Friday, June 12, 2009

Battered is Better - No not a discussion about blue cod....

I love 'battle-worn' camera gear. I get the warm fuzzies whenever I notice that the black anodizing has worn through to reveal bare aluminium near a button or switch on my camera body. My pulse quickens when I spy a piece of rubberised plastic slowly dissolving after hundreds of hours of contact with my (apparently quite grimy) hands.

I can't profess to have reached this level of wear & tear but my 4 year old D2X is just starting to get good. No real monster dings or scrapes, more of a cumulative patina of pragmatic decay - including a very stubborn and quite crusty spot of egg yolk ingrained in the rubber at this year's toga party riots in Dunedin.

Toga threesome: glad you lot are having fun.... I'm still finding egg on my gear.

I can trace this admiration for deterioration back to 1997. Sarah & I were at a weekend workshop with Art Wolfe and Nikon had sent some kind of ambassador/legend guy along to show off 800mm lenses and the recently released F5 body.

Nikon F5 - creator of many a late night fantasy during the 1990's and possible vanquisher of bears

This dude was seriously cool. Not that he thought so at all - which, of course, is why he was so cool. He had the air of a survivor, a war-torn photo-journalist turned nature photographer who had seen things that would leave poseurs such as myself looking for a new career.

Apparently his pre-production F5 had been quite instrumental in his continued ability to breath. Casual (yet reverent) inspection suggested that en-route to the workshop, our man had extricated himself out of tight spot with a Kodiak bear - by using his F5 as a club.

Furthermore, It appeared that upon reaching his car he had succumbed to a spot of shock and, for reasons known only to him, attached his camera to the tow ball of his car and high-tailed it to the nearest bar (180 miles away in Anchorage).

His camera looked absolutely shagged. The finder prism was dented in, rubber was torn off, only about 40% of the black anodizing remained - but apparently it still worked like a charm.

Nikon couldn't have orchestrated a better PR campaign if they tried (frankly, I doubt that nikon marketing could never do anything that clever).

I was sold on nikon from that day onwards and despite my grumblings I still am. Their pro body build quality and performance in really tough environments is as exceptional today as it was 15 years ago - cue the Kodiaks!


1 comment:

  1. Bears usually finish you then and there - WOW - I,m off to get a Nikon