Will my DSLR survive a sky dive?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by secretpact, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. secretpact macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    Going sky diving and I'm thinking about bringing my DSLR to take picture mid-dive. Is this realistic?
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Myself being neither an expert in sky diving nor photography can only speculate that as long as you don't drop it, it should be okay. :p

    Otherwise, things like air temperature, pressure and humidity and a quick change in all of those as you fall to Earth might have an affect as well. But hopefully someone who has done this will come along and either confirm or deny my concerns.
  3. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    In short - no, it's not realistic. Have you asked at the dive school? I'd be very surprised if they'd even let you take it up to be honest.

    I have done a skydive and took a small Canon IXUS point & shoot camera up with me. The divemaster gives you a lanyard that you can put around your neck and connect to your camera. You're allowed to use shoot out the window while the plane climbs up to the height you'll jump from (usually about 10-12 thousand feet), but must put it inside your jumpsuit and zip the suit up while you actually dive. Once you've finished free-falling and the 'chute opens, you're allowed to take your camera out again and get some more photos.

    Because you must keep the camera attached to the lanyard and inside your suit at all times during free-fall I would imagine the dive centre will have very strict limitations on the size & weight of the camera you're allowed to take up. They may also not allow camera phones, because most new phones do not have any way to attach a neck strap.

    Think of it this way - if there is any possibility at all that you could drop something, then they're not going to let you take it up. The fact that SLRs have detachable lenses means that even if you had a neck strap on the body there is still a possibility that you could drop the lens. I know this is extremely unlikely, but it is possible. For that reason I imagine they'll say no to any kind of SLR or system camera.

    Having said all that, I am not a divemaster and don't work at a sky diving centre - your best bet is definitely to ask the school well in advance of your dive date.

    Hope that helps. And enjoy your skydive! :)
  4. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    NASA uses D2X's and D3S's in space, so I would imagine that it should be okay with the temperature and pressure. The camera itself should be fine with the rapid changes, you might get some condensation forming, but there shouldn't be any long term effects on the camera or lens.

    That being said, swordio777 makes a very important point about checking with the dive school. I would imagine that they wouldn't allow something like that.
  5. electronique macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    I would say its a big fat NO.

    You are talking Tandem, yeah? Is it your first dive?

    Basically you won't have time to think about shooting. From the moment you roll out of the aircraft, to the time you are spread-eagle enjoying the view... You ain't getting that flapping DSLR steady and focused ready before the shoot gets pulled.

    Even then, it's a big safety no no.
  6. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    I don't think a DSLR would be good at sky diving. I mean, how would it pull the shoot cord?
  7. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    I would imagine it's less about whether your DSLR will survive the skydive and more about whether you'll survive getting hit by a skydiving DSLR.

    Remember, you will be in free fall. Even with a lanyard, there is still the risk of you losing your grip on the DSLR while the parachute opens. Not only does this pose a potential for the DSLR whiplashing and tearing a hole through your main chute, but also hitting whoever might be above as well as below you.

    So I'd say no.
  8. Menge macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2008
    To answer your question objectively: YES. It does survive and well. I was filmed by a DSLR mid-free fall already.

    BUT I don't think you should take it. It'll ruin the experience and you'll have to worry all the time about it not swinging around and hitting you and your instructor. Just go hands-free and enjoy the... well... fall.
  9. equilibrium17 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Ultimately it's up to your instructor/jump master, but if you're not already an experienced skydiver (in which case you'd probably not need our input), I'd say a definitive no.

    With the proper equipment (camera harness, safety lanyard, etc.), an experienced skydiver could certainly use a DSLR in freefall. It's been years since I jumped, but back when I was into skydiving, cameras were much larger and bulkier than today and I've seen experienced jumpers jump with video cameras substantially larger than a typical DSLR.

    But beginning jumper should not try to handle anything like this, not even on a Tandem jump. Maybe a GoPro or something similar that you could just secure to your helmet, turn on in the plane and forget about until after the jump is over, but that's all I'd even consider allowing a beginner jumper to do.
  10. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    I got my skydive license and taking a camera is a BIG no no. If you're doing a tandem then your instructor needs to know that if anything goes wrong he can tell you what to do and you have your hands free to help him if necessary. Not to mention the idea of cords getting caught. Sure there's a small possibility of that happening ("What are the chances?" I hear people saying all the time), but the fact is no matter how small the chance is, if it does happen the poor guy is in some really serious trouble.

    In going solo, all schools (in the UK at least) won't let you jump with a camera until you have around 200 dives. Someone mentioned a GoPro earlier in the thread. Don't risk it. Just enjoy the jump. It's an amazing experience which will feel like it's over all too quickly. If you want a video or photos, then fork out some extra cash and pay a photographer to come up with you, dive schools will usually have these guys to hand.

    Enjoy your jump, and be safe.
  11. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Put some kind of cover on the microphone part to mute your screams as you plummet to earth. :eek:

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