Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nikon Lenses

About a week ago I purchased a new little gizmo for my camera called a 2X extender.  When you attach it to a lens it gives you twice as much focal length as your original lens.  It is not a perfect replacement for buying a longer lens, because you need a lot more light to take a good photograph and your subject must be still enough so you can get the subject in focus.  But if there is enough light and the subject does not move, it is wonderful.  It makes tiny bugs look like giant dinosaurs.  So...., yesterday I attached my new 2X extender to my precious macro lens and Yumiko and I took off just after breakfast.  I was ecstatic.  The day was perfect - a little overcast, but nice and warm.  The bugs, if I could find them, would be plentiful.  I intended to walk Yumiko to school and then double back to the Aoyama Cemetery to find some monster spiders.  My macro lens is heavy and attaching this little extender to it, makes it even heavier.  I also carry a pretty heavy tripod.  I look a little intense with my big camera draped around my neck and tripod under my arm, but who's looking.  We were walking at a fast pace when all of a sudden my macro lens popped off my camera and fell with a slight bounce onto the pavement and then rolled for sometime before Yumiko caught up with it.  Ugh....  I felt sick to my stomach.  These lenses cost more than gold and they are not meant to be dropped from high places onto cement pavements.  I looked it over and nothing was cracked or broken.  I attached it back to the camera and realized I had accidentally pushed the release button on the 2X extender which made it fall.  I told Yumiko we would just continue on to school and then I would go take some pictures and see what happens.

About 30 minutes later I was in the cemetery stalking spiders.  They are not easy to find as they are tiny and very smart.  As soon as they see me coming they hide under leaves.  But to my delight I found a fabulous little brown one with long claws like a crab.  He was turned around and  looking right up at me.  I had already attached my camera to the tripod, but needed to work the legs, so I could get just the right angle for this little monster.  I got everything in place and miraculously the spider was still there looking at me.  I pointed the camera at his face and looked through the view finder - but only saw fuzzy green.  I turned the focus ring, still just fuzzy green.  I put the camera on automatic mode and tried that.  Still fuzzy green.  Oh boy... the perspiration began to form on my brow.  I took the camera off the tripod, sat down on a grave stone and tried everything to see if I could make the camera work.  Nothing....  Oh horror.   I said good bye to my spider and walked on home.  So sad...  

On my way home, I thought about insurance.  Would they pay for a replacement?  When I got home, Ken suggested I go directly to the Nikon service headquarters where they fix cameras.  He gave me the directions and that afternoon I was on my way.  Just before I left for Nikon, I did a Google search to see what others had experienced when they had dropped lenses.  It was not good.  One search resulted in a blog that said once you drop a lens like I did, it is best to run over it with your car to finish the job.  Ugh....

I got to the Nikon service headquarters.  It is in a beautiful pristine building on the 28th floor.  As I got off the elevator, I walked through a glass windowed hallway with windows looking out over all of Tokyo. It was breathtaking - just how Nikon service headquarters should look.  As I walked into the service center, there was a fabulous display of all the miracle lenses that Nikon has ever built with the price tag on each lens.  There was my macro - $1,200.  I went up to the service counter and explained to the service man what happened.  He didn't speak English, but he got the gist of it.  He asked me to sit down and took my camera and the lens in the back room.  About 20 minutes later he reappeared bringing with him another service man who did speak English.  They told me they could fix it!!!  It would cost about $300 in service and parts and it would take about ten days, but they could do it.  Oh my, oh my.  My heart lifted.  Life was good again.  I would miss the spiders for 10 days, but, that's O.K.  I will survive.  On my way home from Nikon, I celebrated by going to a new wonderful little grocery store and got some great chicken and peas and brussels sprouts and tomatoes and avocado for dinner.

And then after dinner, to my delight, I got Yumiko to pose for me for my portrait homework using my other 18 - 200 mm Nikon lens.  Life is still good.

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