Dropped 200-500mm Lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ShunCheung, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I was sitting on my office chair, holding the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR by its tripod collar. This is exactly the reason I don't like these removable tripod collars. That collar was slightly loose and somehow it was aligned such that the lens barrel fell off from it. Hitting the ground straight down from 2.5 feet or so. I have one of those flat, transparent hard plastic sheet on the floor for office chair with wheels to roll on.

    Initially I didn't see any damage and the lens seems to work fine. Image sharpness remains ok. A week later I finally noticed a crack on the barrel, near the front of the lens. Nikon USA's web site shows a $300+ repair estimate. That lens is now on its way to Nikon in Los Angeles.

    I sure am glad that the collar on the new 500mm/f5.6 PF lens is not entirely removable. Only the tripod foot is removable, similar to the collar on the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR.

  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Bad Luck! That is quite a charge for the repair!
  3. It looks like a single ring that broke, although of course there may be hidden damage as well. I wonder if Nikon ever adjusts an initial estimate downward if they find a repair less costly than expected.
  4. Oh no! Actually that happened to me two days ago as I took it out of the bag to decide whether to still keep it - amidst the discussion of the new 500mm. I held it by its foot and the lens slipped down from the collar immediately. Thankfully I caught it before it hit the floor. :oops: Now you can buy mine for $1,000 - I'll throw in the Arca-Swiss replacement collar. ;)
    yardkat likes this.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, not entirely bad luck. I need to be careful with those tripod collars that are completely removable. I first experienced that kind of collar when I reviewed the Sigma 70-200mm/f2.8 OS, and I never like that kind of design. Too bad Nikon also uses it on certain lenses.

    The repair cost estimate is fixed for "impact damage" on the 200-500mm zoom. There doesn't seem to be any internal damage but it is hard to say without taking the lens apart. If it is merely a matter of replacing that plastic ring on the barrel, since it is close to the front of the lens, it shouldn't incur a lot of labor cost. Maybe Nikon also needs to calibrate the lens again. Hopefully $200 or so will do, but I have pre-approved the entire estimate.

    I'll report back after it is all done.

    I am eyeing on the new 500mm/f5.6 PF, but the advantage of a zoom is that you can zoom back to the 200mm end when your subject approaches.

    I captured the following image 4 days ago at 350mm, a couple of weeks after the initial damage. Again, sharpness seems ok and the zoom ring works just fine.

    yardkat and paul_b.|1 like this.
  6. I think Shun just try to justify buying the 500 f/5.6 fp.
    bnelson, Mary Doo and Moving On like this.
  7. Ouch. I like being able to take the feet off for travel (especially on the 200-500, which makes a significant difference to how much I can fit in a bag), but fortunately I've never had this happen to me. My nearest is probably an emergency stop to avoid deer in the road at night in Yellowstone, when my camera and 200-500 shot into the foot well and had the heavy camera bag follow them. Fortunately no apparent damage. Likewise when my Pentax 645 and the 14-24 fell out of an aeroplane overhead locker - fortunately the 14-24 was in its bag with Styrofoam padding, and my head broke the fall of the 14-24. (They'd have been secure in a camera bag if Qantas weren't the only airline ever to insist I break my carry on into lighter bags.) I didn't take the feet at all on my most recent trip (and only a perfunctory tripod), but they sometimes come in hold baggage.

    Given Nikon's track record with tripod feet, I hope the 500mm has above average vibration resistance of it's fixed. Or that it can be unscrewed and replaced with an Arca-compatible foot, like the bigger superteles.
  8. Sorry about the bad luck Shun. After reading your post I immediately re-tightened the ring on my 200-500. Last Friday while shooting at a high school football game I noticed that the screw holding the Arca Swiss clamp on my monopod had loosened. Since it was holding my 300MM f/2.8 and D500 I immediately panicked wondering how I was going to re-tighten it. Fortunately the latest RRS L-Plates have a slot for an allen wrench that was the same size and I was able to tighten it.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have a bunch of those hex allen wrenches to tighten Arca-Swiss style quick-release plates. I have one in each camera bag.
  10. Sorry to hear it, Shun. Someday I'll overcome my embarrassment and share the story of breaking a lens right off the front of my D7100. :confused: Best wishes for the repair.
  11. I carry hex wrenches around too - I'm pleased the Kirk L plate on my D850 has integrated storage for one. Normally I store them with my tripod, after Incheon tried to confiscate them from my hand baggage. I'm still unclear whether they thought I could stab someone or if they expected me to unscrew the plane.
  12. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    That is not only Incheon, who try these "funny" things, some Vietnamese airports or say staff do the some, it all depends, who is on duty, and you do not start arguing with them, then it gets even worse !!
  13. Yes. It applies to inspectors in the Federal Republic too - clearly a universal.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  14. $300 is not bad at all. I dropped a 24-120 from one foot sideways onto rather bumpy rock. The impact cracked the housing for the VR and M/A switch. Everything worked just fine. Nikon charged me $400 to repair the switch housing.

    However, when I got the lens back, it seems Nikon replaces the entire lens barrel, not the the switch housing. The body of the lens is clearly new. But they did not just replace the entire lens as I briefly hoped. The lens mount wear shows it was the still the original lens.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Received an e-mail from Nikon Repair in Los Angeles. Their original estimate was actually $375. They are now classifying this as a category C, Major Repair Service and they are sticking with the $375 estimate. It will be just over $400 with tax and shipping.

    Again, this is a reminder that we need to be careful with those completely removable tripod collars. I was holding onto the "foot" part of the collar and I usually have a shoulder strap fastened onto the quick release plate on the collar foot, but in this case the entire lens came off the collar. There is more damage than what I expected dropping from 2.5 feet.

    The lens hood was in the reverse position and therefore the hood itself didn't sustain much impact.
  16. Ouch. I was going to ask about the hood - I rely on them for padding when travelling. The 200-500 has a bit of rubber padding on the front, doesn't it? I guess not enough...

    My sympathies, anyway.
  17. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    When my Rhodesian knocked the DF with 24-120 on out of my hand and onto the concrete, the hood was the only casualty and saved the rest. Good luck / bad luck!
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When I am out shooting, typically I have the lens hood on, but in this case I was sitting on a chair at home and of course the hood was reversed for storage. The 200-500 is a pretty big lens and the hood is huge too. I wouldn't leave the hood on (forward position) with that lens sitting upside down on any table or floor; the center of gravity would be pretty high and the lens can easily topple.

    It is still primarily my own fault. Those completely removable tripod collars is a bad design, and we need to be careful when handling such lenses. The collar is not necessarily a secure way to handle the lens. If you mount those lenses on a tripod, please make sure that the tripod collar is tightened so that the lens barrel cannot slip out.

    Since my lens was still functional, I could have left it unfixed. But with a gash on the barrel, I probably wouldn't depend on it. And I also wondered whether any element was slightly knocked off and there could be some subtle sharpness issues.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  19. By the way, the hex bolts on Arca pads are the same size as the wheels on in-line skates. The hex keys for those often come in an S shape, with no long stabbing end, so perhaps one of those would be better for traveling.
  20. Huh. Thanks, Matthew - I'll check that out. I have a selection of Allen keys from various sources, but they're all the same basic L shape except for screwdriver attachments. (I might see whether one of my mini screwdrivers would work, now you mention it.)

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