Focus Freeze


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Jan 23, 2008
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S.W. Montana
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I have been trying to use my Nikon D2Xs outdoors in the cold weather and it stops focusing within about 5 to 10 min. The rest of the camera seems to function properly. I have a D100 for a back up that works but isn’t 1/2 the camera. I have made sure it is not building up condensation. Battery power isn’t the problem, I carry a few extras. I thought at first it may be a lens problem but the result is the same with other lenses. I need it to work in the cold air for portrait and sport photos. Is there any advice for cold weather use?
Welcome to the forum

Are you certain that it's not the batteries? Cold weather will suck the power right out of a battery...especially Lithium batteries. You need to keep the spares warm as well. Keep them in a pocket that is inside your jacket, close to your body.

I suppose the cold could also be affecting the focus motors & gears etc., have you tried various lenses to see if any are worse than others?
what's the temperture, it shouldn't stop focusing unless it's like -80F
Batteries are fully charged when I leave on a shoot. I always keep them warm. I set up my lighting first then if needed and start shooting. The focus works as expected for about 5 to 10 min. then will focus down to a blur and stop functioning. If I manually focus it, the camera will some time draw the focus back to close range and stop there.
Seem to have the same result with all lenses. I prefer my 1.8 85mm when doing portrait work. So that is usually the lens on.
The camera is less than a year old as well as all the batteries.
This has happened at 20 F and at -10 F.
The camera is less than a year old as well as all the batteries.
Should still be under warranty then?

I'd call Nikon and see what they have to say. Maybe it needs to be sent in for a look over.
I'm waiting on a reply from Nikon. I'll see what they have on the subject some time.
Just fishing for possible fixes now.
I'll let you know what Nikon says, just hope it is not to use it in the cold. Kind of spendy camera body for just a sunny day camera.

Thanks for the input!!
I did get a reply from Nikon and this is pretty much what they said.
My camera has a operating temperature of 0 to 40 C and most digital cameras have similar specs.
That's BS. Many people shoot in colder temp than that. For the most part, they only put that in the specs, so that they can cover their @sses.

Maybe you will just need to find a way to keep the camera warm while shooting outside in the cold. Maybe those glove warmer packs?
Not a bad idea on the warmers. Maybe I'll have a jacket for the camera sewn up with warmer pockets.
That's BS.

No that's a rating. In fact the point that this is it's operating range and the OP's point doesn't work outside it just proves it is in fact not BS.

It's nothing to do with covering their @sses. It's simply figuring out statistically how the camera fails under various conditions and then setting an arbitrary line to suit how many cameras you get to service because someone wants to use it in extreme weather.

If your camera works outside the rating which I am sure many do then good for you, but don't blame the manufacturer for providing a rating which was just clearly proven to be accurate.

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