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Astrophoto with DSLR during winter


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So I'm about to start imaging for real here pretty soon, but I'm concerned about the temperature here in Norway.

Obviously I won't go out to image if it's sub negative 20 for a lot of reasons, but I've looked at the specs for some of the equipment and I'm a bit concerned.

 

Acording to specs, the EOS 600D has a 6-40 degrees celcius operating range.  

But considering the climate here that would exclude 4-5 months of the year. The darkest months. 

 

Can some of you DSLR folks enligthen me on this?

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Hi!

I live in Finland, so I can relate. You’re probably going to need at least a spare battery or a “dummy battery” for your DSLR. In general, it is always important to have a good ( =reliable) power supply while imaging in low temperatures. A dew geater band for your camera lens/telescope is also essential. Otherwise the lens will freeze.

If you want to image at, let’s say below -10°C, it would be smart to change the stock grease of your tracking mount to something of higher quality. I know people who use aerospace-grade grease on their mounts.

Pay attention to the focus, as the temperature drops, sometimes quite drastically, you might need to refocus during your session.

It’s worth noting that the screen on most GoTo mounts will stop working when the temperature drops below around -10°C. The hand controllers were unfortunately designed for the conditions of California, not Scandinavia. The controller itself does work, but you can’t read anything on the display. You can build a heater or try using a dew heater band on the screen.

There are some upsides, though. Your DSLR sensor will be cooled down and image noise will be reduced! Also, the nights are very long, so there is a lot of time to take images. 

Oh, and don’t forget to shoot the auroras! I had a great night imaging them last Saturday.

I’ve done visual Lunar observing at -30°C, but only once. The weakest part of my observing kit was the observer itself, since I was the first to give up...  😅  Moral of the story: remember to keep yourself warm! 

 

Edited by AstroFin
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Nice! 

 

Indeed,  i have a dummy battery, dew heaters and a insulated briefcase for my laptop. So hopefully the equipment will handle it!  I'm considering making some insulation for the skywatcher battery pack as well.

 

I just got the mount, so I'm not comfortable opening it up to regrese it yet due to warranty concerns, but somewhere down the line I will definitely do that! 

 

When it comes to myself, I used to be in the Army school of weapons and instructed a few winter survival courses,  so I'm fairly confident I'll do OK 😂 I was just concerned about the DSLR as the manufacrurers specs stated +6-40 degrees! 

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I spent a few nights photographing aurorae with a Canon EOS 7D in Finland last year -  at down to -27°C. While I was aware this is well below the operating range, I encountered no major issues.  Certainly the battery drained more rapidly, but I kept a spare in an inside pocket to keep it warm (plus in fact I was never far from the hotel and my battery charger).

I did notice that the camera sounded different when taking images, though, as if the mechanism was struggling a bit. It never actually stopped working. 

Although I also have a 600D, I didn't have it with me so unfortunately I can't say whether it would have worked just as well.

By the way, a cheap, 3rd party cable release did not survive the cold - the cable became very brittle and snapped. 

Best regards, Mike.

Edited by mcrowle
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11 hours ago, AstroFin said:

Hi!

I live in Finland, so I can relate. You’re probably going to need at least a spare battery or a “dummy battery” for your DSLR. In general, it is always important to have a good ( =reliable) power supply while imaging in low temperatures. A dew geater band for your camera lens/telescope is also essential. Otherwise the lens will freeze.

If you want to image at, let’s say below -10°C, it would be smart to change the stock grease of your tracking mount to something of higher quality. I know people who use aerospace-grade grease on their mounts.

Pay attention to the focus, as the temperature drops, sometimes quite drastically, you might need to refocus during your session.

It’s worth noting that the screen on most GoTo mounts will stop working when the temperature drops below around -10°C. The hand controllers were unfortunately designed for the conditions of California, not Scandinavia. The controller itself does work, but you can’t read anything on the display. You can build a heater or try using a dew heater band on the screen.

There are some upsides, though. Your DSLR sensor will be cooled down and image noise will be reduced! Also, the nights are very long, so there is a lot of time to take images. 

Oh, and don’t forget to shoot the auroras! I had a great night imaging them last Saturday.

I’ve done visual Lunar observing at -30°C, but only once. The weakest part of my observing kit was the observer itself, since I was the first to give up...  😅  Moral of the story: remember to keep yourself warm! 

 

What kind of power supply would you suggest for powering a DSLR in low temperatures (0 Celsius and below)?

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