For the longest time, I wanted to write something regarding the picture above. Yes, that was me and my camera, happened in December 2010. The story behind it was quite straightforward: the camera I carried, a Canon 5D mark II and 180mm Macro lens, were a heavy setup (about 2.5 kg), and it was mounted on a tripod. Without any warning, it slid off while I hold the tripod with the camera mounted on it. So it fell off about 1.7m (my height) straight to concrete ground.
Fear not my readers, what were smashed was the Skylight filter mounted on the lens, the lens is perfectly fine except for a small nick on the filter thread, not on the glass itself. I found out about this later after the stuck filter was taken off. Nevertheless, I was extremely startled to witness this, and my brother took this photo for me - I really had no mental strength anymore to take photos or do anything at that time. I literally got dizzy, just wanted to lie down and let it go.
I guess there are many things I can make out from this incident, one of them is to know that these incidents is part of our photography hobby (or profession). This was not the first time happened to me (although it was the most severe). Previously, I’ve had my camera bag dropped (with camera inside), and the filter smashed to pieces, whilst the ring completely intact.
If you shoot a lot - instead of just keeping your camera in the closet - there is always a chance of this happening. I would consider myself a very careful person and I took great care of my gears, but still these can happen.
Putting on a filter or not is another story; it all depends on how much damage you are willing to take if you leave your lens naked. Personally, filters has saved me from a huge bill at least twice, so I love them big time. If you shoot a lot, especially in unlikely places where you are willing to crouch to the ground, shoot in the rain, or you are taking it travel to the mountains with unfriendly weather - it won’t hurt to pay more for a professional build quality.
1. I asked the Canon service centre to remove the filter that was stuck. I asked them how often something like this happen. They said, “Only certain people come to us with smashed filters. But it happens from time to time. Yours is not bad.” They had a difficulty removing the filter (of course without damaging the lens), and added a remark, “It’s very difficult to remove, it’s made in Germany, that’s why it’s very well-made.” It took them about 30 mins, and sitting in the service centre, I feel like waiting for my loved ones going through a surgery in hospital!
2. I remember to put on lens hood to every lens I use thereafter. Lens hood will take damages and will somewhat save me from such grief again.