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Backups and Shout-outs

Last Saturday while shooting Heather & Nick’s wedding in St. Charles, I had two cameras go down on me in quick succession.   This is a story about why having back-up cameras is critical, and the advantage of having two photographers.  Obviously you can only carry around so much gear on your person, so having two photographers each with a set of backups is highly advantageous if you have a run of bad luck.  In my case it was my D700 that first started giving me issues.  A weird symptom of my hotshoe mounted flash firing randomly, and emitting weird pulses.  It wasn’t the flash, I had seen the exact same thing happen to Melissa’s D700, and had heard of it happening to other photographers.  We had sent Melissa’s D700 in to be serviced by Nikon (which took forever I might add), and since it’s been back it’s thus far remained solid.  So last Saturday when the problem began to manifest itself I just put it away and decided to just shoot the whole event on a D3.  All of that was going fine until I tripped on some granite stairs and dropped the D3.  Now the D3 is pretty much built like a tank, and luckily it didn’t drop on the lens.  It just dropped on the only other vulnerable spot… the hotshoe.  I didn’t even notice the damage until I went to put a flash on it and noticed that a corner of the shoe was bent in.  Anyhow… the show went on.  The D3 was fine so long as I wasn’t shooting flash (which I don’t use really until the reception rolls around).  So I made it through most of the day and grabbed Melissa’s backup to shoot the reception with.

We returned to Portland that Sunday night, and first thing the next morning (yes I actually got up in the MORNING to take care of it) I started the scramble to secure two cameras for the next weekend.  The downside to shooting destination weddings is if you rent an extra body locally you end up paying for days you don’t need, and if you rent in your destination city you have to contend with returning the equipment when you’re done.  Plus for some reason renting camera bodies is much more expensive than renting lenses, even if they are of similar value.  You have to do what you have to do though, so I secured two rentals and started checking around with my friends who shoot Nikon.

I decided to see if the guys over at Authorized Photo Repair (they also are called Authorized Photo Service) in Morton Grove, IL might be able to rush the job.  These guys are really, really fast.  They also do excellent work.  So I overnighted the camera bodies to them Monday, and they received them Tuesday.  The work was done Thursday, and I picked them up today.  I ended up getting to cancel my rentals, and my cameras are as good as new for tomorrow’s wedding.  Not only do they do excellent repair work, they also cleaned my sensors too.  They were completely accommodating with my time crunch, and obviously take pride in their work.  Big ups to APS!  From now on all my repairs are going to them instead of Nikon.

Speaking of which, I contacted Nikon regarding the D700 hotshoe issue.  Same symptoms in two cameras, and I’ve talked to a couple of other people who have had the same thing happen.  Nikon’s official response?  It’s a coincidence.  Yeah sorry, but NO!  I still of course want to be officially sponsored by Nikon, but their response to the D700 issue was disappointing.  If anyone else has had the same issue with their cameras let me know, I’d be curious to see how far reaching it is.  The D700 is an enormously popular camera, and a great value for the price.  So there are a lot of them out there.

Thanks again to APS for making my life a lot easier!

– Josh

What a Nikon hospital looks like.

  • Phil - November 29, 2010 - 5:42 am

    Thanks for the good words about NPS. I had the hot shoe issue on two of my D700’s. Another photog buddy here in Dallas had it in his two.

    I think this is the norm and not the exception. I, like you had to pay for the repair of what I believe is an obvious design flaw.ReplyCancel

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