For Sale: A Canon 1D Mark III and 600mm f/4 That Took a Saltwater Bath


If you want to know what the market is like for high-end camera gear that has been destroyed by water damage, check out this eBay auction by a Hastings, Victoria-based Australian photographer who goes by the handle tallguy069. The poor guy accidentally dropped his Canon 1D Mark III DSLR and Canon 600mm f/4L lens ($10,000+ in gear) off a boat into saltwater, completely destroying the functionality of both pieces.

Luckily for the photographer, the gear was written off through insurance. He’s is now selling the dead kit for parts, as a “movie prop,” and as a “great item for a Canon collector” — he notes that it’s a “once in a lifetime chance to have a 600mm lens.






Apparently there’s a need for movie props, bricked gear, or parts (we’re guessing it’s the last one): the auction still has nearly four days to go, but six bids have already pushed the price up to over $500. It’ll be interesting to see what price it ends up selling for. It’ll likely be a nice chunk of change for the butterfingered photographer.

Canon 1d mk iii + Canon EF 600mm f4 Water Damaged [eBay via Reddit]

Image credits: Photographs by tallguy069/eBay

  • Heath

    Does it come with a neck strap, you know, for authenticity?

  • winwinsolution

    He should ask the buyer/bidder to donate the money to a charity of his choice.

  • cacamilis

    Instagram’s new seasalt filter

  • allan reyes

    it’s one of those lens coffee cups… he just modified it to attach it to his camera.

  • Sascha

    Insurance fraud could be another reason to buy it.

    Buy it, have in insured and pretend to have some salt water accident at the other end of the world in some months….

  • Ivan

    Although I have doubts about the camera, to someone reasonably skilled in repairing lenses there should be a solid chance to rescue this one. That’s probably the reason why some bidders are after it. I’d like to know the outcome.

  • AdamB

    It’s called the “Replace My Gear” charity.

  • Scotty K

    I actually got one of the lens mugs as a gift last Christmas and they do in fact have proper lens mounts on them. I love it!

  • Jay Lee

    I dropped an almost $2,000 Zeiss 24-70mm lens a few years ago. Autofocus and manual focus wasn’t working and the zoom was stuck at 35mm. I was reimbursed by my insurance and they said I could keep the broken lens. I sold it “as is” on Ebay for $650.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    must be someone who can repair that lens? water damage shouldn’t do much to the actual elements themselves, maybe the coatings, but still…

  • Joey Duncan

    you would need receipts for that.

  • MarvinB7

    Fraud ain’t cool!

  • MarvinB7

    I was wondering if you could even return the lens to Canon for a rebuild. The glass must be worth something… But since he got insurance money, he probably doesn’t care.

  • Mansgame

    If the insurance paid for his replacement, doesn’t this belong to the insurance company and he is defrauding them out of it? After all, if it’s worth $500, it wasn’t a complete loss and he is making a profit which rightfully belongs to the insurance company?

    One of my cars was totaled some time ago and insurance claimed it as a total loss. They wrote me the check for the value of the car, but I had to sign the title over to them.

  • niXerKG

    I really hope people hoping to bid on it and get it repaired realize that’s not possible at all. Salt water kills everything, there is no hope at all of salvaging anything but maybe some screws.

  • Stan

    In order to insure it, it’d have to be functional…

  • wickerprints

    Under the terms of a typical insurance contract for property damage, yes, payment on a claim would mean surrendering the insured property.

    In practice, however, many insurers don’t bother to collect damaged property for salvage, even if it is worth a small amount, because the costs to simply store the item for later sale would not be worth the money they would earn from the sale. They cannot go on sites like eBay to auction damaged goods–and even if they could it is generally not worth their time. Cars are a bit of a different story–they are often salvageable for parts, and they are highly recyclable.

    In any case, a “total loss” simply means that the cost to repair the property to its original condition would exceed the value of replacement with like kind (if the policy is replacement value), or it exceeds the policy limit. In the case of a vehicle, just because it is a total loss doesn’t mean the property doesn’t have salvage value. It just means it isn’t economical to repair.

    I’m not certain about the legality of selling the camera after the claim is paid–I imagine that in some jurisdictions, should the as-is sale take place, the insurer has the right to recover that value and deduct it from their payment.

    For what it’s worth, the lens in the photo is clearly an EF 600/4L USM, pre-IS. Adding in the 1D3, I doubt both together are worth over $10k to replace. Part of the problem is that the lens is so old (and clearly worn out) that replacement with a 600/4 lens would mean the insured would get a significant upgrade. Hopefully the insurer considered that in their premium calculations.

  • Christopher Miller

    If you had followed up, you could have bought the car back from them at a substantial discount. It’s possible he did the same thing here.

  • Sascha

    I’m not promoting fraud. I was just guessing why someone might buy this.

    My insurance never send someone round to check if I really owned anything, or if it was functional and receipts can easily be counterfeited.

    That’s why many insurances (mine too) seize damaged equipment.

  • Sascha

    It’s not water, it’s salt water!

  • Ben Jacobsen

    Wouldn’t any income from selling this have to go back to his insurance company? I bricked a 5Dii back in the day (saltwater/wave while landscaping) and got a nice check within 48 hours. They didn’t want the camera back. But I never sold it because I figured they paid full value and if I did I’d owe that money back to them…

  • wickerprints

    Sadly, no. Canon doesn’t have the parts for this lens anymore, and even if you could disassemble every component and wash it clean, you’d still need new electronics to rebuild it–and the labor to do all that probably costs more than a new lens.

    The optical elements for this lens are obsolete because this design has been out of production for about 14 years. The best you can do is sell it for parts for other EF 600/4L USM lenses, but typically only the exposed first and last elements might require replacement–not the internal ones.

  • Ariel Caudis

    well u can use it as a telescope

  • Anabel Caicedo

    I will kill myself if this happens to me.

  • slvrscoobie

    Another 600 F4 had a similar fate. They sent it to canon, who told them they would not repair it as the cost for just the electrical parts + time to dis/reassemble was beyond what a new lens cost. Repair techs get paid more than assembly techs I guess ;)

  • chunkygrooves

    shame about the lens but thats the best thing you can do with a 1DMKIII