bringing em5 into freezing weather - experiences?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by kaitanium, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. kaitanium

    kaitanium Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    Does anyone have experiences with an em5 in freezing weather? Looking to be in canada and the northwest territories and i know the em5 isnt officially rated to be freeze proof. What happens when gear freezes? ill probably have with me the em5 with the 12-40mm.
  2. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    I've used my e-m5 in -15 C w/o problems. I've had my 12mm fog once. Another user suggested that I use a lens hood to minimize this problem. The only real issue is the lcd seems to struggle with cold at times. I've seen a tip where camera is placed in a plastic bag before bring in to a warm humid environment from cold outside to minimize condensation issues. Bring thin gloves to ease handling in cold (esp a aluminum tripod): I use hunting gloves. The buttons on the e-m5 are small, so big mitts aren't very handy when taking pics. I'd also take extra batteries, as cold seems to drain them quickly. a tripod will be handy if you're interested in northern lights. The colder it is, the more planning you should do before taking a picture - like making sure you set up camera for the shot in the car: esp. if you want to use manual settings. It's easy to select wrong settings when you're freezing. Changing lens can also be an issue if you're cold.
  3. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Was using it at -18C recently in Ukraine. Shot a dozen of pictures and several minutes if video footage. No problem whatsoever except for my fingers :) Also performed a number of long exposure bulb shots under less severe conditions (between -5 and -10) without an issue. Only yesterday read that the bottom line operating temperature for em5 was 0C though. Not sure what that means.
  4. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
  5. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Try taking pics with those mitts. I'd want something just for taking pics, and warm mitts for the rest of the time. As for those gloves, I doubt they're wind proof. Wind can chill you very quickly, and unlined wool won't do: for me anyways.
  6. kaitanium

    kaitanium Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    seems like the discussion is more about clothes than the camera. got it! so the camera should be fine haha. now...clothes...
  7. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Yeah: never worried about camera. My comfort was always bigger issue.
  8. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    You might want a nd filter too. Sun on snow can overwhelm e-m5. I tried a shot today with 75mm. Enen at 200 iso and 4000 sec at f10 was too bright
  9. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Also, don't do this.


    OK, I got a nice image, but I haven't been that nervous in a long time. Probably around -10C. To get the picture I wanted I put the tripod on the bottom of the little creek, with my EM-5 and my brand new 12-35/2.8 just above the waterline and used a camera remote. It worked, but I doubt I would have been able to save any part of the equipment if anything had gone wrong. :)
    • Like Like x 8
  10. sa-muli

    sa-muli Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 17, 2013
    I used em5 in -25C about 45 minutes. Had to stop photographin after screen went black and didnt wake up anymore. Went back home and after 2 hours camera worked like normal. I defroced it under a blanket. Not sure was it because freezing cold or what, but it scared me.
    It was very sunny day, so i used ND x8 filter on Oly 45mm lens.

    In colder situations its also good to breath away from the camera. I realized that after i had icecube infront of my face.
  11. NWright

    NWright Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2014
    Here in Michigan we are having one of the coldest winters on record. I have taken my em5/45mm combo out several times in real temperatures below -5 F (-20.6C for the other math buffs out there :smile: ). On my longest cold trip I did have the camera stop responding to me completely. I had a mini heart attack, then took out the battery and warmed it in my pants pockets for a few minutes. The camera worked fine after that (end heart attack), but then the memory card stopped writing - Again I took out the card and warmed it with some body heat and the whole system worked a few minutes later.

    Summary: Keep yourself warm and you can keep the camera shooting!!
  12. apbtlvr

    apbtlvr Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 10, 2012
    The plastic bag time is a good one as condensation should be your biggest concern. Going from a warm indoor environment out into a cold humid one can cause dust to get spot welded on the sensor from the sudden humidity change. I put my camera in a 1or 2 gallon zip-lock bag before heading out and keep it inside until the temperature adjusts. It doesn't take long (10-15 min) to get acclimated. After that, it's OK to come out of the bag. Just remember to repeat the process before going back inside. This may seem like a hassle but it goes a long way towards keeping your camera sensor clean. And if you hate cleaning sensors as much as I do, it's worth the inconvenience. If you're going to be out in really cold temps for an extended period, you should keep any spare batteries close to your body for warmth. They will last longer that way.

    My local forecast is calling for close to a foot of snow tonight. I may go out and take some live-view shots once it really starts coming down.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. TetonTom

    TetonTom Mu-43 Regular

    I took my EM5 to the summit of Denali in Alaska (check out photos in my galleries!) last spring; a 3 week expedition with below freezing temps all day, every day. Several days of below 0F, and extreme low temps to -30F. I slept with my batteries ( and other small electronic goodies) inside my sleeping bag, and the camera body and 12-50 lens in a ziplock Baggie at ambient overnight tent temperature.
    I had no problems whatsoever with any camera functions. Battery life is compromised, for sure, but nothing else...
    To be fair, I should also mention that I've done similar trips several times, including Everest and other 8000meter summits with other different digital cameras and camcorders, as well, including Nikon D7000, D90, D40, and an Oly E300. I think if you manage your batteries well, and minimize rapid temp changes, the risks of cold weather are a bit exaggerated. Most cameras seem to do ok ( cheap p&s cameras excluded).
    I work as a professional mountaineering guide, as well as helicopter skiing guide, and photo and video are an important part of my work.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Good tips in here for cold weather shooting. :2thumbs:
  15. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    In -17C weather the 14mm f2.5 froze up and wouldn't focus. I tried to manually focus but the wheel would hardly turn. I shut it off and let it thaw before using it again and it worked fine with no issues.
  16. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Just got back from a week skiing with mine - it did a great job. Survived being crashed on at about 30mph (strapped to my chest - that now has "Olympus" bruised across it!). Spent the rest of the week in my backpack at about -5 to -10oC for 7 hours or so during the day. I wrapped in plastic every time I went back inside - my glasses used to steam up in seconds, don't want that happening in the camera.

    It never skipped a beat, thrilled with the photos!
    • Like Like x 3
  17. kaitanium

    kaitanium Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    this is a treasure trove of info! thanks all!
  18. kaitanium

    kaitanium Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    have you done the latest update that takes it down to iso100? could help. ive never actually shot in the snow, ever. so it will be interesting
  19. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Your post reminded me of this advert.....

    Sometimes we all do crazy things to get the shot!!!

  20. kaitanium

    kaitanium Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    i assume my 12-40 will be ok in the cold, just the body will have issues and freeze up if i am not careful. i wonder how an em1 would handle the cold. em1 didnt come with enough improvements for me to really warrant getting it, too bad.
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