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On taking a camera to Italy

I am trying to decide whether to take a SLR Digital Camera with me to Italy or use a small point and shoot camera. I am concerned about theft. What precautions should I exercise if I take the digital camera? I am going on the Village Italy tour. Thank you.

Posted by
466 posts

James

You don't really need to worry about theft. The first time I went to Europe everyone and all the books scared me about theft, pickpockets etc. Italy really isn't dangerous. Your more likely to lose your camera by forgetting it somewhere than someone stealing it. Just be careful giving your camera to someone to take your picture. Listen for americans speaking and then ask them to take your picture and you'll not have to worry about someone running away with your camera. Have fun!!

Posted by
19 posts

We took our digital camera to Italy in 2005, and plan on each taking one this year. Just try to avoid walking around with it dangling from your neck. Place it out of sight in your daybag when you are not using it. It is so handy to be able to see the photo you have just taken and decide if you need to re-shoot.

Posted by
705 posts

Agree with the 2 above. Just be sensible. I take a small digital camera that fits easily in my purse or even a coat pocket and only take it out when I want to photograph something. Never had a problem. I'd keep the camera in day pack and only bring it out when you want to photograph something.

Posted by
1449 posts

To me it comes down to deciding if you're on vacation to enjoy the vacation or to take pictures of it. For some people, pictures are THE thing. And I don't say this in disrespect; some people put a lot of effort into taking great pictures, and Italy is a canvas for them to work.

But for me, convenience trumped photos. A point-and-shoot digital is basically an outdoor camera; it will take great scenery pics outside, but its the wrong camera if you want good pics in low light, or (for many) care about controlling F-stop, etc. So for 90% of the time I was able to get the pics I wanted, and I didn't have to have a camera strung around my neck or lug a camera carrying case.

I've owned both kinds (although the 35mm was back in the film days) and I'm not going back. Being able to always have my camera with me in a pocket is great.

Posted by
28 posts

I would say that any camera is a potential theft target, so you need to pay attention to your surroundings no matter what you bring. I would be more concerned with the basic hassle of lugging a full blown camera bag around unless you really plan to devote your time taking photos to justify it.

A final note: there are some compromise cameras on the market these days: a bit bulkier (but more capable) than the tiny shirt-pocket cameras, but more compact than an SLR. Canon G7, Nikon p5000, Panasonic Lumix and Leica are all excellent cameras in this category. If have $400 to burn before your trip, visit www.dpreview.com

Posted by
842 posts

James, I put my SLR and attachements away since I bought my digital camera, and I am not goiing back. Yes, it is not as great in low light, but I make up for that by taking lots of pics,using a mini tripod that will fit in my pocket, and then throwing out the ones that do not come out. I have found that something that will fit in a pant or vest pocket is absolutely the best thing to have.....you will carry it everywhere,and not miss any great opportunities. But my next pocket camera will more than 3X digital zoom. Consumer Reports just did a great aricle in their July edition. Look it over and go buy one! I love my Sony DSC, but my next camera will be a little bigger,like the Cannon A710IS < $300. Make sure that you get one with short "shutter lag" & "next shot delay", and always carry spare batteries and charger. The models that use AA rather than proprietary batteries are the only way to go.

And, carry NO wallet or purse. Use a neck purse or money belt when in Italy!

Posted by
689 posts

James,

I travel with my Digital SLR all the time. I am not without it. I even took it to Nepal - which included a 12 day river trip.

Do not worry about theft. Just travel smart. Keep it in your back pack (I have a new one with the snazzy steel inforced fabric so no knives will slice the bottom. I keep the zipper tabs togehter with a small carabeener.

If you have a strap on that camera that proudly displays CANON REBEL or DIGITAL or anything like that (which most the digital SLR's come with) get rid of it. Get a nice plain one. Haveing the advertising on the straps screams "I'M A TOURIST!"

Just be smart.

Posted by
206 posts

When we go to Italy next year, we will be bringing both a digital SLR (him) and a point & shoot (me). Our SLR bag looks like a backpack, and we'll leave some lenses home in the interest of weight. I like my point & shoot (Canon S3 IS) because I gotta have my zoom (12x) and I hate changing lenses all the time. I agree with other folks: don't walk around with your camera around your neck. Also, another thread mentioned leaving the camera bag at home and using a diaper bag instead (i.e. who would steal a diaper bag, it's padded, etc.). Have fun on your trip!

Posted by
6898 posts

James, we just got back from 2 weeks in northern Italy. We had a digital SLR. We took 1,500 pictures. No danger or fear anywhere of losing the camera. Just remain aware of your surroundings

Posted by
84 posts

I think in Italy you could pretty much swing your camera over your head by its strap and get fantastic photos with every frame. :-D

Italy is a gorgeous place and I think it's worth the risk. Sometimes I think about how easy it would be to take a camera I could just fit in my pocket, but it's important to me to get great photos.

That said, it might sound like overkill, but Pacsafe has a slash-proof camera strap:

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=16

Posted by
241 posts

As a precaution against losing a digital camera: we recently returned from a 3 week trip with another couple and lost the camera on the LAST DAY. In retrospect, I either should have uploaded pics to webspace as often as possible. OR, take several smaller memory chips and change them every few days. Those are two ways to guard against losing ALL our photos.

Posted by
28 posts

Randy, how do you go about uploading to webspace? Would FTPing be needed? (Sorry, but I'm not up on all the technology available.) Do the internet cafe's have card readers now. We were in Thailand a year ago and the computers available there were far to old for that task. :-)

Thanks.

Posted by
241 posts

In a nutshell (you'll have to research more) you will need webspace to upload to, either your own, or, google's picassa, yahoo's flicker, kodak probably has space, etc. You'll need to connect a cable from the camera to the usb port on computer OR remove memory chip, put in in a reader/adaptor which connects to usb port. Hopefully you will occasionally find a computer that is modern enuf and has not restricted the necessary features. When you find one, use it to get all your pics off. Don't take pics in too high a resolution. Uploading takes time...it is slow, much slower than downloading. (You will need a high speed connection on the pc. Most have that now.) Perhaps someone else can chime in here.

Posted by
2 posts

James,

My wife and I just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in northern Italy: Venice, Milan, Florence, Cinque Terre, Como, Dolomiti, Pisa. I took my Nikon DSLR and kept it hidden in a day pack (no camera bag), protecting it with a bubble-wrap mailer envelope in transit. I had absolutely no problems with any thieves. I was somewhat disappointed, in a weird way, that we saw so little foul play, scams, etc. since I was well prepared for it. I think the theft/pickpocketing gets a bit hyped up, although I know it does happen from time to time. I also covered all the Nikon labels on my camera and strap with gaffers tape, which sticks through any sort of weather and leaves no residue. Much of the time, I was walking around with GASP the camera around my neck, and had no problems. I did keep a good grip on the camera itself when I did that. Take it, keep a good grip on it, and snap away!

Posted by
2 posts

Oh, I forgot to say that I also took out a personal article policy with my insurance company for $25 that would have covered my camera if it had been stolen. That doesn't recover your pictures on the stolen card, but it gave me some peace of mind. (I don't think I needed it, in retrospect.)

Posted by
805 posts

Just exercise common sense. Keep your camera with you at all times and you'll be fine.

For technical reasons, however, be sure to have the proper batteries/charger and a plug converter. Most new cameras or other electric appliances do not need a voltage adapter (my five-year old electric razor worked fine in Italy/France with a plug converter) but check to see if the voltage indicator on your device says 110-220 or something of that nature. If so, you'll be fine.

Posted by
31251 posts

James, I took both a dSLR and a P&S Camera when I travelled in Germany, Italy, Switzerland & France last fall. I normally carried the dSLR with the strap, but kept one hand on it at all times. In crowd situations or in Subways, I kept it tucked underneath my photo vest where it was somewhat "out of sight" but still quickly available if needed.

I don't normally carry a Daypack when touring in cities, so this wasn't an option. I do use a Pack when taking day-trips (ie: Munich to Fussen), but only store the Camera there during travel.

I used the P&S if I wanted to have other travellers take photos of me. I wasn't too worried about losing it, but felt I'd rather lose the P&S rather than the dSLR. I wasn't too worried about someone trying to "run away" with the Camera, especially in locations such as the roof of St. Peter's or the top of the Duomo in Florence. I also felt the P&S would be useful as a "backup" in the event something malfunctioned in the dSLR.

Happy travels!

Posted by
25 posts

Well, I used a point and shoot in my belt purse but had my DSLR with telephoto lens along too, which I put in a metal-mesh reinforced purse (REI), so it didn't look like an expensive camera.

Reinforced backpacks are nice too. The point & shoot was all I used in Turkey, but for the 3 weeks in Italy I used both. While there I met two women whose cameras were stolen - one was with us at the Sistine Chapel tour and her purse was cut open on the tour bus. It was the point & shoots that were stolen.

Main precaution: don't leave it sitting anywhere.
Either camera. I have a shoulder bag, knife proof.

I used each camera about 50% of the time and was glad I took them both. The DSLR has only a telephoto though. If trip of a lifetime, get the type of pics most important to you. P&S's are good too!!

My photo report for the 3 weeks is at

http://www.pbase.com/andrys/italy

  • Andrys
Posted by
22 posts

James, We are also planning a trip to Italy and I am planning to take my DSLR. With all of the warnings about theft (hopefully they sound worse than the real situation), I purchased a daypack with steel mesh and cabled straps, as well as the PacSafe camera strap. My only real concern now is that the weight of the camera and lens will be cumbersome, but hopefully worth the effort. Also - in the event that the camera is stolen or something goes wrong, I am bringing along several CF cards as well as a backup device (weighs about 1/2 pound) to upload photos to at the end of each day.

From previous trips to Europe, including Italy, the photos taken are some of the most valuable items that I brought back. I am less worried about the camera disappearing (easily replaced) than the photos themselves.

Posted by
850 posts

I took my Nikon dslr and my wife took her Fuji P&S with no problem. I usually had my dslr with me on my neck strap. Never had any problem and yes we looked liked tourists but with or without a camera dangling from my neck it would still have been obvious so we don't attempt to hide the fact. We were cautioned by a restaurant owner as we sat at a side walk cafe not to leave the camera sitting on top of the table as there were gypsies who would come along and grab them. I think you will be fine if you are careful. I am glad I took the dslr because the pictures are of good quality. Not that the p&s were not but the dslr has advantages such as better quality with high iso shots in low light and night shots among other things.

Posted by
525 posts

Adele, what backup unit did you purchase to backup your photos? I think these are very expensive but perhaps worth the cost so we don't loose our pictures. Yes, I would be sad to loose some of the photos I had taken.

I would like to learn how to download the cards onto the computer to a webpage for us. If you change cards you still have the pictures on the card until you can download them and hopefully not misplace them.