Dienstag, 4. November 2014

My Nikon 1 J2 and NIKKOR 30-110 crashed after a 30 meter fall

It was a windy day and my plan was to create a nice timelapse video of the passing clouds. So I set up my Nikon 1 on a tripod at the balcony of a tall building. As the recording would take a while I left to do stuff. In my opinion I chose a rather wind protected position but the weather proved me wrong.

As I came back the tripod with the camera was leaning towards the railing. Probably a gust had put it there. I carefully reached out to rescue it and that was the time when poo hit the fan. The camera must have released the plate's lock with its own weight after it had hit the handrails. Like in slow motion it slid off the tripod, hit the platform and bounced down the balcony passing ten floors.

Looks quite high to me

For several seconds there wasn't a sound and I nearly started to believe the camera got stuck somewhere but a dull bang finally announced the camera's arrival at the bottom.

Place of impact
The fall from 30 meters (98 ft) height scattered the parts in a 20 meter radius, smashed the lens hood, knocked the lens off the body and deformed the camera case. It wasn't possible to put the parts together again but unbelievably the electronics were still working.

Not too bad from the front side
As the case broke open the screen was loose a bit. It has some wrong pixels but nothing too bad. The pop up flash was a bit stuck but worked still. The body was bend so much that I think an intact lens could have been installed but probably a a wrong angle to the sensor.

A bit worse from the back

The plastic lens adaptor broke off just like it should to prevent the body from damage although I don't think it made any difference in this case. I could still extend it but unfortunately it wasn't possible to look through it. So I guess the mechanism that opens the iris is broken.

Okay - that looks bad

I just sent everything to Nikon's repair support. Lets see if this creates a good laugh or repaired camera gear.

Not great but still the best of three usable pictures

Unfortunately the tripod tilted just in the beginning of the recording sequence and I couldn't use the footage. I was happy enough to be able to safe all other video footage and images that were still on the SD card. I could repair the polarization filter that I had put on the lens by the way - woohoo!

Update 1: Nikon sent me a message that they weren't able to repair either my camera or my lens. That's a bit pity as I thought at least the body would be fixable by replacing the casing. If I can get my hands on another broken J2 I will see if I can scavenge its parts.

Update 2: I got my broken camera back. Just out of curiosity I put a 10-30 lens on and took some test shots.

NIKKOR 10-30 mounted on broken Nikon 1 J2

Unfortunately I didn't find the time to shoot at day so the lighting conditions were rather bad.
This is the image quality taken with a camera that Nikon calls broken. Judge on your own.

Image taken by a "broken" J2

Of course the camera didn't come in mint conditions but apparently Nikon didn't even try to fix it. Although I told them that the electronics are still working there was no attempt to replace the case. You can tell it from the condition of the screws.
State of the camera screws after return

Update 3: I took my camera apart to glue up the broken back part of the case and to get rid of the bend in the metal part. For all interested in the inside of the J2 I made some pictures of the striptease :)
All screws are not too difficult to distinguish even if the have different lengths. You may consider to put them in different vessels e.g. lens caps though if you go through the same process.
First I removed the white screws on the side followed by the black screws on the bottom. This allowed me to take of the black plastic back. Be careful not to strip off the flat connection cable.
The next step was to remove white caps at the sides which then made it possible to get out the silver screes that hold the metal part there. In the following I took care of the white screws at the bottom and I could take off the metal part of the frame.