Do cameras die in hot cars?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Carlb, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Carlb

    Carlb Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    On many summer days in this part of the world, the temperature in a locked car can reach anything between 50 and 60 degrees Celcius.

    So if I leave a loaded camera in my car, out of direct sunlight and in the footwell, on these days, will it be OK or will it get fried. What sort of damage could it suffer? I wouldn’t leave my good camera in the car. It's moat likely to be a K1000 (or something else that won’t leave me heart-broken if it or the car got stolen) loaded with some colour film for those opportunities that turn up while you’re on the road. I assume that the extreme heat wouldn’t do the film in the camera much good but apart from that, will it be OK? Would storing everything in a cooler bag make any difference?
     
  2. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The camera won't "die" from the heat.

    Film might and might not.

    Personally, I've had to leave a lot of film in cars in the American desert with no huge loss of image quality.

    The insulated cooler bag is a very good idea.

    Also, storing it as low in the car as possible is important as well - hot air rises and the temperature in the floorboard will be significantly lower than in the "greenhouse" at your head level.

    In an airconditioned car, I have parked with the inside temp around 70 F and left the camera bag under a white pillow on the seat.

    When I returned, about three hours later, the camera was still cool to the touch even though the air temp in the top of the compartment was well over 100 F.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A cooler is a must. If the car is too hot for you, it is too hot for a camera. The lube can flow; the aperture blades can warp. The glue holding the covering on can soften. Trust me.
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Heat can also damage any electronics, such as a meter or an electronic shutter. I left a handheld meter, a Sekonic L-398 Studio Deluxe, in a car in TEXAS in the summer for a mere one hour and it died completely. Even here in northern Indiana cars get hot enough inside to kill cameras.
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You might try measuring the temperature in the cabin and in the trunk. The cabin temperature rises, in part, because of a greenhouse effect -- there's a lot of glass in cars, so a lot of sunlight gets in and relatively little heat can get out. The trunk doesn't have that problem -- but of course it's adjacent to the cabin, so I don't really know how much cooler it would be in the trunk than in the cabin. Hence my suggestion to measure it with a pair of thermometers.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,213
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I strongly suspect that heat would cause distortion of the mirror box, discolouration (blacking out) of the LCD and possible battery leakage among other things.

    No camera is infallible to extremes of temperature.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,829
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Even if they don't die, surely they suffer!

    Matt
     
  8. budrichard

    budrichard Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Cameras, electronics, firearms, purses etc are NEVER left in vehicles to avoid theft.
    That said, you bet high temps are going to affect your camera, both physically and electronically..-Dick
     
  9. eddym

    eddym Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would leave it in a small cooler, maybe with a "cold pack" in it.
     
  10. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

    Messages:
    1,094
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Location:
    Belgium
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have no idea about all cameras...but I definitely killed a Seagull (TLR!) in a car that got up as hot as 50C and that was when it was in a leather case. The metal must have expanded and the focusing mechanism moved so far foreward it possped out of the body and jammed....:rolleyes:

    I now never leave a camera in the car...
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,383
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not that it makes a whole lot of difference because 50-60C is the same all over the world but, where is this part of the world?
     
  12. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

    Messages:
    668
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Spain
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Unless winter, I would not leave any camera inside a car.
    They can get into the car if they want, I prefer to take everything valuable with me.

    Poisson, where did you see that? Ouch.
     
  13. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would also be concerned about the light seals.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Carlb

    Carlb Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm

    Perth, Australia

    Thanks for all the replies. I was mailny curious to see if I could just leave the camera in the car all year round but it sounds like it will be best to take it out of the car during the warmer months and keep a cooler bag handy for those trips on warm days when I do decide to take it with me.
     
  16. Galah

    Galah Member

    Messages:
    481
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Oz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    The cooler bag would also provide good "padding" for the camera against jolting on rough roads and bumping against other items in the car (not to mention dust and moisture protection).:smile:
     
  17. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,910
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't reccomend it...I think the film will suffer more than the camera...
     
  18. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

    Messages:
    1,925
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It might melt a Holga...
     
  19. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    Dexter, MI
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Heat is especially bad for lenses. As Anscojohn mentioned, lubricants get less vicous at high temperatures and start to bleed into areas they aren't supposed to be in. If helicoid grease gets into your aperture blades on an SLR lens, you can forget about your lens stopping down properly. This will cause overexposure of your images, unless you always shoot wide open. I can only guess that there are lubricants in other areas of the camera, too. If I need to leave a camera in the car, I put it in a dry cooler in the trunk. The trunk stays cooler than the rest of the car, and the cooler is insulated, so it should maintain a lower internal temp than the rest of the trunk. Even in a cooler, though, the inside temperature will eventually rise to the ambient temperature of the trunk. I do not put ice in my cooler. You do not want to take a camera from a cold environment into a warmer one, especially if there's humidity. This will cause condensation, which is probably faster and more deadly to electronics than heat.
     
  20. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    Dexter, MI
    Shooter:
    35mm
    And even a few hours of exposure to heat over 50c will damage your film.
     
  21. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,213
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Film is damaged long before 50°c i.e. casts, streaks on emulsion where film rails contact etc. Besides all this, why would you leave a camera in a hot car, or anything of value in a car? Remove it. Only tempts thieves anyway.
     
  22. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,386
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with the fish.
     
  23. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,623
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For whatever it might be worth, it's not uncommon for owner manuals today to indicate operating temperature ranges are best kept between 0C-40C which means the high-end is 104F which could easily be exceeded in a closed car in the sun. I always assumed the manufacturer had reasons for this limitation and try to observe it.
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,586
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My experience was that a very good lens was ruined because the lubricants vaporized and plated out on the lens surfaces. I could not find someone to clean the lens at the time so I ended up throwing it out.

    Steve
     
  25. Galah

    Galah Member

    Messages:
    481
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Oz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This could have been an opportunity to try a bit of DIY lens cleaning: what did you have to lose?:smile:
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,586
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I did not have the facilities to realign the lenses for starters. The list went on ...

    Steve