Equipment Failures aka “The Agony of Defeat”

I’m starting to feel a bit like this guy :

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Irineu Esteve Altimiras (AND) with a broken pole in the Men’s Skiathlon

The Games are only a few days old and I’ve already had two major equipment failures.  Interestingly enough, they were items that I bought specifically for this trip.

The three people that read this blog might remember a post about buying an archive hard drive.  My workflow is fairly simple — download cards to the desktop, make a copy on site and then back-up at home.  Three copies at all times.  Well, my Glyph archive drive went DOA yesterday.  The drive would whirr, lights would flash, but I couldn’t get it to mount on the desktop.  (If you’re keeping score at home, this makes two Glyph drive failures out of two.)

I tweeted Glyph and got a quick “We’ll help any way we can” reply, but I’ve been too busy to follow-up.  (And besides, do I really want to carry two of these boat anchors home?)  Bottom line, thank goodness I brought my trusty LaCie hard drives.  Without them, I’d be toast.

But more significantly, I’ve had camera problems over the last 48 hours.  I bought a used Nikon D5 earlier this year.  Sent it to Nikon Professional Services for a cleaning & check-up prior to this trip just to be safe.

The camera was fantastic during the early part of the trip.  Sharp, laser focus, just about perfect for a less than perfect photographer.   Here’s an example :

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Erik Bjornsen (USA) in the Men’s 15×15 Skiathlon

But during last night’s biathlon, my images looked a little “odd.”  Kinda of smeary and out of focus.  The good news?  Nikon has an equipment depot here at the Olympics.  It’s got nearly every Nikon product you’d want to borrow and is fully staffed with technicians.  So I visited after the biathlon and asked for a clean & check.

That’s when things got weird.

I stopped by to pick up the camera the next morning.  The desk person said that the techs had checked and everything was fine.  But when I looked on the camera, there was an “odd blob” on the back LCD.  I first thought it might an internal Nikon repair message that wasn’t erased.  Showed it to the desk person and she asked me to come back in a bit.

An hour later — the blob was gone.  And the tech assured me that they had checked the focus calibration.  Awesome!  I headed out to the Planet Hoth Biathlon Stadium.

Here’s the result :

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Uhhhh…this isn’t supposed to happen.  Laura Dahlmeier (GER) is blurry, but that sign off in the distance is razor sharp.  D5 with 400mm f2.8

The entire Women’s Biathlon Pursuit is out of focus.  The camera seems to be “back focusing” by about five feet.  The problem is worse today than yesterday.  And while I checked the viewfinder a couple of times, my fingers aren’t always working here in the cold and I didn’t catch it.  Besides, Nikon said that they had just calibrated the camera.

Absolutely.  Frickin’.  Heartbreaking.

Just to be sure it was the camera and not me, I grabbed my spare and mounted it to the same lens for the Men’s biathlon.  Here’s Martin Fourcade of France winning the Men’s Biathlon Pursuit :

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Backup camera and same lens as above.   The focus is spot on.

Bottom line — I’ve got a camera problem and Nikon’s “repair” seemed to make it worse.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to figure it out tonight.