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Thread: Disaster.

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    Disaster.

    So I was out shooting tonight testing my new lighting gear while using a friend as a model. I had my Nikon D700 with the 24-70 attached and a cactus V5, locked it into my Manfrotto 190XB head, and everything was going great. Had fired off about 50 shots for various poses and made a change. Had the camera in the vertical position to do a few shots, got through about 8 and went to change the light position and as I got back to the tripod (as I reached to grab the camera to fire the next shot) the camera fell out of the mount some 2.5-3 feet (with the plate still firmly attached). Long story short I think I am down a 24-70mm Nikon AF-S ...its taken an absolute beating on the rim (naturally the lens took the main impact and not the more durable body) won't zoom fully due to barrel damage (distorted points), and may have some of the internal plastic broken (not sure on this I can't recall what the central insides looked like. None of the glass elements seem to have been damaged and it does seem to still focus as sharp as ever.

    So now I feel even crappier over what was already a bad day, no idea what to do (though I am considering suing manfrotto for damages given a bloody tripod mount should not fail when it was clearly correctly used), wondering if it can be fixed or will need to be replaced, and wondering if it will be covered under my insurance.

    Lesson learnt. Never trust a tripod, no matter how good it supposedly is.

    Oh and a bit of irony, after leaving home I realised I had left my tripod while 15 minutes away, so went back to fetch it. Never normally shoot with one but figured it might be worth while. I should have stuck to hand holding. Lens survives all the abuse of a US stormchasing trip but can't handle Melbourne

    On a side note at least I finished the shoot with my nifty 50 which i had on hand. A big thumbs up for contingency, but otherwise a very expensive test shoot.
    Last edited by Xebadir; 02-08-2011 at 10:29pm.
    John
    Nikon D800, D700, Nikkor 14-24 F2.8, 24-70mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8D, 70-200mm F2.8 VRII, Manfrotto 190XB with Q5 PM Head,
    SB-900,600, portable strobist setup & Editing on an Alienware M14x with LR4 and CS5 and a Samsung XL2370 Monitor.

    Stormchasing isn't a hobby...its an obsession.
    For my gallery and photography: www.emanatephotography.com

  2. #2
    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Ouch! Nasty! I'm afraid I trust my Wimberley with the 500/4 all the time. I couldn't do what I do if I didn't rely on it. So I agree with your advice but am compelled to ignore it.

    Be sure to send the lens to Nikon, they may be able to do something with it.
    Tony

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    ugh - that sounds nasty indeed - I dropped my canon 24-70 onto hard ground from standing height once but lucky we had 2 filters on at the time which got smashed and saved the lens - hopefully yours isn't a write off !
    Call me Dylan! www.everlookphotography.com | www.everlookphotography.wordpress.com | www.flickr.com/photos/dmtoh
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    Ouch. Insurance?
    Shirl
    Gear - 7D, Canon 100mm macro f2.8L, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 24-70 f2.8, nifty fifty, tripod, hitech filters, lowepro versapack and a long wishlist!
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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
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    Yes, ouch indeed.
    I will have to remember more often to hang the shoulder strap over the tripod too
    Col

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    Thanks for the votes of sympathy guys, and the story dylan, makes me feel a little better. Going to check the insurance front in the morning, and take it into camera clinic to see if they can assess and repair it. Either way I need it repaired if thats possible as its my go to lens for weddings....and if not I will probably eat baked beans for a few months to save for a new one before my next job.

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    I know the feeling

    Insurance could cover if you have the lens as a named item on your policy and you're covered for accidental damage and if it's not being used for commercial gain

    Good luck

    I also have no issue trusting my tripod and head.

    Maybe you could see a bit mire why it failed, doesn't sound right to me
    Darren
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    Member wrxzook's Avatar
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    I have only dropped a camera once, but never forgotten the feeling (and the sound) as it landed square on the lens from shoulder height onto concrete. That was a few years ago and I am a bit paranoid about the way I carry it now and make a pest of myself reminding my wife to wrap the strap around her wrist when carrying hers (of course she reminds me it wasn't her that dropped a camera ). We often carry a 190XPROB tripod "just in case" and even though they are reasonably stable, but don't think I would feel happy with a D700 and 24-70 on it. I always check and recheck the plate locking lever when mounting the camera as well. Dropping a camera does strange things to your mind.
    Last edited by wrxzook; 03-08-2011 at 6:44am.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Ouch is right.

    I'm also interested in what caused the plate and tripod to seemingly divorce each other spontaneously.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    I thought I'd stuffed my 10-20 when dropped at Vanuatu a few years ago. Turns out it had just moved the Diopter setting so everything was blurred in the viewfinder. Was a very scarry few minutes.
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
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    Thats what was weird I@M. All I can think of is that given the weight and the camera being in the vertical position the clasp mechanism to the base plate was eventually stressed such that it failed and allowed the camera to escape. Either way I am really not happy with the tripod. What was worse was that I was reaching for the camera to take my next shot at the time and just a second and I would have had hold of it . Lens is in repair shop now, sort of do and don't want to know the damage.

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    Oh that sickening feeling or sinking feeling or both at once. You do need to review how the camera was connected. Did you do it yourself? Could you have made a mistake? I'm sure these things are going through your thoughts but for peace of mind the next time you use a tripod you do want to feel it is safe and secure. Lost a fishing rod and reel (off shore expensive) off an overhead console(caught another one)and since then fitted a safety hook. Just a thin stainless wire with the appropriate hooks attached. Problem solved. Wife dropped our Canon G2 when it was new and bent lens which was open of course. Nearly cost the price of a new camera to fix. Is only now allowed to touch 7D under supervision. Good luck with repairs cheers Brian

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    ......

    Lesson learnt. Never trust a tripod, no matter how good it supposedly is.......
    I'm sure this supposedness of how good Manfrotto gear really is, only really comes from people with no experience with other brands.
    Once you've seen the difference in quality from various other brands, only then do you realise that in the long run, Manfrotto gear is really only consumer level.
    I really can't see any difference in the majority of Manfrotto's support gear with those of the higher end Chineses brands.
    Compare it to a Miller, Sachtler or Gitzo(and I suspect a few other higher end makes, such as Arca), and you quickly realise that Manfrotto's stuff is not up to their levels.

    What model tripod head and plate system were you using. The model of the legs themselves probably wasn't important in the equation .. more so the head and plate models!
    486?? 488?? was it a threeway type such as the 800 series? the plate type is most likely an RC2?? RC4?? .... etc, etc.

    The 190XB is only the model of the legs themselves .. the head itself is a different bit of gear to the legs. Just because you got them together, is inconsequential, they're separate parts.
    Somewhere on the tripod's head will be a model number.

    I can imagine your situation could easily happen with either an RC4 or RC2 type plate, but would be surprised if it were either an RC0 or RC5 plate.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    I'm sure this supposedness of how good Manfrotto gear really is, only really comes from people with no experience with other brands.
    Its a mid level brand, which performs all over much of the chinese crap that is out there. For the price they charge for it you expect some sort of performance and reliability...its not that different to some of the more moderate models of the expensive stuff you listed. Arthur, I think the key point here is that it failed...and a large number of people use stuff by this manufacturer. Whether its the best? Probably not. Has it done the job up til now? Yup. Would I ever trust another tripod head? Nope...ill be keeping the strap secured to me or the tripod itself next time...even if I went the most expensive model. I think that is the lesson...just remember that any tripod can fail...even the brands you spoke of.

    Tripod head I believe is an 804 three way, using an RC2 plate. TBH I don't pay that much attention as my frequency of using a tripod is not huge (when stormchasing even top of the line is a liability....if you find me a tripod that can be set up in 15 seconds, in a 90mph wind gusting and rain without any risk of failure or falling over I would be welcome to your suggestion...note it also needs to be lightweight and portable). It has served me well up until now for the times I have used it (which generally fall to HDR without a natural surface, lightning photography and when i can be bothered lugging it/national parks morning/arvo and the odd model...I find to some extent it leads to zooming with the lens and very static feel to the shots), I am wondering if perhaps the head mechanism is getting worn. Either way I suppose it failed, as much as I would like to I can't change that and have to foot the bill once more.

    I would welcome suggestions of a good combination legs/head combo that are light and portable, yet strong and durable and able to handle adverse conditions....as these are the more likely times for me to use one. Note a condition is that it would need to be able to hold up to a D3/4 body with a 70-200 F2.8 attached weight wise (this wasn't something envisaged with the current model (I wonder perhaps if the weight was too much...seems weird for it to fail all of a sudden though after standing up well in the states), but is feasible and If I am going to bother spending money on a tripod I want something that is going to handle the worst case scenario (or is that best case ).
    Last edited by Xebadir; 12-08-2011 at 11:51am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I agree with the notion that there is some woeful junk out there that comes from China, but if you search a bit deeper, you'll find that it's not all so!

    I have a lot of Manfrotto gear myself(in fact I now believe way too much, considering how much it all cost me, and how much use it all gets.. ie. zero!)
    As I see Manfrotto gear the only stuff they make that looks to be durable, and this means over engineered to the point where this type of failure is not possible, is their really expensive studio level gear.
    This level of gear is awkward to carry easily too.
    If you can find any, have a serious look at the Benro gear.
    I've seen Benro tripods and heads and had the opportunity to quickly play with it(a few members in AP have 'em), if we organise a meetup soon in Melb, and member Mic attends, have a look at his tripod setup.
    I believe it's not only a match for Manfrotto in terms of durability, but actually surpasses Manfrotto and is as good as Gitzo.
    (in fact having compared his Benro to my Gitzo, I now firmly believe I have been duped(by Gitzo) into believing that they produce high quality gear, for 'reasonable' money).

    Only reason I don't have any Benro gear is because I have all the tripod equipment I kind of really need!(although there is always fun in simply getting more, simply for the sake of having more )
    But the reality is that I have way too many tripods and heads that I know what to do with, and all purchased with the mistaken belief that Manfrotto stuff is good.
    Having pulled apart both of the heads I have I can tell you they wear just as badly as the Benro heads do!

    As for Manfrotto's plates system.. in a word(or two) IT SUCKS!
    Both the RC2 and RC4 are very fragile looking systems, secured by a contact area that seems to be far too small. Their RC0 and RC5 plates are a lot better by comparison.
    There are many Arca Swiss plate manufacturers that do even better.

    I don't believe that the tripod legs themselves make a lot of difference in terms of stability in the wind.
    Whilst it's true that a really cheapo set of legs will be more susceptible to toppling over, we are talking about a tripod type/level that doesn't even bear a blip on the radar here. We are referring to the many hundreds of dollar systems here, not the accessory gift items you get for free with the purchase of a $5 corded remote on ebay!

    My two most used tripods, the Gitzo GT3531 and Manfrotto NeoTech(458B that I mentioned earlier) are about as stable as each other in blustery conditions. That is one isn't more likely to topple over in the same conditions as the other. Where they differ in terms of quality is overall strength. The carbon Gitzo is simply more stiff, and the upper plate that ties all the legs and central column together,is far more rigid, and made of metal that is simply stiffer/stronger/rigid. When you want perfect sharpness(eg. super long focal length, or 1x or more macro) there is no comparison.. the Gotzo will produce a sharp image where the manfrotto simply will not(because it resonates more due to a less stiff construction).
    Where the Manfrotto excels is that it'll take 5 seconds to setup in 99% or situations, and possibly 15 seconds to get it perfectly level on uneven ground. All other tripod types would take me a minimum of 20 seconds to setup fully opened(compared to the 458's 5 secs) and to get them perfectly level in some situations ... and infuriatingly long time .. for example if you want to do a pano series and maintain a level pan!)
    This is the only reason I keep the NeoTech. Speed.
    My 055 only sits in the corner of the room, and has done so now for 3 or 4 years. it may one day end doing service as a light stand or something unimportant like that.
    for the money!!! ... these are not very good tripods. As you say John. They do good service, and many people swear by them, because they do good service(for them). It's only once you've reached their limits, that you discover otherwise. This may be due to breakage, ease of use, or simply inadequacy of function.

    I've gone through the tripod purchasing process that Thom Hogan warns(and advises) against in his writings about tripod purchase.
    He doesn't specifically mention brands by name when he refers to inadequate products, but does mention brands when he refers to high quality product!(hence my Gitzo purchase a few years back).
    In general he's correct, Gitzo is a very high quality product. No one in their right mind would ever argue that.
    My eventual realisation was that Benro make Gitzo quality legs, for 1/2 to 1/3 of the price(my experience is with their carbon products, none of the aluminium range tho!)
    I think a lot of 'prior' experiences about cheap Chinese products are a reference to times before the Chinese made higher quality products, or of the really cheap($20??) ranges.

    Don't get me wrong about Manfrotto tho, even tho my experiences are not favourable, I'm not advocating against the product itself. Only about the value for money aspect. None of my Manfrotto gear has broken, snapped or otherwise gone AWOL. They're simply (prematurely)worn, not functioning correctlyor smoothly at they once used too, or not appropriate for the purpose(not rigid enough).
    A carbon Benro tripod and one of their larger upper end ballheads (eg. J1) is far better value for money than a Manfrotto combination at a similar price point.

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    Saved by the bell with insurance. Original Repair Quote was $1023 (whole new lens assembly), $292 by the time I pay excess and loose the no-claims bonus. So fairly happy with the outcome given the scale of the disaster. Thanks for the advice on tripod purchase Arthur.

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    Some additional news. The repair basically was replacement in the entirety of the lens, with a new serial number and all. So pretty happy with that .
    Big thumbs up for the customer service of Camera clinic in Melbourne, have been very helpful and prompt in their service.

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    dropped my sigma 150-500 recently while climbing a slippery rock. lost my footing and went arse over and the camera went flying.... bounce off a rock a couple of times before coming to rest next to me in a bed of leaf litter. I panicked but it works fine... happy ending

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