Things Techs See

Oh, the life of being a camera technician. We have gotten all kinds of stuff that comes in with peoples equipment when they send it in for evaluation to be sold. Sometimes it’s funny stuff, and sometimes it’s down-right odd. Here’s a few stories of things that the technicians here at KEH have seen come through…

* Memory cards often come in with “interesting” things on them… and lets just leave it at that.

* We’ve seen equipment sent in that instead of being properly packed in bubble wrap and packing peanuts, it was packaged in: t-shirts, hats, socks, diapers, and other personal clothing items. We’ve also seen other “inventive” packaging materials such as dead leaves being used.

* One time a guy thought it amusing to use “Danger: Molecular Biohazard” stickers on his wrapped camera equipment. Yeah, that’s not so funny.

* Sometimes camera straps are sewn together- these are impossible to get off without ruining the straps, and they must be cut. It’s a mix of kind of funny and irritating when it’s a subtle sew and the tech goes through the process of undoing the strap just to find out that it won’t come off due to a sneaky hidden stitch.

* Occasionally things get dangerous. We see broken glass often, usually it’s just from broken filters, but it has been lens glass and ground glass before. It’s both heartbreaking and scary for the tech who has to try and clean up tiny shards without getting cut. One of the most memorable scary incidents was probably the person that left a six hook fishing lure in amongst the styrofoam pellets. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pretty situation for that technician.

* Over the years there’s been quite a variety of very cool Swiss Army knives, usually found in the back pockets of camera bags.

* Someone once thought it would be a good idea to reuse a box that had previously contained kitty litter to send their equipment to us. You can imagine the grit that made it’s way into each piece.

* We’ve seen horrifying packing jobs with tape…. tape stuck directly on to the front and rear lens elements when a cap wasn’t available to “protect” the glass- this does the opposite of protect, it ruins it. Tape mummies- when people mummify their items in tape, often wrapping very tightly. This affords very little protection to the equipment, and makes unwrapping them a very painstaking process.

* A few years ago a customer sent in their digital equipment, along with a receipt from when they bought it, which was fairly early in the age of digital cameras, around 1998. A few of us were shocked to learn that they had paid in the neighborhood of $300 for a memory card…a 256mb memory card! We sure have come a long way.

* We have, on a few occasions, gotten cameras that have been “bedazzled”.

* Oh, and lets not forget about the contraband that was left and found in a medium format back.


  1. when you say interesting things, do you mean “human juices”? Just wondering cause I used to work in a computer store and I too have seen….things

  2. * Oh, and lets not forget about the contraband that was left and found in a medium format back.

    Wow, thought I was the only person who used that hiding spot!

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