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Thread: Safe to bring DSLR when overseas?

  1. #1

    Default Safe to bring DSLR when overseas?

    Just want to know what is everyone's experience in bringing their DSLR's out when travelling abroad.

    Are there places where we should avoid bringing DSLRs? Especially where they may attract unnecessary attention. I for one, would unlikely bring mine when I walk around in Jakarta streets.

    Anyone with experiences/advice to share?

  2. #2
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    In the past 12 months, my 300d has spent about 25 days in Europe, covering Lisbon and surrounds, Italy including Rome and Florence (thief targets), Copenhagen (safe).

    No problem so far. I carry a humble looking Domke bag with the labels blacked out and I put the camera back in the bag when I am not using it. Never let it out of my sight or let others take my photo.

    Jakarta - shouldn't be too bad depending where you will be at. Perhaps you could carry a P&S as well for certain locations.

  3. #3
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    hi nyxx88,

    I have never been to Jakarta, so I cant really say whats the street conditions are like there.

    But whenever I go overseas, I would use black tape to cover up a few things:

    (1) Camera brand
    (2) Model number
    (3) any gold letterings on my lens

    Some of the locals' eyes will 'light' up the moment they see the brand or golden letterings (Nikon uses golden letterings on their lens).

    Always have your camera bag with you. But thats not good enough (esp if you have alot of equipment). Always have it within your sight or touch. I usually have my bag either in between my legs, on my lap or my back. This so that you would know if someone try to pick-pocket or snatch your bag away.
    *Treat your bag like a rifle *

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    Generally, I found that people are nice. But of course there are exceptions. I've walked around suburban Jakarta and felt perfectly safe. My personal rule of thumb: When I don't feel good being there, no way my camera's rearing its lense.

  5. #5

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    I've not been to Jakarta too, but I guess Washington DC is about as close to danger as I ever got

    What I do usually when travelling in cities:
    1) Tape up the logo/insignia: I recently discovered the 'joy' of gaffering, so I have mummified my DSLR until it looks like -as one DPReview forumer said- "hobo" and 'lao' (old). Idea is to minimise risk, that's all.
    2) Never use camera bag: I throw my DSLR in soft pouch (as I usually walk with only 1 lens), which goes into a normal sling bag that I carry across my shoulder.
    3) If possible, shoot quickly and move on: kind of guerrilla. I never use tripod in cities, preferring to rely on ad hoc support or high ISO.
    4) Take along a cheap digital compact for snapshots. Useful when I don't want to flash my DSLR and I just need a pic for documentation purpose.

    Just my 2-cents worth...

    (Anyway, I shoot 4x5 in the wild, so no hoodlum to harrass me except for some trekkers that are gear-mad )

  6. #6
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    went to KL and nearby islands for shoots.

    Camera in a deuter backpack.. no tripod, no troubles
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

  7. #7
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    try not to put your camera or any valubles on the table while eating.

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    always good to be cautious and don't "show off your gear". e.g. I usually don't review pics for long time in public.

  9. #9

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    If you make yourself a soft target - if they want to get you , they will get you - They may just make off with your camera, but they could make off with your wife and kids too !

    As with all strangers in a strange land, start with the way you look, stuff you inadvertently show off with (labels and brands) that are tell-tale about your status, time and places you go, and the company you associate yourself with !

    Suggest to be conservative unless you are built like a tank!

  10. #10

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    common sense ultimately prevails.

    what's the worst scenario? At the worst, just give 'em all you've got (that is if you're lucky to get mugged).

    Never... Never hold on to your DSLR just because it costs you $xxxxxx.

    If your gut feel is that you don't feel safe, then don't bring. simple.

  11. #11

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    Depends on what you want out of your trip loh...

    If photography is the main reason... go with whatever best setup you can bring around... juz dun appear too flashly (that why I dun like those white lenses).

    Else juz make do with a P&S... good enuf.
    Gallery | Facebook Page Spreading the Good photography.

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    Buy insurance.

    I had my D100 attached to 80-200 f/2.8D STOLEN in Beijing!! Was in a bag and that m*****f***** still managed to (1) open the clasps (2) take the set and (3) close the clasps without me knowing!!! That was in Oct 2004.

    Dec 2004, went to Myanmar. This time, smarter. Gaffered my cam and "sensitive" parts of the lens. Like gold letterings. Carry the bag in front. No trouble there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamestan
    Buy insurance.

    I had my D100 attached to 80-200 f/2.8D STOLEN in Beijing!! Was in a bag and that m*****f***** still managed to (1) open the clasps (2) take the set and (3) close the clasps without me knowing!!! That was in Oct 2004.

    Dec 2004, went to Myanmar. This time, smarter. Gaffered my cam and "sensitive" parts of the lens. Like gold letterings. Carry the bag in front. No trouble there.
    Even here in singapore, someone lost his DSLR in a bag in Burger King sometime back...

  14. #14
    Senior Member Big Kahuna's Avatar
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    No problem on my last trip to US.....actually DSLR very common loh....unless you are using those high end lens

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Kahuna
    No problem on my last trip to US.....actually DSLR very common loh....unless you are using those high end lens
    True. I agree... So many people own DSLRs around the world... Its only attention grabbing if you use a lens starting from the 70-200mm lenses that people will look at what you are doing...
    The equipment can only bring you so far - the rest of the photographic journey is done by you.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by monokydni
    Generally, I found that people are nice. But of course there are exceptions. I've walked around suburban Jakarta and felt perfectly safe. My personal rule of thumb: When I don't feel good being there, no way my camera's rearing its lense.
    agree... if u don't feel good, don't whip the camera out (although the temptation could be very big ... if it is, shoot then haul a**)

    simpler things would be ask the locals, which area is safe and not safe..and don't go alone lah...

    I am currently in Jakarta, btw.
    In Jakarta's CBD, it's quite safe, but you have to deal with the security personnels...

  17. #17
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    Another thing you can to worry about is your DSLR photo storage system.

    Places like indonesia (even singapore) have very frequent power surges and often affect your portable storage device when your device is directly plugged into the electrical points.

    Alway bring 2 portable hdd storage or bring tons of CF cards.
    For my overseas trips i would always bring my DSLR and Film System in case one system is down.
    My personal experience of having my hdd storage system die on my the 2nd day of a very long trip. Lucky i brought my film system for backup

  18. #18

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    any idea how to conceal white 'L' lens?

  19. #19

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    I think generally it should be safe. Just dun let your equipment out of sight from you. Like the rifle you carry in the army, treat it like your wife.. carry everywhere you go.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by i120D
    any idea how to conceal white 'L' lens?
    Not easy leh. Just be careful with it. I dun believe ppl will go to the extend of tapping up the whole white pipe with gaffer tape.

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