How fragile is a DSLR?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Michael Humle, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Michael Humle

    Michael Humle TPF Noob!

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    Over the last 35 years I have been used to cameras that can take a great deal of punishment. I can remember occasions droping my camera and thinking, that was it! However, I would pick it up and find it would still click away for me. Now that I have bought a DSLR, I'm afraid to give it a slight bump! I'm talking about the function of the body, not what happens to the lenses. What are your thoughts and experiences?
     
  2. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Their fragility is a matter of how they are made, not the fact that they are DSLR's. There is no difference from the 35mm days. Some cameras were designed to take more punishment than others. A DSLR is not inherently more fragile than a 35mm camera.
     
  3. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    I'm taking an educated guess here but I believe the only significant difference between an SLR and a dSLR is that the sensor is where the film is. So in general I'd say the construction is close enough to not be OVERLY worried.

    Now you do need a bit of common sense... obviously the LCD is something to be careful with. If the body is plastic it won't take the same degree of beating that a metal one would but I would think that just the nature of photography and the weird conditions photographers will take their gear into companies would make cameras that are durable.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would think that there are a few more things inside a DSLR than a FSLR that would be susceptible to damage...but maybe not.
    As Fred said, it probably comes down to how it's made. The Pro bodies are probably much more resiliant than the entry or mid level bodies.

    Here is a series of images from the dissection of a Canon 20D...which had be dropped into the ocean and declared DOA. I know it's not really what you were asking...but it may give you an idea of what the insides of a DLSR are like. http://www.pbase.com/gmr2048/20d-dissection&page=1
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    when you drop it and the outer shell holds (whether film or digital does not matter here, but the general built), then it is often the shutter which might get damaged from the impact.

    overall my digital SLR looks much more sturdy than my film SLR ... and the latter survived a lot.

    maybe it is different with the weather influence.. if the weather ruins your film, you just take a new one.. if it ruins your sensor or the electronics (talking of changing lenses in salt water spray at the coastline for example) .. then you are doomed forever.

    but about these things you can simply be a bit careful and you also would have been careful with your film SLR.
     
  6. Michael Humle

    Michael Humle TPF Noob!

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    I am beginning to feel better about this...thanks!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I went to Costa Rica, just over a year ago. I brought my 20D and took it just about everywhere. At one point I had to leave my camera bag behind while we went on a 'Rain forest canopy - zip line tour'...it wasn't raining when we left...but we got caught in a torrential downpour. I had a bit of plastic to cover my camera...but I couldn't hold it while zipping from tree to tree. The camera got soaked. I was fairly worried but I did have insurance on the camera.

    The camera did get pretty wet...and the inside of the LCD screen was fogged up for about a day...but the camera continued to work fine...and still does today.

    This isn't somthing I'd recommend...but it's nice to know that my camera made it through this trauma.

    I guess the moral of the story is...don't worry about it. Life is too short to leave your camera at home. (and...get insurance ;) )
     
  8. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

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    I was out taking photos of waves crashing into the cliffs along Lake Superior when a Rogue wave came in and knocked me to my butt and soaked me head to toe. I turned off the power and popped out the battery right away. Went home and let it dry for a day. Day later, camera completely dry and working great. Its been a months since then and it still works perfect.

    As long as your not playing catch with your camera, most of the DSLR's are pretty durable. I would have to say I trust my 20d to hold up to more stress compared to my 300D though.
     
  9. Michael Humle

    Michael Humle TPF Noob!

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    I am feeling a lot better about this...thank you for your thouhts and experiences!
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is the best advice. Over the years (more than 35), I've tried to observe a few simple rules and have yet to damage a camera or lens by dropping.

    1) ALWAYS put a strap on the the camera and ALWAYS use it. I never allow anyone to hold one of my cameras without first putting the strap around their neck. The strap comes off my neck only after the camera is securely mounted on a sturdy tripod. If I set the camera down momentarily, I make certain the strap is not hanging over an edge or is a position to get snagged, pulling the camera off a table or shelf.

    2) When your gear is not in use, keep it in a case. Accidents are hard to happen when your gear is in a case. I've never used a gadget bag... hard cases only.

    3) All of my lenses are fitted with caps. I keep all lenses capped when not in use.

    4) I have a place for all my gear. A place where it "lives." In my case, it's my studio. It can be anywhere... a room... closet... etc. After a shoot, everything goes to that place. That's when the shoot is finished... when the gear is back in place.

    I recommend these "rules" to everyone. I was lucky enough to have someone teach me this when I was young, and it's really paid off for me.

    Pete
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good tips Pete.

    You almost have to adopt ritualistic routines for handling your gear. Eliminate bad habits because they will eventually catch up with you.

    Here is a good one I learned from the photographer who shot my wedding. When you are detaching your hot-shoe flash from your camera...wrap the camera strap around your hand/arm...twice.
     
  12. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Agreed. Excellent points, Pete.
     

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