Chances are that it's more comfortable in low temperatures than you are! My Nikons - all of them except the D3 - have been out and fully functional in temperatures down to about 0F, and a couple of them have been down to -10F. The things you have to account for are battery life, and what happens when you come back into warmth. The only reason that the D3 hasn't been down below 10F is that we haven't had any of those temperatures since I got it. The reason that the others haven't been below -10F is that *I* won't go out in those temps!
The battery is a chemical reaction that slows in low temps, so keeping a second battery in your pocket close to your skin will allow you to swap and keep going. Not a big deal as long as you have two.
Going back inside is an occasion that may promote condensation. To be safe, put the gear in a ziploc bag as you bring it inside and let it warm up for a half an hour. Then the condensation will be on the outside of the bag, and not on your lens and viewfinder.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
THere will be zero problems in that weather range -- I shoot almost every day all winter in Michigan and half the winter it's between 5 and 20 degrees, there is absolutely NO problem shooting at that temperature.
I had my 700 out in -20 deg C (-4 F), and was surprised that the fully charged battery was almost empty after 3 hours and a dozen or so photos. It recovered when warmed up, but it's definitely worth having a second battery kept warm in a pocket if it gets that cold. Other minor issues were sluggish LCD response, and lumpy zoom ring on the 70-200, but nothing that interfered with shooting.
I used the D300 in minus 40 Celius while on a research icebreaker in the Arctic two winters back. With the wind it was likely more like minus 50. As others have noted you need to have a spare battery ducked close to your body. I had to switch after 20 minutes.
What others haven't noted is the problem flicking the catch to open the battery chamber. In those sorts of temps fingers are numbed pretty fast when you remove them from the innermost gloves. (They're even numb inside triple gloves after a while!)
A fellow photog (from the Magnum agency) had the same problem switching the batteries in his C****. He came up with an ingenious solution. An ordinary wood screw hung by a shoelace from your neck. Grip the screw by the shaft and angle the head to flip the catch on the battery cover. Works like a charm. The battery doesn't fall out because of the intergal catch in the design,
So far here in Ottawa this winter temps haven't gone much below minus 25 C so I haven't had the chance to test the D700 (acquired after the Arctic trip) But I have little doubt it will function just as well as the D300.
By the way, be careful about putting any metal part of the camera against skin on your face. I got a mild touch of frostbite on my nose.
Peter Calamai, Ottawa, Canada photographer since 1955 Nikon 1976, digital Aug 2006
Gary I think your camera will be fine. When I was over there in November at Ayeres Rock it was at least 106 and may have been 110-112 F, with no problems. The real question is at what temperature do you melt?
Gary remember that Global Warming addresses "climate change" which is the long term trend in weather, while "weather" relates to near term local conditions. Many people don't get this and think that local conditions like our latest frigid weather somehow proves that global warming is not real.
Well I have only recently purchased a D700 but if it functions anything like the D300 you can expect get some strange results when your camera does "freeze" up. I was up in arctic (Eureka, north 80 lat.) in late October 2010 and it was about -32 not including wind chill. I was out for about 60 mins. taking some pics of the musk ox and wolves in the area when the camera stopped working. My initial thought was that the batt died but after putting the camera under my parka for about 10 mins all was working again. Below is the last photo the camera captured before it "froze".
That is a very "interesting result" Randy. I have pushed my D300 very hard over the last 3 winters somewhat routinely at -20C and some occasional shooting days -30C, close to what you were dealing with.
I must admit though in my case my winter shooting has pretty much always had the MB-D10 mounted which makes a night and day difference. With D300 hogging the grip my D700 goes naked but is not shot as heavily.
Anyhow I appreciate your post, I have never seen anything quite like that!
Hylos -- The condensation issue on returning to a warm place has been well addressed. Putting a bag of silica gel in with the camera and LENSES (don't forget them!) will help as well. Concerning extra batteries, I carry five of them. In cold weather I carry all of them in a pocket closest to my skin. If you can when not shooting, you may be able to tuck your camera under your coat. That will buy you added time in the cold. 10-15 degrees should not be a problem at all, but it will probably be humid as your unseasonal snow starts to melt around Atlanta. Again, you need to watch the condensation issue on returning to a warm room.
Concerning the heat issue, Gary, my D1X functioned just fine in Iraq at temperatures consistantly in the 120-125 range in 2003. You'll melt before it will!
I concur with most the above, last winter on Sakhalin Island (E.Siberia island above Japan) I spent a few days out in the -10C and lower temps with no issues excepting having to watch out for fogging when getting in/out of a warm vehicle. Batteries are no issue if you keep one in an inner pocket and the 24-70 and 70-200 seemed to love the cold.