Nikon D850 at the North Pole

PeterPeter Posts: 178Administrator
Sent by a reader: Nikon D850 at the North Pole

I went to the North Pole with Polarexplorers a company that does this sort of thing, we landed at Barneo ice base
that is really something, every year a Russian company sets up the base for a month tarting with parachuting a small team to clear a runway north of 89 and then the bring in other people and set up camp. People then shuttle in and out with a Russian AN40 STOL aircraft (see pics and movie which is frame two of the FLICKR) after that others arrive including me, some ski the lsast degree from 89-90 and others like me hop on the helicopter for a short flight to the Pole and to take it in.

The ice this year is thin- the season this year for the camp was only a few days more than 2 weeks and even with that the runway cracked. This is the Arctic Ocean, there is 10,000 feet of water under the ice, the ice is moving constantly cracking and forming pressure ridges (seen in photos) - All of the scientific measurements appear to indicate this is the thinnest ice and warmest Pole on record. It is still cold (-23 when I was at the Pole), but relatively it is much warmer and the ice much thinner. That picture file has a bunch of satellite data lifted from various government web sites for the day I was there showing how thin the ice was.

There are amazing Youtube on the Pole and Barneo ice base especially plane landing and treks to the pole if that interests you. A quick search brings it up.

As for the Nikon, I found the camera was a champ in the cold. I use a fixed lens, in this case a 50 mm F1.4 Nikon on the theory that a fixed lens seals the camera better than a zoom. I had extra batteries in an inside pocket something I learned from other arctic trips- like the 2015 total eclipse in Svalbard at 79 N (photos there too if you wish- that was a D810). I use heated liner gloves because cameras are too clumsy with down mittens- that works great even at -23. But I didn't use my extra battery the EL-15a functioned well and I shot a normal quantity of photos without switching batteries- I did not experience the rapid LiON cold death I have seen with prior versions of the battery.

I also use my D850 here in Tucson at more than 100 degrees and getting warmer- it works well there too. You have written and linked much about the camera's abilities- but I also think the cameras environmental tolerance is great with it functioning perfectly from the North Pole to the desert.

Not all pictures are from the D850 - there are some Nikon point and shoot as well but most are the D850 - few are HDR I shot because the dynamic range of all white is a problem so HDR does indeed help a bit.
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  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 711Member
    Thank you! Amazing photos.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited February 2019
    I can vouch for Nikon DSLRs being able to handle cold and ice. I have had my D810 and my D850 so frozen up that there literally was ice forming on the inside mirror. It still worked, but it was visible in the photos. After a nice warm up and a clean, they were good as new though. I also had saltwater in the D810, but taking good care of your camera gear means it can take this kind of treatment...

    The other day it was minus 43 degrees celsius here in Saskatoon, and the D850 worked fine for a while in the cold.
    Post edited by Killerbob on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,287Member
    It wasn't like I was going where it was going to have blizzard conditions, but I took my D7000 to South Korea in December 2018 and it performed quite well. In fact, other than the fact that it was cold, it didn't even snow while I was there. It got down to 22F or -7C. The only thing that was noticeably worse was battery performance, but that was to be expected. I bought the D7000 in 2013, and it's no spring chicken. For carrying only one original battery with no spare, I was able to go 2 days without charging, and that's not bad. Bringing a DSLR was actually a good idea, because it saved my hands from the frigid South Korean winter if I had only brought my phone. I did notice that when I had the camera out for a long time in the cold, the shutter seemed to have been slowing down even though in actuality there was no actual detriment in performance or noticeable lag. I felt like the mirror slap was slower than it normally was, perhaps because the grease was cold.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
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