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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 10 Jun 2014 (Tuesday) 07:24
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traveling with photography equipment

 
kjhart0133
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Jun 10, 2014 07:24 |  #1

Hello all,

I'm planning a long vacation abroad this summer and want to bring a couple of camera bodies and several lenses along. I'm thinking of buying a hard case like this (external link) to carry and protect my equipment. The case is lockable but I'd have to use a special TSA lock that allows the TSA to open and inspect the contents.

Here are my questions

1. I know that valuables in checked baggage are almost certain to be stolen, but what do you do when you have valuables - like a significant amount of camera equipment - that can't be carried-on?

2. Airlines claim they are not responsible for valuables left in checked baggage. Can you buy 'insurance' from the airlines for specific valuables?

3. Can the TSA be trusted to open the case and not steal anything? (This sounds like stupid question.)

4. Has anyone out there done this successfully?

5. Any tips or other advice?

Thanks,

Kevin H.


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Qlayer2
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Jun 10, 2014 07:28 |  #2

Try the pelican 1514 instead:

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …0_1514_Carry_On​_1510.html (external link)

It is a the correct size for a carry on, so you don't have to worry about TSA, baggage handlers, etc. If you don't think it will be enough room, you can also add a vest to your arsenal, and wear the gear that doesn't fit in the case.




  
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jack880
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Jun 10, 2014 17:14 |  #3

A bit paranoid to say they will always be stolen I reckon. It's a possibility but still unlikely.

That case looks like it would have expensive equipment in it. Maybe something a bit more subtle would be better? I've taken lenses abroad a few times wrapped in clothes in a hard suitcase and never had any problems.

I always make sure I've got insurance though so if anything does happen I'm covered...


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dodgyexposure
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Jun 10, 2014 18:50 |  #4

How much do you want to take with you? My last few trips, I have taken a ThinkTank Retrospective 10. You can load it up for the flight and it is carry on size, then take out what you don't want to carry around for the day and it's a great shoulder bag to shoot from. I presume that you will be carrying a bag as well as the hard case, so this may be a better option.


Cheers, Damien

  
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yogestee
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Jun 10, 2014 22:17 as a reply to  @ dodgyexposure's post |  #5

I would never put my camera gear in with my check in luggage, only carry on. I do quite a bit of flying both regionally and internationally but have only had my camera gear inspected once.


Flying from Bangkok to Sydney, the guy at security asked to see my camera gear after it passed through the scanner. He was an amateur photographer and just wanted to see my gear and have a chat.


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M_Six
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Jun 10, 2014 22:38 |  #6

The Pelican 1510 will fit most carry-on limits. And if you bring it through security, you can lock it with any padlock after the xray machine. I asked the TSA guys at two airports about this and they both said yes, after security you can lock it and it doesn't have to be a TSA lock. Then you can gate check it if need be. It's free that way plus you get it as you get off the plane.

The other method I've read about involves traveling with a starter pistol in your hard camera case. You declare that you're checking baggage with a firearm and TSA inspects it, you lock it, and they wiretag it. I've never done this, though, so I can't say for sure it works.


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melcat
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Jun 11, 2014 04:41 |  #7

M_Six wrote in post #16964435 (external link)
The Pelican 1510 will fit most carry-on limits.

Unless your camera gear itself weighs no more than 120g, not where I live!




  
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M_Six
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Jun 11, 2014 11:38 |  #8

Really? Do they restrict carry-ons to such light weight in Oz? On my last trip my backpack must have weighed 25 or 30lbs. My shoulders were killing me. But there's no weighing for carry-ons in the US. If it fits the size gauge, it goes on board.

EDIT: I just learned that American Airlines has a 40lb weight limit for carry-ons, although I fly American all the time and have never seen anyone's carry-on get weighed. Air Mexico has a 10lb limit. My 5D MkIII and Sigma 120-300 weigh more than that. And Lufthansa has an 18lb limit. That could be a problem if we fly them to Germany. If they weigh carry-ons.

EDIT II: Wow, only 15lbs for Qantas? That's pretty ridiculous. Guess I won't be traveling to Oz with much gear if we ever go there.


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Erik ­ S. ­ Klein
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Jun 11, 2014 12:29 |  #9

melcat wrote in post #16964738 (external link)
Unless your camera gear itself weighs no more than 120g, not where I live!

I've never had my 1514 weighed. It's WAY overweight so I take a chance every time, but I'm the only one who lifts it so it's not that obvious...

I will never check camera gear. Too many risks between TSA, baggage handlers, etc.


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CyberDyneSystems
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Jun 11, 2014 14:32 |  #10

I have taken literally 10s of thousands of dollars worth of camera gear with me to Afirca, Equador/ Galapagos, Peru etc. In most of these cases, taking the photos has been the primary reason for the trip. Thus, all the gear, and the priority on it being there when I need it. If you just want to bring along a camera for a vacation, this means differing priorities, so take that into account when understanding my methodology.

Step 1: The Camera gear is your carry on. Period.
Step 2: The CF cards are always on me. (in a smooth sided card case in a cargo short pocket etc)
Step 3: Check everything else.

- I pack my photo gear in a $60.00 "Wenger" Swiss Army (RED) rolling carry on bag that fits in an overhead compartment. This helps prevent it from being mistaken for anything of value, or being weighed. My name and address is written on the bag in permanent marker.

Within this "bag" I can pack:
- my 500mm f/4L IS more safely than most "camera bags" by strapping it to the rails that hold the collapsible handle of the rolling bag.
- At least two bodies, historically two 1D, but now it's a 1D4 and a 5D3, and one more XXD/XXXD sized body like my IR converted Xti
- The 100-400mm always comes with me, along with my 135mm f/2L. The 17-40mm is pretty regular traveler, and in the past the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, but I've since done away with it in favor of smaller primes. 24-70 f/2.8L has always been included.

- All of the above is "padded" generously in my soft clothing, socks, boxers, t-shirts.
- Whatever sun block I can legally get away with. (first time I did this trick my checked bag was "lost" for 2 days and I was in Africa for a few days desperately hunting for sunblock!)

I have in the past checked some of the batteries and chargers if I could not fit or handle the weight in the carry on. The old 1D and 1D2 charger was one of the most ludicrously heavy accessories ever devised, so this was in fact logical. Make this call based on weight, size, fit and how long you will be in one place if your checked bag were to be late. Needless to say, the size of the chargers for most normal cameras now is such that it's easy to include in the carry on. It's only the 1D series that could still cause one to have to face this dilemma.

Bottom line: Consider your checked bag totally expendable. I've never not able to get one back, but the number of times it has been delayed actually comes close to out numbering the number of times it's arrived on time, and once, I was home before it was recovered.

If such a loss should occur, you can usually by new clothes and other things in other countries with out too much problem. Your camera gear, not so much.

Plus, if you use my method, instead of lugging along a bunch of useless "Tamrack padding" and other heavy crap, you have at least a full set of clothes padding your gear.


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Erik ­ S. ­ Klein
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Jun 11, 2014 16:26 |  #11

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #16965779 (external link)
Plus, if you use my method, instead of lugging along a bunch of useless "Tamrack padding" and other heavy crap, you have at least a full set of clothes padding your gear.

This part I really like. That and the camo of using a non camera bag makes a lot of sense.

BTW, I didn't mention above, but I almost always travel with my tripod as well and that typically goes into it's padded bag which fits diagonally across a hard-sided checked bag. I wouldn't want to lose it, but I could live without it if I had to...


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CyberDyneSystems
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Jun 11, 2014 16:33 |  #12

Likewise, when a pod is in my kit, (usually there is, either my tiny cf induro, or my monopod) it's in the checked bag. Again, I'd like to have it, but it's neither make or break nor too costly if it's lost all together. On my first trip to Africa I did make the mistake of packing my Gitzo in the checked bag. It came home safe, but I never used that beast once while I was there :lol:
I was Waaaayyy over packed that first trip.


Another thing I forgot to mention, is a small useful bag I can work out of is in the checked bag. Once I'm there, I can't work out of the rolling luggage!


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dodgyexposure
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Jun 11, 2014 18:28 |  #13

M_Six wrote in post #16965367 (external link)
Really? Do they restrict carry-ons to such light weight in Oz? On my last trip my backpack must have weighed 25 or 30lbs. My shoulders were killing me. But there's no weighing for carry-ons in the US. If it fits the size gauge, it goes on board.

EDIT: I just learned that American Airlines has a 40lb weight limit for carry-ons, although I fly American all the time and have never seen anyone's carry-on get weighed. Air Mexico has a 10lb limit. My 5D MkIII and Sigma 120-300 weigh more than that. And Lufthansa has an 18lb limit. That could be a problem if we fly them to Germany. If they weigh carry-ons.

EDIT II: Wow, only 15lbs for Qantas? That's pretty ridiculous. Guess I won't be traveling to Oz with much gear if we ever go there.

While there is a tight restriction on carry on weight, I have never had it enforced. Turn up with a 20kg loaded Pelican case, though, and it may be.


Cheers, Damien

  
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M_Six
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Jun 11, 2014 20:39 |  #14

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #16965992 (external link)
Another thing I forgot to mention, is a small useful bag I can work out of is in the checked bag. Once I'm there, I can't work out of the rolling luggage!

I do this as well. My backpack with my gear weighs a ton, so I pack a 6MDH in the checked baggage to use walking around. It's usually packed with socks and shoes and such to make use of the space.


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Savethemoment
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Jun 13, 2014 07:05 |  #15

M_Six wrote in post #16965367 (external link)
EDIT II: Wow, only 15lbs for Qantas? That's pretty ridiculous. Guess I won't be traveling to Oz with much gear if we ever go there.

Don't worry, plenty of other airlines will fly you to Oz!


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