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12-11-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Keeping warm with live view?

As the northern latitudes move into winter,
I have a question about keeping a newer DSLR
warm and functional when it's out in the cold,
and you have to hold it ready for imminent action.

Here's the question:
Does anyone have practical experience
of using live view to warm up a cold camera,
or to stop it getting cold in the first place?

There are obvious limitations of battery life,
or the camera shutting itself off after a while,
but can a couple of minutes of live view
help every now and again?

Using manual lenses,
and assuming the aperture blades stay mobile,
my main concern is to keep the camera body working.
AF would be another story.

12-11-2011, 12:47 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The only problem I've had shooting in the cold is the screen not staying on for long after an extended period of being off. This can be overcome by repeated attempts at turning it on. If you need to get into a menu to adjust something or use live view this can be annoying.
You also experience some lag with the top LED display panel, but it still works. Never had an issue with aperture blades freezing, AF failing, camera randomly shutting off, or any other functional aspect.

Last year while shooting the solstice lunar eclipse with the K-5, I used live view exclusively and the screen did not shut off from the cold, I was outside at -25C for about an hour. After shooting I looked through all the EXIF data for those pictures and the lowest recorded temperature of the camera was -7C.
A couple weeks later I was shooting in similar conditions (-30, out for 2 hours) during the daytime, but without using live view. The typical temperature of the camera during that outing was between -9 to -11C.
This is what it looked like at the end of that shoot, controlling for condensation when you return to a warm place is the most important thing to keep in mind.

I'll leave you to come up with your own analysis, the conditions weren't equal. My opinion is that the benefit gained by keeping the camera (potentially) 2-3 degrees warmer is not worth the significantly increased battery drain caused by using live view.

I also shot lots of images in -30C with my *ist DS in the past. There were no problems with that camera either, despite its lack of weather sealing and "cold proof" designation. The only downside to using that particular camera in the cold was the battery life...AA's (NiMH and Alkaline) are terrible for cold weather, lithium AA's were a little bit better, but still terrible in comparison to the battery in the K-5.

Last edited by Mock; 12-11-2011 at 01:00 PM.
12-11-2011, 12:52 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I put my K-7 in a freezer and got it cold to -18 degrees of celsius and it just worked. Put a spare battery in your pans and you will be okay.
12-11-2011, 12:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I put my K-7 in a freezer and got it cold to -18 degrees of celsius and it just worked. Put a spare battery in your pans and you will be okay.
You are a terrifying person!

12-11-2011, 01:01 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I put my K-7 in a freezer and got it cold to -18 degrees of celsius and it just worked.
I think that is AWSOME of you! +1
12-11-2011, 01:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
You are a terrifying person!
Well I do try the things that are mentioned in the guide and see how it works. I'm not attached to those camera's, so they are for use in my hands and after a while we do apart from eachother
12-11-2011, 01:49 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
The only problem I've had shooting in the cold is the screen not staying on for long after an extended period of being off.

Last year while shooting the solstice lunar eclipse with the K-5, I used live view exclusively and the screen did not shut off from the cold, I was outside at -25C for about an hour.

I'll leave you to come up with your own analysis, the conditions weren't equal. My opinion is that the benefit gained by keeping the camera (potentially) 2-3 degrees warmer is not worth the significantly increased battery drain caused by using live view.
+1
Thanks for those notes, Kurt.

It looks as if running live view every now and again
might keep the screen ready to use when it's needed,
assuming the screen temperatures you experienced
were lower than the central camera body temperature from the EXIF.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
I also shot lots of images in -30C with my *ist DS in the past. There were no problems with that camera either, despite its lack of weather sealing and "cold proof" designation. The only downside to using that particular camera in the cold was the battery life...AA's (NiMH and Alkaline) are terrible for cold weather, lithium AA's were a little bit better, but still terrible in comparison to the battery in the K-5.
I'm using a K-x, so it's a question
of keeping spare AA's (especially lithiums) in warm pockets,
ready to change out.

Also, the screen is used on the K-x
for the LCD panel functions on the K-5,
so screen loss is more serious on the little guy.

Normally I keep the K-x as long as possible
in a waist pack under my coat during winter shooting,
but the issue is when you have to have it out and ready for action.
12-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #8
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The K-x certainly complicates things...
Keep the lithium AA's right next to your skin for best results, and bring all the fully-charged sets of NiMH you probably own...they're better than nothing. Turn off the LCD information display, you still get exposure information in the viewfinder. If you need to adjust something odd like white balance in a hurry, then you'll have troubles - otherwise you'll be okay.
The *ist DS didn't have LCD info display at all (or it did and I never enabled it) and it still chewed through batteries in the cold.

You can take the batteries out and warm them up in your hands to squeeze out some more use, but your patience for repeating this activity will be limited.

Unfortunately, when I shot with AA's, the batteries almost always decided when I had to stop shooting and go home. With the K-7 and K-5...I am frozen before it is.

...

edit: Can the K-x use CRV3 batteries? I just remembered that I purchased a rechargeable lithium-ion set of those in my twilight days with the *ist DS...they were wonderful!


Last edited by Mock; 12-11-2011 at 02:23 PM.
12-11-2011, 02:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
The K-x certainly complicates things...
Well, it fits easier in a small waist pack!

QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
Keep the lithium AA's right next to your skin for best results, and bring all the fully-charged sets of NiMH you probably own...they're better than nothing.

You can take the batteries out and warm them up in your hands to squeeze out some more use, but your patience for repeating this activity will be limited.

Unfortunately, when I shot with AA's, the batteries almost always decided when I had to stop shooting and go home. With the K-7 and K-5...I am frozen before it is.
I've contemplated getting a mains power supply for the K-x,
and connecting the leads to a battery pack
instead of the transformer.
Then keep the battery pack in a pocket.
(Not sure about that "next to your skin" thing.
I have trouble with greasy batteries
and poor conductivity at the terminals anyway.)
12-11-2011, 02:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
(Not sure about that "next to your skin" thing.
I have trouble with greasy batteries
and poor conductivity at the terminals anyway.)
I've only heard of people doing this, I've never practised it myself, warm skin is too hard to access when you're bundled up, and wearing batteries sounds uncomfortable anyways.
In terms of grease and conductivity, wiping off the contacts with my gloves before insertion was good enough after the hand warming.

Maybe get some small insulated case for the batteries and stick one of those battery-operated boot warmers in there? Except then you're using batteries to maintain your batteries, quite wasteful.

If you're photography doesn't have you walking around (astro-photography?), then the battery pack idea is perfect.
12-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
If you're photography doesn't have you walking around (astro-photography?), then the battery pack idea is perfect.
I was just thinking of using the camera insert and wires,
and then connect the wires to a pack of AA's,
or a compatible Li-ion, in a warm pocket.
12-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mock Quote
Can the K-x use CRV3 batteries? I just remembered that I purchased a rechargeable lithium-ion set of those in my twilight days with the *ist DS...they were wonderful!

I don't think so.

The K-x has a separate hole for each individual AA,
while the CRV3 looks like a package.
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