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10-09-2010, 05:25 PM   #1
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Cooled DSLR for better IQ

Cooled DSLR

Pentax guarantee full functionality till -10° Celsius (K7, K5, ...).
Canon guarantee full functionality till 0° Celsius.

So is it a really good idea to cool down the sensor?


Last edited by Wololo; 10-10-2010 at 10:34 AM.
10-09-2010, 07:13 PM   #2
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There seems to be a lot of recommendation for cooling the sensors on any camera that does astro-photography, regardless of brand. This is usually for a camera that has been converted specifically for such work, typically for full-spectrum recording. I guess this would be UV/visible spectrum/infrared.

Because these cameras are modified it makes the sensor temperature all the more critical; high temperatures can influence noise and a camera that is meant to record the subtleties of astro-photography need to be as accurate as possible.

Unless you're taking this kind of photography, or possibly using your camera for video in which the sensor is being used for extended periods of time and could heat up, or using your camera in unusually warm environments, actively cooling your camera sensor isn't really necessary.
10-09-2010, 08:11 PM   #3
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I live in Snow country and have had no ill effects from using my older K10D in the winter. Although probably not mentioned anywhere in the specs, many have noticed an improvement in noise levels of high ISO shots and long exposures in cold weather. That will probably hold true for any camera.
10-09-2010, 09:57 PM   #4
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Dude, that Cooled MkII is legit.

10-09-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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I routinely take my K20 out in winter here. Have done sessions of -25C. Camera has to be plugged into a car inverter for this but it handles the task admirably. Just make sure you wrap the camera before bringing it into a warmer environment.
10-10-2010, 01:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LowVoltage Quote
T
Unless you're taking this kind of photography, or possibly using your camera for video in which the sensor is being used for extended periods of time and could heat up, or using your camera in unusually warm environments, actively cooling your camera sensor isn't really necessary.
I cannot recall where but I saw a thread on this somewhere... It seems typical for all dslr's while using LV and/or video but in that thread the rumor was spread that especially sealed cameras suffer from this as the sealing restricts airflow... Funny thing, it started with stories of overheating unsealed Canon cameras.
Besides that, I don't think that unsealed cameras are open enough to have cool air circulating through them
10-10-2010, 01:56 AM   #7
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What I encountered with a warming up camera : [
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/104951-k7-heating-...ml#post1079446
10-10-2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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FWIW, I left my K7 in my truck for several days last winter when the daytime highs were in the -30ēC range (lows close to -40ēC). At no time was camera operation compromised, though I wasn't doing long time exposures.

10-10-2010, 10:29 AM   #9
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I gather the most unusual and interesting information from this site. I hike and shoot during the winter a lot and have noticed an added crispness to the images. Thought it was environmental, but maybe--I saying maybe--a cool sensor has something to do with it?
I haven't been out in extremely cold conditions, because it doesn't get crazy around here, but I've had no problems with my K20D out during hours of sub-freezing temperatures. Batteries must be fresh, however, and I keep a spare warm in my pocket, just in case. The dangerous conditions for equipment is when I take it back into a warm environment.
10-10-2010, 12:31 PM   #10
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Doesn't surprise me....many scientific instruments that are optically based have some type of mechanism to cool the detector and thus give better performance. In fact, the first thing I look at when instruments start "miss-behaving" is detector temp....a CCD or CMOS sensor is basically a detector doing the same thing. Would be interesting to investigate further and see just what can be done with image quality and temperature...
10-10-2010, 02:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wololo Quote
Cooled DSLR

Pentax guarantee full functionality till -10° Celsius (K7, K5, ...).
Canon guarantee full functionality till 0° Celsius.

So is it a really good idea to cool down the sensor?
I would think something similar to this, that it maybe more like a radiator, would be awesome to have for filming. A radiator doesn't cool something to lower than resting temperature, it just tries to keep it there. Something like those things that maybe didn't cool them so aggressively, but kept the sensor temp around 40° F, would be great for movie clips. The K-7 doesn't last long before it starts flashing the temperature warning, I'll be interested to see if the K-5 is any better in that regard.
10-11-2010, 03:38 AM   #12
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So in theory, a cool sensor produces lower noise.

Does this mean that, after an extended video recording with my DSLR, then I begin shooting photos at, say, ISO 3200, it will be noisier?
10-11-2010, 08:29 AM   #13
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Yes. The noise performance of a sensor goes down as the temperature goes up. So theoretically, if you shot a photo at iso3200, then took a 5 minute video clip, then took the same iso3200 shot again, It should be noisier. That would be an interesting test to do. I kind of want to do it now.
10-11-2010, 10:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FullertonImages Quote
Yes. The noise performance of a sensor goes down as the temperature goes up. So theoretically, if you shot a photo at iso3200, then took a 5 minute video clip, then took the same iso3200 shot again, It should be noisier. That would be an interesting test to do. I kind of want to do it now.
I use my K20d for astronomy in hot Tucson. I put the K20d in my winecooler and set the temperature to a couple degrees above the dew point. I also use the ac power because I've heard that the
Batterys get warm. i've also heard that the noise doubles for every 10degs F. Results are good at iso 800 and four minutes exposure.
10-11-2010, 11:20 PM   #15
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Here's a great opportunty for a student to do some controlled experiments on camera body temperature on relative noise levels from the same iso setting.

My gx10 is noisy even at 400 iso - maybe it is because I live in generally warm South Africa? I'll sitck my camera in the fridge for storage from now on :-).
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