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Dropped a camera for the first time ever

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by ajramirez, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. ajramirez

    ajramirez Hall of Famer

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    I wanted to share my little afternoon mishap and ask a philosophical question.

    For the first time ever I dropped a camera. Mind you, it was only from about three feet, but the sound it made when it hit the concrete sidewalk made me sick to my stomach.

    The good news is that the camera was not operationally damaged, and the aesthetic damage, while very noticeable, is not too significant. The bad news is that it was my recently purchased, formerly in mint condition, 1953 Kodak Signet 35.

    I feel incredibly stupid in that the reason the camera fell is that I had attached a wrist strap to one strap lug of the bottom half of the Signet's leather case. I guess 1953 leather is just not up to the task. The camera was hanging from my wrist as I was walking, when the leather split, releasing the strap lug.

    Even though it is not a particularly valuable camera, I still feel awful that I have sullied what was, until this afternoon, a mint 1953 vintage camera. My question to you is, how do you feel about risking vintage equipment by continuing to use it as if it was new? Should we let the modern cameras take the knocks while preserving our vintage treasures in glass cases?


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  2. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I was upset enough when last year I dropped my little Ricoh CX1 (which cost me all of $120) not just once (consequence: cosmetic scratches), but twice (consequence: odd but managable focus issues). Even with a camera like that I feel bad everytime I look at the damage :frown:
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  3. AzPete

    AzPete Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    I have never dropped a camera and btw sorry about your mishap. I have, dropped cell phones and returned them for new ones. But to your question, I believe the vintage stuff should be used
    until it has no life, dings, scratches and whatever. That is the character of the camera. Just because you have a scar on your arm, you cant replace it, you keep using it. Now a scar on my wife, that
    may be different....haha...sorry sick joke. Keep the oldies and keep using them.
    Cheers Antonio,

    ps. get a better case :tongue:
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  4. deirdre

    deirdre Top Veteran

    Sep 26, 2010
    My Leica CL (approx 40 years old) came without a strap. I wasn't able to afford the one I wanted (Artisan & Artist) before I left, so I used the camera in Moroco and several islands fearing for its well being. I finally found an inexpensive suitable strap: a pirate-themed lanyard that cost me $3.99.
  5. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under

    Not happy to hear about your misfortune mate. Not happy at all. But I am encouraged by the fact that you are breathing new life into the old camera. I dread to think how many beautiful pieces of engineering are languishing on shelves - as they are too precious to be taken out. These things were designed to take photos, that's why they were created, it's their raison d'etre. Not to get too Cartesian on folks but I liken it to: "I Shoot, Therefore I Am". To be a camera, means having curtains and blades moving. While it's movements are seized on a shelf it is merely an expensive paperweight. I hope any folks out their with their Leicas doing the same feel very bad, and will satiate their guilt by contacting me to show their housebound gear a good time - please just PM me :wink:.

    Again, unfortunate mate, but a hazard of our trade I'm afraid. But looking at it another way, a carpenter, as much as he loves his quality tools and uses them for many lifetimes, enjoys nothing more than sharing the tale of how that knick got on his prize plane, or why his grandfather's mallet has that chunk out of the handle. When you hand her down, it'll be a great excuse for your granddaughter to have her ear chewed over with the tales of this Kodak as you present it to her....and she will subsequently explain the genesis of the noticed cosmetic damage to her grandchildren.....so much better than stories about grandpa's rosewood chest up there on the top shelf that no-one is allowed to breathe near!

    Then again I do have a bent view on life....:blush:
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  6. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Stillshunter, I can empathize with your bent view on life, although mine is probably bent in a different direction.
    A lady friend loaned me her 100-300mm Panasonic lens last week, an hour later she dropped her camera bag badly damaging a lens that was inside, where the lens she loaned me would otherwise have been.
    2 days later she put her foot down a disused badger hole resulting in a fractured knee, luckily i was able to call some reserve staff out with a four wheel drive vehicle to effect a rescue. I've no doubt she'll be using her old knee when mended, so the moral is, use it, old or new, if damaged repair where possible, and keep using it to the bitter end.

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  7. Archiver

    Archiver Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Sorry to hear about the scrapes, although it is good to know that your camera still works as it should. I've dropped cameras, which has been bad, and mindisc recorders, which has been shocking. The only camera that suffered operationally was the Canon G7, which had a stuck lens cylinder and would not extend. The minidisc recorder was much worse, as it was recording at the time and the head was damaged, causing subsequent recordings to have horrible intermittent static noise.

    As for whether to use a vintage camera or not, I am unsure. The closest thing I have to vintage cameras are my Dad's Pentax ME and Minolta SR-T, which are built like tanks. The 'rarest' camera I have is the Contax T3, which I baby and hardly shoot because of the difficulty of repair. And I have a wonderful Omega Seamaster 120m diving watch from the 70's (nicknamed the 'Baby Ploprof') which I only wear very rarely as it is in beautiful condition and hard to find. But I am sure that I had a Leica M2, M3 or M4-P, I'd use it as much as I wanted, as repair and replacement are easy and robustness is huge.
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  8. P.H

    P.H Regular

    Apr 4, 2011
    Derby, UK
    It happens, don't beat yourself up about it. I was at a bicycle race and saw a press pro let a Nikon with a foot long lens slip off his shoulder onto the tarmac, I flinched more than he did, he just got the shot with the other camera.
    As for whether to use or preserve old stuff, I think it depends on it's rarity. Whatever the object, I think it'd be nice to have some examples left in decent condition for future generations to see. But if you know someone somewhere is doing the preserving, it leaves you to continue using without that responsibility.
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  9. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Top Veteran

    Jul 6, 2010
    This is going make me sound very clumsy, or an alcoholic, but I've dropped a Leica M8, Pentax 645, Pentax MZ-50 + lens (In the sea - complete write off) Lumix GH1, Pentax *istD, Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens. All this in 25 years, working virtually every day. All were repaired good as new.

    Personally I think you should use cameras, because thats what they are for. Insurance and the phone number of a good repair shop are a help for this obviously! Looking at cameras in glass cases has never much appealed to me and to me the joy of them is going out and taking pictures. Even though that may put them at risk. I do hang on to my Leica M9 very tightly however!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Antonio, I feel for you but what a relief that your camera still works fine! I'm with the "use it or lose it" folks. I think Mark's comment hits the proverbial nail on the head (as opposed to hitting the camera).:2thumbs:
  11. ajramirez

    ajramirez Hall of Famer

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Thank you very much for your kind responses. I think it's obvious that we are all photographers and not collectors, which IMO is a good thing.

    As some of you may know, i am also a musician (strings and keys). Although I treat my instruments carefully, I would never let risk of damage get in the way of my using the instruments as they were meant to be used. In fact, that first ding on a new instrument represents a liberation of sorts. Plus battle scars on guitars do look kind of cool. :smile:

    I think I'll take this first damage in a similar fashion. Hopefully, it will not get dinged too much more, but if it does so be it. Besides, the world is not about to run out of Signet 35s any time soon.

    Again, thanks.


    P.S. Of course, the lesson learned from all of this is: do not attach straps to 1953 leather cases.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    :th_salute: Good for you, and yes...the old leather cases as beautiful as they can be sometimes just can't handle the pressure anymore. I felt very sad when my OM-1's original case lost its hold...not that it's a "vintage" camera but...you know.

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