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Will my nikons handle these conditions ?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Desmond, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. OK , this was taken in a snow cave with my S70 2 years ago but in August I am going to climb this same mountain [ Ruapehu New Zealand ] , there will be a ski competition where competitors have to climb three stages and ski back down . There will be other photography outfits there but i want to climb to the highest point nd get some decent shots of the competitors as they reach the top . It will be held regardless of weather . Now: I have the gear to protect myself I'm just not sure about the D50 and D80 . I bought a waterproof "sheath" for the 70-200 lens but was wondering if I shouldn't just take the D50 and 70-300G lens to be safe . I expect temperatures around -10 to +10 degress celcius . I can do something to protect them from water I'm just wondering about cold , what they can handle ?

    Canon PowerShot S70    ---    6mm    f/3.2    1/1000s   
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2009
  2. I have ZERO experience with those conditions; however, I would hate to go to all that trouble and not get the shot. My first thought is to put your gear in a freezer overnight and then see if any of it still works. Finding out that your lens won't stop down or your shutter won't release AFTER you make the climb would really suck.

  3. The batteries will be depleted faster in those conditions, so if you have more than one, always keep the other in a pocket on your person to keep it warm. I've shot several film bodies and the D200 and D2X in very cold temps (-25º F) and the main problem has always been that I can't get more than 10 or 15 shots before the battery goes.

    Here in the Rockies, the snow gets very dry at higher elevations, but since NZ is a narrower land mass, perhaps the snow on Ruapehu has more moisture content....?

  4. Last January I spent a week photographing in Banff, Alberta (Canadian Rockies). Temperatures ranged from -24C to -30C most days. I was using a D70s and 12-24mm, 85mm/1.4 and 10.5mm.

    The camera was exposed the whole time (I didn't attempt cover it up or keep it warm). Had no problems with the lenses. The body started to get a bit sluggish after a couple of hours in these temperatures (LCD, controls, slower autofocus on the screw lenses, etc), but kept working for the most part (but see below).

    I had to swap batteries occasionally, although I was able to get about 200 shots from a battery at these temperatures (but then the D70s is known for being a battery champ even under normal conditions). Eventually, after about 4-5 hours at these temperatures, the camera would started to malfunction (misfires, sticking shutter), just refusing to work properly, and even fresh batteries didn't help it much. It's also possible I got some snow into the body when changing lenses and then that melted and refroze on the shutter, so be careful about changing lenses.

    When I brought it back inside I used zip lock bags over the lenses/body to prevent condensation, and once warmed up, the camera started working okay and I was able to take it out again - next day of course, since I needed to warm up too :) 

    Your conditions may be different from what I experienced, but I'm thinking -10C should not be a problem if you take precautions (keeping batteries warm, using zip lock bags for condensation control, etc).
  5. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    I've said it a dozen times...I'll say it again.

    Nikon F3, F2,F, FE, FM
    Negative film.
    Who cares about batteries, we don't need no stinkin batteries.
  6. Desmond,

    While negative film does not run down in the cold, film was known to get brittle....:wink:

    In any event.

    I do a lot of shooting outside in the winter, frequently at very cold temperatures. The worst day was less than -30C, so -10 should be OK for your D50 and D80. (I use a D200).

    Spare batteries are a must, and keeping the batteries warm in an inner pocket is a good idea.

    As the cameras cold soak, performance can get sluggish, but at -10C I think it might take a while.

    Condensation is your biggest enemy, so remember to wrap them in plastic before bringing them into a warmer environment (and your tent/snow cave will be warmer, and more humid, even on the mountain). Ziplock bags work, or just a green garbage type bag around the camera.

    Look forward to seeing your shots from the competition.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2007
  7. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    i know someone who travelled by ship to antartica to take photos. but... it was pitch dark and there was no photo to take.
  8. vadimg


    May 23, 2007
    ny, ny
    I would also consider maybe bringing a light film body along as backup. I think it should work fine though, I would be mostly concerned about the lenses, there should be nothing wrong with the camera's electronics in cold conditions. The battery will run down faster ,though.
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