DSLR and Subzero Temperatures


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Jul 27, 2005
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#1
Hi,

My first post! :)

Anyway, I am thinking of getting a DSLR, either a Nikon D50 or D70s, for my up and coming trip to the Everest region in late November. Will be expecting very cold temperature and dusty, dry weather. Just wondering would all this high end electronics fail me. The rated temperature for the Nikons are from 0 to 40 degrees Celsius I think. During my previous trips to Nepal, I have seen many digital cameras failed at high altitude.

Thank you.
 

Firefox

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#2
Try shooting film instead.. Especially with a mechanical camera.. It's less likely to fail at low temperatures since you'd need it to fail mechanically rather than electronically.. Something like a Nikon FM2 will do fine.
You can still re-use the lenses after that with a D50/ D70.
You may also need to create an adaptor (a wooden stick with 2 metal plates for contacts will work fine) so that you can wire the battery for metering function out and leave the battery under your clothing where it can remain warm. Batteries have a problem with low temperatures..
 

idor

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Nov 11, 2004
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#3
I have tried a D70 in sub zero temp before.... no problems.... but you need to be aware of the following...

1. Rechargables run out of juice real fast.... Lithium is not that bad... so bring enough spares...
2. Flash seems to drain the battery real fast...
3. it is no fun taking pics on AF camera wearing gloves... try to buy those mittens that can convert to half finger gloves in an instant...
4. If you are not used to cold weather... you will notice that your camera shake is greater than usual
 

Jul 27, 2005
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#4
Hi Idor,

Thank you for your reply.

Did you bring additional lithium, or disposable AAs? I suppose you bought the AA battery holder for the D70.

I am expecting the temperature to fall below zero only at night. I don't think I will be taking photos at night! :) But I don't want to risk the camera failing semi-permanently.

Cheers.
 

Firefox

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Kusum Kangguru said:
Hi Idor,

Thank you for your reply.

Did you bring additional lithium, or disposable AAs? I suppose you bought the AA battery holder for the D70.

I am expecting the temperature to fall below zero only at night. I don't think I will be taking photos at night! :) But I don't want to risk the camera failing semi-permanently.

Cheers.
Lithium cells do lose charge a lot faster than alkalines or NiMH cells once the temperatures drop..
You may wish to use some kind of adaptor or AA battery cradle with a 3rd party battery grip with the D70 if you get one..
There may be an option to use DC power on the D70 (I'm not too sure). In which case, you can get an AA battery holder to hold rechargables while wiring it out to a DC plug for the camera. This allows you to place the batteries under your clothing and closer to your body where it's warmer..
 

idor

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#6
Kusum Kangguru said:
Hi Idor,

Thank you for your reply.

Did you bring additional lithium, or disposable AAs? I suppose you bought the AA battery holder for the D70.

I am expecting the temperature to fall below zero only at night. I don't think I will be taking photos at night! :) But I don't want to risk the camera failing semi-permanently.

Cheers.
What i did was this... I did not buy AA holder... i just bought 2 extra batteries for my camera body and car adapter to recharge my battery.... But I doubt that you will be driving so that option is not viable.... But since daytime the temperature is not that bad, I think you dun really need to take extreme measures... when you go out in the day... just remember to put the batteries in your pocket... so it is still kept warm... I will not be too worried about the AAs for flash though... they are available almost everywhere...
 

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#7
dun so stress... camera will function fine.

1. just dont go from sub zero into super humid warm area, will have mega condensation.
2. even worse, after mega condensation, bring back to the sub zero! the ice will crystalise, possibly inside as well, then the mechanical parts will kana sai.
3. bring lots of backup batts, battery life will be halved or more!!!

i brought b4 my s45 to sub zero b4. up to the point its impossible to hand hold the metal casing. if ur finger moist a bit will STICK to the metal!!

my g5 also tahan -30C for abt 4 hrs, no problems..

dun worrry!
 

medfor

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May 31, 2003
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#8
place the camera in a plastic bag before before moving from warm indoors to the cold outdoors and vice versa, this reduces the chances of condensation and freezing
 

Jul 27, 2005
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#9
Hi guys,

Thanks for all your wonderful contributions.

May I digress from the topic. I am thinking of getting a 18/28-200mm to replace the kit lens on the D50/D70s for the trip. I don't really want to change lens during the trip as the environment will be dusty and I will be dirty! During my previous trek to Everest BC, I didn't shower for 21 days! Any recommendation for a good and decently priced 18/28-200mm?

Couldn't decide between the D50 and the D70s. Is the DOF button and the Metering Mode button important? I thought the Metering Mode button would be quite useful as I have used spot metering sometimes to shoot silhoutte scenes. Unless the matrix metering on the Nikon is that intelligent.

Cheers.
 

Spectrum

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Jun 22, 2003
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#10
Firefox said:
Try shooting film instead.. Especially with a mechanical camera.. It's less likely to fail at low temperatures since you'd need it to fail mechanically rather than electronically.. Something like a Nikon FM2 will do fine.
You can still re-use the lenses after that with a D50/ D70.
You may also need to create an adaptor (a wooden stick with 2 metal plates for contacts will work fine) so that you can wire the battery for metering function out and leave the battery under your clothing where it can remain warm. Batteries have a problem with low temperatures..
Is there anyway possible way to show us how it works (sorry ah, my IQ is low)? Pictures or drawings? Thanks in advance.:)
 

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