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Pickpockets/theft - concerned about expensive camera

Pickpockets/theft - concerned about expensive camera

Old Mar 31st, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Pickpockets/theft - concerned about expensive camera

My husband recently bought a $2000 long-lense camera and is extremely excited to take it with him on our 6 week long trip throughout Western Europe, hopeing to take beautiful pictures. After reading posts about pickpockets and theft, espeically in Rome, I am very concered about him bringing his expensive camera. He does have a bag for it that looks like a small backpack. It does strap across the shoulder so you can't just grab it off of him. But the zipper compartments are in the back. Any suggestions on how to protect this expensive item? Should I try to discourage him to even bring it?
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 12:40 PM
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What's the point of buying a fine camera, then leaving it home? When not using it, I either put my camera in an ordinary backpack, then pad it with a jacket, or use a camera bag with a shoulder strap. The important thing is to keep an eye on the bag when you take it off to sit at a table, etc.

I can't really see the point of a backpack-type camera bag. Not only are the contents more vulnerable to thieves, but you can't get the camera out yourself without first taking off the bag.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Insure it. Of course take it! What good does a camera do at home?
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 01:29 PM
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I carry a good camera as well. It is a single lens reflex camera and has a detachable zoom lens for telephoto usage.
I carry it all in a camera bag plastered with duct tape. It looks like it went through the Civil War, but the case is very sturdy; it just looks beat-up.

The strap is thick and would be moderately difficult to cut quickly with a knife.

When using the camera, I have it around my neck.

That is also why I travel with a companion. Often she takes the pictures while I stand there. Rarely does a thief try to snatch a camera out of a person's hands.

The camera case itself could be unfastened, but as dilapidated as it looks, it is not very inviting.
I also have the case hung around my neck in such a way that a robber could not easily slip it off my shoulder.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 01:48 PM
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yikes, very risky I would think. It is true that in Rome there is a problem with pickpocketers. When I got on a busy bus one time there was a guy that brushed up against me, I didn't immediately think he was trying to steal until a local lady shouted at me to watch out he was stealing from me. It didn't matter since I was prepared. Any thing in my backpack I was willing to have stolen from me. I kept a money belt around me and a pocket attached to the inside of my shirt.

I did take my slr camera that was $700 when I bought it. What I did was whenever I was near someone I would hold the bottom of the bag. Since it's very easy for them to cut the strap and bye bye camera. I want to say live life and sa la vie if anything happens but, $2,000 is alot of money and they will be after it alot more than my $700 camera since they can sell it really easy since it's new and a hot item.

I will say that the next time I went to europe I took my small digital camera and felt I got better pictures, ha ha. Which ticks me off after lugging a huge slr around.

Good luck, but I say no, don't take it, you will be the target of every theft with such an expensive and new camera.

But then again, why buy it if your not going to use it when you want to. How hurt would you be if it got lost or stolen? Would it ruin your trip? Think about how much money your putting into your trip? Is it worth the worry of ruining your trip?

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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 01:54 PM
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As nma says:
insure it at replacement value, for all risks under your homeowners policy and then enjoy it. Why buy it otherwise?
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Best is if, while in the case, you wear it in front. Or, with the strap over one shoulder and under the other arm with the case in front of you.

As mentioned, you must be extra careful not to set it down anywhere, such as on a table at a sidewalk cafe, or anywhere else.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:26 PM
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I carry about $5000 worth of camera gear in one fairly small bag when I travel. The gear is insured and I watch it very closely.

I use a Mountainsmith fanny pack bag. It holds the camera, lenses, batteries, etc. I snap the waist belt around me and put the shoulder strap over my shoulder. In crowds I simply slide the fanny pack around to my front,

I did read a long time ago that it is best to put your camera in a bag that doesn't look like a camera bag - one without Canon or Nikon boldly printed on the side, for example.

I am a photographer and wouldn't consider traveling without my good camera. But I must say that there are times I wish I carried a point and shoot.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 08:17 PM
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One of my camera backpacks is a Lowepro Orion Trekker II:

YThe top part has room for things like wallet, guidebooks, etc., and the bottom compartment is padded for a camera and several lenses. The nice thing about this bag is that the bottom part is closed using both a zipper and a clasp, so that no mugger would be able toget into it while your husband was wearing it without him knowing it. also, anyone trying to just stick their hand inside the top wouldn't grab the camera as long as it was in the bottom section. Another great thing about this bag is that there is a zippert compartment inside, which is where I like to keep my wallet (and it hangs inside so it would probably be relatively safe from slashers).

I suggest using a seam ripper to rip off any labels with the logo of the camera bag manufacturer, just to be safe. My husband and I have all our camera gear covered under our renter's insurance policy. Anyway, like the others said, don't let fear stop you - have fun and bring back great photos that you'll cherish forever!
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:19 AM
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travelbug821 -
My husband is an amateur photographer and finds lugging his camera bag extremely tiresome.
I have noticed proffesional photographers wear a sort of 'fishing jacket' with good size pockets front and back with sturdy zippers. We are going to try this route as the 'jacket' is lightweight and sleeveless.
That enables him to take a much smaller bag and a mini-tripod.
If he must take the bag off to sit down and have a meal, he wraps the straps around his one ankle - never never sling it over the back of a chair!
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 03:19 AM
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I carry an SLR with tele lens. It is always on the strap around my neck ready to shoot. In crowds I put my hand around the barrel. The camera is never in my day bag. When I see gypsies I take their picture. You'd think that I had a gun. They run.

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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 03:42 AM
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Irrespective of whether it is your camera or watch, the main thing is to keep your witts about you. the majority of people who are the subjects of pickpocketing are absent minded at the time of the theft. I carry an slr and have travelled alone in Rome, and do not consider it to be a big issue. If your husband is taking a photo, keep an eye out for him and hold his gear, just to be on the safe side. If in a situation with lots of people, like a bus, sling the camera around your kneck pointing the lens down or place your camera bag in front of you, where you can see it, and you won't have any issues.
Just to add to the sitting down at the table issue pointed out by previous posters - I know someone who saw some folks sitting at a cafe with their bags on the roadside of the table. A moped with two people zoomed past and the guy on the rear grabbed one of the bags. Take note of a few little things and you should be fine.
Enjoy your trip
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 03:57 AM
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I am a female (a small one at that) and I just returned from Spain where I had my SLR camera hung on my shoulder for the whole trip. I wouldn't consider traveling without a camera and I have been to most of Western Europe and never ever felt worried about it. I am frequently walking around alone, for even when I travel with my husband or other travel companion, they get bored watching me take 40 shots of something (go figure) so we split up for several hours and I shoot and they do whatever.

Use common sense, first of all be sure it's insured. Second, when you are in the metro or someplace where it will be crowded (and you won't be shooting) put it in a pack or bag - but not one that shouts camera, just a regular daypack or whatever. When it's out and on your shoulder (I can't stand to have it around my neck) keep your hand on it when not shooting, don't just let it hang.

The one thing I have not felt comfortable doing is leaving it in the hotel, so it's with me the entire trip.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 04:41 AM
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Navagator writes: "Irrespective of whether it is your camera or watch, the main thing is to keep your witts about you."

And Isabel tells us, "Use common sense."

Good advice. In the cathedral in Barcelona, of all places, I followed an American whose camera bag, slung over his shoulder, was wide open the whole time, his lenses easy prey for anyone who wanted to take them. Young people often have cell phones in outside pockets of backpacks, where they are easy to lift.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 05:14 AM
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Hi T,

>After reading posts about pickpockets and theft, espeically in Rome, I am very concered about him bringing his expensive camera.<

You shouldn't be.

While you are both keeping your eyes on his expensive camera, someone will be taking your wallet out of your purse.

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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 05:28 AM
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I used to carry a large expensive SLR and a couple of extra lenses - one quite long lens. Now on most trips I take a smaller/cheaper camera and reserve the big one for a couple of "photo trips" each year. You will be fine - just follow the advice about insurance, and common sense.

However - I would never EVER place a camera (or anything of much value) in a backpack - even a "secure" one. You just cannot be in control of something in back of you.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Do not use a backpack carrier - that's the easiest thing to steal something out of (they don;t unhook or unzip anything - just slit the bottom an dpull everythng out. So - even if they don;t get the camera it could esaily be smashed if it falls.

If your husband wants to take something this expensive he should wear it around his neck - so it;s harder for someone to get - and he would notice immediately if it;s missing. Also, carry the accessories in a shoulder bag worn bandoliere style across the body. Again - much safer than a back pack.

Separately, unless he's planning on wearing it out to dinner every night suggest you organize with your hotels that it be put in their safe (not the little room safe) when you're not using it - in a locked container that's sealed with his and the hotel clerk's name written across it. And be sure you get a specific receipt.

(Ordinarily I'm not paranoid about this stuff - but a very noticeable camera and bag is prime tourist attractions is sort of like riding the New York subway wearing a large diamond necklace. You should be safe - but it;s not something I would ever do.)

And yes - I do take a camera with me - but a small digital that fits in my purse - although I'll wear it around my neck if I'm shooting a lot. And although it's a nice camera it's not enough to attract attention.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 11:05 AM
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I do the same as sshepard. I have a Lowepro Photo Runner belt pack. It attaches around my waist, with the pack in the front over one leg (it takes off some of the pressure of the weight). When I am in crowds, I pull the shoulder strap over my shoulder as extra protection.

The things I like best are that: I can pull my camera out and put it back without having to remove the pack; I can wear it while seated, so I don't have to remove it on a bus, at a restaurant, etc.; and it holds my camera with any lens attached, my other two lenses, batteries, memory cards, PSD, cleaning gear, remote control, and a couple filters. In addition, I use a small wristlet wallet for running around and I can strap it to the belt pack and slip it between the pack and my body, so it's quite safe and still easily accessible.

I would not recommend a backpack for the reasons already mentioned.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 11:36 AM
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My husband also carries an expensive camera. He took black electrical tape and put it across the Nikon logo on the camera body itself. That way when he uses it, to the average person it appears to be a generic camera.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:32 PM
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I wonder if the "taping off of logos" is really effective.

First, on the cameras themselves, there are very few "cheap" SLRs - any of the brands are going to bring a profit to a thief. Even the cheaper point & shoots will bring a profit (if it costs nothing to get, any selling price is a profit).

Second, if everyone with an expensive camera tapes over the logo on their bags and cameras, then the thieves would just have to look for the taped over logo and steal them, and ignore the ones with no tape.

Third, I think most thieves look for opportunity. It takes the least amount of effort and time and they have less risk of getting caught. With that, if they are "casing" things out, they will have seen you take your camera out of the bag to take photos, so they will know you have an expensive camera in your daypack, diaper bag, or beat up rucksack, etc.

So, are we really being clever and outsmarting our arch nemesis, the thief, or are we just making empty efforts at feeling safe?
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