Dropping Your DSLR Down a Mountain Can Be Bad for Its Health

One of the questions that comes back most often when people learn what I do for a living is: how do you manage not to drop your camera? Up until Saturday, I could (somewhat smugly) answer that I am being very careful and have been lucky so far.

Two days ago, I was shooting Heather Geluk and had just gotten some pretty amazing shots of the climbers with Dent du Géant in the background, when my camera decided to go for a hike on its own (I’ll keep the exact details of how the camera came to be dropped confidential for now, as I want to discuss it first with involved gear manufacturers). The D700 and attached Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 II bounced around on the rock and ice slope, until the lens disappeared in a crevasse field. Amazingly, the camera stopped 150m lower and we managed to retrieve what was left of it… Sadly, the memory card was also damaged, though I have hopes of getting a specialized company to retrieve the photos from the morning.

We did finish the shoot, using a small Canon G12 and climbing the super fun Aiguilles d’Entrèves traverse:

Because nothing beats broken camera porn, here is what my once dear D700 now looks like. The screen is completely gone and I cleaned the glass fragments out.

And now, the hunt for a D800 in time for some big shoots next week begins!

About the author: Alexandre Buisse is a mountain adventure photographer based in the French Alps. Visit his website here. This post was originally published here.

  • Osmosisstudios

    Considering what it went through, it actually LOOKS pretty good. Shame it’s not functional though

  • Merv

    Just send it in for a service.

  • Slash_Cynic

    Might not to be a good idea. It would take over a year or more to get it back from Nikon.

  • Mark J Rebilas

    Thats NOTHING. Here is some real camera and lens destruction thanks to a crashing car at over 200mph….

  • Nonexpectedz3


  • Collene Tsai

    my once dear D700 now looks like. The screen is completely gone and I cleaned the glass fragments out.

  • Jason Banks

    I am amazed the pop-up flash is still attached to that disaster!  On the plus side, umm.. yeah.

  • Bat54

    Yeah, not much point in sending it in. My D700 with about 7000 actuations just quit working altogether…no power at all. It’s been in the shop for 2 months now “waiting on the part from Nikon”.

  • Kyoshibecker

    Ive dropped my D200 16ft down a rock wall…   Still works but is as ugly as it gets…

  • Heidi

     I have a D200 that was dropped and the top LCD screen got smashed out.  Camera still works like a champ, and I use it as my back up body.  Might be ugly on the outside, but hey, better than nothing!

  • David

    Maybe get a armour case for it…mind you not sure they are mountain proof ?

  • John Stock

    Slow news day?

  • TrollDaddy


  • Yourmom

    Sorry…. we forgot to mention there was a unicorn fighting an angel that caused the accident. Better?

  • Yourmom

    meant for John stock =)

  • Jan

    And that’s why it’s a good idea to wear a helmet in the mountains, you never know who’s carrying an unsecured camera above your head.

  • Marc

    Incredible. You win!

  • The_photographer_Tom

    Pah!! Nikons.
    Next time, take an EOS7d. They CAN handle a bit of abuse. See here:

  • Canon Fan

    That happens if you have Nikon. It’s all right if you drop your Canon, nothing bad happens.

  • Kavandje

    The Leica museum in Solms has an SL2 MOT that survived a fall of around 25,000 feet; it was “battered but repairable,” and the film inside survived well enough to be processed.

  • auto

    a 7d would take that fall like a real man.

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