

Good luck!


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3/20/2007 4:17:29 PM

Dennis C. Hirning
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  My camera, a Canon 300D, also says the lower limit is 32 degrees. No one that I knew could tell me why it wouldn't work below that temperature. I had heard that it was because of the battery. I tried it on a day when it was about 5 degrees without any precautions to see what might happen. I was out for about one hour using the flash as a fill the entire time. I probably took close to 100 images in that time and had no problem what so ever.

I had never heard anyone mention about the LCD freezing. Mine was on a lot during the time I was out so it could be that the power running through it kept from freezing. I just found a site that does address shooting in cold weather. It seems like there is more concern with the battery than the LCD.


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3/27/2007 6:41:42 AM

Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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  I have the S2 and S3, and am out in sub-freezing temps all Winter long, with no problems. I wear a hoodie with one of those go-through front pockets (like the old muffs) and keep the camera inside there while walking. I also keep extra batteries in the fingers of those little stretchy gloves,instead of loose - then, each is enwrapped in warmth. While not in use, I keep it all in an insulated soft-sided lunch box with extra mittens or gloves (good choice on another front - fewer people are inclined to steal a balogna sandwich than to steal a camera.)

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3/27/2007 6:58:33 AM

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