Keeping camera and film cool in the car

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by EricO, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. EricO

    EricO Member

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    Lately I've been using a six pack cooler to keep my camera and film cool in the car. The camera is Minolta Maxxum 5 with a 50mm lens on it. I store it in the six pack cooler with a frozen 32oz Gatorade bottle.
     
  2. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    I try to make sure it's out of the sun, tucked somewhere such as under the front seat. I've used a cooler for film but your idea seems to be a good one to maybe keep the camera. How would temp. differences & humility affect the performance, fog on lens and other things when taken from the cooler to be used?

    Good idea though.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Here's what I do in central Florida. I have a giant cooler (the type and kind you see at tail gate parties) in my trunk. In it, I store my camera, lens, and film when I absolutely must. There are no ice or cooling agent in this cooler. I try to park in shade but this is not always possible.

    Returning to it after few hours, the inside does get warm but never HOT. I have suffered no damage so far and I have been doing it for a while with both digital gears and analog gears.

    The reason I don't put ice or any cooling agent is that if I cool significantly to the ambient air, when I take it out, water can condensate and fog, just like coming out of cool air conditioned room with glasses on. I reasoned, my goal is to keep it _not_too_much_ warmer than if I were to carry them with me. I have done this up to about 4 hours with good results.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I would very much like to hear what everybody else does though.... there GOT to be a better way....
     
  5. hidesert

    hidesert Member

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    The temperature in a closed car gets much higher than the outside if there's any sun at all and that's the reason I don't keep my nice film cameras in the car. I firmly believe that many camera repair problems stem from being exposed to high temperatures in a car or an attic.

    The problem is I miss out on a lot of good photo opportunities by not having a camera available. I do have a nice little Rollei 35S which can fit in my pocket but many times I wish I had one of my Nikons.

    It seems to me what would be ideal is a way to keep the camera at "normal" temperatures, say 60-80 degrees F. That way bringing it out into use would not cause any condensation problems. I'm thinking perhaps an insulated bag and the cooling device (frozen water bottle, gel ice packs) in an separate insulated wrapper to slow down the heat transfer. It would take some experimentation to get it right.
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I keep my camera/film in a shiny toolbox/case. It will reflect the light/heat away so that it's not generally warmer than ambient. Unless it's pouring, I keep a back window or two open slightly in my white car.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. EricO

    EricO Member

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    Thanks for the reminder that the frozen bottle will cause condensation. I'll have to try some other alternative. I'll have to leave the lid of the six pack cooler unzipped to see if this will minimize the fogging. the other alternative is to bring it inside when I'm at work.
     
  8. EricO

    EricO Member

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    I may try keeping the camera in a zip lock bag to prevent fogging.
     
  9. T42

    T42 Member

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    Hi Folks.

    I like tkamiya's approach that he uses in central Florida.

    A few years ago I used the cold six pack cooler with frozen water bottle method. One time I got home and forgot that the camera was in that cooler. It stayed overnight. The next day I noticed that some humidity had worked its way into the camera's viewfinder system (Nikon F2). I was really distressed about that.

    I left the camera out in an air conditioned, dry atmosphere for several days with the lens off. The humidity left without harming my camera. But I learned an important lesson. Never, ever do that again!

    I have also observed, as mentioned above, that fogging can also happen from a cold camera being introduced into a warmer, humid environment. The camera can be perfectly dry and cold, but when put into warm, humid air, the water in the air will condense onto the camera and lens.

    My approach is simply to never, ever leave or store a camera in an environment where I am not comfortable myself.

    If I absolutely HAD to store it, I would use the styrofoam enclosure path, same as tkamiya does in Florida. Lots of styrofoam, no cooling, and not much time for heat to get to the gear and film.

    Film is very susceptible to heat damage too. If it is stored cooled it should be allowed to come up to ambient temperature before breaking the air tight seal. Cold film can have condensation form on it too.

    Happy day.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2010
  10. T42

    T42 Member

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    I recall reading about how that Ansel Adams thought that it was unwise for camera cases to be black. He did an experiment in which he painted one white. Comparing it to a black one, he found that the white one heated up much more slowly than the black one.

    I suppose that a white case, or an aluminum one, with thick styrofoam liner inside, might be a good choice for protecting optical instruments from heat, for a while at least. The aluminum by itself may reflect radiation some, but keep in mind that aluminum is also a good conductor of ambient heat (like in frying pans, radiators, and air conditioner heat exchangers, etc.). It needs an insulating material between itself and the protected interior to keep oven-like heat from transferring rapidly from outside to inside.

    Taking the camera with you is probably a better idea yet.

    :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2010
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    For my 35mm I literally take it everywhere with me, or keep it at home. I have a Tim-buk-2 messenger bag, and there's a replacement Domke (IIRC) insert that happens to fit these bags perfectly, with room to spare.

    So I can take 3 lenses, my camera and all filters with me and it's not much to carry honestly.

    I'd never like to leave film in a car, though the condensation wouldn't be a problem if you put it in an zip-lock... same with cameras probably. A little fogging maybe, but if it's hot enough to be a problem, that condensation will evaporate pretty quick once out of the cooler.
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Another plus in using an old beer cooler is that thieves will usually ignore it but they will grab the fancy camera case.
     
  13. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    That's A Cool Way To Travel !


    I definitely need to remember to paint my camera box white.
    And a nice touch would be to use a bit of Velcro, or adhesive to attach
    a thermometer inside the lid. I only keep the 4X5, and accessories in there.
    Never any film, I use a small lunch cooler for the film.
    Whenever I'm at the Post Office I take a few of the large Priority Mail
    ( the large Tyvek ) envelopes. I use one for storing unexposed film, and holders, and another for exposed material, they both get sealed with tape.
    And everything gets sandwiched between some slightly dampened towels.
    Remember to turn the envelopes inside out. Not sure if it's a Federal Offense
    to misuse Government property. It's bad enough to be harrassed for taking
    pictures, no need to be a total criminal and be caught with the envelopes
    being mistreated. The envelopes are extremely durable, they are waterproof, they might even be bulletproof !!!


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
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  15. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Just remember... The US Postal Service is a private company which has an exclusive contract to provide service to the US government.

    While it is a crime to tamper with the mail, it is not a federal offense to take an unused envelope from the post office, especially when those envelopes are offered for people when using the post office's services.

    It would be no more a crime to use a Tyvek envelope from Fed-Ex.

    If you took one or two envelopes, I don't think anybody would care. If you took a whole stack of them, somebody might call you on it.
     
  16. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    Thanks for the update Randy.
    I use a few for film storage, and a couple in the big box in case I ever get caught in the rain.
    They provide perfect protection for the 4X5, or anything else that needs to be kept dry.
    Unfortunately, I feel like I need to be on my best behavior when I'm out taking pictures.
    People look at you kinda strange if you aren't using a DigiSnapper.
    Must be the ad campaign : If you see something, say something.
    That gets people jittery, they see something strange, so it must be terrorism.

    P.S. : If you see a guy in the bushes, near the Bronx River Parkway on Saturday.
    With an XE-7, and an 85mm 1.7, Don't Be Scared, It's Only Me.


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
  17. fotch

    fotch Member

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    For a short time, say 2 or 3 hours, I would use a cooler or ice chest. No ice or ice packs are needed. The temperature rise in a hot car should not be very much if its a decent insulated ice chest. The concern with using ice packs would be the humidity and perhaps condensation.

    I would not leave this camera/ice chest in a hot car all day. Either travel light or have a companion to baby/camera sit with the windows open is the best alternative.
     
  18. 6x9

    6x9 Member

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    I'm going to start using a cooler with some desiccant. I live on a tropical island so humidity is an issue.
    For years, my Pentax LXs just got tossed into the back seat at the mercy of the 39° C weather and my son. So far so good though. But I will definitely start using a white cooler.
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I carry film and camera with me (especially film) rather than leaving them in a hot car...unless it will only be for five or ten minutes. It's a hassle, but it is part of the price you pay for the innumerable benefits of being a film photographer.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Inner soft-sided cooler bag holds the camera and film, but no ice or ice packs.

    Inner soft-sided cooler bag is then placed inside another, larger cooler. If it is very hot outside, ice packs are placed inside the outer bag.
     
  21. tac

    tac Member

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    stick some silica gel (not loose - it makes fine dust- wrap it in something which breaths) in the ziplock. As alternate, wrap dry rice in paper towels, taped securely shut, and change often. I did this in summertime southern Japan (read: Very Humid) when photographing Shikoku back in the 80's- worked great.
     
  22. H. James Wolf

    H. James Wolf Member

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    Silica gel is a wonderful idea. Where can you get it, other than in the tiny packets that come with new cameras and lenses?
     
  23. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    I purchased a large quantity of silica packets,
    a very reasonable price from Username : ZBidisin on eBay.
    He is located in Pennsylvania, I'm from NY, so the low shipping
    cost also makes for a pleasant transaction. I am ready to purchase some
    more packets in a few weeks, any other suggestions for alternate sources
    would be appreciated. Thanks.


    Ron
    .
     
  24. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I may leave film in a cooler in the car but never my cameras. I'm not so worried about the heat. I'm worried about thieves.
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I put film in a cooler, but I don't use any ice. The film never gets hot, but OTO I wouldn't want my film to be cool when I open it in a hot environment. So in a cooler, no ice.
     
  26. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How about a 12 volt electric cooler/warmer unit from an RV supply(or auto parts)I believe they have a thermostat to control temps. That way you could set the temps to cool but not so cold as to create condensation.