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The Death of a Digital Camera COOL PHOTOS!
Old 08-24-2004   #1
bmattock
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The Death of a Digital Camera COOL PHOTOS!

Sorry that the news story kind of reads like an advert for SanDisk; apparently, they got their hands on the story and worked it into a big promotion for themselves. But the story and pics are cool anyway!

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

http://news.designtechnica.com/article5140.html

Death of a Digital Camera - News Story with PHOTOS!

Quote:

Blast Destroys Camera, Flash Card Survives
Tuesday, August 24 @ 07:07:20 PDT

A news photographer's camera was destroyed during the recent demolition of a MIssissippi River bridge, but the camera's Compact Flash card survived to tell the story.

When a demolition crew set off an explosion to bring down an old highway bridge on the Mississippi River, newspaper photographer Don Frazier was so close that his hair stood on end. His digital camera, positioned on a tripod at an even closer point to remotely capture the event, fared much worse. It was blown to bits.

But to Frazier’s amazement, there on the ground, inches from the shattered remnants of his new pro-level camera, was his SanDisk 256MB CompactFlash card, which he had owned since 1999. Surprisingly, except for a few nicks, it was unscathed, even though it had been blasted from the camera chamber. And when he inserted the card into a PC reader, up popped an image that has astonished everyone who’s seen it.

That frame on the SanDisk card recorded the last millisecond of the camera’s existence. It shows debris from the bridge explosion hurtling toward the lens, a result of the dynamite on the concrete piers underneath the steel-supported roadbed creating a powerful back-blast. “It was just like a shot from a rifle barrel,” said Frazier.

But that wasn’t the only thing that amazed the 50-year-old lensman, who is a staff photographer for the Southeast Missourian newspaper. When he checked two other tripod-mounted digital cameras that were positioned next to his own, he found another remarkable image. It was a shot of his camera being ripped apart in midair.

Of the two adjacent cameras, both of which he had borrowed from a friend, one had its lens broken; the other suffered minor damage. At the time of the explosion, Frazier’s friend was above the bridge, taking aerial pictures from a helicopter, where he managed to get shots of a 300-foot length of the bridge collapsing in a cloud of dust and smoke.

The last image taken by Frazier's camera shows the bridge crumbling down. Visit SanDisk's site for high-resolution images of the event.

Built in 1928, the bridge crosses the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, connecting Missouri and Illinois. With a new structure opening a few months ago next to the old span, the Missouri Department of Transportation earlier this month launched the first of four demolitions – the second is this Thursday, Aug. 26 – to raze the bridge. Crews rigged a section on the Illinois side with 600 pounds of dynamite, according to news accounts, intending to cause an implosion that would drop, rather than shatter, the bridge.

Scouting for a place to shoot the blast, Frazier said he found a spot just 240 feet away from the first concrete pier, where he set up the three cameras, each with different lenses, on tripods. He planned to position himself at a safety zone 800 feet from the blast area and use a digital transceiver to trigger the camera shutters. But he discovered that the remotes wouldn’t work beyond 600 feet, so he got permission from the highway department to move closer. He hid behind heavy construction equipment.

“I had no idea that there would be such an impact on the cameras, or I wouldn’t have put them there,” he said. Frazier figures that the blast ruined about $15,000 worth of equipment. But he’s philosophical about the loss. “The fact that my SanDisk card survived all of this is just amazing. And that it captured a wild shot of flying bridge debris before my camera died is certainly a testament to its durability,” he said.

The CompactFlash card that Frazier used was from SanDisk’s older, standard flash card line. The company now manufacturers two brands of pro-level, high-performance flash memory cards, the SanDisk Ultra II and the SanDisk Extreme. In punishing and demanding environments, the Extreme’s rugged construction is designed to withstand severe handling and extremes of heat and cold.

A second camera records the destruction of Frazier's camera.

“We’ve heard some amazing stories about our cards surviving plane crashes and have received monthly ‘your card survived my laundry machine’ e-mails, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Tanya Chuang, SanDisk product marketing manager for the Ultra II and Extreme lines. “If he had been using standard analog film, it most probably would have been shredded. But with a SanDisk flash memory card, we are fortunate enough to have an extraordinary digital image that shows the last moment of his camera.”

Visit SanDisk's site for high-resolution images of the event. Source: SanDisk's press release.
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Last edited by bmattock : 09-25-2007 at 06:08.
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Old 08-24-2004   #2
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very cool!
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Old 08-24-2004   #3
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A Leica or Nikon F would have survived the blast.

Long live Film!!!
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Old 08-24-2004   #4
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Very cool indeed.

If I recall correctly a similar thing happened after 9/11. A photojournalist was killed in the falling debris from the Trade Center. They found his camera smashed to bits, but were able to extract images from the CF card that showed images of the falling the debris moments before his death. Anyone else remember this story?

I've also heard stories of CF cards that accidently went through the washing machine and still worked when dried out.

Digital ain't all bad

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Old 08-24-2004   #5
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Oh, speaking of 'the Nikon/Leica that fell from a flying helicopter and survived' stories, please read the 9th review starting from top on the following link:

http://www.camerareview.com/template...&camera_id=111

...
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Old 08-24-2004   #6
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ya but can he take pictures with it?
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Old 08-24-2004   #7
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I think this kind of sacrificing cameras is quite a regular thing in the demolition business. I saw a documentary on tv not too long ago in which the demolition company actually spent about $10.000 on digital cameras (mainly video cams) that get destroyed during the blast. The resulting movie or photos are used as promotional material and are often commisioned by local newspapers and tv stations.

But do you know a better way to use a digital camera?! I don't.
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Old 08-24-2004   #8
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The quote from Sandisk:
“If he had been using standard analog film, it most probably would have been shredded. But with a SanDisk flash memory card, we are fortunate enough to have an extraordinary digital image that shows the last moment of his camera.”
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Old 08-24-2004   #9
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Long live film!
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Old 08-24-2004   #10
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Edit: My reaction to the smug faces at SanDisk:

One must congratulate you guys at the SanDisk company. It's really good that you make cards this tough. Photographing demolitions ought to be a mandatory assignment for those who go in life bandying about their digital gizmos. In fact, no self-respecting shooter can claim the title of photographer without having gone to the ordeal of having valuable equipment blown to smithereens and being able to flaunt a little piece of plastic in testimony of the resilience of photography!

What do we blow now? I have a Vivitar to sacrifice!

JK!!
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Old 08-24-2004   #11
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I guess the high-speed framing camera that used a Helium-Turbine drive to take 1.6MFPS on 35mm film should not have survived taking pictures of the 8" Hyper-velocity projectiles (7km/s) at work. But 40 years later, people still use it!
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Old 08-24-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Sweeney
I guess the high-speed framing camera that used a Helium-Turbine drive to take 1.6MFPS on 35mm film should not have survived taking pictures of the 8" Hyper-velocity projectiles (7km/s) at work. But 40 years later, people still use it!
I think in english that means that Brian rigged up a camera to capture the flight of a bullet.

Actually, in the late 60s my father did that when he worked at Olin Corp. They were developing ammunition for the Model 70 Winchester and wanted to see the distortion pattern at impact.
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Old 08-25-2004   #13
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I did not rig up the camera, but it was in an old building that we converted to an optics lab. It was basically a turbine engine driving a mirror to image onto film using high-speed strobes. The thing cost over $100K in 1960. It used a Thorium glass lens that was about 8" in diameter and set off a geiger counter. The camera was about 8' tall. I found the films made by it, incredible. It still operated and was transferred to a new facility. Damn... The one that got away. But, it was an SLR...

It survived many explosions, as did the other cameras used in this lab. I found an unopened box of replacement front (and rear) elements for speed-graphic cameras, 127mm F4.5 Kodak Ektar lenses dated from the late '40s to early '50s using the "Camerosity" serial numbers.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-25-2004 at 02:43.
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Old 11-10-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rover
A Leica or Nikon F would have survived the blast.

Long live Film!!!
I have never had a leica in my hands, but how tough are they? Could you throw it against a wall?
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Old 11-10-2005   #15
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They don't mention the poor camera shielded the card. Wonder what would have happened to an unprotected 'exposed' card?
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Old 11-10-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taffer
Oh, speaking of 'the Nikon/Leica that fell from a flying helicopter and survived' stories, please read the 9th review starting from top on the following link:

http://www.camerareview.com/template...&camera_id=111

...
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Old 11-10-2005   #17
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The K1000 is truly an amazing camera!
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Old 11-10-2005   #18
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I would not let that guy borrow my cameras...Saw another story about a college high altitude research project using balloons on the west coast with a digital camera on board
and another device recording data to a digital card. It went down in the ocean and floated
around for about a week before it washed up on a beach. Cards were sent to Sandisk and they recovered most of the data and I think all of the pictures. It was a Sandisk card. Not even one of their ruggedized cards.
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Old 11-10-2005   #19
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There was a similar, more tragic, story following 9/11. A NYC freelance news photographer was shooting on the scene with a DSLR and, unfortunately, he perished when the buildings collapsed. His camera was found, smashed to bits, but the CF card survived and showed images of the WTC debris falling. The images are on the Net somewhere but I've lost the link.

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Old 11-10-2005   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taffer
Oh, speaking of 'the Nikon/Leica that fell from a flying helicopter and survived' stories, please read the 9th review starting from top on the following link:

http://www.camerareview.com/template...&camera_id=111

...
I have accidentally dropped a Ricoh out of a helicopter.

It did not survive.
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Old 11-10-2005   #21
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If protection and survival of information (pictures) is what counts, then a simple arrangement like the one of two metal cartridges the old Contax II had, one for supply and the other to take up exposed film, would be the most apropriate means tho avoid loosing all the info even if the camera gets open/destroyed during the blast. The camera would act as a shield for the film and as long as the cartridges remain closed, the info can be recovered.
I´m in no doubt that a Nikon F, a Leica M or a Contax are physically thougher than any aluminum reinforced polycarbonate made camera, however one thing is to throw it to a wall, other to expose the camera to debris projected from a blast.
After a building demolition project here in Buenos Aires, I saw steel reinforced concrete pieces wheighing about 100 kg (200 lb.) projected about 80 m (240 ft.) away from the main site.
I´m in serious doubt that any film camera be it metal or plastic made would survive a direct hit, at least lens is to be forgotten, and mechanically not worth to repair.
Digitals are other kind of animal, where low mass as well as all plastic construction would help (perhaps) to reduce the amount of damage, and as the memory cards can be removed easily from the body, it will also help them to survive (as nother flying objet) unless a direct hit compresses it between two hard surfaces breaking the memory IC inside.
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