One of the best semi-professional cameras I have used is the Nikon D90. At the time, it was my last “prosumer” camera before I bought something like the D3s/x. While visiting the Big Island of Hawai’i, I managed to break it. It was shortly after we visited the black sand beach (Waipio Valley) before heading down to Akaka Falls. I had several places pointed out on Google Maps to see, and take pictures. Laupāhoehoe Point was one of those places. It was to be the end as well.
There’s something to be said about listening to your first instincts. I didn’t and paid the price. I kept saying to myself, “One more shot, one more shot.”
The D90 is not water resistant. Some camera bodies like my D40x does well in rain and things like this. It’s not the case with this. I was shooting the waves, testing out some different shutter speeds, trying to get the perfect balance of speed and color. I wouldn’t say I got the perfect shot because there is blur in the splash. Needless to say it was the last perfect shot. The wave’s water volume was equivalent to dropping the camera in a bathtub. I was soaked, it was soaked, the lens was soaked. Immediately the LCD went out and the power button would not turn off. I knew something was wrong. I quickly ejected the memory card in hopes that it didn’t somehow ruin/format/corrupt the files on there–or even send the wrong voltage to it, rendering it impossible to recover.
After drying myself off, I realized it was over. The only thing I could do is take the battery out, and hope I could dry it out–magically having it work again. Nope. It’s a goner.
To add insult to injury, the lens I was using was a Nikkor 10.5 Fisheye. It is also unusable. Moisture got inside and so the lens now has a nice built in fog feature. Over time it may be salvageable. We will see.
P.S. As you can see from the photo above, I was able to get the pictures from the memory card.
UPDATE: I was able to try a recommended trick that got my camera in working order again! The flash doesn't work or pop up, but that's okay--I never used it anyway. The LCD had a really bad moire pattern on it but it has since cleared up as well.
You're probably thinking I used the bag of rice trick. This probably would have worked with regular water, but since saltwater is full of--well salt--and other things that tend to conduct electricity, simply wouldn't have worked since the residue is dried and still making the cross connections (shorts).
The procedure I used was to fill large baggy with distilled water, put the camera in the bag and shake it. I could see the dirt and crud come out of the camera into the water. After a minute or so of vigorous shaking, I removed it and let it sit for about a week to dry.
That following week I put the battery back in and it turned on! I did not expect that to work at all. So my D90 is back to work! :) Here's a pic I took with it after it got fixed. (notice I am not afraid to take it into the water.) Just waiting for the D90 fix version 2. ;)