The other day an old student called me. As we were discussing the joys of digital, he mentioned that he’s really glad he no longer has to worry about heat or sun damage to his film. I remember using an ice chest to hold my film on summer shooting trips. But then he mentioned leaving his new digital camera in the glove compartment of his car. Not a good idea.

You don’t want your digital camera to get too hot. The various solvents and grease inside the camera can melt and gum up your DSLR but good. Also, hot image sensors produce more image noise. So while you no longer have to keep your film cool, treat your digital camera and lenses with the same care as your film-loaded camera…Just to be safe.

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. The most important tip is to avoid taking camera from one extreme directly to another. I agree with the hot sensor producing noise from personal experience; Images I shot in 118°F weather in Utah had slightly more noticable noise.

  2. Heat can also harm the camera (or iPod or cellphones) battery if I remember correctly.

  3. Cars are well-known to get super hot (140 or so) in sunlight. Heck, if a person feels hot in a car, imagine what it’s doing to your sensitive equipment.

  4. Plus cold!

    CCD’s are terrible in the cold and batteries die far quicker too

  5. I lost a Canon 400D from shooting under direct sunlight on a 40C today. A few shots after a lens swap (under direct sunlight) it just died. Canon said the PCB was fried. Unfortunately the cost of a PCB replacement was almost the cost of a brand new body, so I used that as an excuse to upgrade to a Canon 40D instead. I definitely won’t be swapping lenses under direct sunlight in the middle of summer again!

  6. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think simply changing your lenses in the sunlight would actually kill your camera. I’ve done that for years with no ill effects anyway.

    Is this really an issue? Obviously I read the article above but not even switching lenses in sunlight? That seems to go to an extreme to me, but please feel free to correct me if I have the wrong impression…

  7. Uh oh! I usually place my camera in the trunk whenever we take the 3 hour drive to my in-laws. I put it there so that I don’t have to acclimatize the camera when we’ve arrived. We usually drive with the car air conditioner on and the outside temperature is around 30C.

  8. Alex, I don’t see the part in the story where you it says changing lenses in sunlight would kill a camera. That’s not the problem. The problem is letting a camera get very hot for hours, not a little bit of sunlight that might shine into the camera in a lens swap.

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