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A cold weather photography question

 
 
roger
 
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:23 pm
How do I do it? This is a 35mm SLR, by the way, and the last time I was out, I kept getting weak battery signals, even though it was a new battery. Now, I had let the camera cool to ambient because I knew if I didn't, the lens was going to fog up when it hit the cold air. Might have been a nice effect, but it wasn't what I was after. So, what's a feller to do?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,056 • Replies: 8
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:29 pm
You get a low-battery warning, but does the camera follow up by losing battery power? I mean, is it just a malfunction of a sensor, or does the battery indeed die fast?
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:35 pm
Never thought of that. It did work just fine. Now, battery performance is always off as it drops below freezing, so I was just assuming the battery was temporarily weakened. What do you think? Just go ahead and shoot. I really do not want to try and keep the battery warm and the lens cold.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:36 pm
I'd try it out. Keep shooting and see what happens - preferably on a practice run.
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:37 pm
First, you don't have to let your camera cool down. There is very little condensation in cold weather so fogging should not be a problem.

You should keep the camera and flash, along with their batteries, as warm as possible. When you go outdoors, carry them close to your body, for example, under your coat. Keep them warm when you are not actually taking a picture. Keeping your camera protected and warm this way will also minimize the possibility of a manual shutter sticking because its lubricant freezes.

Loss of battery power in the cold should also not be a problem if you take along spare batteries. And keep these spares close to your body too; for example, in a shirt pocket where they will also benefit from your body heat. Then, if your camera (or flash) batteries start to fail, you can insert warm fresh batteries.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:45 pm
Okay, Intrepid, and thanks. I'm not sure about carrying a spare, though. I can fumble in a warm house. Hate to think of doing it with numb fingers.

My daddy had a great camera for this. There were no batteries. You adjusted the aperture, shutter speed, and focus all by yourself. You held the light meter in your hand to help with all this, and I suppose that did have a battery. You also wound the film manually.
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:48 pm
I still have such equipment. Haven't used it in years, but still have it. Trouble is... you can't get 120 620 828 film anymore. Crying or Very sad
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jan, 2007 10:57 pm
And that's a shame. With film the size used by some of those old cameras, like the Brownie, I bet you could enlarge them to wall size murals without them getting grainy.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jan, 2007 12:56 am
120 and 220 rollfilm, (same width as 120, but the 220 film has no paper backing, so the film length is twice as long on the same size spool) is readilly available, from several manufacturors, in color negative and transparency, Black&White, and many special-use formulations. Commonly referred to as 2ΒΌ (American) or 6cm (European) size, it is very widely used in professional/serious amature film photography, in professional studio work, much moreso than 35mm. Other rollfilm sizes, such as 620, 828, 616, 127, 116 and a buncha others are long since history, but for a fee current filmstock can be had in obsolete sizes, or the enterprising photographer can size and "roll his own"; there's damned near a whole subculture revolving around that - almost the photographic equivalent of muzzle-loading Laughing


I dunno what brand/family of 35mm camera you use, rog, but Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Leica for sure, and I think also Minolta, Olympus, Contax, Alpa, and Besseler all made, or had available via 3rd-Party vendors, an accessory which provided for a camera's meter and/or motor-other function batteries to be kept close to the photog's body for warmth, with a thin cable going to a modified battery compartment cover which attached in normal fashion to the camera body. Similar rigs were available for many pro-level electronic flash units. I dunno where you'd start looking for something like that today, but with just a little ingenuity and tinkering know-how, you should be able to whip up something that'd work just fine. I haven't done it myself, but I've seen just that sorta rig for a digital camera; a suitably-configured battery pack (in this case, 4 AAs) worn next to the body is connected to the camera's AC adapter power connector via a thin cable. One minor drawback; the camera thinks its on AC power, so its "On" all the time its "plugged in" ... just keep that in mind and remember to "unplug" the camera if its not gonna be used for a while, or rig a simple switch.

One other note - for "Arctic Service", film cameras, just like weapons, usually got a special ultra-thorough cleaning followed by lubrication with a dry, ultra-fine graphite compound.
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