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02-01-2020, 03:08 AM   #1
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Lenses and temperature and the 70-210

I have seen many discussions on PF over the years about minimum operating temperatures for Pentax lenses. There seem to be many members here who live in regions subject to extremely low temperatures. However, I do not recall seeing any discussion of maximum operating temperatures.

I see on the Ricoh web page for the new DFA 70-210 f/4 that the operating temperature range is -10 C to 40 C, with humidity 85% or less. I understand why there may be this minimum temperature; I guess the lubricants may seize up. Or maybe ice can form internally?

However, what is the issue with high temperatures? Is it again the lubricants? Or the electronics? Or thermal expansion of some parts?

It was 43 C here in Melbourne yesterday, so this is not an academic question for me.

The humidity limit also seems pretty restrictive for use in the tropics. As an internal zooming design (am I right in that?), I wouldn't have thought that humidity would have been much of an issue for the DFA 70-210 f/4. Where does humidity cause a problem?

02-01-2020, 03:16 AM   #2
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50 degree temperature range is quite something. Expansion of glass and metal as well as lubricants cause problems outside of the range
02-01-2020, 03:50 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I have seen many discussions on PF over the years about minimum operating temperatures for Pentax lenses. There seem to be many members here who live in regions subject to extremely low temperatures. However, I do not recall seeing any discussion of maximum operating temperatures.

I see on the Ricoh web page for the new DFA 70-210 f/4 that the operating temperature range is -10 C to 40 C, with humidity 85% or less. I understand why there may be this minimum temperature; I guess the lubricants may seize up. Or maybe ice can form internally?

However, what is the issue with high temperatures? Is it again the lubricants? Or the electronics? Or thermal expansion of some parts?

It was 43 C here in Melbourne yesterday, so this is not an academic question for me.

The humidity limit also seems pretty restrictive for use in the tropics. As an internal zooming design (am I right in that?), I wouldn't have thought that humidity would have been much of an issue for the DFA 70-210 f/4. Where does humidity cause a problem?
Seems like 0 - 40 C is standard:
QuoteOriginally posted by Nikon:
Nikon cameras are designed to work under specific operating temperatures. To confirm the operating temperatures for your camera, please refer to your camera user manual. In the majority of cases, these temperatures are between 0 to +40 degrees C (+32 to +104 degrees F).
https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/eu/BV_article?articleNo=000006256&configured=1&lang=en_GB

and here for a D5:


QuoteOriginally posted by Nikon:
Temperature: 0 to 40įC/32 to 104įF
humidity: 85% or less (no condensation)
Nikon | Imaging Products | Nikon D5

My guess is that higher humidity significantly raises probability of condensation, which means corrosion over the medium term.
02-01-2020, 04:05 AM - 1 Like   #4
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After using my gear frequently outside the specified temperature range I have learnt not to take the specified temperature range too literally. In my case we are usually talking about the low end, as up here we never have temperatures above 40 C. Only occasionally in the tropic my gear has been exposed to this high temperatures.
The manufactures want to limit their liabilities by playing safe with the specifications. Excluding batteries temperatures have never caused difficulties for me. However, I know the lubricants in some earlier Sigma lenses needed to be changed for use in cold weather.
Humidity is a bit different. Condensation has been discussed here several times. In tropical conditions fungus can be a problem. Would be interesting to know whether modern sealed lenses have a better track record in this respect.


Last edited by PePe; 02-01-2020 at 05:28 AM.
02-01-2020, 04:16 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
...
It was 43 C here in Melbourne yesterday, so this is not an academic question for me.

The humidity limit also seems pretty restrictive for use in the tropics. As an internal zooming design (am I right in that?), I wouldn't have thought that humidity would have been much of an issue for the DFA 70-210 f/4. Where does humidity cause a problem?
Re. 43C...I've taken pics at 40C+ with my Pentax systems just fine in TX. Away from coast so not really high humidity. Didn't notice anything. Never really high humidity though. No idea how much humidity exists in Melbourne but that might would worry me if it were New Orleans-ish high along with such high temps.

My worry where I normally live/shoot is that in Newfoundland is it is VERY humid and can get cold. I have found conditions where both my Sigma AF lenses--17-50mm f2.8 and the slow 10-20mm--fail. Both fail at around -5 to -10C in high humidity*.

The camera itself--k-70--and the Pentax lenses I use--primarily my 16-85mm, 55-300mm PLM, 100mm macro, and 40mm Ltd.--have never failed in weather I've been out in though it never does not get all that far below -15C out here on the Avalon and the very coldest days are usually low humidity in any case.

-------
*They wake up later when warm so something must be binding or needing more power or something. Never have worked to diagnose exactly.

Last edited by jgnfld; 02-01-2020 at 04:23 AM.
02-01-2020, 04:23 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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40+C has been OK for me although the air temperature is not necessarily the camera/lens temperature. But at those temperatures I am cautious about leaving the camera exposed to direct sun or heat for any length of time. I hope I will never have to worry about -10C. That is about where I stop functioning. (With minimal exposure.)
02-01-2020, 04:40 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Is it again the lubricants? Or the electronics? Or thermal expansion of some parts?
I guess all of the above, including gaskets, but to varying degrees of fail depending on how long the lens is exposed to heat and the intensity of lens use.
02-01-2020, 07:28 AM - 1 Like   #8
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You are dealing with engineers telling you that you should expect in specification performance within a range of operating conditions. If things donít operate as expected outside the specified range they donít want to hear about it

02-01-2020, 09:15 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Let me address the issue of temperature in regard to the electronics in photo equipment, not just lenses (career spent in the electronics industry dealing with just such issues). Normal consumer (often called Commercial Grade) electronic components are specified to operate over the range of 0 to 70C. However, even within that operating range their performance can vary (especially ceramic capacitors).

When the finished product is specified to work over a lower upper temperature limit, this is to reflect at least two factors - internal temperature increase (think sensor self heating for example) and a limit to the range over which we should expect the finished product to meet all of its specs, not just function. In this regard, noise in the sensor is highly temperature dependent as is the failure rate of all the components which will about double for every 10C rise in temperature. On the low end, the internal increase in temperature when the device is powered allows for a slight increase on the low end, below the 0C spec of the components.

So, as far as the electronics are concerned a slight increase outside the specified range should cause minimal or no long term harm, but may result in failure to meet one or more specified performance parameters. Others have touched on mechanical issues of expansion/contraction as well as stiffening or increased evaporation of lubricants.
02-01-2020, 09:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
the operating temperature range is -10 C to 40 C, with humidity 85% or less.
It is a Tamron thing. +40 and < 85% is also in the specified operating range for Tamron's Tap-in Console. Tamron specs 0 C as a minimum, but the spec for Pentax cameras is -10 C and it wouldn't do to have the rebranded 70-210 not be compatible with Pentax cameras. For what it is worth, Tamron makes industrial lenses that are rated to +70 C (and -20 C).

I have some experience in warranty administration for an automobile manufacturer. Unless covered by a third party (government, industry association) standard, specified operating range is always more tightly defined than what the product is designed for, in order to reduce the cost of supporting idiot users. If you leave your Tamron lens in a space prone to overheating and the plastic components melt at 70 C, Tamron will want an easy way to decline warranty, because they know that if you get away with it once, you will probably do the same thing again.

So, if the lens is rated for 40 C and you happen to be out for a couple of hours at 45 C or even 47.8 C (I was driving through Williston, North Dakota in a Mustang with a T-roof and no A/C during the summer of 1987, when the radio announced it was 118 F), the lens will probably handle the heat better than you. From experience (Jamaica in July), if you open a WR camera in high temperature and humidity, you can get moisture condensing on various internal parts important to taking pictures and the only way to properly dry things out again is to go inside for an extended period of time. If the camera's internal temperature was stabilized to ambient temperatures before opening the camera, I had no problems.

If a manufacturer tries to limit its liability to "only operated with common sense" it will scare off any potential new customers. Any reputable manufacturer will take precautions to ensure that its products can still be operated in a common sense vacuum, but human ingenuity is capable of defeating even the most thorough of precautions.
02-01-2020, 06:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lsimpkins Quote
highly temperature dependent as is the failure rate of all the components which will about double for every 10C rise in temperature
Sounds similar to other electronic gear such as PC circuitry (motherboards, graphics cards, CPU, PSU etc), I guess.
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