Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
dj_paige
dj_paige Senior Member • Posts: 2,321
Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
1

At the Nikon web site, I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

-- hide signature --

Paige Miller

Nikon Z6
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
24Peter
24Peter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,586
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
4

dj_paige wrote:

At the Nikon web site, I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

OMG - Buffalo - I went to UB for grad school!

I'd say don't worry about it. I've shot Niagara Falls at night when they were frozen and the temps hovered around 0 F without issue - well other than the fact that I was the only idiot out there and nearly froze to death!

Now I will admit this was with a DSLR from another brand - but the listed specs for that camera were similar to those you quoted. The LCD worked fine. I'm not sure how low ambient temps impact the EVF on a mirrorless camera. Maybe someone else will chime in on that particular issue.

I'm guessing Nikon and other manufacturers are conservative when it comes to stating an operating temp range. Honestly, if you're out shooting in temps above 0 F, I think the biggest issue you will face is battery life. Keep a couple of spares in an inside pocket and you should be fine. These are pro grade cameras advertised to a wide range of users. Just imagine if places like Northern Europe couldn't use their cameras either for half the year!

 24Peter's gear list:24Peter's gear list
Nikon Z50 Nikon Z6
ZapperVT Contributing Member • Posts: 843
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
4

dj_paige wrote:

At the Nikon web site, I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

I have the Z50 that has the same specs and it works fine much colder and hotter.

All the Nikons seem to have those temp specs.  Even the D6.

I'm an electronics design engineer (design computer chips).  Temp specs like these generally mean that all the specification listed will be met over these temperatures for every unit shipped.  These specs are generally conservative.  For example:

  • Most units shipped will outperform the specs.
  • The units generally work acceptably well outside the temperature range, even if there are exceptions to the specifications.  For example, battery life will be less at cold temperatures.  High speed operations may lead to overheating at higher temperatures.
  • Also, engineers don't tend to spec things that they don't test.  I often get customer questions like "what will happen if I operate your chip at 150C even though it's spec'ed for 125C".  I say, it will almost certainly work fine, but we don't test it so we can't guarantee it.   Probably the same here.
 ZapperVT's gear list:ZapperVT's gear list
Nikon Z50 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +11 more
ZapperVT Contributing Member • Posts: 843
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
2

The tip about keeping a warm battery handy is a good one.  I had a D50 go a bit wonky once shooting around 0F.  But it recovered with a battery change and worked the rest of the day.

I think the biggest problem shooting cold isn't the temperature per se, but the condensation that can occur on the electronics going from a warm humid indoor environment to a cold outdoor environment (or back again).  I think that's what happened to the D50.  One approach is to let the camera acclimate to the cold for a while before shooting.

 ZapperVT's gear list:ZapperVT's gear list
Nikon Z50 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +11 more
kenw
kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 6,323
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
1

ZapperVT wrote:

dj_paige wrote:

At the Nikon web site, I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

I have the Z50 that has the same specs and it works fine much colder and hotter.

All the Nikons seem to have those temp specs. Even the D6.

I'm an electronics design engineer (design computer chips). Temp specs like these generally mean that all the specification listed will be met over these temperatures for every unit shipped. These specs are generally conservative. For example:

  • Most units shipped will outperform the specs.
  • The units generally work acceptably well outside the temperature range, even if there are exceptions to the specifications. For example, battery life will be less at cold temperatures. High speed operations may lead to overheating at higher temperatures.
  • Also, engineers don't tend to spec things that they don't test. I often get customer questions like "what will happen if I operate your chip at 150C even though it's spec'ed for 125C". I say, it will almost certainly work fine, but we don't test it so we can't guarantee it. Probably the same here.

Yes, this.

Also an important distinction for most electronics is there is a big difference on the cold end of things between operating in a cold ambient when the equipment is already warm (e.g. taking the camera out of the house or car) and actually turning on the equipment when “cold soaked” down to the ambient (e.g. leaving the camera turned off on a tripod outdoors for hours and then turning it on).

Because electronics self heat effectively usually they operate just fine to temperatures well below their specifications as long as they weren’t cold soaked.

But again, especially on the cold side of things, usually ranges are set by what was tested or modeled as a worst case rather than what the actual limits are.

-- hide signature --

Ken W
See profile for equipment list

 kenw's gear list:kenw's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Olympus E-M5 II Nikon Z7 Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 Nikon Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR +37 more
EricTheAstroJunkie Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
4

I've shot the Z7 down to -10F with a windchill around -20F for several hours with no issue in Bryce Canyon, I've shot well below freezing many many times over my years of ownership. The stated range by Nikon is hyper conservative, you should have no issue at all except possibly lens frost/dew formation.

 EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list:EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D7000 Nikon D200 Nikon Z7 Nikon D5300 +14 more
EricTheAstroJunkie Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
2

Going INTO the cold environment from a warm environment is not the issue (only thing that is worth thinking about is the change in focus that will occur as the lens acclimates to the colder environment, make sure you check focus often if there is a large change in temperature from when you start to when you finish). The condensation issue you have to worry about is going from a cold environment to a warm environment rapidly, condensation can and will form in the lens and the camera, you need to put your camera/lens in a ziplock bag prior to bring it back into a warm environment that way the condensation forms on the inside of the bag and not the lens/camera.

 EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list:EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D7000 Nikon D200 Nikon Z7 Nikon D5300 +14 more
ZapperVT Contributing Member • Posts: 843
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures

EricTheAstroJunkie wrote:

Going INTO the cold environment from a warm environment is not the issue (only thing that is worth thinking about is the change in focus that will occur as the lens acclimates to the colder environment, make sure you check focus often if there is a large change in temperature from when you start to when you finish). The condensation issue you have to worry about is going from a cold environment to a warm environment rapidly, condensation can and will form in the lens and the camera, you need to put your camera/lens in a ziplock bag prior to bring it back into a warm environment that way the condensation forms on the inside of the bag and not the lens/camera.

This is outside my area of expertise.  I definitely agree with the problem of coming in from the cold.  However, I do not see why the opposite - going out into the cold - might cause a condensation problem.

The camera will start out full of warm, hot air.  If that air is not quickly exchanged with cool dry air, then it will cool down inside the camera.  When it cools, the moisture it contains will condense out.  If it's still inside the camera, the condensation will also be inside the camera.

I've twice had cameras suffer momentary brain freeze under such conditions.  Once, with the D50 mentioned above. The second was an RX100 that I took out as I summited a high mountain.  The air temp dropped about 20 degrees as I ascended above the treeline to the windy summit.  The camera lost its brains and the SD card got corrupted.  Darn!  It was a great view up there!

Recently I had my 16-80mm suffer temporary disfunction on a rainy day as the temperature dropped.  It recovered fully when warmed up in the sun the next morning.

A bunch of anecdotes is not proof, I know.

 ZapperVT's gear list:ZapperVT's gear list
Nikon Z50 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G +11 more
Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,350
Nikon Z on Mt. Everest Series
1

dj_paige wrote:

At the Nikon web site , I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

https://www.youtube.com/c/nikonusa/search?query=everest

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,104
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures

ZapperVT wrote:

The camera will start out full of warm, hot air. If that air is not quickly exchanged with cool dry air, then it will cool down inside the camera. When it cools, the moisture it contains will condense out. If it's still inside the camera, the condensation will also be inside the camera.

A bunch of anecdotes is not proof, I know.

I think your scenario is plausible. I've seen condensation inside lenses when going out in cold weather. If it's happening in the lens, it could be happening in the camera body as well.

 j_photo's gear list:j_photo's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 II
srisrinis New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
1

dj_paige wrote:

At the Nikon web site, I found that the Z 5, Z 6 and Z 6ii technical specifications list the operating temperature at 32 to 104 def F. As I live in Buffalo, NY, this would imply that I wouldn't be able to use the camera half of the winter.

Has anyone used one of these cameras in sub-freezing temps? Does it seem to operate normally?

Please check the below utuber who uses the Z cameras in extreme cold. He claims that Nikon D850 stopped functioning from -35 degrees however Z6 worked without issues till -42 degrees (he said that he is surprised with that).

His claims comes around 11:30 min..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B19xo7B1KHU&t=5724s

 srisrinis's gear list:srisrinis's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8
EricTheAstroJunkie Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
1

ZapperVT wrote:

EricTheAstroJunkie wrote:

Going INTO the cold environment from a warm environment is not the issue (only thing that is worth thinking about is the change in focus that will occur as the lens acclimates to the colder environment, make sure you check focus often if there is a large change in temperature from when you start to when you finish). The condensation issue you have to worry about is going from a cold environment to a warm environment rapidly, condensation can and will form in the lens and the camera, you need to put your camera/lens in a ziplock bag prior to bring it back into a warm environment that way the condensation forms on the inside of the bag and not the lens/camera.

This is outside my area of expertise. I definitely agree with the problem of coming in from the cold. However, I do not see why the opposite - going out into the cold - might cause a condensation problem.

The camera will start out full of warm, hot air. If that air is not quickly exchanged with cool dry air, then it will cool down inside the camera. When it cools, the moisture it contains will condense out. If it's still inside the camera, the condensation will also be inside the camera.

I've twice had cameras suffer momentary brain freeze under such conditions. Once, with the D50 mentioned above. The second was an RX100 that I took out as I summited a high mountain. The air temp dropped about 20 degrees as I ascended above the treeline to the windy summit. The camera lost its brains and the SD card got corrupted. Darn! It was a great view up there!

Recently I had my 16-80mm suffer temporary disfunction on a rainy day as the temperature dropped. It recovered fully when warmed up in the sun the next morning.

A bunch of anecdotes is not proof, I know.

I suppose it depends on the relative humidity of the warm environment vs the cold environment, if there really is that much moisture in the air in the warm environment you could theoretically have condensation when going from warm to cold. FWIW, another anecdotal experience, in all the years I've done astrophotography (which involves a whole lot of taking warm equipment into cold temperatures) I've never had condensation form during that transition period. I have had a whole lot of condensation form over the long imaging sessions however, after the camera has acclimated, and during the transition from cold to warm.

 EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list:EricTheAstroJunkie's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D7000 Nikon D200 Nikon Z7 Nikon D5300 +14 more
dj_paige
OP dj_paige Senior Member • Posts: 2,321
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures

kenw wrote:

ZapperVT wrote:

I have the Z50 that has the same specs and it works fine much colder and hotter.

All the Nikons seem to have those temp specs. Even the D6.

I'm an electronics design engineer (design computer chips). Temp specs like these generally mean that all the specification listed will be met over these temperatures for every unit shipped. These specs are generally conservative. For example:

  • Most units shipped will outperform the specs.
  • The units generally work acceptably well outside the temperature range, even if there are exceptions to the specifications. For example, battery life will be less at cold temperatures. High speed operations may lead to overheating at higher temperatures.
  • Also, engineers don't tend to spec things that they don't test. I often get customer questions like "what will happen if I operate your chip at 150C even though it's spec'ed for 125C". I say, it will almost certainly work fine, but we don't test it so we can't guarantee it. Probably the same here.

Yes, this.

Also an important distinction for most electronics is there is a big difference on the cold end of things between operating in a cold ambient when the equipment is already warm (e.g. taking the camera out of the house or car) and actually turning on the equipment when “cold soaked” down to the ambient (e.g. leaving the camera turned off on a tripod outdoors for hours and then turning it on).

Because electronics self heat effectively usually they operate just fine to temperatures well below their specifications as long as they weren’t cold soaked.

But again, especially on the cold side of things, usually ranges are set by what was tested or modeled as a worst case rather than what the actual limits are.

Great info, KenW and ZapperVT. Thank you, very helpful!

-- hide signature --

Paige Miller

sebulban Forum Member • Posts: 70
No problems in extreme cold temps for Z6

Condensation from warm to cold could basically happen only from your breath.

As you outhale consist a lot of humid air the relative humidity will be close to 100% on freezing temperatures and the condensation happens always first on the coldest point (front of the lens)

My Z6 has worked really well up to -35ish degree celsius. I always leave my cameras in the bag when coming in from cold weather. I never had any issues since the days of D50..

 sebulban's gear list:sebulban's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC +6 more
dj_paige
OP dj_paige Senior Member • Posts: 2,321
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures
1

I want to thank everyone who contributed. I learn so much from this forum! I have a Nikon D7000, so there's a lot to learn about my upcoming translation to mirrorless.

-- hide signature --

Paige Miller

Digital Shutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 5,192
Re: Nikon Z Cameras operating environment temperatures

dj_paige wrote:

I want to thank everyone who contributed. I learn so much from this forum! I have a Nikon D7000, so there's a lot to learn about my upcoming translation to mirrorless.

Most of the conversation has revolved around the electronic components. I don't believe that is the biggest issue. Remember that you have quite a few moving parts in the camera, and also the lens. However, mirrorless cameras have fewer moving parts than DSLRs due to the lack of the mirror assembly.

Lubricants have become far superior to those we had just 10 or 15 years ago. We have lubricants that can protect moving parts at really low temperatures without thickening up and locking up movement. Of course, not all lubricants are acceptable in a camera or lens due to lubricant creep in higher temperatures.

Cameras can handle low temperatures better than this old man. Funny how that wasn't a problem 30 years ago. As brought out in video links of Z cameras being successfully used on mountain treks, I don't think you will have any problems within the temperature range most of us would be willing to spend time. Batteries become the limiting factor. That's easily taken care of.

So, lubrication is probably not a major concern, and not the number one concern. Just remember electronics and condensation are not the only issues.

-- hide signature --

Steve

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads