Hot days can wreak havoc with our gear, most notably when our cameras overheat and go on strike. The question is, do you know how hot is too hot for your camera?
For those in the northern hemisphere, the warmer months are almost upon us. While this is a celebration for most people, it can be a headache for photographers and videographers who shoot out in the blazing sun all day. If you check the manual that came with your camera, you should be able to find a range of temperatures that the manufacturer states the camera can operate in. This week, Gene Nagata decided to test if the ranges advertised are accurate or not. What better way to check those numbers out than placing many of the cameras that we shoot within an oven? Don't try this at home, kids.
The "oven" is a unique incubator that is usually used to hatch eggs but is perfect for Nagata's experiment, as it can maintain consistent temperatures for long periods. A few of the cameras tested include the Sony Alpha a6600 and the Canon EOS R, although a whole range of mirrorless, action cameras, and even an iPhone were exposed to the heat. Each one was placed inside the incubator from room temperature to see how long they could record continuous video before they died. Nagata tried these tests several times to see if the numbers are accurate, and the results seemed to hold up well. One freak discovery with the Sony Alpha a6600 is that it lasted considerably longer when it was already pretty cooked. For example, this camera only lasts 22 minutes when it is placed in the incubator the first time. In the final round of the tests, when the camera is slightly toasty, it manages to last well over an hour. Not all cameras fared that well, and the action cameras in particular performed worse after multiple rounds. For those starting to worry that their camera may not be up to any kind of heat, some of the bodies Nagata tested never died or even threw out a warning sign when baking for hours at a constant 40 degrees celsius.
These findings may make you change how you deal with your camera while shooting out in the heat. I know I'm keen to keep my gear in the shade as much as possible, but it seems like I don't need to stress so much. The video is a fun and exciting look at what sort of limits a camera can tolerate and is well worth a watch. I'm glad it's his cameras that are cooking for science and not mine, though. A fried camera is not something I'd like to order off the menu anytime soon.