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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old September 1st, 2002, 01:00 AM   #1
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Shooting In The Cold

The XL1s has a temp. range from 34-104. Come the first hard freeze I want to get some time laps of frost forming. Of course that means shooting in lower temps than 34 for an extended period of time. Any advice?

Thanks,
C
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Old September 1st, 2002, 02:30 AM   #2
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Chris, you need a Seal Skin for your camera. Includes pockets for hand-warmer packs to keep the camera from frezzing. See http://www.videosealskins.com/ -- hope this helps,
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Old September 1st, 2002, 08:04 PM   #3
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Don't get a Video Sealskin.

A couple years ago, after finding out the Video Sealskin wouldn't fit my XL1 the way it was configured with the wireless mics in back, I returned it and asked for a refund but never got it.

After several attempts to reach the owner, I finally complained to the charge card company but they couldn't recover the debt, either, as the owner's account had been closed.

The remaining stock was picked up by another company and they got the shaft from the original owner of the Video Sealskin line. Apparently he had made some promises that weren't kept. The new dealer was nice enough to try to help me out by sending me a Sealskin (which I planned to modify to fit my setup) but all he had was the camoflage Sealskins which I wasn't about to use on the job.

Unless it's now being run by someone else who picked up the line and has proven to be absolutely reliable, I'd avoid it.

Take a look at the PortaBrace camera covers as they're usually well-made.
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Old September 1st, 2002, 08:33 PM   #4
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Last spring (which was more like winter here) I shot in temperatures down to 5 degrees farenheit for up to 4 hours( not continuous shooting). I just took an extra battery under my coat and made sure I had my head cleaner handy. Every thing was O.K. If I followed the temperature ratings I would miss over half the year in this neck of the woods! Perhaps for time lapse, you might want to use your DC coupler with your AC adapter or car battery adapter (if you have one). I would use the portabrace rain slicker also to stop frost up. Follow the manual's advice re: temp changes and humidity.
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Old September 1st, 2002, 08:33 PM   #5
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I wouldn't expect many problems with the temp in the low thirties or even high 20's.

In really cold weather you might want to keep some things in mind though.

Cold drains batteries faster. It's a good idea to put them in an inside coat pocket to keep them a little warmer.

Keep in mind snow usually melts when it hits the camera body (at least until the camera gets real cold). That's like taking your camera out in the rain unprotected.

I use portabrace and sealskin covers to protect from that moisture.

As I think Chris mentioned, those cases have pockets built in for handwarmers to generate heat. I've never had to use those though, and I shoot outside in the winter a lot.

And when you're done shooting, don't try to bring your cold camera into a warm building and expect it to work. Condensation will prevent it. You'll want to open the tape drawer, take the tape out and let the camera warm up gradually. You can try a hair dryer on low, but be careful not to get things too hot.

mike avery
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Old September 4th, 2002, 12:24 PM   #6
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Hey Guy's,

Thanks for the tips. Sorry it's taken so long to reply, the farms needed my time more than the XL.
It's about what I figured, but I've been shooting film for 20+ years and I'm still getting used to having to deal with an electronic rather than a mechanical system. Basically it sounds like it's the batteries that are really affected and not the camera or the electronics - other than changes in temp & how that creates condensation- Is this more or less correct?

We rarely get temps below 20 here & I plan to protect it some from the cold anyway. I just want to get a better feel for what it can handle. Thanks again.
C
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Old September 4th, 2002, 02:08 PM   #7
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I have found that the CCD's do strange things when they get below 0 F. I've shot with the XL1 down to around -20F and the background will shimmer for a few seconds then be fine for maybe 30 seconds then shimmer again. The first time it happened I thought the camera was broken. Then we reviewed the footage on another camera (not XL1) and it was doing the same thing. Once the camera warmed (or it got above zero) everything was fine.

Jeff
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Old September 4th, 2002, 02:11 PM   #8
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Chris,
I second the nomination for using PortaBrace's Polar Packs. I shot in (way) below zero conditions last Jan in Canada. The PB case took very good care of the camera for hours. It features hot-pack pockets in strategic places such as over the battery, over the lens barrel and in the sleeve for your hand. Rapid battery drain is a principal culprit, as Mike noted earlier, but it's certainly not the only one. The lens becomes sluggish when it's very cold and the tape transport can literally just freeze-up. The lcd viewfinder will become dim and it, too, can be destroyed by exteneded exposure to extreme cold. Condensation is probably the biggest hazard to guard against. Don't breath onto the camera and make sure you bring it into warmer temperatures GRADUALLY, don't just bring it into a 75 deg room.

Given your objective you might consider setting up your shot and then removing the viewfinder head altogether. If you need a monitor use an lcd or television indoors as your viewfinder. Just wire a video cable indoors if distances are relatively short.

Good luck!
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Old September 5th, 2002, 12:52 AM   #9
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Good info, thanks.

Now all I need is some cooler temps.
C.
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Old September 5th, 2002, 12:54 PM   #10
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Can anyone post some links for these items

I need one for this winter also for my XL1s since we are doing some filming of the Iditirod and some snow machine races as an example.

The Portabrace website did not say that the Polar Mitten would fit a XL1s. http://www.portabrace.com/asp/CatalogSearch.asp
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Old September 5th, 2002, 01:26 PM   #11
 
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Dan, the XL1, XL1s uses the "Polar Bear," not the Polar Mitten. Go here for a picture and description:
http://www.portabrace.com/asp/ProdDesc.asp?DescCode=POL
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Old September 5th, 2002, 02:38 PM   #12
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Thanks

My attention span is very short when I'm at my real job <;) ........thanks for the info
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Old September 5th, 2002, 08:04 PM   #13
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Shooting in the Cold

An average winter here in the Adirondacks, is about, 10 degrees f. Quite often I have shot for quite some several hours at -20f.

Might I suggest that you check with your local fire/police rescue squad, for the name of the company, that supplies them with the d.c. battery operated heating blanket, that they use in their vehicle.

I picked up an old heating pad, from our town rescue unit, that supplements my porta brace winter clothing for my XL-1s. In a fixed position, just several feet from the my pickup truck, I can extend a long dc cord from the vehicle to the camera, keeping it well within a good temperature range.

At the same time, in the porta brace winter outfit pockets, I always have some heat paks ready, and, or, going.

One trick I use at below zero temperatures to keep the lubricants from getting sluggish in the lens, is to tape a heat pak to the porta brace material, under the lens. God bless gaffers tape!

So far, so good. No problems this past winter.

Bob
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