In transmission electron microscopy (TEM) the interaction of an electron beam with polymers such as P3HT:PCBM photovoltaic nanocomposites results in electron beam damage, which is the most important factor limiting acquisition of structural or chemical data at high spatial resolution. Beam effects can vary depending on parameters such as electron dose rate, temperature during imaging, and the presence of water and oxygen in the sample. Furthermore, beam damage will occur at different length scales. To assess beam damage at the angstrom scale, we followed the intensity of P3HT and PCBM diffraction rings as a function of accumulated electron dose by acquiring dose series and varying the electron dose rate, sample preparation, and the temperature during acquisition. From this, we calculated a critical dose for diffraction experiments. In imaging mode, thin film deformation was assessed using the normalized cross-correlation coefficient, while mass loss was determined via changes in average intensity and standard deviation, also varying electron dose rate, sample preparation, and temperature during acquisition. The understanding of beam damage and the determination of critical electron doses provides a framework for future experiments to maximize the information content during the acquisition of images and diffraction patterns with (cryogenic) transmission electron microscopy.