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OMD in extreme cold

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Hudsonhites, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    I"m going to the Lapland region in Finland during February.

    Does anyone have any first hand experience using the OMD & 12-50mm at temperatures around -10 degrees Celsius?

    Especially long exposures as I will be photographing the Northern Lights if visible.

  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    The E-M5 is only rated for use down to 0 C, so you're going to need to be careful if you're really going to do this. Keep it close to your body, inside your jacket, etc, and make sure to put it inside a sealed ziploc when transitioning between indoors and outdoors to minimize moisture build-up through humidity changes.

    There's probably more you can do, and I imagine people are using less suitable cameras that aren't sealed at all, but that should be a start at least. There's some articles about there about cold weather use of ILC/SLR cameras.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I'm not really sure what the rating means though - is that the temperature below which they've not tested the camera, or the temperature below which the camera tested malfunctioned? It's not clear (probably intentionally so).

    As a practical matter, I used my E-M5 at -5C for several hours two weeks ago. No ill effects that I have seen... Batteries do drain quicker at low temperatures, so plan accordingly.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Dude, don't worry about it. Even the freezeproof Tough cameras are only rated to -10° C, but they can be frozen in a block of ice with no ill effects. The weather-sealed DSLRs like the E-1, E-3, and E-5 could be shot in arctic climates with no problem. If I recall, they only had a 0° C temperature rating as well. That just means the warranty won't cover damage from freezing, not that the cameras will malfunction in the cold. The weather sealing does help the camera to resist damage in cold weather. The cold doesn't kill cameras, ice and condensation does. Irregardless, I've never had a system camera fail from cold in Canadian winters. I would only worry about a point-and-shoot.
  5. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    I shot my E-P3 at temps down to -30 Celsius with no ill effects and the only help it had was the hot pockets in my gloves. This year I'll give the E-M5 and GX1 a try. Heck, I can test -10 next week, and Ned can probably test -15 to -20 in Edmonchuk next week.
  6. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    I've used an E1 & E3 in the past at these temperatures wasn't sure about the OMD
  7. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    Most problems occur because of big changes of temperature, but not because of the cold itself. For example, if you are in the cold and enter a warm room, water may condense on the cold camera and on the shutter. If you leave the warm house, the shutter freezes. Therefore, the camera should warm up slowly to prevent problems like condensation. Leaving the camera in the camera bag is good enough. Remove your memory card while being in the cold, if you do not want to wait.
  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Try this guy's blog:

    pekkapotka - Journal

    He's Finnish, lives in Finland, and uses the E-M5 and the E-P3. I think he's got some posts showing his winter photography there. You may also find some hints.
  9. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I've been to Finland last February and it was -35 in the morning for the whole weekend, and I wasn't even that far north, so don't expect mere -10, it might be waaay colder.. :smile: Had been shooting with E-P2 and had no problems.
  10. Fred49

    Fred49 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010

    I have hiked for weeks with -10 to-20°c and i had zero problem with the E420/Lx3/FZ38/EP2 i have used those past years.
    But i was sleeping outside so my camera never warmed up, i was only careful to keep my spare batteries, and all batteries at night close to my skin.
  11. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    Thanks for the help.

    I have one more concern about using the OMD in the winter.
    What are your experiences wearing gloves and working the buttons & dials on the OMD?
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I didn't find it to work at all well with gloves on. The on-off switch is hard to get at. Even with thin gloves, the arrow buttons don't always respond properly. The only things that work without difficulty are the two dials and the shutter release.
  13. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    I'm going hiking & camping next weekend in the Adirondacks
    I'll have to make a point of trying to use the OMD with gloves on.

    If its to difficult to operate I'll have to consider taking the D700 to Finland
  14. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    I built a time-lapse motion control system capable of working in -40c for a fellow in the UK who is spending a year in Antarctica, last time he was there he shot with a Panasonic GH2 in those same conditions. The batteries might go pretty quick, but he has no problems.

    I would suspect it should work just fine.
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