Looking to purchase dslr for minus temperatures

Started Aug 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
CFynn Veteran Member • Posts: 5,224
Re: Looking to purchase dslr for minus temperatures

Allan Olesen wrote:

spytrek007 wrote:

I have looked into the pentax series of dslr that have minimum operating temperature of -10 C. What happens if temp. falls to -15C? Are they are any cameras that can handle extreme cold?

Pentax weather sealing is rated very good - most other DSLR makers only offer the same kind of weater sealing on much more expensive models


A lot of us have used ordinary, non weather sealed DSLRs in -15 - -20 °C without any problems. I don't think I have ever heard of a DSLR which would not operate at that temperature.

The two most common issues are batteries and condensation:

  1. Bring spare batteries and keep them in a warm pocket.
  2. Every time you take the camera into a warm building or any place with temperatures above 0 °C, you should put it in a reasonably tight bag so the moisture in the hot air inside the building will condensate on the bag instead of condensating on (or in) the camera. I have a weather sealed camera now, but I still use this method.

I have a co-worker who for two years was in the Sirius Sledge Patrol, the Danish arctic special forces patrolling the north-east Greenland territory by dog sledges. He travelled for months in temperatures down to -48 °C. He used an ordinary, unmodified Canon 40D for his personal photos, but he had his lenses disassembled and cleaned of any oil to make sure that they would operate at low temperatures. As I understood him, all Sirius members did that, no matter which make of camera they used. They also kept their batteries in the pocket instead of in the camera, and only inserted the batteries when they took a photo.

According to him, Canon generally was most reliable in that climate. Nikon owners had problems with high battery consumption so they would have to bring several batteries for a trip. He also mentioned that Sony had been tried, but did not mention which problems they had. (Perhaps he just want wanted to tease me because he knew I have a Sony a77).

You should show him this:


Canon were apparently the least reliable while his Sony A900 did fine.


What is "high altitude" to you?

A lot of us use DSLRs on ski trips which is usually somewhere between 1500 and 3000 meters above sea level. I haven't heard on anyone having problems at these altitudes, though I sometimes have a slight problem with the on/off button of my camera which will get stuck, probably because of overpressure somewhere inside the camera. The same happens on airplane trips where the air pressure is comparable to an altitude of 2000-2400 meters.

I have another co-worker who was on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, 5,895 meter above sea level. Most of the group brought cameras, but several of them stopped working at that altitude. Unfortunately, she couldn't tell which ones wouldn't function.

Yes. Other than it getting colder as you get higher - altitude shouln't be a problem. I've lived in Bhutan for the past 9 years and I've never heard of anyone having a problem with their camera because of altitude. I have heard of laptop hard drives stop working at high altitude due to pressure differences, and recovering when back at a lower altitude - but I can't think of anything in a camera likely to be affected similarly. Your ON-OFF button must be very well sealed or badly designed if it is getting sticky at a pressure equiv to an altitude of 2400m

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