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Camera?

I'd like to take a very nice new expensive camera on our summer trip to France and Italy. Any suggestions or additional safety measures I should consider as to not get it stolen or ruined? I'm nervous after hearing the horror stories of pickpockets and thieves.

Posted by
684 posts

Pacsafe (and probably others) make slash-proof camera straps. You can get either neck straps or wrist straps. Just search "anti-theft camera straps" on Amazon. We'll be using one for my wife's new camera.

Posted by
11613 posts

Buy your camera well before you go and take lots of photos to get to know it well, so you get great photos on your trip.

Posted by
8293 posts

If taking your new expensive camera will make you nervous and on edge all the while, leave it at home. On the other hand, thieves are mostly interested in wallets full of credit cards and cash, or cell phones, or your unwatched luggage. I doubt cameras, expensive or not, are the theft of choice.

Posted by
3263 posts

You are likely never to be bothered by a pickpocket or thief; they are just discussed a lot on forums. You're most apt to put it down and forget it. My camera is either in my bag or attached to my wrist so I don't accidentally forget about it. Take your camera and don't worry. Check to make sure your homeowners/tenants insurance will cover it if lost or stolen...might depend which state you live in...mine is covered (MA). Then forget your worries and take great pictures. And as previously mentioned, practice, practice, practice before you leave. Get great photos. Wray

Posted by
7078 posts

Personally, my motto is: "if you can't afford to lose it, leave it home". As others have said it may not be a likely target for thieves but can easily be lost or dropped (as happened to me ). Unless photography is a major reason for your trip you might want to rethink taking an expensive camera and stick with something easier to replace if required.

Posted by
2475 posts

My take on this question is that cameras are to be used and enjoyed - otherwise, why bother having one? I also second Zoe's advice to practice with the camera and learn as much as you can about using it before you go.

Posted by
3941 posts

I got a great sling strap from Joby as I hate having the weight of a camera pulling on the back of my neck/upper shoulders. You can kind of tuck it away on your side as well/keep it under your arm. And it isn't advertising your camera brand as the straps from the company do. The other good thing is when you are sitting to lunch, you can still keep the camera sling cross body and sit it in your lap instead of having to take it off and setting it down - increasing the likelihood that someone can snatch it.

http://joby.com/camera-straps/ultrafit-sling-strap

That's the men's - I got one for women which has a curve to it and fits better over the boobers.

If you are worried about rain, it wouldn't hurt to get the plastic 'rain jackets' to put over the camera. I don't have one - if it is raining, I just put it back in the camera bag or under my coat.

I do like pacsafe stuff, but I didn't bother with the anti-theft strap - the sling strap is a bit thicker and sturdy. I've also seen photogs say they will make the camera look old - eg - put some pieces of duct tape on it so it looks a little banged up and less like something worth $$. Again - I haven't worried about that (but mine isn't a $3000 camera either - just a $500 one). I worry more about my money/ID than my camera.

Posted by
1068 posts

As stated earlier, ask yourself is photography is important. It is to me, so I take some nice photographic gear. Other than the "usual" precautions (don't leave your camera bag unattended, don't lay your camera down on a table when you are eating or stopping for lunch etc.) it is unlikely other security will be required. I take the time to waterproof my camera bag just in case of a heavy downpour but otherwise don't do anything to keep it from getting ruined. Have fun and happy snapping.

Posted by
32269 posts

I've been travelling with expensive camera gear and other electronic gadgets for many years, and so far haven't had any problems. When in Europe it's necessary to use a few extra precautions that aren't necessary at home. For example....

  • when stopping for restaurant meals, do not leave the camera sitting on the table or hanging on the chair back. That makes it easy for thieves. I often position myself at a table next to the wall, which allows better view of those approaching the table.
  • when walking on the outside of sidewalks, have the camera positioned on the "inside" shoulder.
  • if leaving the camera in the room when going out for the evening, remove the memory card and store it in your money belt. Place the camera out-of-sight in your luggage.
  • be aware of what's happening around you, and don't be so intent on getting the "perfect" photo that you lose track of that.
Posted by
703 posts

the other thing people often overlook is the real value of items they take with them, particularly from an insurance point of view,is what they are worth second hand. what is your camera worth if you had to sell it? even if its new its not worth as much.
I always ask his question when I buy travel insurance, what are they really covering?

Posted by
1068 posts

Regarding insurance. I have a separate policy on my camera gear. As I have several cameras with various lenses, and flashes/tripods etc., it is more than I would care to lose if any of it was stolen, damaged or lost. The policy is surprisingly inexpensive and is a year round deal......and covers the original cost of the equipment. It is surprisingly broad in coverage. Once when a whale dove in front of us on an whale watching excursion and soaked the entire boat (a true Moby Dick moment!) water got into my camera. Although it eventually dried out and worked, I called my insurance man the next day to check and he said it was covered. Talk with your insurance agent, you may be surprised by highly specialized items (like jewelry) which are not covered by basic home owners, travel insurance etc.

Posted by
3263 posts

To add to the prior insurance post, insurance policies do depreciate the item and there is the deductible. That is the basic policy. You can schedule items so you agree on the amount being depreciated before the loss...although most items are jewelry and antiques so they often don't depreciate. I would not schedule a camera, if they would let me. If you don't want to take the basic depreciation, then just get replacement cost coverage on contents...on the other hand, I wouldn't waste an insurance claim on one item unless it was extremely expensive as you only get one claim free...too many claims and you are a bad risk and you will pay more. There are things that are best self insured (but, as I previously stated you should know what is covered). In life we each decide what to self insure. I would self insure my luggage, camera, etc.; lost or stolen. Or I'd go directly against the 3rd party; i.e., airline who lost my luggage. Personally, I insure for health insurance and evacuation only, too big a bill to want to self insure for me. Everyone's individual budget determines what they are comfortable self insuring and what they want insurance to cover. I have plenty of friends who wouldn't insure for anything because they can afford the private plane and others that wouldn't dream of traveling without trip insurance because it is their one and only trip and they couldn't dream of losing the money. The most important thing is to know what is covered, how, and what you are willing to lose if all hell brakes out. :)

So with the above said, know your coverages, but as one prior poster said, you didn't purchase your camera to leave it home and not take photographs! Take it, be mindful, and then just have a good time taking photographs. Photographs are a major portion of my adventure so I'd hate to travel without a DSLR. If you just want to take snapshots, take a point and shoot.

Posted by
8656 posts

I usually take a point-and-shoot camera. I keep a piece of ugly duct tape conspicuously wrapped around part of it, which makes it much less attractive to opportunistic thieves.

Posted by
1068 posts

Back to insurance for a bit. As a camera enthusiast, I frequently walk around with about $5,000 worth of gear (although not usually when traveling.) My policy covers replacement value (not depreciated) at the time of the claim. So if I am hiking the Cascades with my gear and it falls off a cliff, I get to replace it all, minus a small deductible. The gear is also protected inside my house (in case I am robbed or there is a catastrophe etc.) When I checked with my insurance agent about this policy, he mentioned the difficulties of getting specialty items such as high end electronics/jewelry etc., replaced by common homeowner's insurance (and frankly, I am not sure about travel insurance.) I do know some insurance, such as airlines, have a minimal value (which is not much) regarding lost luggage/electronics etc. (not that I would check it anyway) and good luck if it is stolen from a hotel or something. As I like taking my camera, and have never used the policy (so am not worried about being dropped) I see this as a very good investment. But of course, everyone is different.