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Gitzo 3540XLS Malfunction!

Bluefin

Danville, US
432 posts

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Bluefin Registered since 14th Nov 2006
Wed 28-Dec-11 11:50 PM | edited Thu 29-Dec-11 02:41 AM by Bluefin

I was walking along a hiking trail deep in a coastal redwood forest near Crescent City.

As usual, my tripod, with Markins ballhead and D700 attached, was thrown over my shoulder.

As I was descending the trail, I heard a sickening thud and my tripod was instantly lighter!

I looked around and there was my D700 and ball head, still attached to the base plate, lying on the ground.

I picked up the camera and could not see through the viewfinder. I will admit to once, and only once, how emotionally impacted I was by that event. I love my D700. And my wife giggled at me all the way back to the truck because I was so upset!

So Nikon El Segundo turned it around very quickly and it cost $236 plus shipping. My D700 is now safely in it's case at home and works just like it was new!

My tripod on the other hand.........

There is a bolt that tightens the tripod collar around the base plate. The bolt was loose. I've had the tripod for at least 5 years and have never touched or inspected that bolt.

I know that even if I swear I will check that bolt every time I pull it out of the bag, that it will last a day or two before I'm back to my negligent ways so.......

I went to Home Depot and bought a 1/8th Titanium drill bit and 1/8 cotter pins. My intention was to install two cotter pins.

After cleaning all the surfaces, I bolted the base plate back into the collar and extended the legs to a reasonable height. I then took a hammer and a sharp punch and dented the outside of the collar so the drill wouldn't "walk".

Keeping the drill straight, I put a perfect hole through both the collar and the base plate lip, inserted the cotter pin. It fit so well I just used one cotter pin. I rolled the two legs of the cotter pin in opposite directions and had a $4.95 solution to a $236 problem.

I can't imagine how much it would have cost to repair the D700 if it had fallen on concrete instead of a soft landing on damp pine needles.

Anyway, everything is OK now if not better, so other that the emotional trauma of seeing my camera lying on the forest floor, broken and forlorn, all is well.

Everyone have a happy and safe New Year!

Mark Sloane
Danville, CA

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