Operating in (very) low temperatures

CitizenDCitizenD Posts: 29Member
edited October 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hi everyone,

I am having a trek in Chile in the next few weeks, which will involve low to very low temperatures, a few Celsius degrees to well below 0°C ( -15°C + wind). I will be sleeping in a tent, where the temp could be -10°C some days depending on the altitude.

I know I will have to keep the batteries near my body, or in the sleeping bag at night, to prevent from discharging.
But I have a D7100, & the manual indicates 0°C as a min temperature ; I am thus wondering what precautions to take in the 2 following situations :
- a few degrees above 0 (as per what nikon indicates in the manual, this is ok for the camera)
- a dozen degrees below 0, supposedly not compliant with the camera (nor the lenses ?)

any hint or experience in such conditions ?
thanks a lot for your feedback or advices
Post edited by CitizenD on


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator
    If you type in 'low temperatures' in the search box, you would have got this post on the old forum. This info is still relevant, even though you can't post on the thread:


    Always learning.
  • CitizenDCitizenD Posts: 29Member
    Thanks for the quick answer spraynpray.
    I actually did a search and found that thread, but I do not know for which reason, I stopped reading when i saw the temperature range indicated in the question ; yet, all is indeed in the thread.

  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Wow, Chile!!! You are in for a huge treat my friend.

    As the other thread mentioned your camera will be fine in such temperatures. Keep condensation in mind when moving between cold and warm temps and carry spare batteries if you can as they will drain faster than normal especially for long exposures at night. Trust me, you will be doing long exposures to capture Chile's beautiful night skies!! (I'm assuming you will be visiting the north of the country).

    Two years ago I rode a motorcycle from Canada to Chile (and beyond). I didn't trek much but ended up spending 2 months with my bike in Chile, also sleeping in my tent at times. Definitely one of my favorite countries out of the entire trip!

    Arriving in Chile. You can see my tripod strapped in. :) 30,000+ kms hanging out in the back, exposed to rain, dust, hail, snow and sand... yet the Gitzo was perfect!

    Just me and my bike and my tent under the stars. At Bahia Inglesa.

    Moon party with new friends in the Atacama desert, where the temp drops like a rock at night

    Riding in minus temps is no fun, but the cameras did just fine

    In Patagonia it gets really cold. I just passed a snow plow when I decided to stop. You should've seen the snow plow driver's reaction when he saw me and my bike in these temps, haha.

    The scenery in Chile is spectacular!!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @Ade: What an adventure. You truly are a mad man riding in such environments. Great pictures by they way.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    @Ade - Impressive journey and nice images!
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I'm not as adventurous as Ade on his BMW bike, but have traveled Chile from the desert of Arica to the port cities of Vaparariso and Vina del mar and Santiago and others. It was over several years and for work, but Chile is a great place.

    @ Ade - Terrific shots!

    Have a great time!

    My best,

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited October 2013
    I could not help myself...Wyoming, I think, in 2008...
    "The Midwest"

    About as close to Chile as I got on this trip....LOL

    OK, lowest I have ridden was about 300 miles at -2°C.....

    Are you on a bike CitizenD?
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Very nice @Msmoto, what kind of bike is that??

    I hope at -10C CitizenD will not be on a bike! I gave myself the luxury of checking into hostels when it was really cold. :)

    @MikeGunter I think you have a base in Ecuador? I probably rode by your place without knowing it...
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    My old D80 survived in -8C temps for several hours, numerous times and the D7100 is a far better made camera, so as others have said, it should be fine.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator

    Suzuki DL1000, lowered, stiffened,heated grips, Pelican custom cases, LED Flashing stop light, HID Headlights, Sirius radio, phone, and several plugins for heated vests, battery charger, and of course open exhaust....this was a 7,000 solo trip to Portland, Oregon, coming back through Mike Gunter's country...Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park. My last cross country at age 66.....LOL.
    Oh, the first 300 miles were in a heavy downpour...but my Aerostich suit kept me dry and warm.
    Msmoto, mod
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I've generally found that either film or digital cameras are tough at -20F without any problems. Some years ago, I called Sony about a documentary we were ask to work on with an Inuit nation in Barrow, Alaska that didn't go happen about how well the cameras would work on a boat at -40 C/F (that's where the temps meet) and the tech fellow said that that temp fell out of the camera's specifications - but I've used Sonys and Nikons at near such temperatures without much consequence other than terrible battery performance and condensation which is more of coming indoors.

    @Ade - There's little doubt that you and I have traveled the same highways, just not at the same time. My job in the US Army (uniformed) and US Air Force (civilian) had me travel to all Spanish-speaking countries for short and extended times. A couple of extended times were in remote bivouac encampments.

    My wife and I hope to spend time each year in Ecuador or Buenos Aires when she retires. There are too many places to visit to settle for one.

    My best,

  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Lowest I got my D80 to was 25degrees. Worked like a charm! I did regret not wearing gloves that day tho...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited October 2013
    A friend of mine was following the Yukon Quest dog race, had gotten himself on a small Cessna, and was hanging out the door of the plane, capturing dog mushers at -50F. With the wind chill factor I guess it was closer to -120F. His FM2/T worked flawlessly for all of the 10 minutes he needed it, but of course there were no batteries involved.

    Later he switched to an F4, or was it an F5, with an external power pack, and that didn't work, and it was back to good ol' trusty FM2/T...

    His equipment was more resilient than he himself was, and he actually got frostbite on many occasions...

    Great pictures though:)
    Post edited by Killerbob on
Sign In or Register to comment.