Nikon FM / FE in cold weather

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by MFstooges, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I am contemplating to bring either Nikon FM or FE to shoot this winter as backup. However, I had bad experience with my Nikon FM light meter showing erratic readings (around -6C to -10C) so being more electronic camera I assume Nikon FE may be less reliable, but I may be wrong.
    Any FM and FE user out there who can share cold weather tips? I already put the camera inside my jacket to warm it but it didn't help. The battery used was from CVS and they were fresh and had no problem when brought back to warm room.
    Also, I don't want to bring extra light meter since I like to travel light.
     
  2. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I have both an FM and FE. I use neither in winter here in Michigan for the reasons you've noted.
     
  3. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    I'm sure Nikon used to supply special battery packs for use in cold weather. The batteries go in a holder in your pocket with a lead to the camera. I'm not sure if one was offered for the FM and FE, but it wouldn't be too difficult to put something together.
    Alex
     
  4. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    The DB-2 anti-cold battery pack is suitable for both FM and FE cameras. It holds two AA cells.
    Alex
     
  5. leicarfcam

    leicarfcam Member

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    Any battery operated camera is going to suffer in cold weather.. I would go with a camera that is not dependent on batteries and use a selenium celled meter or you could make your own adapter and keep the batteries inside your jacket..
     
  6. Sean Mac

    Sean Mac Member

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    The DB 2 is the way to go for a FM.

    A long time ago I shot a wedding using a pair I had at the time. Two DB 2s would have been ideal as I found the onboard silver oxides have a duty cycle that won't take wedding photography in irish weather. Only time a FM2 ever showed signs of weakness for me.
     
  7. OP
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    MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    Ironically the day my FM failed, my main (Pentax P67II) failed too. And I had to pull out my Nikon D200 which ironically performed flawlessly, I assumed due to its plastic body that isolate the battery better than metal bodied FM and P67II.

    Regarding DB2, I prefer not to buy more accessories if I don't use very often. Besides, that thing is cumbersome and I think I can do the same job storing extra batteries inside my pocket and swaps whenever needed.
    I was thinking if you guys had better results from single 3v cell, or what do you think if I use MD2 with lithium AAs? Will the bigger AA stands cold better? At worst I can store extra MD tray in my pocket.
     
  8. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Member

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    FM doesn't use a MD-2 firstly. Secondly, like an F2, which uses the MD-2, there's no power provided to the light meter. The meter is powered by the cell in the battery. A lithium battery may work better than two S76's.

    In the winter, I never had problems shooting in cold weather with my gear, unless it involved ice and sliding on said ice. Maybe just take a selenium hand meter, or a more modern hand meter that uses a 9 volt battery. Run the FM without batteries, essentially turning it into a Nikkormat FS with a hot shoe.

    -J
     
  9. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    The FM/FM2/FM2n each should be compatible with the

    'Anti cold battery pack DB-2, which accepts two type AA-batteries'

    From FM user manual.

    I'd hazard the FE/... series are similarly compatible maybe others?
     
  10. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Nothing ironic about it and neither does the metal or plastic body have anything to do with it. The battery type does as lithiums have a much wider temperature tolerance and is the key.

    If you don't want to get the DB2 then you can use one CR-1/3N (or equivalent) 3V lithium cel instead of two 1.5V silver oxide batteries.
     
  11. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Yeap, the DB-2 can even be used with the EM as well as the F3. Any of the Nikon's bodies with 2x SR44 type batteries can use it.
    The cap where the normal batteries go is the same for all F3, FM/FE/FA series and the EM/FG/FG20 series.

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf3ver2/accessories/index.htm
     
  12. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Somehow I got logged out before my post registered. If I knew I would have to shoot in very cold weather I would use a Nikon F2 or a Canon F-1/F1n/Fi1N and carry a selenium meter. There are two issues with very cold weather. The first is the battery for the meter. The second is the shutter mechanism. The Nikon N90S, according to Ken Rockwell's site, has been used successfully with lithium AAs. It also had an MS-11 battery holder which took different lithuim batteries. Either lithium option should be good for cold weather. An N90S in working condition sells for very little and is more capable than any of the FE/FM series models, as long as you don't mind its weight and size.
     
  13. OP
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    MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    My P67II uses lithium P28L and still failed, so it is the plastic body and it is ironic because I expected the manual cameras to survive. However, I will try single 2L76 with the FM.


    I don't want to buy more accessories like DB2 let alone another camera. To tell you the truth, I regret selling my N90S, it is really a tough camera and beautifully designed.
     
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  15. trythis

    trythis Member

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    The F100 also has a bettery insert that can use cr123 batteries. Its called the Nikon MS 13.


    Sent with typotalk
     
  16. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    You didn't say what the "failure" was but it is most likely the battery in the cold for the FM's meter only and therefore not the FM as it "known" to continue to "work" without batteries.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    My Nikon FM2n and FM3a will work without any battery, all mechanically. The former model has proven the most reliable camera for certain of my climber friends with a lot of extreme Himalayan and arctic experience. Fancier cameras routinely fail. The less electronics the better. And cold is not an issue for me, since I use a handheld meter that can be kept warm in a pocket if needed. But for my nephews extreme arctic, Andean, and Himalayan expeditions, sometimes months at a time, I gave him a tiny little Pentax MX and it worked just fine. But he did need to learn to have an extra battery kept warm in a pocket. For my P67 I have a remote battery cable, though I've never actually used it. Most of my own cold weather shooting has been with view cameras, so the biggest trick is simply not to frost up the groundglass by breathing directly on it.
     
  18. HiHoSilver

    HiHoSilver Subscriber

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    'Can't say I've used it extensively in extreme cold, but my FE2 doesn't seem to mind much. Ice & wet in Columbia Gorge, saltwater mist in kayak. It does alot better than I do.
     
  19. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I didn't have a problem with my FE with the batteries in cold weather (-30C, in Winterpeg) as I kept the camera inside my jacket until needed. What I did have a problem with, was with the shutter sticking (1/125 became 1 second) as grease (or whatever keeps the shutter moving) could not handle the cold. After that episode, my FE constantly had shutter problems, even in warm weather. If I could take a photo within five seconds of cocking the shutter it would be alright, but more than that and the shutter would stick. I eventually replaced the camera as a result.
     
  20. OP
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    MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    It was said in the 1st post.
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A CLA with lubricants for your part of the world would have cleared up that problem. Any camera that was not used for years or had not been serviced in years can get sticky inside and jamb.
     
  22. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Yeah, I know. But FE's are cheap, so it wasn't a bit deal. I do have it mind to have the original camera CLA'd and re-lubed for cold weather shooting, but since living in Japan it's not really required as I never really travel to cold places during the winter - not only because of the camera, but also because I don't have good cold weather gear here either, and none of what's available in Japan (maybe outside of Hokkaido) is good enough by my Canadian standards.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    But you said that the problem occurred in Whinneypeg!
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Winterization is rather controversial, since the lube has to be all changed out again if the camera is used in warmer climates. But like I already related, certain basic mechanical 35mm's have proven themselves in sub-zero (F) conditions for months on end without winterization.
    And if in doubt, just use a goose-down cap as your camera bag.
     
  25. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    No doubt a good observation as opposed to the actual failure mechanism. However with the substitution of a lithium battery (2L76) you may find out for sure provided similar conditions apply. Good luck.
     
  26. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    The FM and FE perform flawlessly in extreme cold with the tint 3v batteries.
     
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