Every photographers nightmare.
This afternoon I dropped one of my lenses onto the floor.
Don’t ask me how it happened. I have no idea.
One moment it was in my right hand, having taken it out of its case and I was about to fit it onto the D3 body. And the next moment it had slipped out of my hand, and was falling.
I only just resisted the temptation to stick my foot out to attempt to break its fall. I know from experience that when I’ve tried to do that in the past I’ve just made matters worse.
The lens hit the floor – front cap first with a sickening crash accompanied by the inevitable sound of tinkling glass. My heart sank.
One of my really good lenses. If it had been a relatively cheap AF 28-70 f4+, I wouldn’t have been quite so dismayed.
But it was my AF D 20-35 f2.8 ED IF.
A really good quality landscape wide angled lens.
I picked it up. The front cap had bounced off. The Hoya filter was now a black metal ring surrounding what appeared to be hundreds of small pieces of glass.
I looked at the lens, expecting to see the innards glaring back at me. Not a thing. Not a mark. It looked as good as the day it was bought.
I couldn’t believe it. I fitted it to the D3 body, expecting to look through the viewfinder to see thousands of tiny particles swirling around inside the lens.
No. It was as good as if it had never left my hand.
I took several shots with it. Perfect. It appeared that the lens itself was quite unperturbed by its collision with the floor. It didn’t even express any recriminations about having been dropped. It just viewed me, with its single eye, in exactly the same manner that it always has done so far.
I fitted a new filter to the front and checked the lens cap. That was OK too.
I know that I always maintain that Nikon pro lenses are unburstable, but it is such a relief when they prove themselves to be exactly that.
Oh ye of little faith.
Thank you Nikon. I will never say rude things about you ever again
It does also vindicate the use of a sacrificial filter on the front of a lens.
It’s two hours ago since I dropped the lens and my heartbeat has just about returned to normal. My insides still feel a bit queasy though.
Several years ago I saw a guy trip up a small flight of concrete steps adjacent to our local river lock gates. Around his neck was a brand new Canon strap to which was attached a brand new £5000 Canon camera body and attached to that was a brand new £2500 Canon lens. And both made an horrendous impact with the concrete steps. £7500 worth of kit smashed beyond repair. As he sat on the concrete steps, surrounded by the remains of his precious kit, his hands and leg cut and bloodied, he explained to me that he had only taken delivery of it the previous day, and this was his first time out with it.
He was a gentleman in his fifties, I would imagine, but he sat on the steps, desolated, and unashamedly cried his heart out. I felt so sorry for him.
I couldn’t have walked off and left him, even if I’d wanted to. I eventually walked back with him to his car, and only left him when he had assured me that he was OK to drive home.
I’ve never forgotten that event – and I don’t think I ever will.
The fairy-tale ending to that story is that I later spoke to him and his insurance company reimbursed him for the loss of his kit, under his home contents policy.
It is one of those occasions when, no matter how sympathetic you feel, you’re just so glad it has happened to someone else, and not yourself. Selfish, I know: but very human.
And today, it didn’t happen to me.