Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/04/04

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: [Leica] lobsters, lots of sand
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 09:29:51 -0400

on 4/3/01 6:07 PM, henry at wrote:

> Seriously - no problems for the camera or lens. But boy was I shocked for
> a moment!

Luckily sandbox sand is usually that coarse stuff. If it's wet, even better
as it sticks to surfaces rather than sliding into crannies. The really nasty
sand is that fine, fine dry beach sand. my wife dumped our brand new DV
camera into exactly this stuff last summer (she was trying to stop a dog
fight). Sand worked its way right into the take-up mech. I went to radio
shack and bought a full set of those little screwdrivers and as much
blow-air as I could afford. Then I took the little sucker to tiny bits and
blew, blew, blew. Reassembled enough to play a tape, didn't work, so blew
blew blew some more (holding the camera upside down so the sand dropped
out). Finally it came back to life.

I was confident enough to do this because I've had to disassemble cameras
and VTRs on the road before (they're very modular: the key is knowing when
to stop). Unless you feel happy doing this really all you can do in the
worst-case scenario is get whatever surface stuff you can off and take it to
someone to disassemble.

Funnily enough, dropping a camera, even a $100,000 video camera, into water
isn't nearly so bad. Oftentimes you can just dry it out and astoundingly
everything works as normal.

The exception that proves the rule, though, is what happened to a cameraman
I know who had just invested in a new digitbeta camera. These things cost
the same as a house, and this guy had bought it to rent out with himself.
Unfortunately he had forgotten to up the insurance on his equipment, which
was set at about $30,000 as he had previously had a beaten up old Aaton or
something. So his first shoot is a swimming pool. He puts down the camera on
the pool surround and instantly someone dives in, knocking it into the
water. Cameraman dives in in his clothes and pulls the camera out, thinking
'I'll just let it dry out and say a few Hail Mary's'. But it turns out
highly chlorinated water and circuit boards do not mix... and now the guy is
in the hole to an extent I do not even want to think about...

- -- 
Johnny Deadman