Protecting your digital camera in cold weather

by ShelaghM on ‎11-19-2011 06:54 AM - last edited on ‎11-21-2011 09:27 AM by Community Manager (Retired)


The weather is chilly outside and the snow is falling. You want to get an action shot of the kids or capture a particularly beatuiful winter scene. So how do you protect your digital camera from inclement weather but still get those winter photos?


Follow these key tips for keeping your digital camera safe while working in the snow and rain. It’s easier that you think!




Batteries are just not efficient in the cold. They tend to lose power in low temperature. So you’ll want to keep your camera as warm as possible until you’re ready to shoot.  Bring extra batteries with you. You can expect some to lose your juice quickly in cold weather – batteries just don’t perform well in the cold. So, bring extra batteries with you – just in case and keep those extra batteries warm as well.  Your flash will also work better when the camera is kept warm.


If you’re not the most co-ordinated person and are worried about dropping your camera while juggling gloves and pockets, invest in a camera neck strap. It allows you to be hands-free when trying to keep your camera warm and makes it easy to whip it out for that shot.


Stay away from moisture

If is just a few flakes falling, then don’t worry. Keep your camera in your coat, whip out the camera, take your shot and put it back into your coat. But if the snow is coming down heavy put your camera away unless you have a protective cover. Any moisture that gets inside the camera – even one tiny flake—and it can short circuit the components inside and ruin your camera.


The plastic bag around your camera is not going to cut it when the wind is blowing snow around. Invest in a waterproof cover, the kind sold for underwater photography. These plastic cases seal the camera but position your camera to see through a clear optical lens. Your camera stays free of moisture and you get that winter shot you’re after.


This is a smart investment particularly if your digital camera is a more sophisticated one.


From cold to warm can be a disaster

When you come in from the cold,  warm your camera up slowly.  Your camera’s lens and electronic components are going to be cool and going from cold to warm suddenly will the moisture from the warm air to condense into small droplets. It's the same result as getting water inside your camera.


To prevent condensation, let your camera warm up gradually. Place it on a windowsill, in a cool back porch or in an unheated room. Some people suggest putting it into a plastic bag so the condensation will form outside on the bag rather than in the camera. Putting the camera a padded camera bag will also protect it.


If you do notice condensation on your camera, take out the batteries and memory card immediately. What until everything looks dry before putting either back into the camera. And never, ever take your camera outside into the cold until all the condensation has disappeared. You can kiss your camera goodbye if any of the condensation inside freezes.


Check your manual to see what the manufacturer recommends as the minimum and maximum operation temperature for your model. And remember to keep yourself warm as well!

by Legendary Oracle
on ‎11-19-2011 08:40 AM

A few tips I'll add....


  • keep your spare batteries in your pockets, instead of a camera bag for warmth
  • consider an external grip on your DSLR to get extra battery life
  • overexpose by 1 stop to avoid getting grey snow in your pictures
  • going from an air conditioned room to a tropical hotel lobby can also yield condensation like taking a pop can out of a fridge