General discussion

camcorder for extreme condition

Im looking at buying my first camcorder that I can use in my vacation trips. I was looking at getting a Sony SR12 or Canon HF10. What cam can you recommend if I often go on ski trips and hiking -- were the cam will be exposed in high altitude and extreme temperature?

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hard drive based camcorders may not be

the best way to go.

We already know they have issues with loud audio:

Here is the link for the manual for the SR12:

And for the HF10:

Check the environmental specs...
Page 5 in the Sony handbook has some things to say about not using the camcorder in extreme environments, including altitude limitation.
Page 34 of the Operating guide has some specifics about the operating temperature range

Page 122 of the HF10 manual has limited information about operating temperature range.

The internal hard drive used is similar to that found in some laptop computers - they too should not be used in extreme conditions unless specially "ruggedized" for extreme environments.

You will find similar temperature limits with consumer flash and miniDV tape based camcorders - but generally not altitude or loud noise/vibration/drop limits. Sony HDR-HC series; HVR series; Canon FS series; HV series

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camcorder operating temperatures

Like newbietech, I want to take my camcorder out in the snow.

Most camcorders seem to have specs for operating temperatures between 0 and 40 degrees C (32F to 104F). For example, the two camcorders I'm trying to choose between: Canon FS10 (flash/SDHC) and Sony DCR-S220 (HDD/Memory Stick).

Despite the specs, can I use a camcorder at temperatures around -10C?

I note that the specs of some memory cards state that they operate between -25C and 85C. For example, Sandisk 2GB Extreme III Memory Stick PRO Duo. Could I turn the HDD & flash recording off at these temperatures & just record to one of these "extreme" memory cards?

Another option I came across is a hand-heated/insulated case, like the PortaBrace Polar Mitten, which retails between $250 and $320: Are these useful for camcorders without viewfinders?

Other than precautions against condensation and short-battery life, what else (equipment-wise) should I consider when filming in the snow?

Any tips would be appreciated.


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If you look at the altitude

requirements of the HDD recorders, they will fall off your list. I have not seen specific altitude requirements for either flash or miniDV tape - though you are right, all electronics (camcorders or otherwise) do have operating temperatures specified.

The Sandisk 2GB Extreme III Memory Stick PRO Duo is flash memory. How would you "turn the HDD & flash recording off at these temperatures & just record to one of these "extreme" memory cards?" The media makes only some difference in the camcorder - it is the camcorder's sensors that might shut the camera down when it senses environmentals well outside the published spec.

As for use without a viewfinder - perhaps a call or email to PortaBrace is in order. I would expect that any opening that allows the LCD panel to be used would allow too much cold into the protective case rendering that protection moot... plus, if it is THAT cold, the LCD panel could be useless...

In either case, "Can you use the camcorder" outside the published spec? Sure - though using anything (not just camcorders) in a manner for which they were not intended may void the warranty.

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