I have a Canon XSi, with the kit lens and a Canon 50 compact macro with the converter. At some point before the trip I also plan on buying a telephoto.

This coming January, I will be headed to Germany and Switzerland and in particular the Alps. I hope to bring my gear along(I don't know if I will need the super macro gear, but you never know). My concerns are the temperatures and the elevation.

My first question, is if I will experience any problems with this gear. Last year, in the same area I had a Canon S2IS get an E8 error. I understand that this error just occurs after a while, but it happened while I was standing on a bridge overlooking Neuschwanstein Castle, so if it was a coincidence, it was a really frustrating one.

My second question is fairly contingent on the first, if I will experience these issues, how to protect against them? What kind of precautions can I take ahead of time to prevent them and deal with them if they occur.

Thanks in advance!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I might of missed an obvious tag, if so, don't be afraid to suggest one, or just go ahead and add it! :D \$\endgroup\$
    – BBischof
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


I was in Germany and Switzerland in the Alps with my canon gear and it was fine.

If you expect to take your gear from extreme weather conditions, say from normal room temps to freezing or below--when coming back into warm weather, stick your camera lenses in a sealed ziplock bag to prevent condensation from building up on your lens. After the lens has warmed up to room temp--should take an hour or two, pull it out and let it and the ziplock bag air out (so you can shoot again!).

I was in Sweden and Finland in the dead of winter in temps well below freezing and using the ziplock bag trick, I had no issues.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I did read about the ziplock trick, I am glad something that simple worked for you. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – BBischof
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's also a good idea to take it out of the bag once it's warmed up to room temperature (which takes an hour or two). You may have gotten snow on it, or some residual condensation, and letting the camera air out overnight will keep that from becoming a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – ex-ms
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @matt: Good point. Updated answer to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan
    Aug 11, 2010 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I live in Sweden and have rarely had any problems with condensation. I carry my camera bag wherever I go, so it has been out in temperatures below -30°C sometimes. :) Although, good advice if you want to be careful and aren't used to the conditions so that you know what it does to the equipment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Guffa
    Aug 11, 2010 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Guffa: You profile says you've got a (weather-sealed) 5D Mk II and weather-sealed L lenses, which might behave a bit differently than Rebel XSi. (Even though our EOS 350D has been to the Alps a few times in only a camera bag with a bit o silica gel and had no apparent problems.) \$\endgroup\$
    – che
    Aug 11, 2010 at 21:42

Another good tip is to keep a spare battery (or two) in a warm inside pocket. Lithium batteries suffer horribly in the cold, but will revive a little as they warm up. Apart from having a fresh battery, you can swap back and forth for a bit of extra juice.

A related trick is to keep your camera under your coat. This does depend on how you're dressed, as it can cause problems with condensation if you're not layering your clothing, or if you've put on too much and are sweating heavily. But it does work; it's how I kept my camera alive in the Yukon in the middle of winter.


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