Winter is coming - Precautions?

edited September 2013 in General
At least on the Northern hemisphere. :) Yesterday morning it was -2 °C and now -4 °C, and even if now the day temperature is some degrees above zero, the sub zero flights are approaching inevitably.

My fleet is ok with freeze-up, but do you guys have some tips and tricks with the camera?

I don't have freeze-certified cameras, but during winter they usually keep above acceptable temperature, because of hand and body heat. But now I'm supposed to leave it hanging in the air, so what to do?

I know when coming back inside, I should be careful with condensation, but what about going out, should I maneuver some tempering, or is it ok just to start shooting?

The battery life will be shortened, but it seems that the A640 has pretty impressive battery life to start with, so I guess it can still handle a longish session. Can't wait to see what will the temperature drop do to the image noise, as per 8 °C degree drop in CCD temperature should halve the heat incurred noise. :)


  • edited September 2013
    Lithium batteries are pretty OK with freezing tempoeratures, but some other chemistries not so. It's not that they loose charge that much - they loose ability to put out any significant current (they internal resistance grows significantly) so during current demand camera would not get enough juice and shut down even with fully charged battery.
    I don't remember if A640 uses standard AA batteries or dedicated Canon ones. Dedicated ones are rather lithium ones so they should work. Standard AA ones typically are not lithium, but there are some lithium ones available as well (those are pretty expensive but they have capacity couple of times greater that good alkaline ones).

    Putting warm and dry camera into a freeze is generally OK. As you wrote, you should avoid unpacking very cold camera in a warm place as it will fog up momentarily. And if it was really cold (like -20°C or less) camera could even frost up at that could damage. But if it happens that you get your camera fogged up avoid putting that camera back into freezing environment until it is completely dry or it could get destroyed.

  • A few years ago on the Canon forum, there was quite a lot of talk about changes of environment. One idea was to place the equipment in a sealed clip plastic bag to keep it dry before or after use in high humidity environments with silicon dehumidifiers. Allow the camera to slowly change its temperature to prevent fogging. Even to the point of locking the camera in the boot/trunk of your car over night to balance out temperature differences before use.
    I remember that we had a KAPer on here doing work at the south pole, which is a mega dry environment but super cold. I remember that he bubble wrapped his equipment to slow heat loss. Here in the UK, our winters tend to be damp and cold, so to keep electronics dry I've used light weight plastic boxes to house them on the rig.
  • Bummer, A640 is with 4 AA's. I'm using NiMHs, so there might be some issues ahead. Maybe I have to put a heating sock on it. :D
  • @Puffin: Hey, that plastic bag doesn't sound so bad idea! I think that spells playing it safe, when it comes to moisture issues. Have to keep that in mind, thanks. Have to get those silicons...
  • Another thought, have you seen those chemical hand warmers, a gel pack that produces a heat reaction once you click a small metal button in the pack lasting about 30 minutes, they are rechargeable with boiling warmer. One on the back of the camera or inside a bubble wrap jacket may extend battery life, but added weight means larger lifters/higher winds.
  • I have had those hand warmers, might be worth considering also, if and when problems arise. Maybe the increased density of air in cold will compensate the increase in weight. :)

    I was wondering... there is this external power supply socket in the camera. Maybe I should ditch the AA's and just use LiPo pack? Would be easier anyway to have external battery.
  • There are lithium chemistry AA's - for example Energizer Ultimate Lithium. The work down to -40°C. Unfortunately they are not rechargeable, but they last. Man, the last really long. Last summer I made few KAP flights on my A590 (on two AAs) without changing batteries, and they still work. And additionally, they are about 1/3 ligther that standard AA batteries.

  • I use a Canon A590is and a few winters ago at 15C i was experimenting. The camera took about 6 photos before it stopped. I made a sleeve with felt fabric and velcro to cover the camera. Put the kap rig on the clothes line at -15C and let it go until it died. It took about 1100 photos.
  • @YvonH: Whoa, a major difference then! Seems that I have to plan for winter casing.
  • Here's my camera's winter jacket:

  • Hey, that looks nice!

    I like the velcro approach. Is that double layer cloth? I was wondering if one would put something in between the two layers, to create extra insulation... oh well, have to try something like that. :)

  • Thanks
    Just one layer. It's mot much but it's enough to make the batteries last as long as in the summer.


    Had a little snow in Budapest that helped me taking night KAP. It reflected all lights onto the building.

    Yes, I only had half hour to take photosin minus 11Celsius This session was much easier it was only minus 3-which causes no problem for batteries and lipos
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