Nikon D3s camera falls from a motorcycle, continues to shoot

Shahrizan Jeffri Aziz dropped his Nikon D3s with a 300mm f/2.8 lens from a motorcycle while shooting the Le Tour Langkawi in Malaysia. Only the battery door and the burst mode were broken. With the help of some duct tape, the camera continued to work. Later in the race, the D3s was also exposed to rain for 4 hours but the photographer was able to successfully complete his assignment. You can hear the whole story in this video:

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  • My dear D300 felt a few times and still working like a charm….
    Nikon is really “robust build quality”.

    • NikkorPM

      This falling of a motorcycle is an interesting rumor. I don’t believe it for a second.

      I’m sure the admin will bust it.

      • Bad_Bike2

        I would think that a pro photographer would have second back-up camera that he could have used instead of his cell phone to take these pictures.

        Just saying.

        • @Bad_Bike2 – the two images in the post are screenshots taken by me from the video, I do this because some readers may not have access to youtube (for technical or political reasons).

      • I agree with NikkorPM, just imagine the inertia of a D3 with a 300mm (assuming its a 2.8), even if the motobike will be stop (but again he said that he was at full speed !), the shock, will bend easily the lens mount of the camera itself, and not a single scratch on all the other parts of the camera…. Come on !

    • Gen

      How waterproof are these weather sealed cameras? IE D300 and up?
      Nikon support would only say mist/dust and told me not to stay out in the rain, but some think rain is ok. which one is it?

      • RThomas

        Well, my D300 got fully immersed in a creek in Costa Rica in 2009 (I slipped while trying to walk across some slippery rocks). It needed a little help drying out but it kept on shooting for the rest of the trip and two years later still works fine. Also on the same trip, the same D300 and my 50mm f/1.4 AF-D got seriously rained on and also continued to work fine. I did everything I could to keep them dry but in that environment, if you are using a camera it will get wet (there is a reason it’s called a rain forest).

  • shuteru

    And yet here I am with a D7000 that is dead straight out of the box that was sent to Nikon for repairs and now Nikon can’t find it.

    • You get what you pay for 😉

      • Mock Kenwell


      • Ano Nymousse


      • While very tongue-in-cheek and funny, this is a very valid point to an extent.

        While it’s true your camera should work right out of the box, it is a consumer item. Pro equipment is priced because it HAS to perform.

      • A D7000 is not a cheap camera (unless you’re filthy rich), and one should reasonably expect it to work well for at least five years. No company should have the licence to sell things over €1000 and then making them fall short of expectations, not even Nikon. There should be better reasons than ‘it works’ to buy a D3s, methinks.

    • R R

      Good Luck with your camera , sorry to hear that.

    • chuck

      No, this should be absolutely unacceptable. Not “you get what you pay for”

    • Mike

      Having a dead camera out-of-the-box is not acceptable, nor is Nikon not being able to locate it, but you DO get what you pay for. A D7000 is a $1200 enthusiast camera that I can buy at my drug store, the D3s is a $5000 professional camera. They are very different beasts. It’s amazing that the D3s survived, but it should be capable of withstanding a fair amount of abuse. The lens surviving is even more incredible.

      • Schnipp

        The lens didn’t survive, after the crash he could only use his 16-35 and 70-200.

      • enesunkie

        Mike, You must have some pretty cool drug stores in your city, but in mine, a D7000 can only be bought at a few electronics/photo stores.

      • Hari

        I bought a D7000 last week and I am loving it!
        Shocked to hear that it is a ‘cheap’ camera, you are making me cry 🙁
        Hope this won’t make me want to buy a D700 soon.

        • luka pogorelz

          the d700 is nothing better than the d7000, not even in noise.
          You made a good choice.

    • Alfred

      Wow! Sorry to hear that! I don’t think it’s a matter of “you get what you pay for”. The D7000 is a great caliber DSLR in the consumer range. AND it’s NOT a cheap $$ camera!!! Although there are small manufacturing inconsistencies I’ve never seen one DOA out of the box… I think you were just unlucky… Your camera was probably made on a Friday before the long weekend or holiday and guy just wanted to leave early… I’m pointing a finger at everyone here… you’ve all done it in one way or another at least once or will do it at least once in your lifetime.

      Would you buy a car of your choosing if you knew it was the last car to roll off the assembly line on New Years Eve at the expected selling price?

  • Lainer

    Love Nikon. This just seals the deal even more. 🙂

  • Vladi

    Im taking my D90 to Thailand next month, hope it can survive the humidity and dust. Or i might take my backup D80 instead, going to travel light so can take only one camera.

    • Sam

      It’ll be fine in the humidity. I took my D5000 over there (and Singapore) last June and apart from lens fogging (from going inside an air conditioned building to out in the heat) I didn’t have any issue.

    • busynbored

      Don’t worry, I am sure plenty of D90s live in Thailand!

    • Alfred

      Thailand, nice :o) I was there last year in April. It was brutally humid! If you’re walking around, don’t worry too much about the dust… with the humidity so high; particles are less electro attracted to the camera body than if you were rally racing across a dry desert.

      The D90 is a tough camera but remember that the camera will “sweat” (condensate) going BOTH in and out of the hotel due to the extremes of air conditioning and humidity. Let the camera climatize (acclimate) while in the case if possible. This way condensation will collect on the outside of the bag and not the camera.

      For added piece of mind; get some silica gel desiccant for the inside of your camera bag. The desiccant will “eat” up any extra moisture trapped in the bag when you close it up. You really should always keep desiccant in your camera bag for this purpose. It’s good for the lens and the electronics.

      Just a little trivia here… most serious amateurs living in highly humid places will store their camera equipment in air tight “dry boxes” with desiccant inside. There’s no market in North America for dry boxes but you can do the same thing with Pelican Cases, air tight coolers or even large tuber ware from a hardware store. I don’t live in a place where humidity is a big problem but like you I made a sizable investment in camera equipment.

      Enjoy Thailand! :o)

    • Lucky

      It’s MADE IN THAILAND for goodness sake and if it does work there, wonder where it would. Although I’m not 100% sure every D90 is made there, but mine is.

      • harry couvert

        so is my 3-part suit with overcoat, all made from wool
        but do you see anybody wearing it on the local vegetable market?

    • Kaze kaze

      +1 for letting the camera stay in the case and get-used-to the environment before taking it out when going between extreme changes and +1 for silica gel, other variations are bamboo charcoal and by-product, or cat-sand in a stocking (your choise really).
      Having a humid-meter will give you an idea of the “live” humidity level, don’t be suprise to find it above 80% constant, unless say you are inside a fully “weather controlled air-con room” such as airport ‘s main-frame comp room.
      Having a soft-cloth to wipe off the excess “sweat” will come in handy too should the unfortunate happen.

    • Young

      Lol FYI there are many people living in tropical countries (me included) and our DSLRs (mine is a D90) work as good as they should

  • holy cow!

    this really shows how great the nikon built quality is, hands down the harder construction pays itself when you can still use your camera after such a big accident

    … my question is with a strap in the camera and the lens… Why the hell didn’t he use any of those if he was riding a motorcycle? That part of the story is just stupid, take care of your gear!!!

    • Or why he didn’t take at least a D90 as a backup camera. Still, the D3s continues to be everyone’s dream camera!

    • WoutK89

      Why not to strap a camera or lens to yourself when on a motorcycle? It can get caught somewhere and drag you off the motorcycle. There are probably other reasons as well, but also reasons enough why strap them (like a back up body on your shoulder, where else to keep it?)

      • mate i have been taking pictures under really extreme situations and if you do one single loop of the strap around your wrist will give you both time to grab it or leave it

        can you explain if your are riding in the back of a motorcycle howcome can the strap get caught onto something that wouldn’t take you down you, the camera and whoever is driving at once? and in which angle would this happen? dude i dont know your photography background but trust me you are talking about an impossible situation, thats it

        • WoutK89

          Did I say it will get caught? NO, keep your cool, any situation is possible. My background for extreme situations is (rubber)boat oriented, as getting caught with anything on a boat is more catastrophic than a motorcycle, but still, it was what popped to mind first.

        • WoutK89

          And why didnt you react as strong on Char below here, he said exactly the same as me?

        • Anon

          There is clearly a strap on the camera, unless he put it on afterwards, and he doesn’t mention doing so.

          Also, even with straps, there are times when you don’t use the full strap, or forget to use it while trying to get a shot, etc. etc. The shot is the moneymaker.

          A single loop round the wrist can catch and throw you at the speeds you’re talking about on a bike. Especially if you’re caught unawares because you’re looking out for a shot or trying to get one.

          Bottom line, shit happens, and a strap won’t always help.

  • Zim

    For $5,000 it better work!!

    Hey Shuteru if the camera didn’t work right out of the box why not just take it back for a new one?

    • gt

      For $5000, it better work after a violent motorcycle accident where the camera hit the pavement unprotected — followed by being showered in 4 hours of hard rain?

      I’d say for $5000 – that’s effing impressive. There’s no expectation that a camera should be able to withstand an accident of that sort + being drenched in water.

      That’s above and beyond what I think most people would expect — even at that price point.

      • Jimmy Lamont

        No, it’s the flagship model from Nikon. It’s weathersealed, made partly of metal – and it costs as much as a decent used car. IMO, it had better work for $5500.
        If I dropped it off the side of a cliff, into the torrid rapids…maybe not. Into a fjord from 500 feet up…not so much. But a high speed tumble, yeah.

        That being said, if you were to drop a $40k Hasselblad, I’d bet it doesn’t work, so perhaps I’m being presumptuous.

        At any rate, very cool vid.

        • gt

          haha yeah, I guess we all have different expectations.

          There’s very few electronics I’d demand to continue to work after being involved in a motorcycle accident — even if they’re $5000.

          And, to take your analogy further, even a $5000 used car would never survive a “highspeed tumble” LOL

          but to each their own! Thankfully, I’m sure neither of us will ever need to test our expectations 😉

  • miguelito

    Totally awesome!

  • So he dropped a 5k camera and a 5k lens and is happy the camera works?

    Sounds like he needs a 50 dollar strap

    • Char

      Not really. Had he had a strap, and then dropped the camera wit the 300/2.8 into the strap, it might have pulled him off the motorcycle. You cannot pay for that with 5000$. Better a dead camera than a dead or injured photographer.

  • I wonder what the repair bill for that will be.

  • miguelito

    shuteru: sorry about that, but what does that have to do with this story?

  • Stephen.C

    I think that Nikon should give him a free repair, I mean, he is giving them awesome publicity and reputation of quality by publicy saying how awesome his camera is.

  • Crazy stuff, Nikon FX dslrs are built like tanks, seems he lost the 300 2.8 though, pity. With the sort of attention this video is getting Nikon will probably just give you a new camera.

    • Ronan

      No, he said the 300mm 2.8 mount broke. Nikong can replace that + retune the glass.

  • broxibear

    Usually they just bounce and back into your hand lol…

  • I wonder if Kai from the DigitalRev would do the durability test on the D3s. :-p

  • WoutK89

    Haha, the translation, DUCK tape 😀

  • taping up your nikon with duct tape, 1047 uses and counting

  • what happened to the lens

  • peter

    And THAT’s why we buy Nikon. When I got my F3, I took it and my F photomic tn skiing. On the first run I fell like I’d been dropped out of the helicopter. The F3 needed $80.00 worth of repairs and the F never blinked and kept working like a charm. I was on Motrin for a week…

  • That is one tough guy!

  • Mine have been going through quite a bit of rain lately with never a hiccup. Everyone drops one eventually, I snapped a lens off at the connection point on a D2Xs last year, but came out of it for a total of $200 fixing both. Have yet to watch either of the D3’s bounce off the pavement; be more than happy to skip the experience. People look at me funny when I put them out of the way on the floor, never up on a chair or table. Snagging the strap at the wrong moment when it’s on a table is the most common mistake (good advice from the proprietor of a now out of business camera repair shop).

    • ob1

      well, if he’s out of business, is it really good advice? :p

      • Anonymus Maximus


        if giving advice to customers is what takes you out of business as a repair shop, the advice was good.

      • Those were the days of film when there were a number of camera shops around, his having one of the better black and white labs. They’d been in business since the forties. Good advice, bad advice: take your pick. My D3’s stay on the floor.

        • you don’t have kid I presume…

          • Good point, but you’re right. I’m much too old. Cameras on the floor, live electrical outlets.

  • Rel 205

    Well i was lucky to month ago will cleaning the house my 50 F1:4 fell luckly on its uv filter so only new filter and still working from about 1.35 meter high

  • Delacroix

    WAIT WAIT ! I had an accident with my D3s, lets have an interview ( in exchange I’ ll have a new one ? )

    Pretty strange, sorry, but I don’t know a lot of photographers that would have done this…

    • Send me some pics or a video of your damaged D3s, I would love to hear your story.

      • Ronan

        Admin, pretty sure Delacroix is just being a tool.

        • gt


  • there was a video of another freak accident with a D700 + 200mm f/2 lens few months ago:

    • It was worse than a trashed 200/2, it was a 400/2.8.

    • Ano Nymousse

      You should all know that Nikon is the worst reliable DSLR maker according to a survey made by Consumer Reports (December 2010). 6% of Nikonians returned their camera for repair vs 3% Canonians.

      I shoot Nikon btw…

      • Rob

        The vast majority of DSLRs are consumer models. I don’t really care if an XS is statistically more reliable than a D3100.

        • Victor Hassleblood

          I was wondering when the first reply to Ano Nymousse appears and what it would be like. I still hope for some more replies.

          I shoot Nikon btw …

        • Very true; to accurately inform PROFESSIONALS about which brand is more reliable, they should have ONLY considered the return / service rate on cameras, say, between $2500 and $4500, and $4500+ …That would be MUCH more useful information for us. I couldn’t care less what the return rate is for the millions of consumer DSLR’s out there, as long as my pro gear doesn’t let me down.

          (And for the record, so far I’ve been shooting Nikon (and sometimes Canon) full-time for professional work for the past ~4 years, I’ve accidentally dropped my bodies and lenses on concrete a couple of times, have put over 100,000 actuations on almost every body I’ve ever owned, …and Nikon has not let me down. I send my gear in every 1-2 years for routine service, but other than that the D200 was the only lemon that really gave me any trouble. (The D200 AF system was a huge fiasco for Nikon, google it…)

          Another thing to consider:

          For every 100 beginner Nikon DSLR’s sold, there might be 200 Canon DSLR’s sold. (Just guessing for the sake of easy math)

          If that is the case, returning six cameras of each brand would of course be 6% for Nikon and 3% for Canon, even though the same number of cameras were serviced.

          Of course 6% is still 6%, but anyways just a few things to consider…


  • Mock Kenwell

    4 years ago, my D80 hit asphalt from a little over 6 feet. Sickening feeling. I picked it up and the flash housing was cracked. The 50mm f/1.8 on it was fine (lens cap on). I turned it on, fired off a few shots, and it was fine. Ordered a new $14 flash housing from Nikon when I got home, installed it and you’d never know the camera was dropped (apart from the minor scuff on the grip).

    Sure, it was no motorcycle accident, but I was impressed. Nikon’s durability extends even into its non-pro line.

  • My D700 is NOT waterproof. My F100, D2x and D300 certainly were. The D700 is in the shop because of a freshwater splash that my past Nikons wouldn’t have batted an eye at. Maybe the top shelf is still good, but I’m highly disappointed in my gear at the moment.

    My D90 backup is currently carrying me, and survived the same things that took out my D700. If my next couple weeks weren’t pure studio, I’d be stuck renting something.

  • Tony

    My F3 felt and hit few times , still works good. Go Nikon !!!

  • I hate to say what I’ve done to my Leica’s.

  • My D3s fell to the ground from heaven, and still shoots like an angel . . . or a little devil when it wants to


  • mshi

    Holy sh^t. Void warranty?

  • Kaze kaze

    It’s true strap certainly would have created more headach than saving the camera, I had one accident with my FE2 with 50 f1.4, strap got caught by some door knob/ handle, dragged the whole camera off my shoudler and landed lens first on timber flooring, cap was popped off and filter ring got dented inward and filter-glass all cracked (mind you it was a HOYA MC one), found a pair of pillers and out with the dented metal ring and in with a new filter and works like a charm again.
    Then second time I was running around with my D700 with 17-35 f2.8D, strap got caught with my foot and I literally “kicked” the camera and it flew to the pavement like it was fired from a slingshot. This time I got a mild twist wrist and something broken inside, focus still works but shutter refuse to fire off, even in Manual mode. Send into NPS-SC and few wks later works like a charm again.

  • interesting story!

  • Doug

    I’ve also dropped my D3s…which bent the filter ring on the 24-70 that was mounted on it. The lens was repaired, the camera didn’t have a scratch on it, which I attribute to the Really Right Stuff L-Bracket that was on it. The camera still functions perfectly. They are meant to take a fair amount of abuse. This example is pretty extreme but it goes to show you that Nikon build quality is amazing.

  • inrusa

    It reminds me 10 years back i drop the camera, it survived but i took only few more shots then ……….nothing , I took it to the master he took out the film and threw my camera away ………oh it was not nikon may be thats why? it was yellow kodak disposable

  • Sahaja

    Wonder if Nikon will give this guy a new camera body for all the free publicity they are getting.

    I’ve bashed around my F2 a good deal over almost 40 years, and it has been dropped several times, and fallen with me off a horse and off a motorcycle but is still going strong . Only once about 10 years ago I had it cleaned and serviced and the foam rubbers which were disintegrating replaced.

  • I’ve put my cameras through hell shooting offroad racing events.
    Here is a shot I took of a buddy’s mud covered Nikon D3 and 70-200mm lens. The camera cleaned up well and everything works perfectly. The same camera has had beer, chocolate (long story) and tons of water spilled on it. Its not that we don’t take care of our gear, we just use our tools as we need to.

    • Dan, can I post this image online?

      • yes 🙂

        • Bigus Dickus

          clear lack over it and be done. perfect

    • kyoshinikon

      Thats what my gear looked like after some rainy motocross I shot last week…

  • I had a similar incident. Not really similar, but well, a road accident. I don’t really know how I survived it myself—I was bloody lucky, but my D700 worked like a charm despite falling approximately 80-odd feet onto hard rock. The lens needed servicing, but I still can’t believe that the camera worked perfectly. I am not really sure whether to put up the link of the blog post I wrote about the incident… don’t want to seem as if I’m just randomly promoting it, feel free to delete the link admin, if you wish.

    I guess the FM2 would be even stronger, of course.

    • Thanks Raj, do you have a picture of the damaged D700?

      • Hey. As I wrote in the accident, the camera doesn’t show any signs of damage apart from the fact that it was covered with mud. The lens’ zoom ring got jammed and needed a round of servicing.

        Frankly, when the accident occurred, my friend and I were too shocked and injured to have shot the camera. It all happened in a blur. The fact that I had managed to trigger the shutter while falling, was something I realised 2 days later, when my friend and I went from Manali (where the accident occured) to New Delhi for medical assistance.

        I did make a picture of the camera/lens the next day, with an IXUS camera I was carrying… not too sharp though. Negative 10 degrees, broken shoulder and budget rooms that have no heaters! I’ll send you the picture anyway later today.

        Today, I’ve mostly recovered and a lot of equipment talk seems immaterial. But yes, after having lost a D80 in the past to heavy rain, I have an absolute new-found respect for the D700. I have seen these videos before, but when it happens to you, and to this extent, it does seem surreal.

  • kyoshinikon

    I believe it. In fact I just shot a motocross event with my D90 (not even weather sealed) In the pouring rain with mud and dirt flying at it (and covering it) with no protection. Yesterday I was climbing rocks with my D90 and D200 and (oops) dropped my D200 which didn’t fail to roll 15 feet down a rock into a grassy patch (with a 55mm micro) and it too works fine… Nikon=Tough (usually)

    I have killed 3 canons with my rigorous style of shooting and all 3 were claimed to be tough… (a 7D (2 actually) and an eos 1 mk 1 (the first one))

  • Wondering why shoot a 300mm lens from a motorcycle? He’s gotta be close enough to shoot with a 80-200.

    • Jacque

      For God’s sake .. He is a photographer, taking photos on a motocycle during an active a road cycling race in Malaysia .. For all the cocks who said “why didn’t he have d90 back up .. bla bla ..” have they even cared to read through the whole article .. It isn’t like he is picnicking, taking photo with tripod, carrying God knows what these idiots are taking about !!

  • I have been a Nikon’r since the F2AS and F3HP era, they have always been built superior to the other manufacturers, anyone that owns them knows this to be true. Did alot of NFL games as well as crazy news freelance. I rough handled all my gear and it NEVER failed me.
    I am sure he is telling the truth, sounds as if the lens took the majority of the shock and saved the camera.

  • Mike

    Dfference between amateurs and pros, pros keep shooting with their gear when it messes up. Amateurs fire up their pc and come over to NR to complain in the threads lol.

  • Kurt Duong

    – 1 for this Nikon owner.
    + 1 for Nikon camera. :))

  • Martiin Higiins

    I just finished shooting metal art for 3 hours with ancinet D70, with Micro Nikkor-P.C Auto 3,5 55mm, decades old. Results are good. Some things last.

  • sulaiman yakcop

    my D80 also fall from my shoulder.. but the camera still works like charm..

    • kyoshinikon

      Iv’e had so many problems with those shoulder straps…

  • Nikon cameras can take a fall. I’ll give them that much. Shahrizan’s story is amazing! Water is a different story. My D2Xs got ruined after just two weeks of ownership with a small splash to the back of the camera. Nikon couldn’t fix it. Their weather seals are bullshit!!! $5500 down the tube. I almost switched to Canon because of that one incident.

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