I dropped it because I was drunk. It was a brand new Canon EOS-1D Mark II, and I was drunk because I hadn't eaten any dinner. It fell from hip-height onto the sand-covered floor of a shipping container, which had been converted into a tiki bar at an outdoor music festival. It was 2005 - tiki bars were a thing back then.
The camera survived the fall, but the attached 24-70mm F2.8 did not. The lens took most of the impact, and jammed badly and permanently at around 50mm. A sobering (literally) lesson was learned, and in the subsequent weeks I shot quite a few jobs at 50mm before I could afford to send it in for repair.
Another lesson from what I came to remember as 'The Tiki Bar Incident of 20051' was that no matter how carelessly it was treated, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II was a very hard camera to kill. Based on the chassis of the original EOS-1D, the Mark II seemed to have been hewn from a solid lump of magnesium alloy. Like a Henry Moore sculpture, there wasn't a straight line or hard corner anywhere. Also like a Henry Moore sculpture, it was large, expensive and heavy as hell.
Compared to the EOS 10D, the 1D Mark II was actually capable of proper flash metering - quite a novelty for me, back in 2005. That said, with the benefit of hindsight there's no excuse at all for this slow sync zoom effect.
I owned my EOS-1D Mark II for about four years. I don't remember any close encounters with soccer balls but it certainly absorbed its fair share of abuse.For me, upgrading from an EOS 10D to the 1D Mark II was like entering an entirely different world. The 10D wasn't cheaply built by any means, but the 1D series has always been in a league of its own. I got talking to a sports photographer a few years ago who still used an original EOS-1D, and over years of hard use, he'd worn the paint off virtually every part of the camera until it looked like a lump of roofing lead. Despite appearances it still worked perfectly, regularly getting smacked by soccer balls in its retirement role as a static goalpost camera.
It also absorbed a lot of beer. Shooting live music in major venues isn't glamorous. During my (short) career I was pelted by bottles, kicked in the head, stolen from, and on one memorable occasion, almost swallowed by a collapsing floor2. And almost every night, someone would throw beer3 at the stage, which would inevitably fall short and drench the photographers instead. Back then, one of the most useful items I carried in my camera bag was a towel. Come to think of it, that's still true.
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