Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Gadget Bag: Cold Weather Photo-Savers
Take advantage of the best of winter’s photo opportunities with gear that will keep you warm, dry and comfortable
Some of the most spectacular outdoor photo opportunities occur in cold weather—snowy landscapes, clearing storms, winter wildlife and more. Aside from the photographic challenges, the main key to success is keeping yourself and your gear warm and dry. Here are some tips to follow.
Pro DSLR bodies generally are weather-resistant, such as the Pentax K-30 and K-5 series, but there are some things to consider. First, not all of the lenses for those bodies are weather-resistant. Make sure you're using a weather-resistant lens on the body if you intend to expose the combo to the elements. Second, the body is weather-resistant only when all the openings are sealed. If you lost the little rubber cover for one of the connection terminals, the camera is no longer weather-resistant. Finally, even weatherproof gear can fall prey to a heavy downpour, so keep the camera protected except when you're actually shooting. A rainproof camera/lens cover is a great idea when you intend to shoot in inclement conditions, even with weather-resistant gear.
If you shoot in the rain, the front element of your lens will get water drops on it, adversely affecting image quality, so carry a soft lens cloth to remove the droplets frequently. A clear or UV filter will protect the front element's coatings from repeated cleanings.
Some compact digital cameras are designed for handling harsh conditions. They can withstand the cold, accidental drops and even complete submersion in water. Rather than risk your fancy gear, it may be a good idea to buy one of these hardy and easy-to-carry point-and-shoots for facing challenging weather. Most models let you control shutter speed, aperture, exposure and focus, as well as providing full auto operation. The main drawback is that their small image sensors can't deliver the DSLR's kind of image quality. The Canon PowerShot D20, Fujifilm FinePix X170, Nikon Coolpix AW100, Olympus Tough TG-820, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4, Pentax Optio WG-2 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX200V are worthy considerations in this class.
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