Yes, this Nikon D3 is still working

The next few weeks will be slow on rumors and I have scheduled some new guest posts and giveaways. In the mean time enjoy this:

This "muddy" Nikon D3 picture was published on flickr. I contacted the photographer and this is his story:

"That was from one of my avian photography sorties. I use a floating blind to take photos of water birds but the water level that day was very low so I had to crawl it out in the mud to get the photos that I want. I was constantly pouring water on the LCD to take away the mud so I can view my photos. The lens installed on the body is a Nikkor 500 f/4 VR. After the shoot I cleaned the camera and placed it in my dry cabinet. It still works flawlessly: all seals worked, not a single grime inside the camera. Here are the shots from that day"

Image credit: JP Carino

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  • Kestutis

    Stunning 🙂

    • Banned

      Well, not so stunning, no. I went to look at his pics of the day and while they are good technically, I don’t think there is much of a market for common duck photos, at least nothing that warrants taking this kind of risk with a camera.

      The problem is that it gives a false sense of security about the seals on this camera. It might work today, but I’m pretty sure many electronic components inside are caked in mud, something he can’t see unless he dismantles the camera. Eventually they will start rusting and rotting and the camera will fail.

      • racket man

        That muddied D3 is still working, this photo is from 2010 and the photographer is still using it

        • The year 2010 is not long ago.

          • El Cabong

            But more than long enough for water damage to have taken whatever toll it would take on the electronic internal components of the camera.

      • Common Sense

        Banned is “pretty sure many electronic components inside are caked in mud, something he can’t see unless he dismantles the camera”. Have you dismantled a muddy D3 like that before? It all depends on the owner of the camera…even if he dips it in lava & still works after…it’s all about the satisfaction of taking the pics that make you happy!

        Let’s see Banned take a picture of common ducks (with his Canon?) and check if he can make them look as good as JP did!

      • Mock Kenwell

        “I’m pretty sure many electronic components inside are caked in mud…”

        What? How the hell do you know? Are you holding the camera? It’s supposed to be a sealed electronic environment. He indicates he had it professionally cleaned, so how do you come to this conclusion? Sure, this is extreme but this is also a huge reason why you shell out the dough for a beast like the D3. It dishes it out and it can take it. So please, don’t speculate on things you know nothing about. It’s still shooting. That’s all you need to know, and considering it’s not your camera, that’s all you’re entitled to comment knowledgeably on.

        • jun a.

          Why are you fierce and bitter?

      • Yoshihiro Toranaga

        Wow Banned, talk about “little knowledge can be dangerous”. So from this photo from a few months ago, you can actually tell what’s happening inside that camera? While it is not advisable to follow this, why can’t you just take the picture for what it is – an example of the extremes that you can take a D3 to and admire this wonderful piece of Nikon engineering. If we wanted to critique the camera owner’s work, then we should have been shown his duck pictures instead and not of his camera. Geez, this just proves what a lot of people say – that a lot of so-called “photographers” think they’re the next best thing to sliced bread and they always grab every chance of criticizing other people’s work. Why don’t you show us your work?

      • Yan

        When you critic somebody with obvious passion because he is taking ducks pictures.You need to stop photography and recycle yourself into a Porn Website designer. .. I eared there is a MARKET for it!

  • I feel the way that D3 looks.

  • Philipp Hilpert Foto

    sick 😀

  • ja

    amazing ? but i wouldn’t like to be doing that to my D3 but at least i know i can now ha ha

  • Xscream

    So much for the need of external camouflage, just slap some mud on your gear!

  • Nek Wellrock

    Holy Cheese and crackers!

    (I love storied like that,regardless of brand,….ok,.. I also like to hear death stories of Canons too…)

  • Nice camouflage.

    • Tell someone to owner of that camera about rain covers. Abusing camera this way without any extreme need is stupid.

      • Bart

        He was doing low viewpoint photo’s of birds in a swamp. lying in the mud isn’t the purpose of rain covers. And since nothing broke, what’s the problem? These camera’s are for pro’s for a reason.

        • > lying in the mud isn’t the purpose of rain covers.

          Yes, it is. Nothing broke because D3 is that sturdy item but this does not mean you are free to lay in mud and wash your camera with liters of water and dirt. Kalashnikov is famous by its wonderful realibility but it need some care too if you wish this weapon to work properly. YOU are the master of your tool, so keep it in good condition to make yourself sure that tool will never fail. 😉

          • duh

            a real photographer takes pictures NOW! if he doesnt have the rain covers at that point in time.. F*** it! just do the shot! you dont buy a cover later and come back and expect to have the same shot.

            • And here comes one more ‘real’ photographer with its purist’s blah-blah. It takes only 2 minutes to install cover on camera. So what’s the point to talk this way?

          • Eric Pepin

            if its raining, i dont wait to put a rain cover on my camera, i go out and take pictures. Got my d90 drenched many times and that had 0 weather proofing, my d300s gets the same treatment.

  • Chestnut

    “The next few weeks will be slow on rumors…” I am curious, how does anyone confidently predict that rumors will be slow?

    • This has been the case after every Nikon announcement in the past 3 years, no reason to be different this time.

      • Photonut

        oh noooo …. where’s that mirrorless cam … 🙁

        • Knockwell

          Where are the new lenses?? “-(

    • duh

      where’s the D800? noooooooooo!!

  • OMR


    • OMR

      Poor D3

      • Panfruit

        D3 does not want your pity or your sympathy. D3 is a survivor and easily crushes all foes. You do not mess with D3.

        • iamlucky13

          Like Chuck Norris, D3 does not need others to defend it against criticisms or perceived slights. D3 will be dealing with you after it deals with those above who doubted its awesomeness.

          • Common Sense

            The D3 is so fast it can take a picture of its own body & lens. The D3 can make ugly subjects into great pictures just by using its pure awesomeness. And the D3’s shutter count can go to infinity…TWICE! LoL

          • Mock Kenwell

            Even Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer combined can’t match the D3’s awesomeness. But I’d sure love to see them try.

  • I’ve had my D700 looking similar. While photographing in Banff I dropped it into some nasty muck that took forever to clean off. The camera worked fine but my battery grip didn’t work for a week as some mud was lodged in the AF selector toggle. Once the mud dried up and fell out the grip resumed its normal operations.

    • …maybe QC sucked on my d700, but I wouldn’t try anything like this. My D700 got the tiniest splash and failed. Very disappointed. Waiting on Nikon for a repair estimate right now.

  • Zim

    When will things pick up again NR?

  • another anonymous

    I didn’t get my D300 to this state by my birding yet (and do not want to), but this is also why i decided for nikon and don’t want anything else. These machines are just perfect.

  • Joe Bodego

    What a bunch of non athletic people, dropping their cameras etc. Do these people use a strap? Theses cameras don;t deserve these kinds of feeble owners

    • Banned

      Agreed, actually with that kind of combo I would just take it to the gym and train.

    • He didn’t drop the camera, he was “crawling through the mud.” He got it muddy because he chose to. Not that I would have done that. =P

    • Kenny Son

      Some people?

  • The invisible man

    Not a big deal, that’s just mud.
    My D90 is still working after my wife used it for almost 10mn, that’s remarkable !

    • patrick


    • PAG

      “Unbeknownst to the Invisible Man, his wife was watching as he typed this last comment. Being invisible he had not been seen for a long time, but his sudden silence at Nikon Rumors was a chilling warning to husbands everywhere.”

      • Common Sense

        His funeral is being planned at the moment! Haha. PAG you are awesome!

    • nugget

      ROFL! I know exactly what you mean.

    • Thom Rockwell

      but how did she see you? 😀

  • lurdwig

    I bet if you did this with 100 D3’s some would fail

    I bet if you did this with 100 Coolpix cameras some would work too

    I don’t see much point in taking these risks unless you are getting paid a ton for the assignment or are witnessing a once in a life time situation.

    The thrill of the shooting I guess…live in the moment… lol

    • I can’t do anything but agree after my D700 recently crapped out. And from such a tiny splash–what gives?

  • onlian

    Funny he is more “famous” for the shot of his camera and not the picture it captured…

    Also on Flickr people are now acting like they own these indestructible pieces of equipment…so far from the truth. Ironically if these same people were purchasing a used D3 that was subject to the same conditions do you think they would be so enthusiastic about buying it? I think not.

  • something i would not do to my equipment especially at those prices
    glad all is in working condition
    once i dropped my camera $335 in damages a lesson learned

  • Adam

    Well I’ll put the subject on if it’s a good idea to let mud on the camera to the other people but gotta admit, pretty darn amazing the D3 still works today without any hiccups. This is why I kept telling people that place swivel screen on a pro body like the D700 and D3 is not good cause there’s another place to break. If swivel screen is so important, get a real video camera

  • Knockwell

    With extreme torture to his gears, I was expecting some exotic kick-ass bird shots.. but?

    • Banned

      Exactly. My first reaction after seeing the pics: What’s the point?

    • Common Sense

      Haters! Show your work. Let the readers of Nikon Rumors be the judge! Of course, you don’t have the balls to do that to your Canons. LoL

  • Paulos Gerding

    “After the shoot I cleaned the camera and placed it in my dry cabinet. It still works flawlessly.”

    I am curious what he means by “dry cabinet”. Perhaps he has a dehumidifier or something along those lines. Condensation in the camera after the fact is probably as big a concern as the direct water during the shoot.

    More detail on what he did after the shoot would be a bit more telling. He also must have sent the gear to Nikon for cleaning if he’s been using it for a year.

    • Sam

      He does say he got it “professionally” serviced

    • Gonads

      Well, although it’s pretty basic – I’ve had pretty good resuts from removing the battery, washing with water, then leaving buried deep in uncooked dry rice, in a warm room (airing cupboard) or in front of a radiator (not too close). Apparently, although it may be total bs, rice can help dehumidify by sucking moisture from the air. I haven’t tried it on a nikon camera, but I’ve used this technique on several phones, including my iPhone which I dropped down the toilet (I couldn’t find the battery, but just turning it off seemed to do the job). Generally, I’ve found that most electronic equipment will work after being submerged in water just so long as you kill the power immediately and leave to dry for days until you’re certain there’s no dampness remaining. That’s not what happened in this story, but I thought I’d mention it anyway 🙂

      • Jeremy

        Rice definitely keeps the salt from caking in the shaker.

      • Well, the idea of submering stuff into distilled (!) water after geting it soaked works for some things, others not. A camera is not just electronics, it’s an electromechanical device and is sensitive to water in many more ways than just electronics short-circuiting.

        Let me be clear: Do not soak a camera!

  • Mike

    I don’t get spending close to $15,000 on camera and lens to take a picture of a duck. But that’s just me. I saw on Canon forums once a similar setup to take a picture of a snail on a log. |-p. There are people who spend $200,000 on car and still take on ramps at 60 km/h and cruise freeways at 105 km/h. To each their own. But what I really don’t get is that he couldn’t fork out 5 cents for a plastic bag to cover his camera. I don’t imagine a lot of settings need to be changed often in this type of shooting so said bag would pose little operational issue. But that’s just me. Good PR for Nikon pro bodies I suppose. At least he got his duck shot!

    • PAG

      I don’t get spending close to $15,000 on camera and lens to take a picture of a duck. But that’s just me.

      Actually, that’s one of the biggest markets for this kind of outfit. I imagine only sports photography rivals it.

      • Banned

        The duck pics market?

        • Eric Pepin

          yes, birding.

        • PAG

          Do a Google image search of “bird photography”. I got 18.4M hits. I don’t plan on reviewing them all to ensure they are all relevant!

          The Philippine Duck he photographed is actually pretty uncommon, with only 5,000-10,000 left in the world and experiencing a recent decline due to hunting and habitat loss. In other words, this ain’t that some domesticated thing that kids throw bread to.

    • Common Sense

      They’re called BALLS, Mike. And the owner of that D3 has TWO or even more that what the average Nikon owner has! And, maybe, because he can!

  • One more thing to notice: he is aware about lens coat (look at 500/4), so where’s the camera protection? 1¢ transparent polyethilene bag + duct tape to glue it over lens so water and mud could not leak to the body = no need in spending some money on professional cleaning and no headache about something would not work. Things are simple if you think by a brain…

  • Dweeb

    I ground my D300 into some mud and snow first day out. Hasn’t happened since. And had it fall into sand off a lousy Manfrotto coupling. I grabbed it on the way down but not quick enough.

    This guy must have been really pumped about his bird shots to keep shooting with that amount of muck on it. Can’t blame him.

  • Jonnel

    awesome Nikon.. especially the Photographer… you’re a Filipino… cool… Astig tayo…

  • I’m pretty sure he could have got these shots without rolling around in the mud. Seems pretty pointless to me.

  • Ken Elliott

    I find it interesting that so many people what to slam the guy. Hey, it’s his camera and he can do whatever he wants. For whatever reason, he felt it was work the risk and everything worked fine for him. This isn’t something I would do, but I’m glad he shared.

    The lesson: If you drop your weather-sealed Nikon in the mud, it _might_ be OK. Don’t assume its dead.

    • TaoTeJared


      Pro equipment should be able to easily handle a bit of mud and water. For $5,000+ nothing less should be expected. I’m sure most of it came from his hands griping and using it anyway.

      All of Nikon, Canon, and Pentax camera’s can take a real beating. Comforting to know for those times it happens.

      • JorPet


        That is why I have been converting to all pro gear. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. I pamper my equipment, but want to be sure it can handle it if something bad happens.

        • ewan

          Tricky to make that case on economic grounds though; you break your D3 you’re out quite a lot of money. You break a D5000 and you can afford to buy another seven of them before you’ve spent as much as you would have on the D3.

          • Common Sense

            You have a point…but maybe that guy has money. I’m sure if you had more than enough you would be getting the best gear, too. Ain’t that all we wish for? To have more than enough? And what’s the point of getting a Ferrari if you won’t try to drive it @ 180mph for once? What’s the point of making your truck ready for off-road when all the dirt it has felt is the dirt from your front yard?

  • Mud story aside, he took some amazing photos!

  • Wim

    A number of comments here confirm, once again, that Nikon and bird photography don’t get along very well. Only one of the birds shown is a duck; the other ones (the drake and the bittern) are extremely shy waterbirds and are almost always hidden in the reeds. They are, in fact, very good photos given their subject. As somebody already mentioned above, bird and wildlife photography is a very big market. At the non-professional level it is also completely owned by Canon because Nikon still hasn’t updated its 300AF-S and 80-400VR lenses.

    • Wim

      drake -> crake

      • Darkness

        Things have a changed a lot since the 1990’s gents, most of the big names use Nikon for the glass and the AF. Lanting, Brandenburg, Rouse. Check out the Wild Wonders project.

        • Darkness

          BTW my AFS 300 f4 does nt need upgrading, why?

          • PAG

            Because you don’t have a need for VR. For those of us who shoot wildlife photos and sometimes / often experience low light conditions (and don’t have the $ to cough up for the 300mm f/2.8), getting VR added to the f/4 would be very nice.

            Wim is 100% correct. Nikon is losing a number of sales to Canon because the 300mm f/4 and the 80-400mm need updating, and they don’t have a 400mm f/5.6. I see it ever day I go birding / photographing.

    • I think there are a number of reasons. One, Canon had IS in the long lenses long before Nikon. Two, the Canon long lenses were/are actually available while it takes 6-12 months to get a 600mm from Nikon. Three, Canon long lenses are significantly cheaper (soon to change). And finally the biggest bird photographer guru (Arthur Morris) is a Canon user. It’s slowly changing (I saw just as many long black lenses as long white lenses in Yellowstone this Winter) but I think Nikon needs a 400 & 800 f/5.6 to really compete in the niche.

  • broxibear

    “After the shoot I cleaned the camera and placed it in my dry cabinet. It still works flawlessly: all seals worked, not a single grime inside the camera.”
    Hi JP…Did you send it to Nikon for a proper clean afterwards ?

  • Kingyo

    Let’s see if the D5100 can stand up to this type of abuse…new owners try it & post pics please 🙂

  • hah

    this is why I don’t buy used camera gear.

  • zemper

    it’s called AVIAN photography guys. to some of ya it might be a common duck but for these folks some of those birds are quite rare to merit such a workout from their camera bodies and lenses. besides, it was not all duck, or were some of the people not looking at the other images? one more thing, can any one of the negative commenters produce their own D3 and 500 f/4? sheesh what people will do to bash other people doing stuff they love… Pinoy pride y’all.

  • CamaJan

    The lengths some people will go to take pictures of some birds is amazing…

  • Is this a Rumor OR Fact.

  • One really has to wonder at the mental intelligence/IQ of the people who are so critical of the way that the D3 was used here by the photographer. It’s his camera, and he can use it in any way he likes. I would suspect that many of the people who own these rugged pro cameras never use them in any king of even mildly adverse conditions other than in their back yard. It’s a bit like having a Rolex Submariner and never even taking a swim with it.
    Besides the photographs are really good, taken at a very low angle which is very nice indeed.
    Camera survival stories are interesting, so give the dude a break and let him use his camera as he wants to. It’s his property, and it’s a free country, last time I looked.

    • Apoooo

      Agreed… That was hardcore !

    • Eric

      My D3 is my primary camera, a tool, I don’t treat it with kid gloves. Rain or shine it works irregardless of its environment, it has bounced off floors and asphalt. It takes a lickin’ and keeps on clickin’…. Bright light or dim light, it has never failed me, it just needs the odd exposure tweek… Battery life is excellent,

      I will never replace it, it will soon need a new shutter and new grips and then it will be ready for its second life…

  • avi

    looks photoshoped

  • so sick, this is why I shoot Nikon baby! haha I love it!

  • Great. Now I want the 500 f/4. Damn, better start saving 😉

  • Apoooo

    WOW! Now there’s a guy that’s serious about his art… which I can’t say for myself. The best D3 story I got is running away from an unscheduled change of ownership while on travel.

    I wish I had the foresight to aim my camera behind while running though… 🙁

    Score – Camera guy w/ D3: 1 Dirt Bag Thieves: 0

  • CTLG

    Precisely why Nikon makes the best cameras in the world. The owner can do what he wishes with his equipment. I see nothing wrong with this. Not something I would do, but I don’t have a D3 nor do I shoot rare birds. Not something I would attempt with my D7000(laying in the mud). But its good to see all these stories of Nikon pro gear doing what they we’re designed to do, get the shot no matter what.

    Good luck trying this with Canon pro gear. I love seeing Canon fail stories, personally.

  • Having used a D3 after it was dropped 5 feet onto the ground, cracking the body… I can personally attest to the toughness of the Nikon Pro body. They are meant to take a lot of abuse, after all that is one of the reasons why you get a pro body that is environmentally sealed. Not sure I would take mine into the mud though… But I feel confident that if I did she’d keep working just fine.

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