Personal · Photography

How my First Nikon Camera Died (A Tribute)

Last week I walked into a camera shop to purchase a brand new full-frame camera. I had been tossing up whether to purchase a new camera for about three weeks, but I just couldn’t quite justify sinking quite a bit of money on a new camera body. My old camera worked fine. Until last week when it suddenly didn’t. 

I’d like to think it broke down in spectacular fashion, but it really didn’t. I had been planning to meet up with a friend for about four months to take photos of her children, and we finally scheduled in a morning that went ahead. After she had gotten a three year old and a one year up and ready by 8.30am, we met up in the park and I started clicking. But after about about 2 minutes the camera would click no more. I went straight to Dr. Google and diagnosed that my camera had died. The shutter has reached the end of its useful life.

As I walked home, I texted my Frenchman the news. He immediately called and started the conversation by jokingly asking, “when you say died, do you mean you accidentally destroyed it so you could get a new one?” 

After a good day of internal deliberation on whether to repair my old camera or get a new one, I walked into a camera store. I’d decided to purchase a new camera (and hoped to repair my old camera and have it as a spare).

I inquired how much it would cost to repair my broken Nikon D90. Just a ball park figure. The guy at the camera store informed me that it would be in the order of $600 to get it done at the official Nikon store. Possibly less through a third party (but without the extended warranty that would be provided through an official repair).

“It’s a really old camera,” the guy at the camera store informed me, “but it’s up to you how much it’s worth.”

The camera body was purchased 7 years ago for $1,000. You can buy them second hand for $300. Therefore, it’s not financially worth getting repaired. At least officially, anyway.

But then there’s the emotional attachment. How much it’s worth to me. It was my first DSLR camera. My camera’s first trip was to North America, for my semester abroad in Montreal. It documented the time when I exchanged an Australian summer for a North American winter. The summer winter when I met my Frenchman. I captured the streets I walked nearly everyday to his apartment three blocks from my place.



I captured our first official date when we went ice skating. And soon the empty scenery pictures were filled with the same male figure: my Frenchman. We explored the city together, frequented pool halls, and stayed up all night to watch the sunrise over the city. We were just a young Australian girl and a young French* guy hanging out in Montreal.

*Note: The Frenchman is from France. He’s not French Canadian which some people assume after hearing about how we met 😉



It wasn’t long before my Frenchman would grab my camera too. Documenting our adventures together from his perspective.


And of course, my Frenchman soon decided to move to Australia. Our adventures continued, and our snowy backdrop was replaced with beaches. I was loving taking domestic trips that I hadn’t considered since I had a passport.


So, here I have my lifeless Nikon D90 laying sadly in the middle of the kitchen table. It never reached it’s useful life of 100,00 shutter clicks. It made it to 36,000 when it just stopped clicking.

I like to think it’s like a rock star that joined the 27 Club. Joining Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain. Burning too brightly and only reaching one-third of their useful life. But instead of burning out from drugs or alcohol, my camera was left battered from years of backpacking. Lugged around Europe, New Zealand, Thailand, and all around the east coast of Australia.

I’m not too sure what my camera would have wanted. Would it have put in a Do Not Resuscitate request? Would it have wanted a new lease on life? Either way, my Frenchman has decided to pull out the defibrillator to see if it’s pulse will start once again. He’s going to try and find a third party that will bring back the beloved D90. And perhaps it will have a second life as his camera.

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