extreme cold SD cards

9:12 a.m. on January 27, 2012 (EST)
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I would like to know if regular SD cards work in extreme cold environment (40 below). If not what Sd cards would you recommand?

2:46 p.m. on January 27, 2012 (EST)
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most cameras are ranged from around 30 to 105 temps. i'd say the cards where taken into consideration. i've had mine in temps down to 5 with no problems. I've noticed that anything less than 30 my auto focus is a little slower and louder.

5:29 p.m. on January 27, 2012 (EST)
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Cold shouldn't bother the SD cards.  It will probably make the plastic brittle so changing them might not be a good idea. 

What cold usually affects in cameras are the lubricants in the lenses, mirrors and shutters. Surveillance camera enclosures have heaters in them because the sensors are adversely effected by cold. I would guess digital still cameras would also be affected.

5:58 p.m. on January 27, 2012 (EST)
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I've been down to minus 8 (F), recently.   No problems with the SD cards.

BATTERIES,  however, are a different matter.

Lithium-Ion probably best.   There is some moisture (not sure what), in Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries.   Adversely affected by cold.

In-any-event, it is a good idea to keep your electronic devices and their batteries as warm as possible (like, on your person) when in extreme cold.   As John mentioned, the lubes get stiff.

                              ~ r2 ~

6:12 p.m. on January 27, 2012 (EST)
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Forgot about batteries.  I guess I just assume everybody thinks about batteries not working well in cold weather.  Anyway I started with film.  Didn't need batteries for my Ricoh.  My A1 did if you wanted anything but 1/60 of a second.

2:38 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Mine worked recently in 10 and under also being less with wind chill.


4:40 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Sorry I meant 40 below 0F or -40 if you want. I also used sd cards down to -15 with no issues, but i have no experience below that temp and -40 is very very low.

4:42 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Callahan said:

Mine worked recently in 10 and under also being less with wind chill.


 windchill doesn't affect gear as long as it is already cold. it just remove the thin warm layer of air around warm object. But if there's no warmth there's nothing to remove

8:08 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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I am taking the Canon 60D, macbook pro and iPhone along with gopro to EBC. I know I will be keeping batteries warm in pockets. Not worrying about cards.

8:19 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Kingston states that theirs work at -25C or -13F.  The following company makes "mission-critical" SDs with operational temp range of -40to 85


Remember that wind chill is not the actual temperature.  It is the temperature that it would feel like without the wind.  If you sit your gear out in 0℃ wind or no wind it will only reach 0℃ the wind will only help it get there faster.

2:31 p.m. on March 2, 2012 (EST)
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Somehow I missed this thread. I take my cameras into cold conditions fairly regularly. Years ago, in the days of film, most cameras and lenses required "cold preparation". This actually involved disassembling the lens and camera (by a professional camera technician, maybe sending it to the factory - that was in the days before cameras became disposable - ya have to replace the digicams every year or so because there are new, "better", "improved", "more features" models out there every 6 months). The big item was that lube grease was removed. Built-in meters were used to assist setting the exposure, not to set the exposure for you. You could always set the exposure by hand ("Everyone" knew the f/16 rule).  There was no autofocus.

Now everything depends on the batteries. In the pro and pro-am DSLRs, the rechargeable batteries are lithium, and much less vulnerable to low temperatures. But they do lose power and life at temperatures below -10 to -20C. Solution is to keep a couple of spares inside your parka, or to use the "toe warmers" that have adhesive and stick that on the back of the camera around the battery area. The electronics do behave a bit differently at very low temperatures, though in the better DSLRs, this is less of a problem. Autofocus and autoexposure are not too much affected, at least down to -40C/F in my experience, in large part because the moving parts have teflon instead of grease on them. I have had no problems with either SDHC or CF cards (I use only Lexar or Sandisk pro-level cards).

I also generally carry the camera inside my parka inside a plastic bag most of the time while moving, so it stays warmer than just out in the supercold air.

Here are a few images shot at temperatures below 0F/-18C that I have posted before:

13,000 ft High Camp, Mt Vinson, Antarctica, Nikon D300s

13,000 ft High Camp, Mt Vinson, Antarctica, Nikon D300s

Summit, Mt Vinson, Antarctica, Pentax W90

2:39 p.m. on March 2, 2012 (EST)
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OGBO, that 2nd photo is awesome. 

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