Fuji; Out in the Cold

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Maybe it’s because I had been using fully weather-sealed (semi-)pro bodies and lenses from Nikon for the past 5 years, or simply because I live in Canada, but I don’t ever give a second thought to bringing my camera gear out in the temperatures we get during the winter.

 The forecast in Québec City. The Saturday before was actually significantly colder. Still no trouble with the X-E2. 

The forecast in Québec City. The Saturday before was actually significantly colder. Still no trouble with the X-E2. 

I was recently chatting with a few people on Twitter about using Fuji cameras in the cold. It seems there is some hesitation to do so at temperatures at around -10˚C. There were also remarks about Fuji cameras not being “freeze proof”. Fuji cameras are comparably sensitive to water and humidity for sure, but I didn’t know for certain what, if any, ill effects shooting in cold temperatures might bring.

Based on my experience, they hold up just fine in the cold. A few weeks ago my wife and I spent some time in Québec City. It was cold there. Real cold. The temperature was as low as -28˚C, and colder with the windchill. It was cold enough that after ⅔ of the day, our iPhones would shut themselves down while trying to take pictures, even with around 60% battery. My Fuji X-E2 wasn’t even phased by it.

More recently while doing a bunch of testing for another site of mine, I’ve been in the -20s for well over an hour, snapping photographs at all apertures, using the menus, swapping lenses, turning the ND filter on and off. I haven’t seen any sign of the cameras (X-E1 and 2, X100S) having difficulty. They lasted much longer in the chilly lakefront winds than I did.

Perhaps most impressively, fellow Torontonian shooter, Spencer Wynn tweeted out this kite rig photo at 250 feet, in a snowstorm, at -12˚C (without the windchill). In Spencer’s words, “worked like a charm!”

 Toronto snow storm as captured by Spencer Wynn’s kite rig, and his trusty X100S.

Toronto snow storm as captured by Spencer Wynn’s kite rig, and his trusty X100S.

I was doing some more shooting earlier this morning—once again in the frigid temps of this polar vortex nonsense—when I thought to write this post. It also occurred to me that manufacturers typically publish this sort of specification on their websites. According to Fujifilm Canada, the X-E2’s recommended operating temperature is 0˚C - 40˚C. Same goes for the X100S, and even the X-Pro1.

Given my experience with their cameras, I can only conclude Fuji are being extremely conservative on the low end, but don’t blame me if your Fuji happens to succumb to equally frosty weather. Maybe your best bet is to wait for that weather-sealed Fuji X camera to come out. ;-) Until then, not cold, nor wind chills, nor polar vortexes will stop me from shooting this winter. See you outside!

Posted on January 9, 2014 and filed under Photography.