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Author Topic: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?  (Read 8952 times)

Zlyden

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Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« on: December 13, 2013, 10:50:55 AM »
Hello Dear All CR Forum Regulars and Readers,

I think I need some advice/suggestion from those with experience in shooting at freezing temperatures.

The quick question is:

Do filters help to prevent condensation on lens (or inside lens/camera)?



Now to the details:

I normally do not use filters at all (all my lenses are relatively cheap). Nor do I shoot a lot of outdoor pictures in winter (after discovering that most such images are just a lot gray snow with black skeletons of trees).

But, since I already have two weeks trip to Iceland booked for me for this New Year season, I will have no other choice but to use a camera (and probably a better scenery — there should be just snow without trees).

When I used old 400D/XTi I knew what to expect: light and mostly plastic camera with EF-S lens will warm up/cool down in 5 minutes. I also could put it (with 10-22 lens attached) under my coat while outside.

6D is a new thing to me: I did not make a lot of tests (just 1 so far and I did not plan it), but it looks like the camera + 17-40 lens takes much longer time to warm up and evaporate all fog at room temperature. I would like to avoid going back into freezing cold with condensation still in/on lens/camera. And it's too big and heavy to keep under the coat (I will need a new coat 1-2 sizes larger than I am).

So:

Will it help if I will mount some filter onto my 17-40 or 24-105? Will it reduce condensation by some degree or will it make it worse? Both lenses are supposed to be more ‘sealed’ with filter (6D is supposed to be not weather-sealed though). If it will make no change I would prefer not to use filters...

PS: Yes, I plan to wrap camera into a plastic bag before putting into normal bag.



And I will probably ask few more ‘winter questions’ in next couple of weeks (unless I find existing specific answer with search). Sorry about this!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 11:08:19 AM by Zlyden »
G7 | EOS M | 400D | 6D
EF: 50/1.8 II | 17-40 | 24-105 | 70-300DO / EF-S: 10-22 | 18-55 | 18-55 IS | Sigma 30/1.4 (old one) / EF-M: 11-22 | 18-55 | 22
I also own few Canon flashes, remotes, blends, bags, cases (including waterproof one) and even batteries! :)

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Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« on: December 13, 2013, 10:50:55 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 11:18:18 AM »
The filter won't make a difference for internal condensation.  If your shooting in the rain, a filter is required to complete the sealing of the 17-40L.  But…the lenses aren't hermetically sealed, air moves in and out whether there's a filter on them or not.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/Cameras-Humidity-Condensation.aspx
EOS 1D X, EOS M6, lots of lenses
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Zlyden

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 11:39:34 AM »
The filter won't make a difference for internal condensation.  If your shooting in the rain, a filter is required to complete the sealing of the 17-40L.  But…the lenses aren't hermetically sealed, air moves in and out whether there's a filter on them or not.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/Cameras-Humidity-Condensation.aspx

So, as I gather: I can basically continue to go around and shoot 'unfiltered', using only lens cap as a safety measure -- unless it's raining heavily (or dust, sand or rocks flying into my lens while shooting).

The Digital Picture article speaks mostly about tropical problems. But I suppose it could extrapolated to arctical as well...

PS: Thank you a lot for the answer and info link! I still continue to be amazed how quick, efficient and friendly CR community is!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 11:46:36 AM by Zlyden »
G7 | EOS M | 400D | 6D
EF: 50/1.8 II | 17-40 | 24-105 | 70-300DO / EF-S: 10-22 | 18-55 | 18-55 IS | Sigma 30/1.4 (old one) / EF-M: 11-22 | 18-55 | 22
I also own few Canon flashes, remotes, blends, bags, cases (including waterproof one) and even batteries! :)

sunnyVan

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 11:42:40 AM »
The filter won't make a difference for internal condensation.  If your shooting in the rain, a filter is required to complete the sealing of the 17-40L.  But…the lenses aren't hermetically sealed, air moves in and out whether there's a filter on them or not.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/Cameras-Humidity-Condensation.aspx

You really do know everything! ! Learned something today. Thx.
24-70 2.8L II, 16-35 F4L IS, 135L,  600EX-RT, 430EX RT, EOS M IR converted, efm 11-22, Fuji X-T2, Fujinon 35 F2, Fujinon 16 1.4, Fujinon 90 F2, Fujinon 56 1.2, Fujinon 50-140 2.8, Fujinon 100-400

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 11:49:54 AM »
In my opinion, the worst condensation is that which occurs inside the equipment.  This happens when you take a camera / lens from a warm building directly into a very cold environment.  I don't consider it to be a issue until it drops below 20 degrees F.
 
Condensation on the outside surfaces will happen in the reverse case, when you bring a very cold camera into a warm room.  Its generally not a problem, its easy to wipe off any external fogging.
 
There are several strategies for dealing with the severe internal condensation.
1.  Keep the equipment as dry as possible, even sealing it in a airtight bag with desiccant packs which reduce moisture in the air, and after a while, the dry air will enter the camera and lenses so that there is only a tiny amount of moisture which is unlikely to cause a problem when you suddenly subject the camera to very cold temperatures.
 
2. Store the equipment in a cold place like a porch.  Your batteries will need to be kept inside and warm, but they do not give off moisture.
 
3.  Wrap the equipment in insulating material so that cooling or warming tales place slowly, perhaps over a period of hours.  This gives time for the moist air to be exchanged with dryer outside air before falling below the freezing point.
 
4.  A combination of 1 and 3 seems like a good way for many.

Zlyden

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 12:49:25 PM »
In my opinion, the worst condensation is that which occurs inside the equipment.  This happens when you take a camera / lens from a warm building directly into a very cold environment.  I don't consider it to be a issue until it drops below 20 degrees F.
 
Condensation on the outside surfaces will happen in the reverse case, when you bring a very cold camera into a warm room.  Its generally not a problem, its easy to wipe off any external fogging.

Thank you for the recommendations!

My spooky and only 'condensation experience' with 6D happened in the following circumstances:

It was a light rainy evening with +4°C (40°F) in Antwerp about a month ago, we walked around the city center for about an hour shooting 'De Kathedraal' and other usual things, then we get into 'South Terrace' restaurant on the river. There we sat for 5-10 minutes ordering and waiting for beers. When my 'De Koning' arrived, I decided to celebrate it's coming with a picture, opened camera bag and ...saw as condensation starts to form on front element of 17-40, on back side of pentaprism (and who knows where else)! And the camera was foggy and unusable for next 5-10 minutes, I had to borrow EOS M from my wife to make the beer-picture (while de beer is still in there). EOS M had no fog.

Another thought:

Recently I remembered that one of my friends (with whom we traveled through Iceland last summer) had 'fog-problems' with his Nikon D7000. It was normal Icelandic summer (July) with +2°C (35°F) when we get to Dettifoss and river valley behind it. After getting several times out of the car and back again at different locations ...my friend could not get rid of the condensation in his Nikon lens and/or camera much longer than me with 400D/XTi + 10-22. At that time I laughingly dismissed the problem with: "What do you expect from Nikon? See: my old Canon can still make pictures while your new Nikon can't!" (thinking that the source of problem was him sitting closer to the car's air heater). But now, I suppose that the D7000/400D difference was caused either by much more metal in D7000 case, or by much more glass in his pentaprism (vs. my cheap pentamirror), or possibly by Nikon's camera 'weather-resistance'...

I suppose that we should take all my and wife's cameras to this winter Iceland vacation, and keep one of them (400D or EOS M) inside the car, while 6D will be used for outside pictures (never taken from its bag inside)...
G7 | EOS M | 400D | 6D
EF: 50/1.8 II | 17-40 | 24-105 | 70-300DO / EF-S: 10-22 | 18-55 | 18-55 IS | Sigma 30/1.4 (old one) / EF-M: 11-22 | 18-55 | 22
I also own few Canon flashes, remotes, blends, bags, cases (including waterproof one) and even batteries! :)

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 02:27:27 PM »
My answer was concerning the much more serious issue of damage to internal circuitry due to a lot of condensed moisture rather than fogging up of lenses, mirrors, and glass.
 
In some situations, just a few degrees in difference between the camera and the air can cause condensation.  Keeping your camera and lenses packed with desiccants (silica  gel )  will help.  You can purchase it from Amazon.com in various package sizes.  The reusable beads might be useful.
http://www.amazon.com/Dry-Packs-Dehumidifying-Canisters-indicating-Electricity/dp/B00B6T6TLS/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1386962740&sr=8-14&keywords=silica+gel+cameras

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 02:27:27 PM »

Maximilian

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 02:37:47 PM »
The quick question is:

Do filters help to prevent condensation on lens (or inside lens/camera)?

to make to short:
It's all about temperature.
Air is a temperature insulation.
But don't  expect that much help from a few millimeters of air between filter and front element of the lens.

Try to get enough time for temperature adjustment/alignment and that's all that helps without any further efforts.

sorry to be that honest.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 09:48:41 AM by Maximilian »
sometimes you have to close your eyes to see properly.

Zlyden

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 05:46:42 AM »
OK. Thank you all for answers!

I suppose I will try both 'filters/no filters' combinations in those two weeks I'll be there.

I just hope cameras and lenses will survive typical 'Icelandic tours agenda' with quick transfers to and from: hotel room -> car/bus -> snow field/lava cave/glacier -> hot thermal bath/restaurant/museum -> etc.



Another thought: it's probably a wise idea to minimize lens swapping in the cold and use three camera's set like that:

1) For wide range + some indoor: 'EOS M + EF-M 11-22' (EOS M is small and mostly metal -- should be fast to warm up or cool down in the bag)

2) For normal outdoor/universal usage: '6D + 24-105' (plus '6D + 17-40' or '6D + 16 mm fisheye' for some night panoramas that can't be done with EOS M)

3) For occasional need in telephoto range: '400D + 70-300' (it may occasionally pick up focus length where 6D + 24-105 stops, I do not expect there will be a lot of usage for it anyway -- probably I will leave both items at home after checking the luggage weight... )

Any comments on such three cameras setup?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 06:33:05 AM by Zlyden »
G7 | EOS M | 400D | 6D
EF: 50/1.8 II | 17-40 | 24-105 | 70-300DO / EF-S: 10-22 | 18-55 | 18-55 IS | Sigma 30/1.4 (old one) / EF-M: 11-22 | 18-55 | 22
I also own few Canon flashes, remotes, blends, bags, cases (including waterproof one) and even batteries! :)

Zlyden

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2014, 12:40:46 PM »
Long overdue post-resume:

No filters were need during all days of our two weeks winter in Iceland (well, maybe once). The weather there was pretty mild without too much cold or humidity (well, maybe once during rain-snowfall with +2C° in Akureyri).

So, if anyone else will be concerned with similar worries (about winter vacation in Iceland), my advice will be: you should be fine shooting without any filters, but take some with you (just in case)...
G7 | EOS M | 400D | 6D
EF: 50/1.8 II | 17-40 | 24-105 | 70-300DO / EF-S: 10-22 | 18-55 | 18-55 IS | Sigma 30/1.4 (old one) / EF-M: 11-22 | 18-55 | 22
I also own few Canon flashes, remotes, blends, bags, cases (including waterproof one) and even batteries! :)

NancyP

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 12:11:44 PM »
Buy a bigger size coat ;)   I have a camouflage number that I could fit a view camera under. Or, carry a plastic bag and stick the camera into the bag when you go inside.

For long exposures (time-lapse) you could consider the chemical hand warmer wrapped around the lens. Kevin Adams in N.C., USA has  a little nylon and velcro holder for the hand warmer, fits reasonable sized SLR lenses: Lens Muff . very handy for astrophotography, prevents condensation on front element over the evening. Or, if you are at all handy and don't mind having an attached battery, you could rig a resistance heater in a fabric band, something like what the astronomy folks use to drive away fog from their optical tubes and eyepieces.

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Re: Need winter advice about condensation: lenses and/or filters?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 12:11:44 PM »