Antarctic cold on cameras

We're sailing to Antarctica in 2019 and were wondering what camera gear will be suited to the cold?
Will smart phone cameras do or a compact zoom, or perhaps a DSLR?
Do they have to be particularly "cold" resistant? Down to say, -20°C?
What cameras have previous Antarcticans used?
I'd like to shop for it during the Christmas specials if possible.
Thanks.
Michael

Comments

  • I am sure you will get lots of replies from the camera buffs but I am sure they will all say give yourself plenty of time to understand and practice how the camera works before you go so you can have the best chance of great photos. The most challenging place we have been for taking photos was our recent trip to Patagonia where it was so windy it was hard to keep the camera still or even keep your strap around your neck. The cell phone we had to hold very tightly and it was hard to keep it still. Rain also had its challenges, you had to keep checking that there were no water droplets on the lens all the time. Compared to that I would think Antarctica will be a breeze. It's not somewhere I want to go, perhaps you could post tips when you return for others since it is such a 'hot' destination at present. Happy camera hunting.
  • edited December 2018
    I used both a Nikon DSLR (the 5000* at the time) and a waterproof, frost proof Nikon AW100*. The latter was great for the Zodiac rides since you needn't worry about the salt spray. Also very competent for video of those trips. USed to the DLSR when ashore.

    It isn't really that cold where you'll be going in Antarctica. Typically in the mid-20's F ~ -7 C). I've used the same DLSR in Jackson Hole during the winter at -30 degrees F (~ -35 C), sticking it in my coat between shots.

    The biggest concern with low temperatures is battery life which will shorten. Just keep your spare batteries inside your jacket to keep them warm and you'll be fine.

    * there are newer, more capable versions of both cameras
  • edited December 2018
    How about lens fogging caused by changes in environment?

    During Peru & Galapagos, I had to take my DSLR on deck to warm up for 20 min. before I could use it because it went from the cold, air conditioned cabin to the hot and humid outside which caused the lens to fog up. Won't the opposite happen to the inside of the lens going from the warm and possibly moist cabin to the cold outside?

  • Even though I have a degree in photography, my primary expertise is flying airplanes. That being said, if you are going from extreme environments, one to another, I would recommend keeping your camera and lenses in zip lock bags always, except when in use. When changing environments, take the equipment to the new environment in the zip lock bag and allow it time to assume the environmental temperature. I would also remove the batteries during this process and only install them when ready to commence your photography. When the camera has reached the environmental temperature for the area of intended use, it should work without ‘fogging up’. I would also attempt to have minimum air in the zip lock bags. The more crude option of this procedure was putting my glasses in my pocket for a few minutes before leaving an A/C invironment in Florida, and going into the outdoor swamp. (;-)
  • AlanS wrote:
    How about lens fogging caused by changes in environment?

    During Peru & Galapagos, I had to take my DSLR on deck to warm up for 20 min. before I could use it because it went from the cold, air conditioned cabin to the hot and humid outside which caused the lens to fog up. Won't the opposite happen to the inside of the lens going from the warm and possibly moist cabin to the cold outside?

    Had no problem with this. It's mostly a problem when the device is cold and in high outdoor humidity condenses. Your camera will gradually cool down and there is NO humidity ashore and it's pretty dry on the ship. Antarctica (at least away from the coast) is a desert.

  • I'm finding for a new travel camera at the moment too!
    I've visited this page for a shortcut review. http://www.pirt.org/best-travel-camera/
    Hope it helps you.
    Thinking to follow this post for further ideas of my camera so thank you for posting a question right in my mind.
  • edited December 2018
    We just got back from the December Antarctica trip and were blown away by the incredible vistas!

    I brought two bodies and a number of lenses and kept them in sealable plastic bags primarily when returning to the ship after the daily shore excursions. You do not want to be changing lenses outdoors, as moisture can enter the camera bodies and literally destroy them. Nor do you want moisture entering the camera bodies when coming in from the cold outdoors. Despite the fact that the air is quite dry in the Antarctic, there are no guarantees that you won't encounter snow &/or rain as we did on our first Zodiac excursion.

    A tour guide commented that he had witnessed three passengers' cameras being ruined from moisture. Play it safe and invest a few dollars in airtight plastic bags and you won't be sorry.

    See also: https://www.antarcticaguide.com/antarctica-photography-10-essential-tips/

    Have fun!
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