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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 25 Jun 2012 (Monday) 23:24
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first time flying with gear

Junior Member
29 posts
Likes: 1
Joined May 2012
Jun 25, 2012 23:24 |  #1

In two weeks it will be my first time flying with my gear. I am flying southwest and heading to Florida. I am bringing two lenses, my 50mm and my 70-300mm with my dslr. I have a t3i. I have a few questions that I haven't found online...

Can I fly with my camera bag? It's going to be a carry-on, I just want to make sure I don't have to put it in anything else.

When I get to security, do I have to take everything out of the bag for them to check? Both lenses, memory cards, dslr, batteries?

If you have an advice for this newbie, please let me know! I get anxious when things don't work out smoothly or something goes wrong.

Gear: Canon t3i, Canon 85mm f/1.8, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Tamron 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD
***Canon 70D soon***

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1,305 posts
Joined Jun 2009
Location: Seattle WA
Jun 25, 2012 23:44 |  #2

You can take two pieces of carry on luggage. One must fit under the seat in front of you. The other can be a bit larger and must fit in the overhead compartment.

You want to put anything of value (camera and lenses) or that could be damaged if someone slams something hard into the space above it (like a laptops LCD screen) in the bag going under the seat in front of you. Your camera bag will work for this purpose if your laptop (assuming you have one) fits in it. Otherwise you might want to use some other bag that fits everything and put your camera bag (empty) into your checked luggage.

You do not have to take any camera gear out at security. Just put everything through the scanner in the bag.

That is about all I got right now.

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44 posts
Joined Apr 2012
Jun 26, 2012 00:32 |  #3

I just recently flew with my gear, and a separate small laptop bag. No issues taking my Ape Case backpack through security, just sent the bag through the scanner. I did have to take my laptop out of the bag at one spot. I kept my backpack with my gear under the seat in front of me, and put the laptop in a close by overhead. Now if I could have found someone to lug all of it through the airport for me, it would have been even better.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 60D
: EF 100-400L: 50mm 1.4: 85mm 1.8: 18-135mm kit, 70-200 f2.8 IS M1

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Cream of the Crop
44,648 posts
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Joined Dec 2010
Jun 26, 2012 01:23 |  #4

i fly with my camera bag all the time, don't worry about it

Cream of the "Prop"
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Joined May 2007
Location: Probably Chasing Aircraft
Jun 26, 2012 04:44 |  #5

I've taken all kinds of gear through airport security including my 500mm lens. The TSA has become pretty savvy about most normal gear and it's rare that they ask for bags to be opened or for anything to be removed or demonstrated.

You might get the random explosives swab job but 99.9 out of 100 times, they only do the exterior.

Have a great trip! :D

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Junior Member
29 posts
Likes: 1
Joined May 2012
Jun 26, 2012 11:35 |  #6

Awesome. Thank you! Now I feel better.

Gear: Canon t3i, Canon 85mm f/1.8, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Tamron 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD
***Canon 70D soon***

Cream of the Crop
7,084 posts
Likes: 8
Joined Nov 2008
Location: Wadsworth, Ohio
Jun 26, 2012 11:38 |  #7

What Rick said. TSA is WAY more interested in how much shaving gel you have in your carry on than anything in your camera bag. Mine has never been questioned or opened by TSA and it goes on nearly every trip with me.

One thing we have heard at POTN is a few have had their Rocket Blowers either questioned or confiscated.


Canon 5D2 > 35L-85L-135L

Cream of the Crop
14,021 posts
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Joined Jun 2008
Jun 26, 2012 16:24 |  #8

snyderman wrote in post #14634435 (external link)
TSA is WAY more interested in how much shaving gel you have in your carry on than anything in your camera bag.

that's been my experience

1,667 posts
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Joined Nov 2010
Location: Bay Area, CA
Jun 26, 2012 16:43 |  #9

i always fly with my camera gear and laptop in my carry on bag. usually they wont check after the xray. laptop in separate bin usually. camera gear can remain in the bag unless asked. however, I was checked twice last year. they looked through the lens to see if it was empty. i was with a friend who had a 5d2, they made him use his 5d2 to show that it was a working camera. i think they just wanted to play with cameras in the name of security. but no worries. have fun

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70 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Location: Las Vegas
Jun 26, 2012 20:30 |  #10

I just traveled from Korea to Japan to Seattle to San Francisco and finally being in Vegas. Every time I went through security, no one ever checked my camera bag, although I had to pull out my macbook and iPad.

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Joined Jan 2011
Location: Denver-ish, Boulder-ish, sometimes South Park-ish, Colorado
Jun 26, 2012 21:11 |  #11

I just flew over the weekend. I left my camera inside a 5MDH which was inside a large briefcase, and TSA didn't seem to interested in it.

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Senior Member
417 posts
Joined Jul 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC
Jun 26, 2012 22:38 |  #12

TSA has never looked in my camera bag with a 7D, 100-400, 17-70, and a flash. They have gotten excited over contact lens cleaner...

7D - 100-400 L, Sigma 28, Sigma 17-70 2.8-4

Cream of the Crop
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Joined Dec 2010
Location: In The Sticks
Jun 26, 2012 22:50 |  #13

2 reasons why you should NEVER pack anything valuable in your check in bags...​/watch?v=ciS3qg_A2fQ (external link) …LOHtHve_u8&feat​ure=fvwrel (external link)

I used to work for the airlines and these videos are very true to form. Sometimes when they load them the person at the bottom might not get the bag on the belt loader properly and I've seen them fall 15-20 feet. Rear baggage compartments on 747's, DC_10's and 777's are pretty high off the ground.

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POTN Landscape & Cityscape Photographer 2005
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Location: southern Alberta, Canada
Jun 27, 2012 01:36 as a reply to  @ CameraMan's post |  #14

I too worked for the airlines for many years and have used a hard sided suitcase to pack some of my extra gear in. I have traveled like this hundreds of times and never had a problem. I agree that they videos are representative of what some employees can do but there are also thousands of turn arounds every day where you have employees that treat luggage with the respect it should receive.

I've posted my methods many times on this forum as have others as this subject does come up quite often. A little care and attention in packing after carefully reading the websites of the airlines, TSA and the airports you will be traveling through you should be fine.

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Senior Member
891 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Oct 2011
Location: Northern Virginia
Jun 27, 2012 01:47 |  #15

I had TSA check out my tripod flying over to Japan from Korea. I had forgotten to take out the spiked feet that you can attach to the tripod with the allen wrench. Most likely the culprit of my tripod search. It was a pain in the butt to pull that sucker out of my backpack!

All in all, a pretty easy experience flying with gear. I flew with my 60D, all my lenses, a flash, welding glass DIY ND filter thingamajig, lens pens, cards, batteries, air blower, Benro Carbon Fiber tripod, a torch, and a cheapo filter. Just throw everything into the belt scanner and as long as you aren't packing any suspicious tools, you should be good to go!

5D Mark III | Gripped 60D | EOS M | Sigma 30mm f1.4 | Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II | Canon 8-15mm f4L | Canon 50mm f1.8II | Canon 100L | Tamron 150-600mm
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first time flying with gear
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