Nikon D850 might just be the toughest camera ever after surviving a cliff fall

Nikon D850 falls off cliff
A battered and bruised Nikon D850 after surviving a cliff fall and months in the elements (Image credit: Twitter)

Not many cameras would survive falling from a cliff and being exposed to the elements for several months. Even cameras that say they’re weather-resistant or weatherproof I'm a bit unsure about how much I trust them and you won’t catch me shooting in downpours out of fear of losing all my work. And yet somehow, pictures from a Nikon D850 dropped off a cliff have been recovered – much to the owner's delight.

We all know how good the Nikon D850 is when it comes to resolution and focusing. In fact, it probably has one of the best focusing systems on any DSLR ever but no one could’ve predicted that it was rugged enough to survive months outside. We're not too sure whether the camera itself still works but it was able to protect the memory cards enough that the photos could be saved. 

• Read more: Best Nikon cameras

The unfortunate event occurred on the Mangersta Cliffs on the Isle of Lewis just off the coast of Scotland. Dr John Thomson from Aboyne was visiting with his local camera club when his tripod which had his Nikon D850 and Sigma 24-70mm lens attached got caught in a gust of wind causing it to slide over the edge. 

Despite Thomson’s best effort to retrieve his kit which was worth more than £3,500, he quickly realized it wasn’t safe to do so. While the monetary loss of the camera was incredibly annoying, it was the loss of all the photos from the trip that Thomson was most upset about. 

He told STV News, “I climbed down part of the cliff but it was too dangerous to continue. One friend managed to locate it with a long lens on his camera but there was no way to get to it.”

No one ever expected to see the fallen camera again but rather miraculously a few months later it was discovered by an abseiler called Cliff Hands (we know, you couldn’t make this up). The appropriately named discoverer of Thomson’s now battered Nikon D850 returned home after a whole day of shooting to discover not only were there SD cards inside but they were still readable. 

With no way of tracking down the owner, Hands took to Twitter in hope that he would be able to return the memory cards and broken camera to their rightful owner and within a few hours, Thomson had got in contact about the missing kit. 

There are a few lessons to be learned from this miraculous story: 1) Nikon D850 might just be the toughest camera on the planet and for that, they are very underrated; 2) never lose hope - you never know what might make its way back to you; and 3) never leave your tripod unattended – especially if it is meters from a cliff face, because you never know when a gust of wind might ruin your day.  

Read more:

Best Nikon lenses
Best DSLRs
Best tripods

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.