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Richard Kuenneke
cold weather shoot
on Feb 5, 2010 at 3:49:31 am

Completed my first bitterly cold shoot with a Canon 7D. Bottom line - no problem. To prevent condensation, I stored the camera case in my car in 35 degrees for about five hours prior to the shoot. I kept my spare batteries warm - stored in a cloth case with a chemical hand warmer. I had to switch out only one battery during the five hour shoot. Optics, Z-Finder - all performed without any problem whatsoever. Temperature fell to 15 degrees after sunset.

A Canon Technical Rep said the only issue was to keep the batteries warm and if the wind was blowing hard to throw something over the camera - like a small blanket or towel - to avoid a direct blast of cold air.

On return, I kept the camera in the case for about two hours at room temperature before removing the flash card.

I am hoping to shoot DURING the next snow storm.


Rich


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Norman Pogson
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:42:38 pm

Good to know about how the 7D performed, you did everything your meant to do for good camera health, congratulations.

My Canon 7D Blog


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Robbie Carman
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 8, 2010 at 11:06:50 pm

sweet! While I have not put it to the max I was out and about during the blizzard this weekend (i'm in DC) with 7D and my trusty 70-200mm f/4 which is weather sealed (with the addition of a B + W UV filter). Followed the same basic steps as you but the camera and lens got covered with snow and zero problems.

The only thing I did cause I have a small creek in my compact flash door was to apply a little strip of gaffers tab to the outside just incase.

Robbie Carman
----------------
Colorist and Author
Check out my new Books:
Video Made on a Mac
Apple Pro Training Series DVDSP
From Still To Motion





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Richard Kuenneke
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:21:02 am

Thanks for the note Robbie. The ability of this camera to withstand such conditions opens some real opportunities - visually speaking. Do you plan to post some of your video from the snowstorm?



Rich


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Robbie Carman
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:57:17 am

yes I do but I want to get the next blizzard in the video too! Oh wait thats happening tomorrow!

Robbie Carman
----------------
Colorist and Author
Check out my new Books:
Video Made on a Mac
Apple Pro Training Series DVDSP
From Still To Motion





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Andrius Simutis
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 17, 2010 at 5:06:33 am

Sounds like you took some good precautions, but you have to realize that these cameras are designed and built for this kind of stuff. I shot snowboarding in nasty conditions for years with half as much care as you took and I never had weather related breakdowns.
Pre cooling your camera isn't really necessary, but bringing it into a warm room from right outside will give you condensation on your gear. When I really needed to go right inside from the cold I'd bag each lens and that would help with the condensation while the lenses warmed up. When I really, really, had to shoot inside after being out in the cold all day I'd bust out a hair dryer or find the hand dryer in the men's room. Probably a little harsh treatment for the gear in the long run, but it got the job done.



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Paul Hudson
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:48:27 pm

Indeed, battery life is severely shortened in cold. When shooting in the cold I always keep the spare batteries in a heated place. if no dwelling is available take a couple of chemical hand warmers then place these and your batteries in a small cooler. This will keep the temp up.

If all else fails place the batteries inside your coat and let your body heat help keep the batteries warm.

Paul Hudson
Lizardlandvideo.com
Phoenix Video Production


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Richard Kuenneke
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:50:47 pm

Thanks for the note - I had no idea what to expect, so I went overboard. Since then I've learned these cameras can handle severe weather, so I'm looking forward to my first shoot in the rain.

Rich


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Stephen de Vere
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 17, 2010 at 1:33:20 pm

Temp change related condensation is the main issue with gear in low temps. Fine up to a point if the gear is waterproof but as you often need to take off lenses, filters etc for cleaning you can get into big trouble if you don't let the kit equalise before exposing it to a warm room, as moisture will get inside.

You may not notice the moisture build up slowly each time but over a period of days or weeks working in such conditions you can easily get to the point where there is enough moisture inside the gear to freeze and cause parts to lock when you take it outside.

I keep everything outside overnight as much as possible, bagged or Peli-cased of course, but I mostly work in very remote places where there's no chance of theft. Watch out for animals chewing stuff up though - in Antarctica that's not a problem though (no land mammals).


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Paul Kim
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:04:04 am

I got excited because I read "bitterly cold"--but only 15 degrees? You must be used to sunnier places... ;-)

Actually, I'm happy to report I filmed with the 7D for a week in Russia at temperatures reaching below -20C, or well below 0 F, with pretty much no problems unless you count the fingers that were running the camera. This machine holds up great.

I was very concerned about condensation, and I must admit I didn't really have a chance to take proper care between going in and out of the cold. I was particularly worried because where I was staying was scorching hot--what's with cold places in the world where they way overheat the inside of homes or buildings? However, it's interesting to note that again I had no condensation problems period. Now there were many instances where I was going from outside back into a not so warm car, and being in that car to normalize for a couple hours before getting back into a warmer house. But there were instances I just went straight in with no issues.

Yet I appreciate your comments Stephen, esp if you're filming in Antarctica! I wonder if I had continued this way for another week or two, if there would have been a build up of condensation over time. Is there any way to monitor this? Or what precautions can you take when you're filming in cities and locations where you can't exactly keep your gear somewhere outside or in a colder spot?



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Stephen de Vere
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 27, 2010 at 4:06:03 pm

I'm not much of a DSLR user - camcorders are my thing. I don't know of a way to know exactly how much moisture is inside the kit. The rule of thumb on a paid assignment when there is reasonable doubt or worry is to bag everything up (taken apart as much as possible) with silica gel when not in use, as insurance. Working in hot humid places for long periods (weeks/months) this is pretty essential to prevent mould growth inside lenses etc.
The thing to realise is that it if you leave it until things go wrong it could take several days to get the moisture out again. Or in the case of lens glass plant/algae growth eating the coating it could easily be a write-off.
It's mainly the parts that don't have a lot of electric power supplied to them that are vulnerable in cold, like lenses and tripods. Cameras - especially camcorders - get hot when they're on and any moisture driven out that way.


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Paul Kim
Re: cold weather shoot
on Feb 28, 2010 at 5:52:23 pm

Didn't know that last tidbit regarding the gear that isn't power supplied, thanks. I noted you're a wildlife filmmaker, much respect to that as my mentor is likewise.

Mind if I ask what your ritual is at the end of the day, and what you use to bag up your gear when you're trying to go light in the wild? Do you just carry enough baggies and throw silica packets in there while storing your gear in the evenings?

With HDSLRs they're so small it's pretty easy, but when I'm going heavy with Panasonic HD cameras and Canon lenses, not sure if I have the most effective way. If I've got Pelicans, that's what I use, but I'm trying to move away from lugging those heavy beasts.




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