Large format at low temperature

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Behan

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Aug 25, 2004
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Hi All,

I intend to travel to northern Sweden in December, a trip I have taken a few times before. The temperatures up there can get down to -40°C (and colder). It is a stunningly beautiful part of the world but I haven't taken my cameras there before because of the cold.

My question is this, has anyone out there experience of using large format equipment and film at such low temperatures ? I am guessing that the shutter mechanism could be affected, which is something that I could probably overcome by using manual exposure (lens cap). My main concerns relate to bellows flexability and film performance.

I had considered posting this on the 'locations' forum, but I figured my questions were mainly equipment/film oriented.

Thanks in advance,

Niall
 

Francesco

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Sep 11, 2003
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Niall, here in Stockholm the temp can go down to minus 25 (not as bad as Kiruna or Luleå). I have taken my Wisner and Schneider lenses out during winter, and will do so again (very shortly from the looks of things weather-wise). I have had no problems whatsoever. The only extra precaution I do is to take a deep breath before going under the hood - less breathing to avoid fogging the GG. I also try to be quicker with my set up and composition so as not to stay still too long in one spot, especially if boot-deep in snow. Nothing more annoying than frozen feet. Last thing, when you get back to your warm confines, leave the film in the holders for a few hours before attempting to remove them. They need to thaw out a bit.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I have had a shutter freeze in the cold, and not under such extreme conditions, but this was an old shutter that hadn't had a CLA in a long time. If you're using lenses in older shutters, it's probably worth having them cleaned and relubricated with lubricants suitable for the cold.
 

KenM

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Apr 22, 2003
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Calgary, Alb
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I've taken my LF gear out in the Canadian winter many times and have never had a problem, except for my meter which is of course powered by batteries. I keep the meter inside my coat to keep it somewhat warm, so it works just fine.

All my lenses are of recent design, and I've never had a problem with the shutters getting sticky.

So, dress warm, grab your gear, and get outside!
 

cjarvis

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Sep 24, 2002
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183
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Maryland
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<wuss mode=on>
I must say that you all are braver than I. I was in Chicago around 8 years ago when the temperature was -15°F (why ANYONE would to spend time ANYWHERE that gets to -40°C is beyond me), which to me was Hell on Earth. I just remember walking outside and instantly having my nose hair freeze, thus I remain convinced that winter was made for developing film and making prints.
<wuss mode=off>
 

inthedark

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May 4, 2003
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I'm with cjarvis! Love the "mode"
 
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