Photography In Extreme Cold

The weather here in St John's Newfoundland In Canada has been very unsettled and cold lately thus I have not had much chance to go climbing or take any pictures either. My question is this weather wise around here the windchills have averaged around minus 25 to minus 30 degrees celsius, so I'm wondering what if any effect this may have on my camera [Nikon D90]. The picture you see here was one I shot a couple of weeks ago and at that time the temp was minus 25 degrees celsius. So if any of my fellow photographers out there have shot in cold or colder weather, do you think that taking the camera's out continuously in this type of cold will hurt the camera in anyway ?

Photo credits: Harold W Bradley.

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February 03, 2010


Hope you don't have any problems because your landscapes are great!

February 03, 2010


Take care of your lenses, maybe the internal lubrication is not adequate for such low temperatures. It's best to have a look into the user's manual of your lenses or ask the manufacturer via there helpline or via email. Probably pro-lenses should bear this hard conditions out of box, but, as I heard, budget-lenses can suffer problems due to very low temperatures and therefore the lubrication shoud be replaced with a better one.

February 03, 2010


What are you taking the camera out of? A case? If so, then the camera is already cold. The camera itself isn't really affected by the cold. You may notice the LCD slowing down, but likely nothing else. The battery will have a shorter life. If you really want to prevent that (or give the battery a longer life), you can tape a chemical hand warmer to the bottom of the battery compartment. I usually just keep an extra battery either inside a warm building/car, or in an inside pocket.

The biggest danger is not keeping the camera in cold weather, but making unprotected transition from cold to warm/hot temperatures. Actually, I have stepped outside into -15F, shot some photos for a couple minutes, and stepped back inside without the camera getting really any condensation. That's because 2 minutes wasn't enough time to get the camera body very cold. But if you're outside in these temps for more the 5-10 minutes, then I would definitely take the precaution of using the plastic bag during the temperature transition. Condensation sometimes can get on the interior camera components, and possibly cause damage. Don't underestimate it's danger.

Gorgeous photo, BTW.

February 03, 2010


It's beautiful photo.

February 03, 2010


Hi, I took a risk in January with Canon400D and Tamron lense in minus 30 in Moscow. All my last images were done in this weather. Sometimes it snowed. With camera and lense nothing happened. I didn't use any protection from cold and condensate. Before I tried to use special plastic bag to protect camera, but it was so uncomfortable that I returned it in a shop.

February 03, 2010


Thinking about our problem, you might get better response to your technical questions if you use the forum rather than the blog. People are pretty helpful.

February 03, 2010


Elimitchell posted a very interesting blog a while ago on this topic, you may want to read it, it's about condensation and plastic bag as mentioned by Dcwcreations
Elimitchell Blog on cold weather

February 03, 2010


Taking it out will not be a problem. Bringing it back in is where you need to be carefull.
Condensation is the bad guy. Some people put the camera in a plastic bag when they bring it in so the condensation forms on the bag and not the camera.
I have found you can still get condensation in the camera with that method.
I have shot in very cold below zero temps. and found the best method that works for me is to leave the camera right in my camera bag and let it warm up slowly.
If your bag isn;t very insulated then wrap it in a towel and when it warms up slowly it won,t get any condensation at all.
It;s the sudden change in temp. that gets it.
Sorry for such a long drawn out answer but I hope it helps save a camera.

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