All my Nikon equipment performs remarkably well in very cold and extreme conditions – down to minus 50 degrees Celsius. Cameras have survived getting sprayed with icy salt water and close encounters with any number of hard objects, including walrus tusks! As long as I'm able to maintain the battery power, systems such as high-speed motor drive and auto-focus all keep going. Well, the display may give up, but images files are safe.
The only real problems occurs when weather conditions make it difficult to handle the cameras carefully enough – for example if snow crystals manages to get into the camera during changes of lens or memory card. They are just as sharp and disastrous as sand grains! Or when I take a deep-frozen camera indoors and then outside again before it has a chance to thaw out completely. In both cases, moisture gets into the body and then freeze solid in the extreme cold, with the result that mirror and shutter stop working – but only temporarily!
Getting precise exposures in blinding snow is sometimes a difficult business, demanding exposure compensations up to plus one-and-a-half stops, using hand-held meters. With the D2Xs, it isn’t a problem any more – most of the times you can just aim, shoot and forget – The exposure meter is amazingly exact!
One last thing. If ever you should find yourself in an Arctic wasteland, with polar bears taking a worryingly close interest in your presence, you have a major problem. The whirring sound of an old-fashioned F5 on automatic film re-wind used to be the most efficient way to scare them off! With a modern digi camera in my hand, Elander says he's forced to rely on fire crackers, rubber bullets or shotgun blasts into the air, to get the upper hand!
Magnus Elander´s photo equipment:
2 camerabodies: D3 DIGITAL SLR CAMERAS
600MM F4D IF-ED AF-S II
200-400MM F4G IF-ED AF-S VR
300 mm F2,8 G ED AF-S VR
70-200MM F2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR
14-24MM F2,8 G IF-ED AF-S
105 mm 1:2,8 G ED AF-S Micro VR
60 mm 1:2,8 AF Micro
TC-14E AF-S II
TC-17E AF-S II
TC-20E AF-S II
2 Flashes: SB-800 AF TTL and a flashextending Fresnel-lens.
Tripods: Carbonfiber tripod from Gitzo, aluminium tripod from Manfrotto. ballheads and quick-fits from Arca Swiss.
Camera-bags and backpacks from Tamrac and Lightware
Waterproof cases from Kinetics and Pelican.
Nikon 10x42. HG L DCF
Spotting scope: Nikon ED 50 with 60 x magnification
Back-up hard disc in the field: Lacie 500 GB