A cautionary tale

D7k1

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A cautionary tale



The other day, my shooting buddy and I were doing a shoot and his D500/Nikon 500 f4 AFS fell and hit the ground. He has a very expensive Gitzo tripod heavy duty tripod, but today it failed him. There is a collar retention nut that came lose and the tripod separated. Camera and lens are broken, he is sending the lens into Nikon but it is an older lens and they may not have parts.

So, on my way home I think I’d better check my tripods and my mounting systems. I have my gear insured just in case. I found that my tripod mount on my PL 100-400 was loose. How could this be on a lens this expensive? I use Black Rapid straps because I think the lens is heavy even for a G9 and the lens mount.

So I did some checking and this may have been a flaw in the early models (or all), no “locktight” on the two small screws that hold the mount to the lens. Really, how could they not make sure these screws which could expect a lot of use not come loose?

There are several write ups on how to DYI a fix to this. I wonder if Panasonic would make you pay the “send in your lens, we will send you back a fixed one” for this repair. Since I don’t intend to do that being out of warranty (and the fact that I have all perils insurance) I did the fix myself.

I don’t know if they got smart enough to fix the no “locktight” on the screws that attach the mount to the lens but like I said perhaps it is an early “oversight”. I’ve seen a few more reports on this but don’t know the age of the lens.

If you are out of warranty, check your lens mount especially if you use the lens tripod mount base on a strap for carry. First thing I’d do after the warranty expires is to do the fix. Still a great lens with one very stupid design flaw. My lens is about 5 years old BTW.
 
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PakkyT

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Ya it is a good idea to occasionally check fasteners that we usually don't give much thought to. Another example, beside the tripod mount, are your eyelets on your camera bodies. I believe the E-M1.1 had an issue with this but any camera's eyelet could get loose over time.

Reminds my of, on a non photography related subject, when my sons's played ice hockey. No one ever thinks to normally check the screws on the helmets that either hold the cage on or hold the snaps for the chin straps. Sure enough, every year some kid on a team would pull out the helmet and find one of them missing. If they were lucky they were loose in the bag somewhere but not always. I always made a point of checking them on my sons's helmets a couple/few times a season.
 

D7k1

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That is why I used the Black Rapid straps, one would think that a tripod mount on a lens is much stronger than the eyelets on the camera body.
 

D7k1

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I did the repair and it is very easy. Make sure you use the Blue level lock product.

1. Use a hair dryer to make the plastic insert in the tripod mount warm to the touch
2. Use the smallest blade screw driver in a jewler's screw driver set to gentle lift (insert SD in edge) the insert. Carefully push the SD to the center. Do this along all sides until the insert is lose. Don't remove the old glue, it will still hold the insert when done.
3. There are two silver screws at toward the front (toward the front of the lens) take one out at a time. Scrub with tooth brush or something else, but be careful in removing the old glue. Cover screw with the locktight Blue or whatever you are using. Re-insert screw making it tight. Do the same with other screw.
4. Replace insert (has bumps on underside to match up with alignment homes in metal plate). Use some thing soft plastic to push insert down.
5. Use the tripod pod elevation part supplied to screw into the tripod mount on lens, make it tight so the insert and old glue will set itself. Let the screws set for 24 hours. Again use the Blue medium strength locking product, if you use Red you will never get the screws out.

6. Don't do this if your lens is under warranty if the mount comes lose.
7. You accept all risks if you do this. Make sure you have the right tools and remember that insert is fragile.

Hope this helps.
 
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