View Full Version here: : Keeping lens dry and ice free in sub zero temperature
06-08-2012, 11:20 AM
Hi all, I know the dew on lenses has been done plenty of times, but I still need some experienced advice please. I am heading into northern Finland next February where the temperature can reach -50 C and usually -20C. The purpose is to photograph the northern lights.
Will the chemical heat pads work okay in these temperatures? I hope Phil Hart will add his experience. I realise the heat straps are good, but as flying there cannot just chuck a car battery into the luggage. Also what sized dry cell battery would be needed to run 2 x 4" dew straps for 4 hours (max) in such freezing conditions? How much is a battery power diminished in those temperatures? Also the Kendrick type controllers shut down when voltage drops.
Will be travelling into areas to seek out clear skies each night, so will not have access to mains power. As there will be a group of us, don't think I would be okay to plug my heat straps into their cig. lighter socket on the vehicle.
Appreciate your replies.:thumbsup:
07-08-2012, 03:34 PM
I had similar thoughts years back when journeying to Northern Canada.
The temperature varied between about -10C and -30C with two night of -56 and -58. Cold enough to freeze a running engine!
My advice is to keep the lens(es) at ambient (within reason-most stuff just stops at about-35), and the camera warm.
I had no problem with mist or frost (I also kept them in a bunch of little sacks of silica gel) on the lenses.
I did however, chew through batteries like peanuts. The severe cold sucks them dry in minutes. I believe now you can get little snuggly suits for your cameras that help considerably.
I used heat pads and found them pretty useful, but they have a limited life in very low temperatures if not kept insulated.
Otherwise keep your camera body warm inside your jacket when not in use.
Also minus 50-odd is like nothing you've ever felt ( unless you have-then you know what I'm talking about) so get a big down parka and keep your mittens on.
Have a great trip - the lights are spectacular!!
07-08-2012, 03:52 PM
Thanks Peter for your input. I will be getting some bags of silica gel to keep in the camera bag. Also thinking of using drink holders with the end cut out to hold the heat backs to the camera lens and also help as insulation from the cold. These are the type made of wet suit material. The tour is supplying freezer suits for us and boots.
I have only experienced -10C once, so this is going to be an experience of a life time. Paying the deposit on the tour and the airfares this week. All the best.
Hey Lester, can I come :D that would be such an awesome trip, ;) have fun. :thumbsup:
07-08-2012, 04:30 PM
I didn't have any problems with moisture at night in -10 to -30C in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Outside it was too cold for dew. All I did was pop the camera gear inside a dry bag when I took it back inside.
07-08-2012, 04:39 PM
Hi Leon, yes they are still taking bookings, only room for 6 as it's a small group.
Link to the website of the Aurorahunters.
07-08-2012, 04:45 PM
Thanks for that Rick. Andy Keen the tour organiser informed me that icing of lenses can be an issue. He uses the heat staps like Kendrick, that we use for astronomy. All the best.
07-08-2012, 06:54 PM
:D Andy is a top bloke and he loves his work. You'll have a ball.
He's well experienced in Aurora photography, just drop him a line and ask what you should bring re. dew/ice control.
I'm green with envy. :)
07-08-2012, 07:48 PM
Hi JJ, yes I have had many email contacts with Andy. He organised this trip on my request as there wasn't anything longer than 2 days till I asked. He seems such a generous chap and cannot wait to meat him. Only got to know him through facebook, by the comments others made, his character was evident. All the best.
08-08-2012, 09:16 PM
Your trip sounds awesome. Do let us know how it goes. I'm looking to do an Aurora trip sometime in the next 12 months too so would be keen on any advice/tips you gather along the way.
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