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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎11-01-2014

How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

I've heard that when you use your camera in cold weather that when you bring it inside you should leave it in a sealed bag until it's at room temperature.  I have no problem doing that.  But how cold can my T5 tolerate as I'm walking outside taking photos?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,558
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

You could probably find it on the Canon Web site. I think it's part of the published specs.

 

The sealed bag bit is an attempt to prevent condensation. Some claim it works, and others claim it doesn't.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎02-28-2013

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens


@Noonievut wrote:

I've heard that when you use your camera in cold weather that when you bring it inside you should leave it in a sealed bag until it's at room temperature.  I have no problem doing that.  But how cold can my T5 tolerate as I'm walking outside taking photos?


The bag method is usually for using it in high humidity environments.  So the change in temperture doesn't suck moisture into the body/lens.

 

I wouldn't worry much about cold weather, if it's not too cold for you to expose skin then your camera will be ok.  DISCLAIMER!!!  I'm sure that's not what Canon literature says, so if you prefer to go by whatever is printed in the manual then that's fine.  Personally, I've had my little S90 powershot up to 22,000 feet above sea level, where it gets quite cold, and it worked fine.  I'm pretty sure the manual says not to do that.  There were other people in the group, one had a Rebel, and one a Nikon equivilent of a 60D.  Everyone's cameras were fine.  These things are tougher than people give them credit for, even the "non professional" models.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

The condensate moisture issue is not about moisture mixing with electrical (at least not that I've ever heard). The concern is about fungus/mildew growing on wet glass lens elements inside the lens. I have read the bag thing too and I have no idea if it works. I think if I lived in an arid place I would not worry. I live in a moist humid cold place (Pittsburgh) and so I suppose I should worry but I don't. Fingers crossed.
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,388
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

Canon does give temp specs in their manuals but that's not the full story. Those specs by my interpretation relate to the internal temp your gear can get down to & still function as designed. They don't relate to the temp outside as such, nor how cold the gear might get when being used the way most of us would use it. You will likely protect your camera & lenses from the cold in some way when you aren't shooting, or get back into your car & drive to another location etc. I've stood outside on my deck in minus 20-30 C temps for up to an hour with my camera at the ready (out in the open) with no troubles what so ever. That said I'm guessing lenses made mostly from engineered plastic will act up before L series lenses do. Moving parts bind as they get colder, and oil & grease thickens but none of that should actually damage your lens, just stop it from working temporarly. As long as you don't leave your camera & lenses in your car (which is parked outside) for a day or so in very cold weather things should work as designed.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
VIP
Posts: 8,443
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

I used gear in single digits F with no problem, other than reduced battery life.

 

Bagging the gear in the cold before bringing inside is definitely recommended (by me). Even normal room humidity will quickly fog lens; if you wear glasses you know what I mean.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,340
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

If I can go there my camera goes there.  If it is too cold for me it is too cold for the camera.  I don't even think about it.

You do shorten the battery usage some so keep an extra in your inside pocket.

 

I have had ice and snow all over my F1n.  Since then I have "matured" and don't do that silly stuff anymore but if I did I would expect my Mk IV to be right there and working as it should.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎11-01-2014

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

Good to hear.

I won't worry about it.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,854
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: How cold is too cold for a camera/lens

The "bag thing" only works if you put the camera into the sealed bag WHILE it's still in the cold dry air.  If you bring the camera into a warm house and then put it into the bag, now you're sealing the bag with warm air inside the bag.  

 

The problem isn't the temperature, but the moisture levels.  Warm air can hold a lot more moisture than cold air... so cold air tends to also be "dry" air.  As long as the camera is sealed in with "dry" air it can have a chance to come up to room temperature without condesnation forming.

 

I don't use a "sealed" plastic bag.  I just put all lens caps & covers on the camera & body, then pack it into my phtoo bag and close the zippers.  The bag wont be able to exchange much air so the air inside the bag will still be dry and the camera can warm up gradually (just don't open the camera bag until it's been in the house a while.)

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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