View Full Version : Cold weather 8x10 (+4x5) photogrpahy (Phillips Compact II)

tim atherton
23-Jan-2004, 17:46
If anyone is interested in cold weather performance of LF (8x10 and 4x5) cameras I just spent a week photogoraphing a story using both the Phillips Compact II 8x10 and the Toyo 45A.

A couple of days were spent at the Diavik Diamond mine on the Barren Lands, the rest around Yellowknife and out at the Dogrib communities of Rae Edzo and Rae Lakes. Probably 60% of the work was outside. Temperatures ranged from -32 to -34c out on the Barrens (+wind). Shooting today temeperatures were -40c to -36c.

I must say I was impressed by the performance of both these cameras. I have used the Toyo in these temperatures before, but not the Phillips, and not for the extended periods outdoors that I did this week. Both cameras performed flawlessly (even if I didn't...). Nothing broke or seized up. The synthetic bellows on both remained flexible with no problems. Both also coped very well from going from cold to warm interiors back out to cold again. The cameras were able to function outside longer than I was most of the time.

Bruce Watson
23-Jan-2004, 17:54
I'm seriously impressed. By both the cameras and you.

How are you able to function at all in those temps? What do you wear on your hands that can keep you warm enough to avoid frostbite, but is limber enough to let you operate a camera? And how do you keep from icing up the GG?

Alex Hawley
23-Jan-2004, 18:40
WoW Tim, I'm seriously impressed too. I've never been worried so much about the cameras working, just worried about me. I've had hypothermia once and don't ever intend of doing it again.

Tom Westbrook
23-Jan-2004, 19:13
I'd be very interested to hear what you use for outerwear, esp. on exposed parts, like hands. Frozen hands are the part that gets to me the most in sub 10F/-10C weather, especially if it's windy.

Guy Boily
23-Jan-2004, 20:32
Tim, I'm glad that I'm not the only one photgraphing in extreme weather. I also worked with a Linhof at temps down to -36C just last week. Wind chill factor-who cares. When it's cold it's just that. I actually enjoy these conditions. Must say that the crowds are non existant. Layered clothing is important and the only gloves that I work with are the NorthFace windstoppers. They are toastee warm and fairly easy to work the controls with. Will be giving a conference in Northern Quebec in 2 weeks on winter and expedition photography. Keep warm. www.guyboily.com

Edward (Halifax,NS)
25-Jan-2004, 12:16
I guess I am a big wimp because while I managed to shoot a roll and a half of 35mm today, two sheets of 4X5 had me wimpering like a little girl. The temperature today was ~ -20C and windy. I definately need to pick up a pair of North Face windstoppers. Does MEC carry them?

My official whine - "The weatherman said it was only going to be -9"

Edward (Halifax,NS)
26-Jan-2004, 11:12
I am a glutton for punishment. I went back out for sunset pictures. I didn't use any movements. I just did a quick focus and stopped down to f/32. I just couldn't stay out there long enough to do a proper job. I think I will stick to temperature on the + side of 0. I didn't want to take of my gloves but I couldn't disengage my cable release so I tried using my teeth. It worked but the release stuck to my lip. Also, a 6 second exposure turned into a 8 second one.

Daniel Grenier
26-Jan-2004, 11:51
Ahhhhh! The joys of living in Canada eh!

Fair enough on the cameras, Tim, and duely noted. My camera (8x10 Wista) works equally poorly in hot or cold weather but my Copal shutters do appear to work erratically in the coldr. Some shots - but not all - are overexposed by a good 1/2 to 3/4 stop for no apparent reason other than the cold. I never have this problem in the summer. I typically have the shutters under "car conditions" shortly before setting up so they only spend several minutes in the cold. Have you experienced this? And, what do you do to your shutters, if anything, to prep them for winter?