Fall of a Giant… the tragic death of my Nikon D850

“Fall of a Giant… the tragic death of my Nikon D850” is by Zoltan Acs (Facebook | Instagram):

Probably many remember the post about a year ago when a photographer left out his borrowed D850 – before it was available for to the public – at night somewhere near water to take time-lapse photos at night and by the morning the tide finished its work on the camera. When I saw those photos I almost cried and hoped this will never happen to me.

Not so long ago here on NR there was a post about how Nikon extensively testing the D850s in a very hard environment, humidity, temperature, dust, water and the cameras tackle everything.

I have been shooting in piss pouring rain time to time for 6 years. I love to shoot in the rain, I love those photos. Back then I had a lot less “pro” bodies and lenses and never had any problem.

But hey, there were some trips coming up to Asia where the weather is hot or cold, dusty and humid, therefore I wanted to make sure my gear handle everything, so I have bought the 850s, 2 of them.

It happened in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago… Late morning I was shooting with a family who hired me for vacation photos and to make their travel book. The sun was shining, life and work were just fine, they enjoyed the big waves. I was standing on dry sand about a meter or so the distance from the water taking photos of them. I crouched down to get some lower angle shoots when a bigger wave came and splashed onto me facing the water. The splash moved up on my body turned back on my chest and ended up on my camera. Not much water I thought, the bottom of the camera got some of it and some little water here and there. In case I turned off the camera went up to the hotel room, cleaned everything. I have not seen water in the battery compartment, not around the card slots. I thought few days will be enough for the camera to dry and this is a Nikon D850, this little splash is just nothing. It can handle it.

After 2 days I turned on the camera and nothing, no battery status, nothing on the screen and I still had 2 more weeks left from my trip with the remaining D850. Of course, I worried, but I could not do too much on the field, just kept the camera in the bag.

As soon as I arrived home, sent the camera to Nikon Netherlands and waited for their verdict and there it was. The tragic result of the inspection: The camera is un-repairable. Or at least it would be too expensive and after repair, there would be zero warranty because of the salt water.

Here are the photos what the service sent me:

Was it my fault that the camera got wet? Yes!

Did I want to blindly believe in its heavy duty and even waterproof properties? Yes!
Should I? NO!

The sad truth is, the camera is not waterproof, not even a bit. You can see from the photos where the water got in and what damage it caused.

Here I am to tell to anyone who thinks these tools are indestructible, they are not, they can take a lot, but not water, especially salt water. Some could say, yes I know this I would never take my camera near water…and you are right you should not.

Update: There will be an update on the camera. I have sent it to Taiwan, and the NRC Taiwan service is working on it to repair. I received some photos and update from them and they still testing it.
So there is hope.

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