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Operating NX5U in cold temps

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Eric Pensenstadler
Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:12:14 pm

Hello. I have an outdoor videoshoot coming up where the temperature is expected to be in the mid to low 30's (farenheit). The manual says the safe operating range is 32 to 104.

With that said, I should be safe, but close to it's recommended limits.

My main question is this: the actual video shoot is only 5 minutes, 2 times during the night, with about 1 hour in between. Would I be better off to leave the cameras outside the entire time, or bring them indoors inbetween shoots?

PS FYI: just spoke with Sony tech support and asked same questions. He recommended trying to keep the camera as warm as possible. He did feel that it would be better to bring it indoors inbetween shoots, and, he recommended while using it outdoors in the cold to keep a blanket over it in order to help keep the heat in. Makes sense.

Thank you!
Eric


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john lenihan
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 7, 2011 at 11:19:04 pm

Eric,

Be careful. I would not bring the camera inside if I were you.

You will get condensation on the camera lens, and on the insides. It may take half an hour or so just to clear that off.

I have shot soccer games in the thirty degree range. Keep the camera on between shoots to keep it at a steady state temperature, and if you can cover it with a rain slicker or blanket that will help.

I would also try an experiment out in the cold before the day of the event.

John Lenihan

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Stephen Crye
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 7, 2011 at 11:52:01 pm

Hi John;

I was hoping you were in the forum. I'm going to start a new thread, I need help - just sent back my second NX70 and now I am looking at the NX5. Please check it out and respond!

Thanks,

Steve

Win7 Pro X64 on Dell T3400, MultiTB SATA, 8GB RAM Vegas 10e x64 DVDA 5.2(build 133) Sony HDR-CX550V


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john lenihan
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 8, 2011 at 2:39:33 am

Stephen,

I just looked at your samples and it is a very nice documation of the product.

Why is the consumer camera look better? I remember from high school photograhy class that a very good lens is a pin hole in aluminum foil. No aberation, everything is in focus. But, it takes a lot of light. Consumer cameras are basically pin hole lenses. Making a real lense that works well over a zoom range, an aperature range, and across the xy grid on the screen is extremely tough. And it takes compromises to make them inexpensively and small, lightweight, watertight etc. It looks like they picked some trade offs aimed more at blow and go journalists who are covering breaking stories like huricanes or roaming on a football field while it snows.

The 70 appears not to be targeting the crowd who actually care about what the picture looks like, just get something and get out.

I have not done that thorough of a characterization of the nx5 under those various lighting conditions. So I cannot give you an apples to apples comparison.

Probably we should get some charts for comparing cameras and fully document each of these nx cameras.

I can say that I have only rarely noticed any chromatic aberation on the nx5s. The big big concern is it has an "antiface" detector in the autofocus. In other words, it focuses on sharp objects like trees and buildings, even if the a face is taking up 3/4 of the screen sometimes.

I can only add that I bought an nx 100 and returned it and bought a fourth nx5 because:
The nx100 price was more, the form factor is poor, the picture quality no better than the nx5u etc.

John

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicamvideoproductions.com


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Stephen Crye
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 8, 2011 at 4:23:26 am

Hi John!

Thanks for your quick and very detailed reply. I have more questions, but let's switch this discussion to the new NX5-purchase-questions thread I created - don't want to hijack this one any more than I already have!

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/298/941

Thanks,

Steve

Win7 Pro X64 on Dell T3400, MultiTB SATA, 8GB RAM Vegas 10e x64 DVDA 5.2(build 133) Sony HDR-CX550V


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Gary Milligan
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 8, 2011 at 12:56:59 am

[Eric Pensenstadler] "My main question is this: the actual video shoot is only 5 minutes, 2 times during the night, with about 1 hour in between. Would I be better off to leave the cameras outside the entire time, or bring them indoors inbetween shoots?"

The very best way to deal with this is to seal your camera in a plastic garbage bag BEFORE you bring it indoors. That way, any condensation will form on the outside of the bag, not on the camera. Just make sure you don't even peek just a little to see if there's any condensation. Seeing that you have only an hour in between shots, if you have more than one battery (and you should), leave the camera powered on while it's in the bag - any heat generated by the camera will help a bit as well. Once you get back outside you can change the battery. If you really want to take no chances, you can also put the camera (in the bag) in the trunk of a car or some other unheated, secure space.

I live in northern Canada and have been a video professional here for 33 years... so far. Cold weather shooting is a regular part of the game. Last Sunday I was out with my NX5 at -20C (-4F) for about 40 minutes. The biggest problem is the LCD screens - they "slow down" (for lack of a better term) making it difficult to focus. It helps a bit to put one of those chemical, air-activated hand or foot warmers on the back of the screen - held in place with elastic bands unless they're the self sticking kind.

Good luck with your shoot.

Gary

This is me - this is what I do - http://web.mac.com/garymmw


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 8, 2011 at 2:09:35 pm

John and Gary, GREAT advice! Thank you.

Gary, great idea about the hand warmers on the back of the LCD screen. I will do that.

In between shoots I think I will sort of do a compromise. I will wrap the cameras in plastic as Gary suggested. I can't hurt. But when I take them indoors I will put them in an area of the building which is still fairly cold (it's a barn, so that shouldn't be too hard to do).

I will also keep the cameras powered on between shoots which is a great idea.

You guys are awesome. Thanks so much!

Stephen, good luck with your purchase, wish I could be more help there.

Happy warm shooting,
Eric



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Gary Milligan
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 8, 2011 at 8:49:44 pm

[Eric Pensenstadler] "Gary, great idea about the hand warmers on the back of the LCD screen. I will do that."

It should also help if you can fashion a cover of some kind for the back side of the LCD screen to help hold in the heat from the hand warmer. Tin foil is easily molded but you'll probably have to use a bit of tape or a couple of elastic bands to hold it in place, and it won't allow you to fold the screen completely back into its transport position. Don't forget, it takes a while for the hand warmers to generate their full heat. Also try to avoid exhaling too much directly towards the camera as you breathe

Quite honestly though, if it were me in those conditions, I'd probably not worry about going to all these lengths. Temperature wise, low to mid 30's Fahrenheit is (to me) not really cold weather shooting... but yes, it's all relative. 2 x 5 minute shoots with an hour in between - I would just leave the camera powered on, put it back into the camera bag, and leave it in the unheated area in the barn. I'm not suggesting that's what you SHOULD do... that's what I would PROBABLY do - but there may be other factors in the equation that I'm not considering. As John suggested, do a trial run beforehand if you can.

Have a good shoot. Let us know how it goes for you.

Gary

This is me - this is what I do - http://web.mac.com/garymmw


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Michael Johnston
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 11, 2011 at 5:50:23 am

Two quick observations/suggestions. First, when operating in hot weather near the cameras limit, the only issue you'll really have is if you use the touch screen. Avoid using that and you'll be fine. Just be sure to turn the camera off when not rolling to minimize heat.

On severe cold days, the opposite is true. Keep the camera on to keep the components warm. Another trick is to shoot with a rain cover on or the camera wrapped with a cloth to insulate and keep the heat in that the camera generates. This will allow you to shoot at near 0F. I would not recommend bringing the camera indoors between shoots.


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 28, 2011 at 1:00:15 am

Hey folks, thought I'd post back on how the shoot went.

In short, everything went good and the cameras worked great.

After considering all your feedback here's what I ended up doing:

Put hand warmers on back of LCD screen and wrapped with aluminum foil. The hand warmers require air to keep them warm and you need to shake them occasionally. Although the screen seemed to work fine I don't think the hand warmers did much because the foil prevented fresh air from getting to them. Sure I could have taken the foil off occasionally but I never did.

Did wrap the cameras in a cloth. An expensive rain jacket would have been ideal, but I don't have one (plus we had 3 cameras) so what I did was bought size XL doggy jackets at Target. I experimented with a couple different things and this worked best. What was so great about these jackets was that they weren't like doggy sweaters with legs. They opened completely and had large velcro straps on the bottom. Plus, they were shaped as such that when placed over the camera they were almost form fitted around the lens and viewfinder! I can't explain it very well here but it worked perfectly.

I also tried keeping a hand warmer under the camera cover/blanket as well.

I did end up taking the cameras inside between shoots. I really debated whether to or not, but I felt that they were getting too cold. I did, however, take them back outside about 20 minutes before the second shoot. Inside temp was only about 55 to 60 farenheight, so that helped not being 80 degrees inside.

If you'd like to see the video go to YouTube and search "Overly's flash mob". If you look real close you can see me and the other camera operator in some of the shots amongst the crowd. It's a little dark and nighttime so it's hard to tell.

Thank you all again for your input. Very helpful!
Eric



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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: Operating NX5U in cold temps
on Dec 28, 2011 at 4:11:54 pm

...forgot to mention that I did leave the cameras turned in too, and I think that helped.

E


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