I only had 2 previous experiences with cold climate; the most recent and coldest just 3 weeks ago in Germany between 0 and -7 degrees C. Frozen lakes, light snow and chilly breeze.
The Olympus E-300 with kit lens survived well. Brought a spare battery but hardly noticed any deterioration to their durability, if any.
Only problem is with the photographer; too cold to stay too long outdoor to take pictures. Thick gloves hard to manage the camera; exposing the trigger finger numbs it very quickly...if only can voice-control.
Helpful to bring along a polarizer for the snow and occasional clear sky. Enjoy your trip.
For shooting in cold climate, a non-metal body will help a lot. Zip it under your jacket but if it is too big or like woody woodpecker with the lens on, keep it in a well padded bag when not in used and last don't forget your gloves! Get one pair with good leather and will last you a long time.
don't worry too much. most cameras can take cold temeratures, at least mine did! Both my nikon F601(film) and sony s85(digital) not only survived -5 degrees, they performed as well as in sg conditions. oh, and i usually leave my s85 hanging on my neck then.
i doubt u really need to invest in an FM2 unless that you can know that you can't get electricity readily. (if you are using digital, that is)
By the way, which country are u planning for? (sorry, i very kaypoh... heehee)
How the digital cams perform depends on the capacity of the batteries and how cold it is. There will always be some drop in battery performance in cold country.
My old Coolpix loses all battery charge within 20min outdoor in Washington in -5 degree celsius condition. My Canon DLSRs can last far better, sometime up to 6 hours on non-stop use for each battery in 10 degree celsius condition. I always carry at least 2 batteries and AA-battery holders (for those nightmare moments when both die and I am within reach of convenience shop) for my DSLRs. I also keep spare batteries close to my body (in inner pouch of coats etc.).
I think FM2 is unnecessary unless 1) you can live without modern features like aufocus/metering/drive/instant review, 2) you will not be within reach of power supply for extended period, 3) you are going to really really cold places that go down to -30 degree (Siberia? Artic?).
Went trekking with my older son, and his group of army friends all crazy about photography to nepal. We were at the base camp of one of the (donno what funny name) mountains, when i noticed that the temperatures dropped to -20 Celcius. At night, a storm hit, which dropped the temperature further to -25 to -28 requiring EVERYPART of your body to be covered... my D1x dieded (battery, and didn't want to risk freezing it further), Son's friend's canon 1d mk 2 dieded with the sensor apparantly getting FROSTED over with his 17-40L aperture stuck... :cry: and all remaining point and shoots not working.
Nonetheless, the trip turned out quite bad due to the storm which saw almost ALL of our group's 30 over cameras kicking the bucket.
I think it's worth mentioning that the only cameras to survive up to the 3rd camp were these ones: My backup F4s, a F5 belonging to someone else, an RTS III, a venerable OM-1 & AE-1 and a disposable kodak 35mm :lovegrin:
Cameras within our group that passed away (battery issues, circuits, etc)
Nikon: 1x, d100, d70, n80
Canon: 1d mk 2, 10d, elan, f1n(dropped it), eos 1v. (stuck mirror) and my son's eos 5.
I think most imptly, carry spare batteries, and if your camera offers u the chance of using normal batteries OVER the lithium ones, USE IT, as the lithium batts have low voltages which cause them to discharge rapidly in cold weather. Keep the cameras UNDER your jacket, and use heat packs in your camera bag.
Also, as mentioned above in another post, snow becomes WATER when it falls on your lense/camera depending on the temperature. So, be careful... seen a work partner of mine get h20 inside his L lense when he chionged to take pictures of a ski event without lense "clothing."