This is what happens when you drop a frozen Nikon 600mm f/4 lens from 14 feet


Daniel Cox was photographing polar bears near Churchill (Manitoba, Canada) when he witnessed a frozen $10k Nikon 600mm f/4 lens falling from 12-14 feet (4 meters) to the frozen tundra. The lens basically broke in half. Read the whole story on his website;

"One of our guests got so excited one afternoon she dropped her lens from the buggy. It wasn’t pretty. Her lens of choice was a Nikkor 600mm F/4 and it fell 12-14 feet onto the frozen tundra, breaking completely in half. She was an amazing sport and shared her grief by mugging for the camera. Of course I did not request the photo until well after the accident and the shock had worn off. Thankfully it was insured but it’s never easy to see a $10,000US  lens get destroyed."

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  • natums

    Now it’s a mega macro lens.

  • Can’t Believe It

    No worries, send the lens to the Nikon Repair Center in Taiwan. He’ll boil it for a couple of hours in duck broth with some 九層塔 and 貢丸 …while you wait you can snack on the country’s famous xiaochi and boba tea and before you know it, the lens will be thawed out and good as new.

    • Brent

      And either Canon white or red.

  • UnknownTransit

    Send it back to Nikon!

    • longzoom

      It will be about $3000 to fix.

    • gly

      don’t forget to mark it defective

    • ragamofyn

      Let’s see what the authorized service centre in Taiwan can do with THIS! will they boil it in water again? or perhaps give it a new coat of white paint? oh wait, I know… an industrial-sized vat of super glue!

  • Eric

    It’s grey inside: they put a Canon lens inside the Nikon design?!??! ;-)))

    • Gearsau

      Ahh.. that’s why it broke 🙂

      • Kurt B

        LOL. You just won the internet, sir.

  • FOSSrules

    Meanwhile, polar bears in Churchill have started trolling for photographers using broken lenses…

  • Glen

    Sounds like a great excuse to get an 800 f/5.6

    • Radu Ene

      omg :))))

  • Geoff

    300mm f/2 problem solved.

    • John LaTier

      love that lense.

    • norm

      Make that TWO 300mm f/2’s…

  • Cesar

    Soooo that’s a dude?

    • Remedy

      No, that’s probably the reason why the lens got dropped in first place. Judging by her lips punishment was given immediately, well deserved.

      • frosted tip

        Not “given”, “served”…

        • Remedy

          Thank You kind Sir 🙂

    • Read First

      Don’t you read before posting? The woman dropped her 500mm lens and he asked to photograph her after the incident.

      • Me

        The RSS article summary states that it was Daniel Cox who dropped the lens. The main article was likely corrected.

      • Howard Pitkow

        Speaking of reading before posting it was a 600mm f4, not a 500mm.

    • Phenoy

      The one who wrote the article is a dude. The owner of the dropped lens is female. That’s the owner in the picture.

    • Howard Pitkow

      No read it again…

    • Kris Ilich

      “One of our guests got so excited one afternoon she dropped her lens from
      the buggy. It wasn’t pretty. Her lens of choice was a Nikkor 600mm F/4
      and it fell 12-14 feet onto the frozen tundra, breaking completely in

      How about you actually read through the article before you judge and look like an idiot in the proccess?

    • Think about it…

      No, it’s a woman. The story is about Daniel, but if you read the quote, it was a woman who owned and dropped the lens.

      “She was an amazing sport and shared her grief by mugging for the camera.”

  • AR22

    ebay: slightly used

    • Thomas

      Some slight surface wear

  • Funny

    Who’s the woman in this photo?

    • Chris Aldridge

      I’m guessing his wife.

    • Matthew Fleisher

      A model they hired to hold the pieces for this story?

      • danieljcox

        Funny, glad you spotted the woman in the photo. With all the attention this was getting I was starting to think she was me too:) There was a bit of confusion on who actually dropped the lens. The pretty lady pouting in the photo is Isabella from Germany. You can read more on my blog if you have an interest. Nikon Rumors has reworded the original post and all is well.

  • Jonjo

    There is a lot of hype and hyperbole written about the “pro build” of some equipment. While to some extent you do get what you pay for, there are surprises. I once dropped a Nikon 14-24, a solidly built lens you may say. It slipped from a bag and fell about 15” onto a carpeted wooden floor.
    This resulted in a large dent in (metal) bodywork and something rattling
    inside. It was very expensive to have it fixed! I have seen a colleague drop a cheaper plastic lens a greater distance and it just bounced and seemed fine!

    A tip I had years ago that has saved me a few times since – if you drop something don’t try to grab it with your hand, you will probably miss and just chase it down to the ground. Use your foot to break the fall. It will then be only falling a few inches to ground.

    • Cristian

      … Unless the lens is a 5kg 600mm f/4 that could broke your foot!!! 🙂

      • umeshrw

        Even then we will. Broken foot V/s broken 600 mm. Broken foot anyday.

        • 103david

          Spoken as one who’s never broken a foot. The first thing you learn is it’s REALLY painful and the second thing is that you use that foot a hell of a lot more than a 600mm F4 lens…not that you’ll be using that foot until it heals…or that lens either until it heals.

          • Sleeper

            Broken foot: $4000
            Broken 600mm f/4: $13000

            • gly

              Thanks goodness for health care!

              Broken foot: $40 ambulance ride (if needed)
              Broken 600mm F/4: $13000
              Decision to stick your foot out: priceless

            • Petey

              There’s no such thing as a $40 ambulance ride. Go to the ER and you’d probably not be to far off a $5k bill. So $5k, hobbling for a few months, and eventually developing arthritis in your foot vs $13k. Eff the lens.

            • gly

              Yes, believe it or not. Where I live it’s just a $40 ambulance ride to the local hospital if you didn’t want to take a taxi. I forgot, there is the cost of medication but rehab for the foot (if needed) is covered by health care. Arthritis does suck though.

            • 103Davif

              Dream on, buddy. I can tell you a truly busted flipper going to cost a hoopin’ lot more than 4G.

          • umeshrw

            It will be a reflex action inspite of all reason. Btw I have broken my foot once. Just not under 600 mm lens or for that matter under any photographic equipment.

            • 103David

              Betchya’ flinched when ya’ saw it coming, didn’t ya? Betchya’ don’t much want to do it again either, do ya? Betchya’ once ya’ totaled the cost out, it ran more than the dear sweet Nikon, didn’t it? Wanna’ bet ya’ won’t pull the ped back when a bowling ball dropped by Miss Montana during the juggling contest heads your way?

              Today’s equipment is tomorrow’s garage sale item. Be smart and understand body parts, like say, a foot, are not expendable items.

            • The_Animal

              So says people who don’t do wildlife photography regularly. A 600mm f/4 handheld on a polar-bear tour tracker…with all its jolts and lurches is a prime recipe for a dropped super-telephoto lens.

            • Kirsty

              Aha… What you need to be is a british photographer… Then you can stick your foot out for free….
              God bless the NHS….

    • Aldo

      the 14-24 is probably the worse example you can use on pro build durability when it comes to dropping it though. The lens is vulnerable because of how it is shaped, its size and weight.

    • Bruce

      Also known as “the way of the intercepting foot” :))

    • William

      I dropped my Nikon 17-35 f2.8 about 4′ to a tile floor. Scared the crap out of me, but it jsut dinged the rim a bit and works fine.. felt EXTREMELY lucky, in an unlucky sort of way…

  • guest

    is this basically a story saying if you drop the lens from 15m it breaks? slow news day huh 😛

  • Cristian

    The 600/4 weights 5 kg It dropped from an height of 4.5 meters…
    I think no lenses could survive, friozen or not!

  • fjfjjj

    What happens? A pouty expression. Exactly as expected.

    • outkasted

      is this you in your profile pic?

      • Biff

        Is that you in yours? =)

        • outkasted

          Yes it is as a matter of fact..its my ‘Good side’

        • outkasted

          As a matter of fact it is me and its my ‘good side’ too

  • Marcel Speta

    I am sure Nikon can fix it and readjust to working perfect again….
    Anyways I am suffering to see it… i would love to have this lens for birds…

  • Aldo

    good thing I only drop my lenses from 14 feet

  • Ineluki

    Is frozen tundra as hard as a paved way?

  • Smudger

    Been there, done that…….

  • rkas

    WHY does she have do to the duckface? :

    • Matthew Fleisher

      It’s not duck face, only bottom lip is protruding.

  • Cadence

    Moral of the story is… don’t ever drop a lens, especially if it’s expensive.

    • Duh

      Moral of the story is.. get full insurance for the expensive pieces of gear. Or don´t own expensive gear at all.

  • Alon

    Aha. So this time Nikon can really claim “Impact Damage” !

  • gregheller

    Thats the last time I let him borrow my lens

    • Kurt B

      It’s a she.

      • gregheller

        Thank fully you were here to correct my error — Someone in the first few posts misspelled lens, I thought I’d give you a heads up, you might want to jump on their error too.

        • Kurt B

          Don’t ya worry, I got them covered!

  • Mike

    I don’t think we’d fare to well if we dropped 15 feet too.

    • ragamofyn

      I don’t know why this is news. If a Nikon shooter was dropped 4m, he/she may be in two pieces as well. we mind as well start a thread of exotic car crashes.

  • neversink

    Years ago (1976 to be exact) I dropped a Nikon Ftn out of a helicopter with a Nikkor-P 180mm lens attached. I was 500 feet above the Alaskan tundra and way north of the Arctic Circle. The camera landed in some muskeg, very spongy grass that forms into mushroom-like carpets that are very hard to walk through. The pilot, who was a VietNam vet, landed very close by, near a river bed, and I retrieved the camera. The lens mount had broken off the camera, but I eventually had it repaired and converted the lens to Ai. Otherwise, both the camera and the lens survived. The body I retired within a year and replaced with an F2; and I used the lens for another 10 years. I eventually sold it and upgraed to a barely used ED version that I purchased with a barely used F3 and motor drive.

    • longzoom

      Good reason, at least, to converts to AI!

    • Aldo

      I loved my F3 and the way its titanium shutter sounded.

    • The_Animal

      So what did you put on the ad. “Only dropped once?” Glad it survived. Lucky break, that’s for sure to land in the muskeg.

      • neversink

        The ad said, “Tougher than an Alaskan Sourdough.” Actually, the ad didn’t say anything as I never contacted Nikon PR or their advertising execs concerning the “lucky break.” I only thought of it in hindsight a year after the repairs were done that this would have made a great advertisement. I still have (somewhere in my files) some old Kodachrome slides and Panatomic – X negs of the camera where it landed on the tundra and close ups of the damage.
        I was working on one of my first commercial shoots for an annual report and at the time I had no insurance on any of my equipment. Nor did I have any warranty, as most of my equipment purchased in those days was used. I was 25 at the time and new to the business of photography.
        Hindsight is 20-20.

  • Remedy

    Pro tip: don’t drop Your lens from 15 feet to the frozen tundra.

    • Thomas

      I think if I ever had a $10K lens in that environment, I would have a separate tether just for the lens.

  • jason

    Last year I dropped my 500mm f4 from the top of a tripod fully extended 6ft. The lens bent in the middle but Nikon was able to repair it. The cost 2k USD to repair and took about 2 months.

    • MyrddinWilt

      The damage looks spectacular but the metal and plastic body is cheap to make. The cost of the lens is in that front objective group. If the objective is damaged then the lens is done. Otherwise it is going to almost certainly be repairable (at a cost).

      I dropped my 50mm f/1.4 a few weeks back onto concrete causing it to break into three parts. After some work in the hotel room I got it back together and it works perfectly apart from a very small scratch.

    • Rick

      I have them clean a fungus for a 200mm f/ took 2 months and 1600 because they went ahead and force me to fix the AF and VR as well. So comparatively, your repair cost was quite reasonable

  • TrueBlue

    Am I missing something? It looks like two different lenses to me, the one on the left looks fine……

    • Matthew Fleisher

      Two pieces, one lens.

      • ragamofyn

        Exactly — the left-side is supposed to be attached to the right-side!

  • Chris Bilodeau

    This is my D3 and 70-200 f/2.8 after being run over…

  • DxOFarce

    This individual lens will still take far superior pictures compared to any lens Canon produces.

  • FredBear

    Whoa. Good warning for men:
    Don’t fall on your face in the frozen tundra!

  • danieljcox

    Hello Nikon Shooters, just for the record that is not me or my lens. It’s a lady named Isabella. She was a guest of Frontiers North Adventures and we were on the same Tundra Buggy in December, 2010. This image was taken from my Blog You can see the original post at the address above. Stop by and poke around. I write a great deal about all things photographic, conservation, digital workflow and whatever else might be on my mind. You can visit us on Facebook as well at The attached image is a screen shot with more details

    • Thanks Daniel, I added a link to your post.

      • danieljcox

        Thanks for the link. Greatly appreciated.

        Best wishes, Dan

        Daniel J. Cox
        Natural Exposures, Inc

        Please consider the environment before printing this email~

    • MyrddinWilt

      Do you know if the lens was fixable?

  • FDF

    Old news, this happened almost almost 3 years ago.

    • tertius_decimus

      We must be living in the future.

  • Mark

    Good thing she was insured. However, this certainly drives home the importance of careful lens management. My long lenses are never being used unless they are strapped to something. Before it comes out of the bag, the strap goes around my neck until it is securely attached to the tripod. When removing it from the tripod, the strap goes around my neck, then it is removed and when tucked in the case, THEN the strap is taken off my neck.

    If this procedure is followed, you may drop it, but it will never fall.

    At least we can learn from this example, how not to handle lenses.

  • Rick

    what did i say? keep your lens strap on!
    not to mention safari or arctic trips…jeeez

  • Frosty

    2.6 yr old story?!

  • Terry

    Solution…black duct tape.

  • WoozyCanary

    Long ago (Late Film Era; somewhere in the 80s) and far away, at the top of a long flight of wooden stairs to the second floor of a rental house, fumbling for keys, my camera bag shifted and tipped enough to free a 300mm Nikkor-H from a not-quite-closed pocket.

    It hit the first step at such an angle and with enough momentum that it thunk…thunk…thunked it’s way slowly down the stairs, but fast enough that i couldn’t quite catch up to it, moderating my descent speed to avoid stepping on it.

    It hit the cement landing at the bottom with a discouraging, sharp thwack. Expecting cracked glass and other mayhem, when i picked the lens up…nothing! Intact! No cracks. Focus and aperture rings were fine. No dents to the body.

    I still have it and occasionally use it on a Sony NEX-7, which looks utterly ridiculous, but still takes a respectable picture.

  • scott800

    duct tape. you’re welcome.

  • Doug

    I have known Dan since I met him in Churchill on that same trip in 2007. I have read the 2012 story and we have talked about the incident since. He did not drop the lens, it was one of the guests on the Tundra Buggy .

    • Yes, he contacted me with the details and I updated the post.

  • Doodoodusty

    Kinda LOoks like a girl

    • Matthew Fleisher

      It is.

  • Will

    these lenses are actually designed to be broken in half on serious impact to protect the glass, it’s much cheaper to reconnect the two halves than to replace the system within

  • Jim

    Solution – have a large pillow nearby

  • rax

    This tells you that the whole lens design is is made of plastic polycarbonate lacquered in metal casing.

  • Mongoobs

    The expensive lens was insured. The only ones “shocked” and traumatized are the insurance agents who will be forced to pay (assuming accidental damage is covered under the policy)

  • aekn

    I thought Bjork lived in Iceland?

  • kn

    her face is frozen

  • Fatal

    I dropped my Canon 24-105 f/4 L lens a few months back. It fell about 4 feet and it kinda of broke. Sent it to Canon, they quoted me around $800 to get it fix…. I told them to send it back I could get the same exact lens brand new for that price. Got it back in the mail and slapped it on the my camera for the hell of it! It worked! I have a manual focus L lens now lol

  • Noel Kerns

    Sell the parts to some Apple-Fanboy; they’ll make an adapter so they can use it on their iPhone.

  • Andrew

    It’s hard for me to feel sorry for someone who does the duck lips. Especially a photographer.

  • jea

    Don’t be a pussy and get closer.

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