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Has your gear failed you when you needed it most?
#1
Share your gear malfunction stories - something unexpected when you really needed it. How did you cope? What did you do to compensate?

I recall when I shot my first wedding, I borrowed a friend's DSLR and flashgun. I didn't realise that flashgun chews non-rechargeable batteries like anything so I went through all my spares in no time flat. Ended up getting someone to do a quick dash to the supermarket to buy more batteries for me... how embarrassment. Big Grin

I also shared previously that on my recent trip to Fiji I brought a cheap "waterproof" digital camera that fogged up the 2nd time I used it, and still had moisture inside after we got back from the trip.

What are your horror stories?
#2
I can think of a few equipment failures, and coincidentally they all happened on my trips to Coney Island last year.

The most serious, and frustrating, was also a no-battery situation. My little rangefinder runs on small coin cells, so I dutifully changed them for fresh batteries before I left for the day. And didn't bother bringing spares. Of course this is when I discover that the big-brand batteries that I'm using are bad, because they fail after nine rolls of film.

Good batteries should last for fifty.

At this point it was nearing the end of the day, but it was still going to cost me a couple of hours of very scarce shooting time. But I got incredibly lucky, and one of the nearby convenience stores actually had a pair of the odd type that I needed. It still took about half and hour, and caused stress that I didn't need, but I went on to take three more rolls of film.

The other gear failure happened on an earlier day trip to the same bit of boardwalk. My Hasselblad jammed, which is a nuisance but not an unexpected one, so I was carrying the tools I needed to reset it. The bigger problem was the toll the long day took on my tripod, because after a few hours one of the legs started to loosen. It held together, but by the end of the trip it was quite wobbly and I had to take extra care carrying it and setting it up. Naturally, it's held together with Torx screws, making it very difficult to fix in the field. That experience has added an extra gear-check step to my travel planning, but there was nothing I could do about it at the time.
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#3
I'm very reluctant to post this... but in 30 years of photography, I have never suffered a failure in gear, film or batteries.....
#4
(Feb 29, 2012, 23:46)EnglishBob Wrote: I'm very reluctant to post this... but in 30 years of photography, I have never suffered a failure in gear, film or batteries.....

I have never suffered a failure in gear or film but batteries...it's inevitable! I thought it has happened to everyone. You must be very well prepared, good for you!
#5
The carbon unit on my cameras (that bit just behind the viewfinder) has failed many times...
#6
I've never had gear fail me when I needed it.

But things like batteries ..or having put the camera in the zip up backpack, the eagle turns round and poses for ten seconds 4 feet away, before disappearing for good. Or having wrong settings from a previous shoot.
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
#7
That's awesome guys, great stories and thanks for sharing. I giggle a bit imagining you gingerly carrying a wobbly tripod and jammed Hassleblad Matthew... Big Grin

Craig, make sure you knock on wood, stat!

Just thought of another - I've done the classic "go on a long trip and leave the charger behind" a few times.

Also, I loaned my Nexto Portable Hard Drive to my dad when they went on a trip to Canada and of course the hard drive had to die on them. Good thing it happened right at the start of the trip so they hadn't erased all the images from their memory card yet.
#8
(Mar 1, 2012, 14:53)NT73 Wrote: the eagle turns round and poses for ten seconds 4 feet away, before disappearing for good. Or having wrong settings from a previous shoot.

This!!! Camera out of reach or wrong settings are the worst offenders!
#9
I did a shoot last week and left my memory cards at home Sad

Had to apologise to the couple and whip around to the local pro store - only took about 15 minutes - but very embarrassing. First time in about 300+ shoots.
Canon stuff.
#10
(Mar 4, 2012, 21:26)Wedding Shooter Wrote: I did a shoot last week and left my memory cards at home Sad

Had to apologise to the couple and whip around to the local pro store - only took about 15 minutes - but very embarrassing. First time in about 300+ shoots.

Holy Moly... how did the couple react? Hopefully the rest of the day went without a hitch... oops, poor choice of words. Big Grin
#11
Haha - it was a pre wedding/engagement shoot - so much less pressure then a wedding. We were just in a park - the three of us and they were fine to wait and have a romantic chat while I went and got the cards. The shoot turned out great.

If it was a wedding I would have just stolen my assistant or second shooters cards Smile
Canon stuff.
#12
(Mar 4, 2012, 21:26)Wedding Shooter Wrote: I did a shoot last week and left my memory cards at home Sad

By any chance did anybody take a photograph of the look on your face the moment you realised this? Big Grin
#13
LOL - fortunately I had my head buried in the back of my Pajero - no danger of a photograph Smile I could have used my iPhone for the shoot - but I think they couple may have questioned my photography.
Canon stuff.
#14
Yes, I too confess of hi-tech kit defeated by a lo-tech enemy(!): it's always my battery(ies), whose behaviour is/are totally without logic; I invariably then order a cheapo one, which behaves as inscrutably as the previous one and sets me to muttering. I then swear I'll buy a decent one next time....
I did also have the self-loosening tripod that Matthew mentioned...
.... My tripod, I am convinced, is possessed of sapient life: all screws are "shipshape and Bristol fashion" until such time as its use is absolutely necessary. Then, just at the furthest non-returnable part of a journey(in Wales or Italy, say), it starts to outgrow its screws. Now, far from Zig to go floppy in the field, as 'twere: a screwdriver or adjustment tool is thus now permantly gaffer-taped to one of its legs.
Other than that, I can't remember ever having failure of things photographical...unless one counts a lovely old Fuji twin-focal length film compact I had: lens smashed, viewfinder trashed......I must add that this was after it had been thrown at me by ex-Mrs Zig. However, such was the build, brawn and sturdiness of the Fuji that it functioned perfectly thereafter...a fact I felt wise to censor at the time....
All my stuff is here: www.doverow.com
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Has your gear failed you when you needed it most?00