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Not a joke: USB lens warmer

DonS

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MikeB

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We had an earlier thread that discussed placing camera gear into ziploc bags (or more expensive LokSaks) before leaving the cold outdoors and entering a warm room to avoid condensation within the lenses.

So is this the answer to the problem, or something that just creates more problems. Let's see, we just need to buy one of these warmers for each lens we are using in cold temps. Then we need to purchase some form of battery system that we can carry around with us that can handle to load for the time we are outside. And, we may need to get longer USB cables than the one included to reach the power source.

There are some caveats: They are not useful for manual lenses (they cover up the focus ring). The manufacturer says they are only suitable for 66mm to 100mm lenses - though they show a photo showing dozens of lenses including super telephotos.

Allowing the camera and lenses to properly acclimatize to changing temperatures is important and every photographer should be aware of the potential problems of sudden temperature changes. However, I just don't feel this is a reasonable solution. Though they do mention warming a bottle of water and I imagine you can wrap them around your arms to keep warm.
 

SharonH

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I had a really bad problem when I was at the zoo the other day. It was a warm day but I went into the place where the crocs were, I struggled to keep my lens unfogged as it was so hot in there. I would clear it and it immediately fogged up again even though my glasses were ok, what could I do about this in the future? Would one of these be an answer do you think?
 

SeanNeedham

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The principal is interesting, folk have used systems like this for ages with telescopes to maintain temperature (and negate dew) as the temperature drops at night; but the down side I see to one of these is that someone gets their lens out on a cold and frosty morning, whacks one of these on and starts getting problems with the sudden increase in heat.
 

MikeB

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I had a really bad problem when I was at the zoo the other day. It was a warm day but I went into the place where the crocs were, I struggled to keep my lens unfogged as it was so hot in there. I would clear it and it immediately fogged up again even though my glasses were ok, what could I do about this in the future? Would one of these be an answer do you think?
Warmer air holds more moisture. That humidity in the air will condense onto the cooler surfaces of your camera and lens. It will continue to do that until those surfaces approach the temperature of the room. The real problem is that bringing a cold lens into a warm room will cause the warm air and moisture to enter the lens. Moisture in a lens can create problems affect image quality as well as the resell value of the lens. While lenses are not airtight, as long as the lens is stored in a relatively dry place, the excess moisture will be pulled from the lens.

What to do: Allow the lens(es) to warm up before trying to take photos. If you know that the building you are entering is much warmer than the lens, you can slip the lens into an airtight bag, remove the air, enter the building, and wait until the lens warms to room temperature.

There are many airtight bags available from ones specifically made to protect equipment (such as LokSak) to what I use (ZipLoc). I find them convenient to carry (in the laptop compartment of my backpack), easy to access, and inexpensive. I even have some that fit the entire backpack.
 

SharonH

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Mike, thank you very much :) I'm sure I have some bags here that would be perfect.
 

Minor Problem

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I used activated carbon foot and hand warmer pads in my bag while in Iceland and they worked a treat keeping everything warm enough that I had no problems with condensation at all.
 

DonS

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Could be a consideration here, it was -21C when I got up this morning. It has warmed to -14C now.
 

Roger S

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I have shot outside at -40 to -45 with no problems. I keep my camera tucked inside my coat for the most part and bring it out when I need it. I've never had a lens fog up going that direction. The biggest threat is when I bring it inside so I either acclimatise everything before shooting, or pull out a separate camera which has also been tucked inside my coat all day.
 
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