by Greg Vaughn
I’ve been shooting with Nikon equipment as a pro photographer for many years. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been tempted to switch systems, but the Nikon stuff keeps working for me, and the ergonomics and controls of their cameras have always fit me better so I stay with them. No question that the glass is first class.
Ruggedness and reliability are also big factors for me. I’m not one to baby my gear, and in fact it gets stuffed into backpacks without much padding, jostles around in the truck while driving rutted roads, gets the vibration treatment in airplane overhead bins, and frequently gets splashed, sprayed and coated with dust.
The cameras and lenses just keep on working, even the “prosumer” class gear that isn’t designed to stand up to heavy use.
However, shit happens, as they say. On a recent trip I clumsily knocked over my tripod while gesturing to a guy who was posing for me. Camera and lens hit the floor with a loud clunk, and without even a lenshood to cushion the fall.
Red-faced, I sat the tripod back on its feet, checked camera and lens for wobbliness and signs of damage. Fired off a few shots, and everything looked normal on the LCD, so I finished the shoot. The next day, I noticed that occasionally there seemed to be a problem with the VR and focusing, so I switched to the backup gear.
When I returned from the trip, I shipped camera body and lens to Nikon, taking advantage my NPS (Nikon Professional Services) membership to get expedited repairs. I decided to send my 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom too, as it’s got a few miles on it after 6 years as the main workhorse.
Eight days later, UPS delivers my repaired gear. The work order for the 17-55mm lens says they repaired impact damage, focusing mechanism and zooming mechanism, replaced cam ring, name ring, zooming ring, lens barrel and bayonet mount. This is in addition to adjusting focus and resolution and giving it a thorough cleaning. The lens is practically brand new, and the bill was all of 150 bucks.
I don’t think I’ll be switching brands any time soon.
Greg Vaughn is a freelance editorial and commercial photographer based in Eugene, Oregon. He specializes in recreational travel, scenic landscape and nature photography. Greg’s guidebook “Photographing Oregon” won the Independent Publishers Association Ben Franklin Award for best travel book in 2010. It is also included in the Top Ten Best Travel Guides for Photographers at http://www.bestphotographybooks.com. Buy it at your favorite local bookstore, or order an autographed copy from http://www.GregVaughn.com/books.html .
If you have similar experiences please leave a comment.
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