Lens Heater

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Graham
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#1
I'm doing more and more astro type stuff and have one or two very cold trips (-20 maybe) lined up for 2018.

I've had a couple of issues with lens fogging in the past and quite keen to look at lens heater options if they're worth while.

Anybody used one and have any recommendations or otherwise?
 

Kodiak Qc

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#2

Don't lose thoughts and / or money on that. :rolleyes:

Fogging happens when one goes from cold to warm but
never the other way.

I nature, temperature changes don't occur fast enough to
represent any threat to your ambitions… unless, Graham,
there is something you did not mention! :cool:
 
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Terry
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#3
Don't lose thoughts and / or money on that. :rolleyes:

Fogging happens when one goes from cold to warm but
never the other way.

I nature, temperature changes don't occur fast enough to
represent any threat to your ambitions… unless, Graham,
there is something you did not mention! :cool:

Incorrect,

Telescopes suffer fogging after a while in cold temperatures.
 
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Paul
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#4
Subtle differences between fogging and condensate (in terms of saturation, moisture levels and dew point variables etc).
I've had a few occasions where I've left my camera on a tripod outside a barn, waiting for the owl to return, only to find the evening's work ruined by moisture gathering on the front face of the lens.
Low temp levels can and do, cause issues.
I can't advise over heaters mind, as I've never used one.
 

sirch

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Chris
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#6
Reusable gel handwarmers work for smaller lenses, either in the bag to warm the lens up 10 mins before use, or held on the lens with an elastic band. Obviously you only get a short period of heating so it depends how long an exposure you are doing. That said they are cheap, light and don't need batteries.
 
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gad-westy
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#7
Cheers folks. Like the hand warmer idea as a simple option.

@Kodiak Qc Not holding anything back! I don't know the science behind it but I've been out on a few occasions in cold weather where I've had to stop due to opaque lens!
 
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Steve Bennett
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#8
Cheers folks. Like the hand warmer idea as a simple option.

@Kodiak Qc Not holding anything back! I don't know the science behind it but I've been out on a few occasions in cold weather where I've had to stop due to opaque lens!
Quite possibly dew settling on the lens rather than condensation.
Handwarmers do work quite well, have used them with an old towelling wristband around the end of the lens to hold them in place, a piece of tinfoil on the outside of the handwarmers also helps to keep them warm for longer.
 

Kodiak Qc

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#9
I don't know the science behind it but

As I read the opposite in other posts, I realized that all the
information was not there and that's not your fault but mine.

I was assuming I understood your situation and did not as
I was thinking you use your tool the way I use mine: I never
take my long lenses nor telescope inside; they stay in the car
or in the shack to whole winter, avoiding me these difficulties.
Sorry for that, Graham! :cool:
 
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#10
Cheers folks. Like the hand warmer idea as a simple option.

@Kodiak Qc Not holding anything back! I don't know the science behind it but I've been out on a few occasions in cold weather where I've had to stop due to opaque lens!
If you do try the hand warmers, also try the HOTHANDS version, they are like teabags, thet don't get as hot as the gel but not bad and last 10 hours.

I haven't used them on a lens but I use them all the time to keep warm as the Gel ones are just pointless when you're out.
 
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Dale.
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#13
Just want to second the hand warmers, I've tried them for the few times I've done astro and they do seem to work.
 
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Gary
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#14
Another vote for hot hands. Really long lasting. I've made a collar of 3 pieces of felt with insulating foil between the layers. Strip of Velcro which allows for it to fit more than one lens.
 
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Mike
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#15
I went through a whole host of suggestions from a thread I posted on here last year.

Mine was mainly for photographing the sunrise and what worked best for me was Kodiak's suggestion of leaving the camera bag in the car overnight and finally using hand warmers slung under the lens and filters. I found an old fleece top and cut the bottom half of the arm off, pulled this over the lens before adding the filter holder and then slipping the hand warmers inside the sleeve.

If you do leave the camera bag in the car, please make sure the car's in a safe place to do so.

I did look at the heaters but the thought of all the extra weight from the batteries put me off.
 
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#17
Standing in -21 shooting the Aurora I have found using a fleece, with a hand warmer as recommended above works well enough, but I don't have them close to the body of the lens because some get bloody hot initially.
I tried a fleece scarf wrapped around the lens with hand warmers inside this worked well but was restrictive when maintaining critical sharp focus (Easy to move the focus ring inadvertently unless you want to tape it).
Another idea that worked was a small computer processor fan on a rig blowing air over the lens,.... To much faffing though.
Wont go into all the rest of the things I tried, but the Mk5 is a Fleece Balaclava!

This is brilliant I place what would be the neck over the lens, and the hood part that would be over your head, over the camera body.
On the neck I had some Velcro cable tie that I could close up the neck around the Lenshood (this was later modified with some Velcro sewn in).
The advantages were the head part that flicks over the camera body is roomy enough to get your hands up inside, (As is the neck for Lens adjustment) or just quickly flip up the hood to check the camera settings . Dropping it down to protect the camera body itself, this also improves battery life etc.
I also sewed some little pouches inside to take hand warmers.

This was done because on one shoot I was using my old faithful Nikon D300 and my D700 (at the time) . By the time I had finished both cameras where completely white, pretty much, with frost... The D700 expired with an error, this thankfully turned out to be a communication problem between the Lens and the Body and came back to life after a very gradual bringing the cameras back to room temperature very slowly. The tripods were also white, then I made the mistake of grabbing the Aluminium one without gloves, I had to use a cup of luke warm coffee to remove it! So if you don't have a Carbon tripod consider covering an Ali one.
The other thing I got hold of was a little insulated box for my batteries, I throw a hand warmer in too, batteries die quick in the cold.

I have tried various hand warmers but the chemical ones (single use) seem best, unless you have some method of recharging the reusable ones where you are. (you can get a great big box from Costco if you know a member at a reasonable price).

Good Luck
Steve(y)
 
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#18
USe either hand warmers aroudn the lens with a rubber band or get a small hand fan to blow air over the lens, either will reduce condensation on the lens.

Also a lens hood helps, as its rising condensation from grass etc that tends to get on the lens...
 
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Steve
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#19
I use lens heaters as I shoot in very humid conditions. I use a "reptile heating cable", they are quite cheap and can be picked up at most pet stores. They are designed for mains power, which I use, but should work off 12 volt batteries as well. You will just need a higher power rating cable if you use 12V. A few coils wrapped around the lens should solve any dew problems. It will keep the lens a few degrees warmer than the surrounding air.

To explain how the problem happens:
The ambient air temperature rises and with it the moisture content of that air. The camera lens stays cool and thus cools the air touching it. If this cooling takes the air to below it's dew point, water will condense onto the lens. This usually happens for me soon after dawn. It may be different for astro-photography, but I know people do use similar methods for astro.
 
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#20
This sounds like a commercial option could be viable to produce, rather than the interesting DIY ideas.
Electrically heated insert in a lens hood, perhaps powered by USB power bank?
It must be mostly the final element which requires subtle heating.
The body is easy(ish) to minimise condensation by covering with something as simple as a towel
 
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gad-westy
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#21
This sounds like a commercial option could be viable to produce, rather than the interesting DIY ideas.
Electrically heated insert in a lens hood, perhaps powered by USB power bank?
It must be mostly the final element which requires subtle heating.
The body is easy(ish) to minimise condensation by covering with something as simple as a towel
It's funny you should mention this. I was going to pop back with an update. I've been experimenting a bit with various options but a while ago I ordered this on ebay:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dew-Heat...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

It arrived a little while ago and I can confirm, it works brilliantly. I'm not sure how long it will last, although there is nothing to suggest it is fragile. Not tested it in the field yet but will try to soon.

I may still ultimately revert to hand warmers to avoid faffing around with wires and powerbanks etc in the dark but, will see how I get on.
 
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#22
Following the comments above I bought some HotHands hand warmers. First pack I opened gave me 10 hours of nice warmth in my pocket.
2nd pack I opened were duds. Haven't tried the third pack yet, but I'll be carrying spares with me when I do. Not ideal.
 

StewartR

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#23
It's funny you should mention this. I was going to pop back with an update. I've been experimenting a bit with various options but a while ago I ordered this on ebay:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dew-Heater-Strip-DN30cm-5V-for-Telescopes-Camera-DSLR-Lens-Anti-fog-antifreeze/122832708196?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

It arrived a little while ago and I can confirm, it works brilliantly. I'm not sure how long it will last, although there is nothing to suggest it is fragile. Not tested it in the field yet but will try to soon.

I may still ultimately revert to hand warmers to avoid faffing around with wires and powerbanks etc in the dark but, will see how I get on.
Ooh, that's interesting. Presumably you use it with a power bank like you'd use to recharge a phone out in the field? How much power does it draw?
 
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gad-westy
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Graham
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#24
Ooh, that's interesting. Presumably you use it with a power bank like you'd use to recharge a phone out in the field? How much power does it draw?
Hmmm, I wasn't ready for a technical question! :)

Spec is 5v and less than 10w. I guess there is a nominal max current with USB? There's a rotary controller on there too so you can reduce power draw/heat. Don't know if that gives you anything to go off?

But, yes, it runs off a power bank. I'd like to try and use it in anger, maybe this weekend weather permitting. Was just going to bungee/cable tie the powerbank to the top of a tripod leg.
 
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StewartR

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#25
Spec is 5v and less than 10w. I guess there is a nominal max current with USB? There's a rotary controller on there too so you can reduce power draw/heat. Don't know if that gives you anything to go off?

But, yes, it runs off a power bank. I'd like to try and use it in anger, maybe this weekend weather permitting. Was just going to bungee/cable tie the powerbank to the top of a tripod leg.
Ta. My power bank is 10,000mAh (at 5V, presumably) so it should run a 10W device for up to 5 hours. That sounds plenty! I'll be interested to see how your trial goes.
 
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