Viewing winter scenes online may look magical but for the photographer it takes a lot of effort and skill to execute. When shooting in sub-zero temperatures it’s an endless problem with the lens fogging up and constant job keeping it clear. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to no avail, placing thermal hats, scarfs around the lens, basically anything to keep the lens warm- which isn’t ideal especially if it’s windy. If you use a tripod this will exacerbate the issue as the camera is away from any body heat. Hot and humid regions are also problematic – When leaving an air conditioned car or building then head outdoors with your camera when it’s hot. Whether it’s moving from a cold to warm environment or vice versa, the drastic change in temperature will cause your lens to fog up. In simple terms, condensation will cause your lens to fog-up, thus dramatically reducing the image quality.
Allow me to introduce to you a brand new product designed by Haida – An innovative and perfect solution for astrophotography and extreme temperature photography. It’s an Anti-fog belt – Companied with a USB port and lovely soft grey pouch so you can put it in your bag easily and conveniently. Boasting three individual heat settings – Low ( 35-45°)- Medium (45-55°)- High (55-65°) and can withstand -40℃ low temperature. Simply wraps around the outside of your camera lens ( held securely in place with Velcro) to avoid fog on your lens and plugs into a power source- (I used a drone battery as a power bank). Not to forget Haida’s signature colour-Red!
Example photo’s below when using the Haida Anti-fog belt would be advantageous.
Lets geek out on why lenses fogs up?
When the temperature of the lens or lens with filter on gets cold the water vapour in the air condenses on it, in other words creates condensation. Same principle when your bathroom mirror fogs up when having a hot shower or when you take a cold drink out of the refrigerator on a hot day. Similarly, to what we learnt in Chemistry at School- Condensation is the opposite to evaporation- rather than water molecules transforming from liquid into a gas in a process known as vaporisation, the water changes instead from a gas in the air back into a liquid form.
Your camera body will generate some heat which will prevent condensation from forming on the inside, but the lens is a different story. In particular, a build-up of condensation behind the actual lens over a period of time could result in the growth of mould. Needless to say, mould will destroy the internal workings of your lens. Or, even worse, condensation on your lens freezing up! Yes, it can actually happen!
Top-tip from personal experience- In these extreme polar opposite conditions always remember before you retreat indoors to put your camera in a camera bag when you’ve finished photographing. If possible leave it in the bag for a good 12 hours. If you’re inpatient to view your images just remove the SD card. This allows your gear to slowly thermalize whilst avoiding condensation.
It’s all about the Dew-point
If you’re anything like me a little OCD with preparing for a photo trip- Weather forecast Apps tend to be top of your list? Whether you’re heading to the Arctic or Maldives, both can create big problems for your camera in terms of condensation. Knowing the dew point temperature (which can also be found on most decent websites/Apps) for each location should be high up on your list too and help you prepare for what the weather may throw at you- Be it sun, wind, rain, fog/mist, snow, frost and sand-dust- This will tell you what temperature condensation is expected to form. Condensation is created when the outer casing of your lens is cooled below what is known as the ‘dew point’ of the air inside. The dew point is simply the temperature at which the air inside your lens is no longer able to hold all of the water vapour, meaning that some of it will need to be released back into its liquid form. As such, the water vapour changes back into moisture, causing beading and fogginess to appear on the inside elements of your lens without oftentimes you even realising until you later check through your images horrified with that feeling of “the end of the world”.
Screenshot of my favourite weather App Clear Outside including Dew point temperatures.
I clearly remember a night earlier this year when I gave up and retreated home as it was too cold not only for my hands but became an endless battle with lens fogging up, I couldn’t keep up wiping the lens with a microfibre cloth. I was not happy at all and let me assure you I’m not one to give up easily.
Haida adopted a new technology material “Graphene” (heating material) which produces evenly heat distribution in a safe/stable manner.
- Fits any lens.
- Light-weight & convenient.
- Starts heating up in only a few seconds.
- Remembering to have a full charged power pack with you.
- Careful not to knock the focusing ring whilst attaching the belt.
Unfortunately, at this moment in time it’s British summer time- Here in the far north of Scotland it’s pretty much daylight all the time and temperatures are a steady 10-20 degrees Celsius, making it impossible to replicate extreme temperatures or do any Astrophotography. However, come September Milky-way & Aurora season will begin- Followed by a few months later when temperatures start plummeting. Last winter was very cold, reaching minus 28 degrees Celsius at home. I will continue to add my thoughts to this evaluation as conditions allow. Watch this space for more updates!
All in all, I really do think this will be a popular and welcomed tool for many outdoor photographers. Certainly solved a common problem for myself. Hopefully, I’ll achieve more keepers in the mountains next winter and be even more enjoyable.
All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .
I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021