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Cold batteries - giving up? or M8?


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Dear friends,

yesterday I was out walking and taking pictures in our Central-Business-District in Beijing. It was cold - maybe 5 degree Celsius below Zero. Freezing, but acceptable. I was walking with a fairly full battery in my M8, and a fresh one (100% full) in my pocket to keep it warm. I was aware, that batteries do not perform well in cold weather, but I was surprised, when after around 40 minutes, the first one gave up. I thought that's a bit odd, but who knows, maybe it was empty from the beginning, I put in the new one, and again, after maybe 1 1/2 hours, the second one gave up too. I went into a coffee-shop, and soon, the battery came back to life showing nearly 100% capacity... I think, its the batteries..?! Is that a normal issue, and what would you think, would it damage my batteries, if I treat them that way? I would assume, that the camera would have no issues with these temperatures...?

I did get some nice shots with my WATE though:

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I used my M8 on those cold days in the Netherlands few days ago, just to test the gear. I shot nearly 2 hours in the cold with snow falling down on to the camera. I hang the camera on my neck and put in the jacket if I don't use it. Put it outside if I want to shoot. So the camera is exposed to the cold only for 10-15 minutes. It survives....and it should survive. That day, everybody use plastic bags to cover their N and C cameras

....
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I do the as Jos, keep it under my coat. It is the best way to keep the batteries and camera warm.

While making shots of Aurora Borealis some years ago, the camera was on tripod at about -15 degrees. It lasted about 30 minutes, but then the battery was flat. Also the camera was too cold to start up again after changing the battery, but after some time inside my coat everything worked perfect again.

 

Co Morriën

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I was out shooting this past weekend in the winter here in upstate NY - and my full battery died within about 15 mins (it was about 20 degree F). I agree with the previous poster. Keep a spare battery warm in your pocket and change out on your M8 before it gets too low.

 

-----------------

My Photoblog and Leica Lens Reviews

Daniel Valente Photography

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Yesterday it was 9 degrees F outside and I got 50 minutes out of my 8.2 on a fresh charge. I had a spare batt in my Leica battery pocket in my jeans. (Levi invented the Leica pocket years ago knowing the need to keep batteries warm in the winter)

 

The battery came back to 50% once warmed up. I never tried to replace the battery outside but I am very interested in what was said about a locked up shutter when a battery dies.

 

Lee

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I was out for about 90 minutes earlier today, temperature around 20 deg F. I carried the camera in a Luigi half-case around my neck, battery showing one empty segment when I left and the same when I got back after taking about 20 shots. No problems at all, but 20 F isn't that cold, only about minus 7 C. Temperature at 9am was 12 deg F, not sure what might have happened then.

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Just going to add to the thread two recent experiences with the M8, in Luigi case.

 

Saturday Night: Temperature at 22 F (-5.5 C). Wind-chill temp: 8 F (-13 C). Did not put M8 into jacket between shots. Batteries kept in bag. Camera OK for about 65 mins. Then stopped working. Figured it was the battery. Put battery # 2 into M8. Three shots. Died. Put battery # 3 into M8. Two shots. Died. End of shoot. Batteries were cold. (225 shots total.) NOTE: When camera "warmed up," battery # 3 was full and OK. Battery life was OK--it just stopped working in the cold. (Or, the M8 did.)

 

Monday Afternoon: Temperature at 33 F (1 C). Wind-chill temp: 22 F (-5.5 C). *Did* put M8 into jacket between shots. Batteries kept in a spare inner pocket. Camera OK for about 45 mins. Then stopped working. Put battery # 2 into M8. OK for rest of shoot. (320 shots total.)

 

BTW, there's this recent thread that has interesting information from users in Scandinavia ('cause "cold" is relative):

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=83996

 

Thanks,

Will

Edited by wstotler
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Was out shooting in -7C here in Prague and one of my batteries seems to have died for good. Charged it but camera refused to operate with it. Gave it a complete discharge/recharge cycle, still the camera does not like it.

 

Perhaps it is a coincidence and the battery was near end-of-life anyway. Just wondering, does anyone have a view on whether the cold weather affects battery life and whether there is any recovery technique possible?

 

(Although I am in Prague at the moment I spend most of my time in warmer climates so have little experience with shooting in sub-zero conditions).

 

Thanks

 

Robert

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My experiece is different. Camera simply seizes to function within minutes.

 

I experience worst in Alaska last year. -20C @2AM, I take camera out, set it up on tripod, set the exposure and fire. As soon as I fire the shutter, it is pretty much dead. I rush back inside, wait for a while. Change the battery, go back and repeat, same thing. Later I found the batteries are OK in normal temprature. Mean time, my wife Minolta 7D was happilly operating.

 

For the remaining trip, I shot all northernlight from inside the lodge.

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Thanks Carl for the info.

 

Yes, it seems to be only me having that problem. That's what I gathered last time I posted about thie topic. Since I did not try again after the first night, I don't know for sure if it keeps repeating. I just chickened out and shot from inside for the remaining nights during the trip. Since I am not in such extreme weather much, I figure I should not worry about it.

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just logged back in and noticed how different everybody's experience is. I bet it is mostly in the camera electronics failing in the cold. I've had my R4 out shooting in very cold weather and it does fine with the original lube from 1981 when I purchased it. I keep the M2 in the car all year, after CLA by KEH. That is just a work horse and has never failed to fire.

 

 

Lee

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Lee;

 

...I bet it is mostly in the camera electronics failing in the cold.

 

Yeah, my M8 is getting worse; what I thought was just "it is too cold at -20 for it" now is "it is too cold at +5 for sure, and sometimes at room temperature it fails to properly reset the shutter".

 

I did a test last night - room temperature, camera fine. Set it to manual, put it in a plastic bag in the fridge at +3C; give it 2 or so hours to "soak", take it out, and (while still in the plastic bag) turn it on, hit the shutter button and hear it have problems continuously trying to reset the shutter. When it warms up, it is fine again.

 

So, I either bite the bullet and get it fixed; or I go and put it on a shelf for a few months and wait for warmer weather. (still fence sitting, but my wife says "you just purchased 2 expensive leica lenses... get it fixed!" - I think I'll listen to her once again!)

 

(the only problem is that, the money spent on repairs might purchase an EP-2, or a Voigtlander R4A, or ... and, who knows if the M8 will not need it again in 2 years time)

 

JohnS.

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Lee;

 

 

 

Yeah, my M8 is getting worse; what I thought was just "it is too cold at -20 for it" now is "it is too cold at +5 for sure, and sometimes at room temperature it fails to properly reset the shutter".

 

I did a test last night - room temperature, camera fine. Set it to manual, put it in a plastic bag in the fridge at +3C; give it 2 or so hours to "soak", take it out, and (while still in the plastic bag) turn it on, hit the shutter button and hear it have problems continuously trying to reset the shutter. When it warms up, it is fine again.

 

So, I either bite the bullet and get it fixed; or I go and put it on a shelf for a few months and wait for warmer weather. (still fence sitting, but my wife says "you just purchased 2 expensive leica lenses... get it fixed!" - I think I'll listen to her once again!)

 

(the only problem is that, the money spent on repairs might purchase an EP-2, or a Voigtlander R4A, or ... and, who knows if the M8 will not need it again in 2 years time)

 

JohnS.

 

Have you tried this with a different battery? It could just be that your battery is past its prime.

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Have you tried this with a different battery? It could just be that your battery is past its prime.

 

Nicole;

 

I got back on to this thread because my (very good) dealer suggested the same via an email request a couple of hours ago.

 

He mentioned that he had heard this before, and that it was cured by new batteries.

 

My 3 batteries are all from 2007/2008, and although they appear fine in good weather (eg, when travelling I never bring a charger) maybe they just "don't pump the amps" in the cold as they age?

 

If that is the case, then the little lcd display on the top of the camera is not an accurate indicator in cold weather, I'd guess.

 

Anyway, I have asked him to send along a new one; we still have plenty of cold weather here to test it out.

 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he is right! (I'm sure he is)

 

I'll post here (and elsewhere) when I find out.

 

JohnS.

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Nicole;

 

I got back on to this thread because my (very good) dealer suggested the same via an email request a couple of hours ago.

 

He mentioned that he had heard this before, and that it was cured by new batteries.

 

My 3 batteries are all from 2007/2008, and although they appear fine in good weather (eg, when travelling I never bring a charger) maybe they just "don't pump the amps" in the cold as they age?

 

If that is the case, then the little lcd display on the top of the camera is not an accurate indicator in cold weather, I'd guess.

 

Anyway, I have asked him to send along a new one; we still have plenty of cold weather here to test it out.

 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he is right! (I'm sure he is)

 

I'll post here (and elsewhere) when I find out.

 

JohnS.

 

John,

Really interested in you repeating the test two ways.

1) camera in the frig and then swap in a room temp batt. after pulling out to shoot. Do this before the first exposure. Do not want to be part of the problem with getting your camera shutter stuck in mid cycle.

2) camera in the frig with the "new" battery and then take the camera out and fire.

 

My batteries are not perfectly new so I can not do # 2 here. I did request a replacement from ebatteries doing business with Amazon for a 3rd party battery. Cheaper is not always good. The one I got from Amazon lasted two charges. We will see how that one does.

 

If we have to spend $ 109 US a year for a new battery to shoot 50 minutes in the cold with our cameras I think I'll blow my cool with Leica on this. They need to do an about face on this and address this.

 

Contrary to Al Gore, global warming is not a cure to Leica's M8 cold battery problems.

 

Lee

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Regularly use my M8 in winter temps and have for since it got it in March 2007. We've been having daytime temps from -10C to -20C since before Christmas and I've had no problems at all. Batteries drain a little quicker, but that is to be expected.

 

Carl

 

Do you use original Leica battery or third party? We have had about -15C here in Helsinki/Finland for few weeks and I get maybe 100 shots with three batteries all together. My batteries are all third party.

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