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Winter Camping Discussion => General Winter Camping Discussion => : BobG October 22, 2013, 06:03:44 PM

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: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: BobG October 22, 2013, 06:03:44 PM
I'm after a new camera (and batteries) for use on winter trips. I will need enough batteries for 2+ weeks as there will be no opportunities to recharge. Ideally the camera will have a micro 4/3 sensor or larger. What would you suggest?
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: brianw October 22, 2013, 07:37:13 PM
I'm after a new camera (and batteries) for use on winter trips. I will need enough batteries for 2+ weeks as there will be no opportunities to recharge. Ideally the camera will have a micro 4/3 sensor or larger. What would you suggest?

Whatever camera system you choose, you major challenge is going to be keeping the camera and batteries warm when not in use.  So you may need to keep them on your person in a pocket on an inner layer.  I have heard of people using those chemical hand warmers and thrown all the batteries in an insulated bag with the hand warmer for over night use. 

Two weeks plus is a long time to be out, you may want to see if you can make use of a portable solar charger for your battery charging needs while in the field.  Obviously this solution is weather depending.  Another option, if you are hot tenting would be a thermo electric generator.  TEG devices make electricity from heat. 


: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: Kaifus October 22, 2013, 10:02:02 PM
I'm assuming your more knowledgable about cameras than I as I have no idea what a micro 4/3 sensor is and you'll probably laugh at my suggestion but I think the camera on my iPod is as good as you'd ever need and it's so small and can do so many other thing and battery life is very good. It's small enough to keep warm in a shirt pocket and to me it's an amazing tool. I also find some photography so good it just looks fakey, but not with the iPod which is simple and practical.
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: tg October 23, 2013, 12:32:08 AM
Kaifus-I know we're probably missing out on some opportunities/features but I'm with you on the ipod-or rather I take my iphone.  Not because I want or intend to use it as a phone.  I bring it for a number of other reasons including: not wanting to leave valuables in my car, gps/lake mapping functionality and for its camera/video.  I especially love the panoramic shots I can take with the iphone.  I usually set it to airplane mode and it is still >50% charge at the end of my usual 3 day, 2 night trips.  I do keep it in my pocket during the day and in the sleeping bag with me at night so it stays warm.  I have to do the same thing with my insulin and glucometer for diabetes so what is one more small item.  I would imagine any smart phone would perform as well or better.  I am not techy in this respect.  If I were looking at a longer trip in the winter I would look into either one of the aforementioned thermoelectric generators or maybe a handcrank generator (no idea how much effort this would require or if it would be worth the trouble).  I don't think I would trust solar power.  Another option would be one or more of the portable lithium battery packs which could be used to recharge a phone.

I am curious though about "better" camera options
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: AunNordDuNord October 23, 2013, 01:09:04 AM
I'm really curious to regarding a better camera option, that would do decent videos....  The camera we use is a Pentax WG1, we spend a lot of time on the water in the warmer months, the reason for a water proof camera... but the battery life is really bad and the video not that great, not bad but not great. We also use an older Canon G5 that is a great camera, with a good battery life but poor video ability. It would be great to hear what other use, like Hoop that does a lot of good quality videos.
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: Ted October 23, 2013, 03:51:51 AM
I'm really starting to like photography rather than just simple snaps. So it's a Canon 60D DSLR with several lens, remote timers and a tripod. Like other newer dslrs mine takes HD video (1,920 x 1,088 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio.)

I've had only one winter's outing with my big Canon so it'll take me this winter to refine my setup.
I'm worried about condensation leading to moisture problems inside the camera so it spends some time in a heavy duty plastic bag. I try to suck all the air out of the bag before heading outside or back indoors. It stays in the bag until the camera acclimatizes to ambient temperature. The batteries live in a cloth bag that hangs around my neck over my chest. The battery bag goes inside my sleeping bag at night. My batteries die fairly fast in really cold weather. Warming them up brings them back to life so I just swap a cold for a warm and keep the swapping up for an entire day outdoors. When warm, they're back at almost full capacity. My camera bag with other lens and other goodies is hung off of the primary outside tent rope where it stays for the entire trip.
Winter nights are just so clear - a perfect time for night photography. I bought extra batteries and dual battery grip from the far east as I couldn't afford local prices. ($8 for a battery instead of $80 and $30 instead of $240 for the battery grip). Anyway, I'm hoping the dual battery setup will work for 2 hour night exposures. If not, I'll try hand warmers around the battery grip.
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: campsleder October 27, 2013, 09:27:12 AM
I have been using the Olympus 850W for about 7 yrs now without a issue ! It has just survived a cold dunk while tethered to my kayak , along with all the winter trips. I have a extra battery for it but have not had to use it yet but keep both charged as well as a battery charge stick(usb).My sun has the new Olympus TG-1 that has option for lenses , I would up grade to that one if mine was ever to quit !
: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: kie October 28, 2013, 08:18:10 PM
Hi BobG!

From my experience, keeping the battery warm all the time is not actually necessary. As far as I have heard, some people put their batteries in the freezer to prolong the life of them. But the most important thing to do is to ensure the battery is warm before turning your device on.

On our 40-day expedition, I only had two regular sized lithium ion batteries for our video camera and was able to get more than 2 full hours of footage and still had two bars left on the second battery by the time we got back.

So you should get the camera that you want, buy a back-up battery and keep the battery in your pocket so that you can quickly pop the battery in to take your shots. Keep you spare in a cloth bag somewhere safe and ready to use once the other dies.

Hope that helps-

: Re: Which camera for extended cold weather trips?
: hotelfive October 31, 2013, 04:13:57 PM
I can't comment on which camera I think would be best, however in regards to batteries, I would suggest Lithium batteries for cold weather.  Other batteries will lose their charge much quicker than Lithiums in cold weather.  A couple of hints I've picked up over the years:

1.  Like mentioned in previous replies, keep batteries in a warm place when not in use (ie inside pocket, bottom of sleeping bag, etc).
2.  Also like mentioned above, a second or even third set of batteries so you can cycle them and always keep a set warm
3.  Disable all non-essential features in whatever camera you get.  This might include things like:
   - camera "noises" (ie chirps, beeps etc)
   - turn down LCD brightness
   -disable any in-camera editing features (ie noise reduction, sharpening, etc)
   -shorten or disable the viewing feature after an image is taken

Little things like that can add up and save valuable battery life when taking pics.

Hope that helps!