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Winter Camping Camera
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Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Winter Camping Camera on 12/03/2008 13:52:54 MST Print View

I am looking for a camera that can hanlde the cold conditions of winter camping. The last Cannon I purchased seized up and quit working in the cold conditions. I am looking for atleast 8 megapixels non/SLR.

Any recommendations?

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/03/2008 14:04:22 MST Print View

Hi Peter,

You might look at the Ricoh G600 and 500G wide.

They're designed for use at construction and industrial sites so should have easy-to-use controls even with gloves, and are definitely rugged.

They're not easy to find, however.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 07:43:53 MST Print View

Hi Peter.
I'm not a camera guy at all so bear with me if this is nothing like what you are looking for, but I purchased a Olympus Stylus 850 last year after my Canon camera took a beating on an 18 day trip. I have had it for about 1 year (I think?) now and it is waterproof, shockproof, and claimed to be good down to -10*C.
I have had it completly submerged, taking underwater photos and movies with no problems at all. As for the cold, I haven't left it out overnight or anything but it did well on my winter trips, but I store it in my pocket so it may not be a fair test to it's claim.
Anyway, hope that helps.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 11:37:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the links and insigh on the cameras you use, I tried looking for that Ricoh camera but, it is no where to be found... must be a good camera.

I always try to keep it warm so it functions better but, my past cameras have had a tendency to stop working at low temperatures or repetative use even when kept close to the chest. I am usually in about 0-15 degress or lower it seems like.

Are SLR cameras more adaptable to these conditions or even more likely to have problems?

Thanks for your help

Edited by czechxpress on 12/04/2008 11:37:43 MST.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 11:58:13 MST Print View

Ricoh G600 found here and

Ricoh 500G wide found here

Edited by rogerb on 12/04/2008 11:59:47 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 12:11:58 MST Print View

Hi Peter,

You might try survey supply shops. I've seen them carry these Ricohs in the past. They're not distributed to the usual consumer shops. In fact, Ricoh cameras are barely distributed in the States at all. The terrific GRD and GX series are available at only two dealers (who, oddly, don't carry the weatherproof models).

In my experience, slrs are more susceptible to cold-related failure, and odd behavior, than compact cameras. I suspect there are several reasons, expecially that they draw more current (to operate displays, large shutters, autofocus, etc.) and have more and larger moving parts. Compacts, by contrast have tiny shutters, no swinging mirror and don't have to stop down the lens when shooting. The only compact disadvantage I can think of is power versus manual zooms.

I suspect regardless of the camera, it's helpful to turn off the LED display, which is a power hog.

In pre-digital times some makers, notably Nikon, Leica, and Hasselblad, could winterize cameras for customers headed for the poles or the high mountains. IIRC this involved, among other things, removing grease and replacing it with light oil that doesn't thicken in the cold. Such services might still be available for all I know. Remote battery cases kept warm in a parka pocket were a popular accessory for cameras with electronic shutters and onboard meters (fully mechanical cameras avoid this completely).

For anybody who wants to shoot for extended times in the wet or cold, I encourage a close look at weather-sealed dslr bodies such as those by Nikon, Pentax and Olympus (there may be others) paired with sealed lenses (e.g., all of the Oly mid and top-grade lenses). This doesn't resolve cold power issues, but will give assurance of protection against both the weather directly and the frequent condensation resulting from using a camera stashed inside a parka.


Edited by halfturbo on 12/04/2008 14:32:38 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 13:48:43 MST Print View

Hi Peter

I normally carry my Canon A95 camera on the pack shoulder strap, but in the snow I carry it in a little bag on my chest. This goes inside my jacket if the weather is bad, and that keeps it a little bit warm.
Camera Pouch


Edited by rcaffin on 12/04/2008 13:50:08 MST.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 15:13:36 MST Print View

What is your budget?

On the bottom end I've been using my Canon Powershot A630 (8 megapixel) in wicked cold temps. It's small enough form factor for pocketing easily but it isn't easy to access all of the functions while wearing thick gloves. Thin gloves are no problem however.

Brainard Lake (10,000+ft 10F Wind bursts over 50mph):
Brainard Lake

Indian Peaks Wilderness (11,000+ft 20F Wind bursts over 40mph):
Indian Peaks

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 15:27:21 MST Print View

Thank you guys for your replys and advice.

I have a budget of up to $500 so I definately want to get the most bang for the buck. I think one of my problems has been I haven't kept it in a bag or pouch of anykind. I do when I am in the desert where sand is a problem but, havn't done it while winter camping.

This weekend I'm attempting Mt. Evans & Beirstadt 14ers out here so thats the kind of stuff I like. Should be about 20 with 20-30mph winds.

Has anyone seen a difference in performance with regular AA battery power vs specific rechargable batteries like my Canon had?

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 15:42:00 MST Print View

Batterywise in cold: lithiums are hands down the best at low temps. They are the lightest and usually the most costly.
NIMH are OK and the cheapest option (long term).
Alkalines and most of the other variants out there are poor performers in the cold.

David Irvin
(kybrent) - F

Locale: Central Kentucky
camera on 12/04/2008 18:15:17 MST Print View

I suspect all digital cameras would have similar performance issues and keeping them warm and dry would be the best bet. Cold temperatures create issues on condensation on the lenses and if the condensation freezes it could damage the camera. I have a related question that members might be able to offer informed opinions. Which lightweight subcompact DSLs offer the best combination of low cost, durability, and ability to take good detailed photos in low light such as when hiking under the forrest canopy or at dawn or dusk? I have a Nikon D-80 which I love, and which I use for day hiking; but it is far to heavy to take backpacking.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Winter Camping Camera on 12/04/2008 20:22:50 MST Print View

The best winter camera is one that doesn't include an LCD or batteries, but they tend to be built of toughter materials and heavier weight-- a film camera! Try an old manual focus camera and use the Sunny 16 Rule. Canon made the FTb and F1. Pentax users can tell you about the Spotmatic and K1000. Rabid Nikon users have many camera bodies to choose from. Others are out there. There's a lot of value in old film cameras. Inexpensive scanners can turn your film into images for your digital printing and sharing on the web.

Edited by back2basics on 12/04/2008 20:23:41 MST.