It was -9 degrees the other day at our house, so I thought that would be a great first trial of the Z9 in cold weather. Not Fairbanks cold, but cold enough that snow was crunching and feathery ice crystals were on our windows. I spent 7 straight hours with the camera outside each day, and spent two mornings in subzero temps.
The Z9 was basically a frozen block after a few hours in these temps.
Here is the short summary…the Z9 worked perfectly. No funny LCD readouts, no quick battery drain, no autofocus slump. If you can actually find out what temperature your camera is rated to, chances are it is in the teens or higher. The D6 had an operating temp down to 32 degrees…way conservative in my book, I have shot this camera at -20, it works like a champ. The Z9 has a minimum operating temp of 15 degrees, even better than the D6. So I would expect great cold weather performance…but with all that amazing autofocus and bright EVF going at full speed, you might think cold would affect it.
But I can say at subzero single digits I had no problems. I was really curious to see how the battery held up. It did go down one bar while shooting for 7 hours, but excellent battery performance overall. And if you have been shooting a D5 or D6, chances are you have a few extra batteries you can use with your Z9.
I’m pretty focused on cold weather shooting. Cree and I spend weeks every year in Alaska in the winter, and things can get really cold. And at our home in Colorado we always get subzero temps in the winter. Another cold weather benefit of the Z9 is the ten pin terminal and the ability to screw in the MC 30a cable release. My technique for photographing northern lights at -20 and colder involves pre-focusing my lens, and then using a cable release while wearing down mittens.
My camera got some snow on it during the shoot, no issues here, it is so cold you can just blow it off. I was using the new FTZII adapter on my 600mm, and it focused perfectly. In very low light and contrast I was using 3D tracking to put the focus point right on the bird. 3D then would stick on this, and tighten down to the eyeball when there was detail. I’ve shot in our backyard birds blinds for many hours, but I am getting shots I never have before due to the incredible autofocus.
I’ll post another Z9 update later this week. More testing to come!