Protecting camera/lens from blowing snow.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    We just had our first major snow storm of the season dumping 30cm so far and it's still coming down.The wind is also a factor (65kph)and white outs are being reported on the radio.
    What to do,what to do. Shovel myself out or grab my winter camera and hit the trail for a bit of a morning shoot? Obvious isn't it?
    I shall be using a Nikkormat FT2 loaded with Tri-X and Nikkor 28mm lens packed into my go anywhere WWII medics shoulder bag.
    Even though the FT2 is my beater I still want to protect it from storm damage.Any advice?
     
  2. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Maybe 'cause I shoot the same camera at times, but prefer a different focal length, I have to say you've probably got one of the most durable set-ups for inclement weather. I think the sealed pentaprism gives an advantage over the F series for blowing conditions. Perhaps a different lube, with cold weather in mind, would give a slight advantage....but Tri-X would have plenty of lattitude to compensate for sluggish shutters.

    As far as extra protection, perhaps a plastic bag taped to the UV filter would help ease your mind. My Nikkormat has survived years of outdoor shooting, including driving rain and snow during PJ football game work, with no ill affects. Have it CLA'd every few years and I'll bet you're OK. If you're worried, try a Nikonos with a 28, or a AF35AW (35mm FL, but slightly less expensive than the 'nos). The Action Touch is electronic, so I don't prefer it in the cold.

    I think you've got a great set-up, and other than the bag, wouldn't do much besides keeping it in my parka during a blizzard.
     
  3. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I'd be more careful coming in FROM the cold - the warm moist air inside will fog up your gear almost instantly. Keep it in a bag (plastic or otherwise) and give it time to gradually warm up before taking it out. Over time, that moisture will form mold and such on your lens elements. Some silica gel inside the bag won't hurt, either.

    Snow shouldn't pose too much a problem outside, if it's cold it will just brush or blow off. Keep it sheltered, inside your coat or something, as much as possible while outside.
     
  4. Steve Muntz

    Steve Muntz Member

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    I agree with FROM the cold - condensation, and the snow on it will melt. In that much wind whatever you use has to be pretty secure. A tight fitting plastic bag with gaffers tape holding it in place would probably work, but a few years ago I bought an inexpensive cover on ebay. It's like the Aquatech covers that sports shooters use but mine isn't that nice or waterproof. I've used it in pretty tough situations and the camera has stayed dry.

    Once you get inside and the camera has warmed up enough to take it out of the bag, leave it on a table overnight to make sure it really is dry before packing it away.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I was thinking about just that yesterday, Mike, as I was taking pics of our Montreal version of the snowstorm with the FE I just acquired from you! I am never terribly concerned over snow falling on the body, it's mostly the snow falling on the lens I care about. I use a lens hood, and point downward when I'm not shooting. Back home I let the camera warm up before opening it, and I give a quick wipe to the lens.
     
  6. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    I'm not sure how weather-proof the old manual-focus cameras are, but with Canon's EOS 3 and 1V cameras they are really durable in light showers and snow if you pair them off with L series lenses. I normally just use the provided hoods for the lenses, and shoot as normal in light rain or snow. Sometimes if it's heavier rain, I use a filter too.
     
  7. dslater

    dslater Member

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    I agree with others here - I don't think you really have to worry - once your camera gets cold, what little snow gets on it won't melt - just brush it off before going indoors. However, if you're still concerned, you could get a rain cover like this one:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._SS_200C_SS_200_Sport_Shield_Camouflage_.html
    I got one of these for my F100 when I had to shoot a football game in the rain.

    Dan
     
  8. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Looks like a nice product but for the price I would just buy 10 cameras and use them as disposables.

    I would just keep the camera cold but covered and shield the lens from blowing snow. Likewise keep the film cold like the camera and be careful not to jam it in a warm pocket during film changes and allow condensation. Sometimes I use a gray card as an additional shield for the lens to reduce flare or keep mist/snow off the lens.

    Be careful about breathing condensation on the camera when focusing, which I would try to keep to a minimum. Wind the film slowly to try to prevent static from fogging the film. And do like the others suggest regarding a slow warmup from the cold, keeping the camera inside another bag until it is up to room temperature.
     
  9. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    All great ideas!
    I just had a pm from a member that suggested a period of precooling before taking the camera into very cold conditions.It makes sense to chill the camera say in a front porch or a cool spot in the home ahead of time to prevent the initial cold blast from adding condensation to a lens or body.


    Mike
     
  10. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Whoops - you're right - the one I bought was only about $50
     
  11. toadhall

    toadhall Subscriber

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    Condensation only occurs when warm (moist) air comes in contact with cold objects. (Think of your glasses - if you wear glasses - when you come in from the cold). The advice about 'precooling' does makes sense when dealing with snow, otherwise the cold snow will melt on the warm body, and possibly become ice. (Think of dropping your warm car keys in the snow - damn, I hate that!). Since you probably don't want to photograph facing into the snow (the lens won't show much when either wet, or snow covered), you can always use your body to shield much of the snow from the camera.
    And if you happen to breath on the viewfinder, and fog it, you can either wait for it to clear, or put your mouth near the viewfinder and inhale. It sounds crazy, but the increased flow of cold air helps to cool the condensate and clear the viewfinder.
    Happy shooting!