Camera Freeze Testing

Tasmania is funny, it’s kind of the bit of Australia that gets forgotten about – It’s more akin to NZ than Australia and the locals seem to resent ‘the mainland’ in a similar way that NZ does…

It’s lack of association seems to have affected it’s ability to receive mail….Things do seem to take a rather long time to move about here…Yes, I know the country is big but they do have lots of planes and trucks going to lots of places so I figured they’d have worked out a solution to that by now..

These thoughts have come about because I ordered some batteries online last Friday, they arrived today, this morning in fact, nothing wrong with that of course and especially not when I now tell you that I ordered them online from a company in the States on Friday afternoon!!…How on earth does it take three working days to receive something from the US when it’s up to a week and a half to get something shipped from the mainland??

Anyway, I digress, yes, I ordered batteries, loads of ’em, for varying ranges and types of cameras for my trip. At this stage the cameras I’ll be taking away are a Nikon D70, Nikon D5100 and a Nikon D7000, also added to my collection is a pair of Go Pro’s ….and I reckon I might need some more before I go too….cough 🙂

I’d ordered a couple for spare batteries for each camera, I’m sure most of you are aware but for the Aussies reading who find that anything below thirty degrees Celcius means winter, batteries hate the cold, their chemical reaction doesn’t respond as well, the impact on their performance is incredible. One of the biggest problems in Antarctica will be powering small devices and / or trying to keep batteries warm enough to keep them working.

Most of the batteries I received were fully charged but were given a top up to make sure, fortunately the power grid stayed up whilst I plugged everything in – The extra large additional battery for my HD video camera is hilarious, it’s gone from a standard 750m/a battery to a 4500m/a battery which weighs three times more than the camera itself, don’t think I’ll have any problems with that one running out or with burglars come to think of it, I’ll just club them to death with it….

So I figured the batteries needed a test, it needed to be clinical, exacting and must replicate the conditions found down at Davis base as best as possible, I wanted to be sure if my cameras will work when I’m stuck down South, once I’m there it’s too late to change my mind on equipment.

Bring on the freezer! I have a digital thermometer which we plugged into the freezer to show us it was averaging -20c which is pretty much Davis average winter temps. Cameras were chosen, chicken and pizza was removed and the tests began.

Nikon D70

I started with the Nikon, left it for an hour inside without the battery in and then inserted a warm battery in it, no problem, booted up, happily fired off 200 actuations with flash without a problem – Couldn’t see anything through the lense due to the humidity of a warm room immediately freezing the condensation to it but it worked none the less.

I then returned it to the Freezer for another two hours with the same battery onboard – After it came out this time it still worked but was a little too ‘slow’ to be classed as effective – It only took about five minutes and it was back to normal, firing away without any isses, battery showing at approx. 80%

Go Pro

I figured I would see just how long it would take to kill the Go Pro whilst filming 1080p HD quality consistently – I placed it in the Freezer from warm room temp and just left it. Two hours later I returned and it was still filming at -24c without any issues at all…To be honest I think the SD card would have run out first before the battery.

Conclusion – New batteries ordered from the States ROCK!!

Well they do for the moment, they may not in twelve months time, either way that’s a more than effective performance for where we’re going – As long as I keep the batteries in a small bag under my jacket then I shouldn’t have any issues – I intend to leave a camera constantly in the ‘cold room’ so that it never comes indoors, I’ll just take the batteries out to it rather than bring it in then out, hot then cold, expand then shrink etc etc

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