Want a robust camera?

Then buy a Nikon D80! I wanted to blog about this for months but never got to finally telling the story that happened on my last vacation, when my camera and lens both survived a 5-meter-crash. The lens is a Sigma by the way.

I guess this is the nightmare of any photographer: Standing on a (insert anything large here) and the camera slipping out of your hands.

Trying to take this photo­

Exactly this happened on our last vacation in Sweden. We were visiting the Tiveden national park, a really awesome virgin forest in the middle of the country. I was standing on a huge 5-meter-high rock to take a picture of a small lake embedded in the trees below that rock. I had the camera on a belt around my neck but I had to take it off to take that picture. And then it happened: My beloved and still so young Nikon slipped through my fingers (no idea how that happened).

The Rock
The Rock
It felt like what people keep telling, who survived a fall, as if time stops, there are so many things going through your head. My thought was: "Stand still, it's over, you won't catch it anymore." And so it happened. Almost in slow-mo I saw my camera whirling through the air, hitting the rock three times like a ball on the floor on its way down, pong, pong, pong. Me standing like a pillar of salt, watching my camera getting smaller and smaller.­

­My girlfriend who watched the whole scenario from below the rock saw what I didn't see: below that rock there was a swamp. She cried "Quick! It's sinking in the mud!" But all I could think and say was: "So what?"

But then I braced myself, slipped down the rock, did not fall into the mud which actually wasn't that bad, that the camera really could have sunken so fast, and finally reached the pieces of my cam. Pieces? Wait, it still seems to be in one piece. Surprised I grabbed it from the reed where it touched down and investigated the body. I noticed a few scratches, but didn't find any large parts missing or obvious major damage. I noticed a dent a the tip of the lens. This is still an optical device, I thought, all the lenses must have cracked. But I couldn't even see a single scratch. The LCD screens were still intact too.

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Mini ditch at the lens­
­"You're making fun of me!" I said to the camera, my girlfriend looking concerned rather about my mental health than the camera's. "You look sane, but I bet nothing works anymore." Hm, the zoom still seemed to work, just a bit tighter than before. The camera still turned on. Looking though the view-finder I couldn't notice a single scratch or crack. I took a photo. It worked. I couldn't believe that this camera and even the lens survived such a crash, but I didn't experience any problems since then. ­

My legs were still turned to jelly, but I was happy as hell that I didn't lose the whole cam, or all the vacation pictures. You can guess that I kept the cam tied tightly to my backpack for the remaining trip.

The moral of the story: if you need a really robust DLR, buy a Nikon D80 and a Sigma DC 18-200mm zoom lens.