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08-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #1
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Location: Calgary
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Damage checklist after camera/lens takes a tumble?

I was riding a commuter shuttle with my camera bag in the overhead bin when the driver took a sharp turn and the bag tumbled out onto the floor. It's a K1 and I had my Sigma Art 35mm attached at the time, and the camera bag they were in was a Vanguard 2GO 25. It fell about six feet, glancing off the edge of a padded seat before hitting the floor upside down, so the camera would have landed on its back at a slight angle. It was tucked in the bag a bit loosely next to a flash (the flash was in its own canvass case inside the bag).

I inspected it and could see no visible damage: the screen was popped out but it tucked back in as normal, I see no scratches or marks on either the body or any part of the lens, and the lens cap stayed on. When I got home I took a few shots to test the autofocus etc, it seems to work fine. Nothing seems to be "rattling around". I think I got lucky and the padding in the camera bag served its purpose.

However, to ease my shame and help me forgive myself, is there a checklist I can run for internal damage? I am a bit paranoid that just because I can't see the damage on the surface, it doesn't mean it isn't damaged. I am probably more concerned about the lens since it is not as rugged as the K1, so if anyone can suggest some test shots or functions to do to make sure it is not damaged, please leave them here! I am not super worried since my kit is scheduled under my insurance, but if there is any damage I would like to diagnose it.

Thanks so much!

08-12-2019, 02:28 PM - 1 Like   #2
rogerstg's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Rhode Island
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I don't know of any checklist per se, but in addition to what you've already done, I'd check the lens for de-centered elements and the camera's autofocus via the viewfinder (phase detection af).
08-14-2019, 04:29 AM   #3

Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Sydney
Posts: 480
The best 'checklist' is just to see if everything works and to check if each shot is in focus. If that is the case, then it's fine.

IF the lens was attached you may also check if it has bent while mounted. I dropped a K3 with a PLM 55-300 lens attached. The lens bent to the left ever so slightly but appeared to work ok. Nevertheless, I had the lens mount replaced just to be sure. The elements were fine and didn't need any adjustment. It was in a very lightly padded camera case and dropped from the roof of a moving car! Made me realize how tough Pentax gear is.

Last edited by Theov39; 08-15-2019 at 05:01 AM.
08-14-2019, 02:47 PM   #4
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
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If everything seems to function well enough to take a photo, then look for misalignment. Optical misalignment could happen in the viewfinder, prism, screen or mirror. The main sensor or AF sensors could be knocked out of alignment. The lens mount can be tilted. The lens elements might shift or tilt.

I'd put on another undamaged lens and see if the viewfinder shows me what I expect. The viewfinder image path isn't what the sensor sees, so your test is to see if those two show the same frame in the same focus. Look for differences left and right or top and bottom.

Sensor problems will be the opposite of optical problems. AF testing should check points on the left and right.

Lens problems will look like a decentered lens, with different left and right sides. The mount screws might be loose or can't be tightened.

08-16-2019, 01:56 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Thanks so much everyone. I'm going to run some optical tests for decentering this weekend using this test procedure.
08-16-2019, 07:58 PM   #6
ZombieArmy's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,048
Optical misalignment from a drop is actually stupidly hard to happen. I have a 35-70 that went down lens first with a tripod, knocking the barrel completely sideways. After straightening it brute force the lens was completely fine and has worked for 5 years after the incident with no degradation to image quality. I also recently dropped my Ricoh 50mm f2 about 5 feet with no protection onto solid ceramic tile, it also had no issues with image quality.

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