How to Use Cameras in Extremely Cold Temperatures

Anthony Powell has spent a lot of time in the coldest environments on Earth. His cameras are no strangers to the -50°C or colder temperatures of Antarctica, and his subsequent footage has been used in many movies and TV shows (including BBC’s Frozen Planet). He is also the man behind the award-winning movie Antarctica: A Year On Ice.

It’s no surprise, then, that Powell is inundated with requests for advice about keeping cameras alive in cold environments. If you’re heading off to photograph icebergs or penguins, then this is a video you must watch. But be warned, he says that almost everything he advises you to do will “void your warranty.”

Typical problems you might have include power cables freezing solid and becoming so brittle that they snap. Fluid heads for smooth movements will “freeze solid” and become a “brick” on your tripod. Instead, Powell recommends natural rubber cables and solid metal accessories that rely only on mechanics. Powell also has a solution for using a dummy battery with a DC cable to provide constant power to the camera, as in such cold temperatures batteries will drop their voltage and trick the camera into thinking they’ve been drained.

Check out the full video above to find out how to keep your camera alive and working in the coldest temperatures on Earth.


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