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Pushing the Limits with Nikon in Harbin

-28 degrees Celsius.

I’m not just pushing my equipment to the limits, but also me. My human resistance to such extreme temperatures was tested to the max. I wore multiple clothing and yet couldn’t possibly tame nature’s coldness. I can vouch that the Nikon equipment (click here for >> Nikon Website) was able to withstand the sub-human temperature. I brought along a Nikon D3, Nikkor AFS 17-35mm 2.8 and Nikkor AFS 70-200 2.8 VRII and all performed as if it was just an ordinary day in the tropics. Except for probably 2-3 black frames in continuous mode (9fps) out of the thousands of raw shots, I don’t know how did it came about, but I think it was just a bit too extreme for the equipment to work flawlessly as the operating temperature range for most Nikon DSLRs is from 0 – 40 degrees Celsius. Pushing it to work under -28 degrees Celsius is way beyond the normal range, and it’s really something I can praise about Nikon. It further boosted my confidence on this brand and I can really rely on my Nikon equipment no matter what the job at hand requires me to do so. And I have to note that my fear of losing the battery life quickly was not really a factor. I brought along one extra battery, and whole day & night shooting in extreme temperatures did not affect much the batteries. I just made sure I kept the spare battery close to my inner clothing to keep as warm as it can be. Shooting with a glove was a challenge, I couldn’t remove it even for just 10 seconds, or else the coldness will start to creep in to my system, and I’ll break down first before Nikon does, LOL! Overall, it was a good experience.

Let’s keep pushing the limits!


Harbin, China

Harbin, China

Photographer’s note: F/4, 1/125, ISO 500, Nikon D3, Nikkor AFS 17-35mm 2.8


Harbin, China

Harbin, China

Photographer’s note: F/4, 1/60, ISO 1100, Nikon D3, Nikkor AFS 17-35mm 2.8


Harbin, China

Harbin, China

Photographer’s note: F/4, 1/160, ISO 400, Nikon D3, Nikkor AFS 17-35mm 2.8

Feel free to interact with my blog articles, either by adding a comment below this article, or drop me an email. Thanks for reading! Keep clickin’ -Kindest, Dave

  • Ursula - Hi Dave

    Just read your article on your Harbin visit 26 March 2012. I’m going there in Jan 2013 with my canon 5D Mk3 and I’ve been anxious about how it will cope with the weather. So its reassuring to hear about your Nikon.

    Do you have any other tips about protecting the camera from the cold? Did you have it in a plastic bag (I read about that in a blog), did you have any condensation problems? How did you carry your camera around – did you have it in another other protection other than your normal camera bag?

    Also I was planning on wearing wool gloves inside ski mittens (as I know my mittens are extremely warm). The problem is that I might need to take my mitten off to use my camera (haven’t tried it yet with a mitten on!) – were you wearing any underglove once you took your glove off as you mention your hands freezing.

    Thanks for your time


  • xdayv - Ursula Hi,

    I was there actually on January too. It’s probably the coldest month. I would assume the 5D Mark III will be able to withstand the weather of Harbin. To answer your questions:

    1. I brought only a Lowepro toploader bag and had trash bags kept inside. But the trash bags were never used. I brought the camera bare without any added protection when out shooting.

    2. Fortunately I didn’t have any condensation problems. The tip I can give is not to subject the equipment to sudden changes in temperature – like if you are out shooting then suddenly you’ll go in a coffee shop. If I had to go in the coffee shop, I didn’t put back my gear back to the bag, I almost always have the camera out. And if there is an area to transition the temperature change, I would spend a few minutes in there – like probably in a canopy or near the door entrance.

    3. I had some challenges in shooting with gloves, so I had few occasions where I really have to remove my gloves for a few seconds to shoot. I also did most my settings while inside. I think you’ll need your ski mittens!

    4. Bring extra batteries, I never had problems with the battery,
    I tucked it in between my overcoat and thermal shirts inside to keep it as warm as possible.

    5. Have fun! Share some photos after…ReplyCancel

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