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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Tempreture constraints...What effect does it have if a digital camera is used in excess of the stated maximum tempreture I kept ...
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Old 24-04-2008, 23:27   #1 (permalink)
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Tempreture constraints

What effect does it have if a digital camera is used in excess of the stated maximum tempreture
I kept my camera as cool as possible but it would have been very easy to exceed the top end limit in the dessert. Does the camera break down? Does the image just degrade? Does the colour balance shift? I wonder? Do the electronic components just exceed their design tolerances
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Old 25-04-2008, 08:19   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

I think you could easily be looking at all of the above, Jake.

Electronic components have fairly wide tolerance limits but once you exceed those the component will start to behave in ways that the manufacturer cannot predict. I suspect you would have to get the camera pretty hot before anything would actually stop working permanently but you could start to run into problems with some of the solid state stuff.

My guess would be if you are going to have problems it will not be with the software - computers (at whatever size) tend to either work or crash but the heat can't change its programming to make it do something it wasn't designed to do. I would expect any issue will be with the sensors. So look for the main image sensor starting to play up (pixels the wrong colour / contrast / not working completely). White balance might start going off if the data being sent to the software from the sensors is impacted. You might even start to run into autofocus or metering problems.

It's hard to say with any certainty - that's why electronic components have design tolerances because outside of those limits they start to behave unpredictably.

And if you get it hot enough then you could do permanent damage. There is not only the problem of the electronics cooking but at high temperatures materials change their physical dimensions (things get bigger as they get hotter). So the moving parts of the camera (mirror, shutter, lens iris) will be in risk of exceeding their working tolerances and bashing into something they shouldn't, damaging and / or jamming the camera.

Best recommendation, if you have to work in a hot place, would be to keep the camera in the shade as much as possible.
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Old 25-04-2008, 11:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

The image will degrade a bit due to the increased thermal noise generated in the sensor. This is why the sensors used for astronomy are usually cooled in liquid nitrogen or helium.

However compared to the other problems listed above this thermal noise seems a trivial problem
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Old 25-04-2008, 11:29   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

Thanks, in practice nothing went wrong but I was putting the camera over the cars air conditioning everytime I got back in the vehicle. Had I left it on the dashboard I think things would have sarted to melt
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Old 26-04-2008, 11:41   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

Have to agree that increased 'hot' pixels is the most likely consequence tho' I know someone who's convinced that a good number of shutter failures are caused by people leaving their camera lens upward (uncapped) and the sun shining down into the lens (which then acts as a magnifying glass), heating up the shutter (which is usually made of a thin metal sheet - unlike film cameras which are fabric) and distorting it
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Old 26-04-2008, 21:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

And lenses are affected by the heat as well, glass heats up something terrible.

Hence the white casing on the Canon pro lenses.
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Old 27-04-2008, 12:40   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Tempreture constraints

how about the other end ?? 50 below zero mounted on a tripod for two months in winds in excess of 60 mph ?

There is not a digital camera made that can handle that assignment!

My camera(s) worked flawlessley, even though encassed in ice of about 1/16" all over the housing. and controls, yet they worked perfectly and flawlessly

no batteries will ever last out in those conditions with no place to go to warm up.
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