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01-21-2019, 05:43 AM   #1
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Extremely low temperatures : What to expect and how to counter-balance it?

Hi.

I posted the same question as a visitor, but I thought it might be better to directly create an account

I'm gonna go in Sweden in February.

Temperatures expected: -25C in daylight.
My brother is already there and took a few pictures with a gopro.
I'm joining him to take proper pictures ... Especially I had in mind to do a timelapse (Over day light and eventually the night sky/landscape).

I was just wondering what exactly I have to expect from my K3. Anyone used his/her own at those temp with a k3 or another model?
I know the battery and surely the screen risk to "suffer" (Battery discharging super fast) but what else? Any existing solutions to counter balance that ?

Thanks in advance!
Vince.

01-21-2019, 05:47 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard!

Someone will be along shortly to answer your questions. We have plenty of knowledgeable people here, who have shot in many different scenarios.
01-21-2019, 06:22 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Bonjour et bienvenue au PF.

Welcome to Pentax Forums.

Taking photographs in cold winter weather can be a lot of fun!

I use my K-3 II in temperatures as low as minus 20 C. The camera is rated to -10 C, but I have not had any problems with the camera or lenses.

You may find some useful information concerning cold-weather shooting in several threads here, for example:

Shooting in cold temps question - PentaxForums.com

Legacy glass in cold weather - PentaxForums.com

Cold weather shooting how cold is too cold - PentaxForums.com

Shutter Release failed in cold weather - PentaxForums.com

Condensation damage? - PentaxForums.com

Equally important is wearing proper clothing so that you can be comfortable while operating your camera gear. I wear layered clothing and a system of mittens with flaps and finger holes, and light inner silk liners.


Be aware of the dangers of frostbite!

- Craig
01-21-2019, 06:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by VinceLaTaupe Quote
Hi.

I posted the same question as a visitor, but I thought it might be better to directly create an account

I'm gonna go in Sweden in February.

Temperatures expected: -25C in daylight.
My brother is already there and took a few pictures with a gopro.
I'm joining him to take proper pictures ... Especially I had in mind to do a timelapse (Over day light and eventually the night sky/landscape).

I was just wondering what exactly I have to expect from my K3. Anyone used his/her own at those temp with a k3 or another model?
I know the battery and surely the screen risk to "suffer" (Battery discharging super fast) but what else? Any existing solutions to counter balance that ?

Thanks in advance!
Vince.
I live in Newfoundland which generally doesn't get quite that cold. However I can say you need advice on lenses as well as bodies. My K-70 does fine down to at least -15C even in very humid/storm conditions. BUT my 2 Sigma lenses--10-20 and 17-50 routinely fail at -10C or even a bit "warmer". Especially when it is wet/humid. The failure is transient and the lenses continue to work fine when they are used in warmer conditions.

My Pentax WR lenses--mostly the 16-85WR and 55-300 WR PLM--work fine down to -15C even in a storm. How much lower they can go I don't know--normhead posts here often and should know as he lives in Ontario where it gets Sweden-cold. You might pm him if he doesn't see this on his own. He is/has been a K-3 user.

01-21-2019, 06:35 AM   #5
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I haven't had the camera out in weather quite that cold, but the biggest problem I've had is the battery. Keep a couple spares in a pocket where your body can warm them, then swap out when the cold one stops working. It's just chemistry.
01-21-2019, 07:18 AM   #6
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Also be careful with temperature changes. You don't want condensation to build inside your lenses.
01-21-2019, 07:23 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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I've never had a problem with my K-3 even at sub -30C, but battery life is extremely short, you may only be able to take as few as 130 images. A couple extra batteries is good.
I only take out weather sealed lenses when it's that cold, I've had zero condensation issues.
01-21-2019, 07:45 AM   #8
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Wow, thank you everyone for all your answers !
I'll have a deeper look into the proposed threads later today after work, thanks @c.a.m

I am very aware of frostbite (and a bit afraid of it) but I will be working during the day so I wasn't intending to stay behind my camera all time but just checking it some time to time (Like every half an hour if my battery can last that long) to make sure that it is still running and that the parameters are still good.

So it seems that the camera could resist, the problem is more on the battery side. I already have 2 batteries, might buy one or two more then
Does a battery discharge in the cold even when not used or only while taking pictures?

I am a bit concerned about the lens also, I might rent one for the week there so I'll ask directly to the shop and make sure that it can resists.

Are there any kind of existing solutions to warm up my camera?
I might have access to power supply also, but I never connect my camera directly to it so I don't know what system I need to do it. Any proposition for that?

My brother bet a beer that it will not last more than 10 minutes by -29. I intend to gain that beer haha

Thanks again.

01-21-2019, 08:10 AM   #9
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Would a older manual lens without electronics work more reliable in the cold? What exactly stops working with a lens?
01-21-2019, 08:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by K1N8 Quote
Would a older manual lens without electronics work more reliable in the cold? What exactly stops working with a lens?
I've never had that happen. It can't be common.
01-21-2019, 08:37 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgnfld Quote
I live in Newfoundland which generally doesn't get quite that cold. However I can say you need advice on lenses as well as bodies. My K-70 does fine down to at least -15C even in very humid/storm conditions. BUT my 2 Sigma lenses--10-20 and 17-50 routinely fail at -10C or even a bit "warmer". Especially when it is wet/humid. The failure is transient and the lenses continue to work fine when they are used in warmer conditions.
.
With the exception of batteries and humidity condensation (when returning to room temperature) the body is unlikely to cause problems. It is just as important to make sure your own gear allows you to stay outdoors long enough. Especially gloves/mittens and footwear can be critical.
When it comes to lenses, I know a couple of cases where the lubricant in Sigma zooms needed to be replaced to get the lens working in this kind of temperatures. Camera repair shops up here know what works in the winter. I have a couple of Sigma primes, which work just fine with their original lubricants. Mechanically complex zooms are more likely to be affected. My Pentax zooms have always worked fine at temperatures like this.
01-21-2019, 08:42 AM   #12
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We don't have those extremes but I've been out -15 to -20C without issue with the K3. No issues at all except shorter battery life. I carry a bunch of charged ones so no problem. The K1 doesn't tolerate it, and it is the body that acts like the battery is low on power, which might actually be the case.

The warm to cold to warm cycle of going outside then inside causes the camera body and lens to get soaking wet as water condenses on the cold surfaces. I've never done anything except make sure it is off and leave it out in the open to warm up and dry.

I suspect the biggest issue is your tolerance of the cold, not the camera. The K3 is pretty tough.
01-21-2019, 09:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
We don't have those extremes but I've been out -15 to -20C without issue with the K3. No issues at all except shorter battery life. I carry a bunch of charged ones so no problem. The K1 doesn't tolerate it, and it is the body that acts like the battery is low on power, which might actually be the case.

The warm to cold to warm cycle of going outside then inside causes the camera body and lens to get soaking wet as water condenses on the cold surfaces. I've never done anything except make sure it is off and leave it out in the open to warm up and dry.

I suspect the biggest issue is your tolerance of the cold, not the camera. The K3 is pretty tough.
Yeah my plan is to put it in my backpack when I go outside, wait a bit that the temperature stabilizes before getting it out, same for inside. That way it smoother a bit the temp chock. But yeah, condensation is a bit of worrying for me.
01-21-2019, 09:44 AM   #14
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Was out last night in conditions not too dissimilar to what you are expecting with my K-3. Shot the eclipse at -8F (-22C) for about 3 hours and didn't have any problems. I started with a fresh battery and got off 447 shots before I gave it up for the night (can't wait to get home and process them to see what I can pull out). I was also using a non weather sealed older 300mm sigma lens. I put the camera with lens in a large ziplock bag and let it come down to temp for a couple of hours in the unheated garage. When I was done shooting I put the camera and lens back in the ziplock bag before heading in after taking the cards out (I wanted to see the results of my effort). There was still battery charge but the top LCD display was only showing one segment and had been for a while so I didn't run it empty.

This wasn't my first time out shooting in conditions like this and apart from stiffer focusing, slower aperture blades, and dramatically shortened battery life the camera is no worse for wear. Just get one of those 2.5 gallon zip lock bags (or what ever size will hold you camera and largest lens) and use those when going out and heading in. When I am out in conditions like that I am usually shooting the sky so I only really need to focus once and then minor checks and adjustments if conditions change. I also will manually set the aperture using the aperture ring so that those are having to move all the time.

As others have said if you aren't prepared for the cold you will do worse than the camera. I go out in my hunting gear when it gets cold like that and have been out when it is in the -35 range (it really doesn't matter C of F at that point) and do just fine but then that hunting gear would probably keep me alive in Antarctica. I've sat still in a tree at -15F (-25C) all day with a good wind and been perfectly warm in that cold weather gear.
01-21-2019, 09:51 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
Was out last night in conditions not too dissimilar to what you are expecting with my K-3. Shot the eclipse at -8F (-22C) for about 3 hours and didn't have any problems. I started with a fresh battery and got off 447 shots before I gave it up for the night (can't wait to get home and process them to see what I can pull out). I was also using a non weather sealed older 300mm sigma lens. I put the camera with lens in a large ziplock bag and let it come down to temp for a couple of hours in the unheated garage. When I was done shooting I put the camera and lens back in the ziplock bag before heading in after taking the cards out (I wanted to see the results of my effort). There was still battery charge but the top LCD display was only showing one segment and had been for a while so I didn't run it empty.

This wasn't my first time out shooting in conditions like this and apart from stiffer focusing, slower aperture blades, and dramatically shortened battery life the camera is no worse for wear. Just get one of those 2.5 gallon zip lock bags (or what ever size will hold you camera and largest lens) and use those when going out and heading in. When I am out in conditions like that I am usually shooting the sky so I only really need to focus once and then minor checks and adjustments if conditions change. I also will manually set the aperture using the aperture ring so that those are having to move all the time.

As others have said if you aren't prepared for the cold you will do worse than the camera. I go out in my hunting gear when it gets cold like that and have been out when it is in the -35 range (it really doesn't matter C of F at that point) and do just fine but then that hunting gear would probably keep me alive in Antarctica. I've sat still in a tree at -15F (-25C) all day with a good wind and been perfectly warm in that cold weather gear.
Those hunting overalls and snowmobile boots are critical gear in cold weather. As are a really good warm set of mittens to put your hands in when they get cold, as well as a lightweight merino wool gloves that you can manipulate the camera controls with, and that you don't have to take off to put the mittens on. If you're going to be sitting still, your coat needs to be twice as heavy as if you were hiking. Big puffy down is preferred around here.
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