Friday, February 15, 2008

Deep freeze

Last Sunday when we were out snowkiting, I was shooting video with my beloved Sanyo Xacti and within a few minutes of being out of doors I began to notice the effects of the -10 degree temps on the equipment.

First, the LCD display started to ghost. I expected this as I also see sluggish response rates from the display on my Treo in the morning when its been sitting in the truck overnight. But this was severe ghosting almost to the point where the display was useless. Responding almost 2-3 seconds slower, it was impossible to use it for aiming the camera within 5 minutes.

The second, and most crippling effect was on the batteries. The cold reduced the power ability of the batteries from about an hour to roughly 10 minutes. I had to put the batteries deep in my coat against my skin to get them back to producing power, put them in the camera, shoot some video and then repeat the process. Luckily I brought out two batteries so I could do this little round robin and get some decent video.

Of course the video was fine since it was recording straight to SD card - another reason why I'm moving away from tapes. There's no way a tape based machine would have worked. There's a reason Porta Brace makes cold weather housings with heaters!

The last effect was on me. I kept having to take off at least one glove to do the battery swap and in no time my hand was in the first stages of frostbite. Note to self - wear a tight fitting glove on my right hand next time under my bulky glove/mitt that will give me some protection but still enable dexterity. ;-)

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