Author Topic: Nikon Cameras in the Cold  (Read 17461 times)

Øivind Tøien

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  • Fairbanks, Alaska
Re: Nikon Cameras in the Cold
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2018, 02:38:57 »
Wow... Very interesting post and definitely keeping me away from those northern parts when such temperatures arises !!!!
Last time I went trough minus 30° was in January in Khiva in Ouzbekistan. Several other people had their film that broke because of winding motors, while my FM2n with manual advance allowed me to wind the film slowly enough. We were not clothed for such a cold and did visit the city almost running... That was before the digital era !

I'm much more a hot weather guy and have a profound respect for those like you that braves those white lands... :D

Yes, film breaking in the cold with too fast winding was a well known problem in those days, although I did not have much problems with my F4.

Credit for the link of course goes to Stefan Christmann for sharing his experiences overwintering at those very southern  ;) latitudes.
Øivind Tøien

old school snapper

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    • overland travel photography
Re: Nikon Cameras in the Cold
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2020, 15:46:30 »
Great in-depth post!
I'm still using a few classic Nikon lenses. I'm heading into -20C to-35C temps to "try" and capture images of snow leopards in the Himalaya. Is it insane to take an 800 f/5.6 AI-s tank into this environment? I'm not concerned about the weight. The lens survived +50C in the That desert for a month with no issues. Dabbing the lens with a drop of water immediately evaporated into steam - that's how hot it was.
I don't want to destroy this lens. I had a 400mm f/3.5 AI that had sadly cracked the front glass in sub-zero temps.
On this journey, I need all the reach I can get, the 800 hasn't let me down - as yet, touch wood.
Any helpful replies are appreciated.

The 2nd snap was captured during a mid-summer heat wave, the temp was actually between 50C - 52C, there were no signs of melting grease in the 800, the lens & body handled the extreme heat ok.

3rd snap - an AF-S 600 f/4 that received fungus in the Amazon. The probable cause was extreme humid conditions (32C/90F'80% humidity). During that journey, the lens was never demounted, or placed in air-con rooms. Since then, large fresh silica-gel packs are placed in camera-bags.   

4th Snap 08 Feb 2020
one of 700+ images capturing the snow leopard wading through virgin snow - Spiti Valley
Altitude 4400M (14440 ft) temp -15C
Lens - Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 ED-IF AI-s Body D3S 12 MP

5th Snap Jan~Feb 2020
Reaching Spiti Valley through mid-winter travelling overland will certainly test your patience and equipment. An 800mm MF Nikkor lens, AF-s 200-400 VRII & 14-24mm attached with bodies (D3S/D3/D800) were transported overland from Calcutta to Kaza by train, car, van, & 4x4, and back again covering 4600 Kms (2860 miles)
3 days were lost due to heavy snow fall blocking the road route to Kaza.
The photo-gear was used at elevation levels between 3800-4450 metres in sub-zero temperatures for 3 weeks without any issues. Snow leopards, blue sheep, foxes, golden eagles, and griffon were captured during the visit. My room in Kaza had an average temp between -2C to +2C which helped lenses thaw-out without condensation problems.
Cell phones failed quickly beyond -15C, point & shoot Sony RX100 V batteries drained in a few minutes @ -23C, The D3 & D3S bodies worked consecutively in temps 6 hours each day using new OEM batteries. The Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 AI-s lens (1986-2005) worked flawlessly in sub-zero temps from -12C to -25C.
Image - a hospital thermometer @4200M (13800 ft) recording the temperature @-20C