Filming in The Cold: How Not to Kill the Camera?

Filming in The Cold

Let’s discuss about “Filming in the Cold” and protecting your camera. Autumn is in full swing, but in some region of our country, where it is usually more cold than warm, it is time for photographers to prepare for shooting in winter, at sub-zero temperatures.

Most cameras’ manuals specify an operating temperature range of 0 to +40 degrees Celsius. It turns out that in our country filming on the street is impossible in most of the new year period. Let’s understand how to use your camera at low temperatures, consider what can happen to it.

As for the camera itself, two approaches are possible here:

  • If you are not planning to shoot for a long time, you can simply keep the camera warm. This is possible, for example, with a compact camera, which can be put into a matching case and then into a warm pocket. The case must be tightly closed and not let in air so that excess moisture does not enter to the chamber.
  • The second approach is not to try to warm up the camera, because the low temperature itself is not so harmful for it.
You may also like to read: 9 Winter Camera Protection Tips: How Not to Damage Your Camera in Winter?

Camera Protection When Filming in the Cold

In fact, moisture is the most dangerous to your camera, not frost itself. The fact is that if the chamber is cooled and then transferred to a warm place, then condensation forms on it, as well as inside the case, which is a drop of atmospheric water, which becomes liquid from a low temperature. Naturally, this will not lead to anything good: when you turn on the camera, the electronics of the camera may close, or when returned to the cold, the water will turn into ice. The camera, at best, will refuse to work, and at worst, it will require expensive repairs.

Additional Camera Battery

To prevent this, you must remove the battery from a camera that has been moved from frost to a warm place. This will prevent problems with electrical current inside the camera. Next, it is worth letting the camera heat up naturally, when it is not working. If you want to copy the pictures you have taken, you should remove the memory card from the camera, and not connect it to the computer with a cable.

The well-known silica gel will help to prevent the negative effect of condensation and moisture on the equipment, the bags with which are placed in the original packaging with the equipment. You just need to put it in the bag in which the camera is carried.

Silica Gel
Silica Gel

In modern cameras, in the vast majority of cases, lithium-ion batteries are used, which lose capacity with decreasing temperature. Therefore, firstly, it is advisable to have an additional battery with you, and secondly, to keep them warm, for example, in a pocket under your outerwear. At the same time, the batteries should also be put in a ziplock bag with silica gel, so that it does not freeze to the cold chamber afterwards when you use it for its intended purpose.

Ziploc Bag
Ziploc Bag

To prevent such troubles, it is worth using waterproof cameras. As a rule, these are professional models of SLR cameras. Olympus and Pentax are also renowned for their water resistance, and among the more compact devices are waterproof compact cameras and action cameras.

In addition to condensation, which can damage camera electronics, low temperatures can negatively affect camera mechanics. The fact is that any lubricant is designed for a certain temperature range. In photographic equipment, a lubricant is used that is designed just for the range that is indicated as a working one for the camera.

Camera in Snow

If the temperature of the grease becomes lower than specified in this range, then it thickens. This may not affect the mechanics of the camera itself, since the contact points of the moving parts there are small, but there may be problems with the lens. This is manifested in the fact that the zoom on the lens works slowly, and autofocus may refuse to work at all. Thus, if you still have to use the equipment at low temperatures, you should limit this to a short period of time.

So, living in the "harsh" conditions of western USA, in winter it is important to follow some rules for handling photographic equipment. They are not so difficult, but they will help to avoid unnecessary problems. And, of course, you should always have a second camera in reserve.