Cold temperature and lenses

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Slaphead, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    On Christmas day I was wandering around taking a few shots, and the temperature was around -1. Not excessively cold but a bit nippy. I'd taken about 30 or 40 photos when suddenly the autofocus stopped working (Nikon D40x with 18-55 kit lens). I could hear rapid clicks from the lens but the focus ring would not move - almost as if the gears driving the focus ring were slipping. The problem seemed to cure itself when I switched from Auto focus to Manual and then back again. At this point I needed to get back for dinner so I thought no more about it

    When I got back to where I was staying I immediately tested the camera, and I had exactly the same problem. This time switching the focus mode made no difference, but after about a minute It started working again. Since then then camera hasn't been in the cold and it's worked flawlessly. I can only assume that warming the camera up made the difference.

    I'm not overly concerned as I'm just about to pick up a D90 with an 18-200 lens (or D300 but cost and personal ability is a consideration here) and the 18-55 is not exactly an expensive lens, but the question is, is this this to be expected in cold temperatures?
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No. Especially not at warm temperatures like -1
     
  3. LiveWave

    LiveWave TPF Noob!

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    The 18-55 is a cheap kit lens, and I would not be surprised that it failed in such a gold environment. That's why all the higher end camera bodies, D300-->D3/D3x are all more expensive, not just the fact that the electronics are nicer and more features but they are all weather sealed with magnesium alloy, same with the more expensive lenses which are better sealed for cold conditions.
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    thirty degrees around, that should not have had that much of an impact on the lens. I don't know much about the newer equipment but I have read that the 18-55 kit lens is not the most well produced peice in the bag so I could be wrong.

    Now I have had issues with focusing lubericant freezing but that was around 10 degrees and below
     
  5. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No the 18-55 is not the best built lens. I have never had one sieze up like that though. I had the 18-55 when I bought my D50 and, it worked fine in cold temps.
     
  6. Patrick

    Patrick TPF Noob!

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    Never had a problem like that. I have more of a problem with condensation and battery drain. None at that warm of a temp. I could see that happening at 0 F or so.
    Cheap or not. That should have never happened.
     
  7. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for that. I thought that it was a bit unusual and not normal. The lens is still under warranty until February so I'll take it back when I pick up my new camera and lens.
     
  8. ryan7783

    ryan7783 TPF Noob!

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    -1? that's not even jacket weather. i don't even wear shoes unless it's -50 or less
     
  9. kyl3e

    kyl3e TPF Noob!

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    I was a on a snowmachine trip a few weeks ago, out doing some shoots for a snowmachine rider's sponsor. We were gone about eight hours a day, and the temperature was around -20, and I never had any problems with my D80 or my lens [18-135mm NIKKOR], so I would say that your lens is indeed malfunctioning.

    Also, yesterday it was -49 out and we were doing fireworks, and I still didn't have a problem. Definitely send it in and get it traded out.
     

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