Photographing In Extreme Cold - Pentax Optio S3


Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 12:10
I have an old Pentax Optio S3, I am going somewhere really cold over the coming weeks and need to know; will it work in the cold (-20/-30) Should I have anything special done to it before I go? What kind of setting should I use - it has a "winter" setting - will this be good enough - I only use it for point and click - but would obviously like to try and get it as good as possible.

How long would the battery last - any bright ideas about getting more out of it apart from putting it in my sleeping bag?




Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 12:27
How long would the battery last

I'd suggest taking Lithium cells. I believe there are versions that can cope with severe cold. For example the Energizer e2 AA Lithium cells work down to -40C.
There's also the Lithium CRV3 which may work in the cold.

(Rechargeable cells don't really like the cold!)

Also, watch out for condensation when moving from cold to hot environments (preferably let the camera warm up slowly).

Hope that helps!
(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 12:31
have you any idea where I might be able to get hold of these? is it a matter of search though google until I come up trumps - or am I likely to be able to get one from Jessops? I will give london camera exchange a call I think.

what is the best way to stop the condensation? keep it in my pocket?



Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 12:58
Keep the camera as warm as possible whilst outdoors, probablt in a pocket until you want to use it. Cold and digital cameras don't mix very well and they quote their useable range only as low as zero degrees C.

When you come back into the warmth the best method is to keep it in a sealed plastic bag until it warms up, and that could be some time. If you take it out too soon you will get masses of condensation for sure.

Lithium batteries are probably best, and you should get these easily enough from Jessops and elsewhere, but they still don't like the cold and will quickly stop working until warmed up again.

A film camera would be best in some ways at these ultra-low temperatures, but film becomes brittle, so care is needed there too.

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John


Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 13:09
Thank you for your advice guys.

I will take a trip to town later to see if i can get any of these batteries on order and get some zip ties for when we go back inside. We are staying in the cold really - and the camera has a metal body so I can't imagine it lasting too long - I might be able to keep the battery close to my body to keep it warm.

I think a film camera is just too inconvenient John, I have never actually used one (in anger) - just point and click really.



Kim C

Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 14:27
In which case it might be worth taking a couple of the cheap disposable film cameras. They are only point and shoot but could work if the Optio gives out in the cold.



Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 17:39
ah ha - i found my old password...

right, yes - now that is a good idea - I hadn't thought of that.

Would it be best to get waterproof ones as I presume that they would be sealed in a nitrogen environment & wouldn't get condensation in them so easily.



Link Posted 22/11/2007 - 18:07
Hi y0z,
Keep in mind that with sub zero temp, of -20 or colder the lcd screen could stop functioning. Extreme heat and severe cold do that to lcd screens. They just turn black.(nothing is damaged then, the just don't show anything. ) Remember that in case of reading out menu's and changing settings thrue the screen. Composition would not be a problem because of the OVF the S3 has i believe.

Best regards,
Best regards,


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