“What happened your camera?” they ask. Well. Nothing.
“It’s been through the wars eh?” Umm. Nope.
“It’s a piece of crap through, right?” Ah now!
As they wave their Nikon/Canon/Fuji/Whatever-logo around I do wonder…
So I got a lovely new camera about 18 months ago before I went to Morocco. It’s a Canon 70D, and reasonably expensive and obviously I didn’t want to hand it over to the first thief I met. I’m not saying that Morocco is full is thieves (actually I’ve been robbed twice in my life and once in Dublin. The other was in Portugal. In front of Jesus.) but anywhere you go there is a risk, especially in cities. And more devastating than the loss of the camera would be the photos still on the card. So what to do?
After some research, I found this post about a guy called Jimmie P Rodgers who fuglified his camera for a trip to Rio. His own post is here (and at the time of writing is looping strangely) and he seemed to have success, albeit with a smaller camera but I’d nothing to lose. So out came the black tape and sandpaper reducing the risk of camera theft.
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How to reduce the chance of your camera being stolen
- Tape up all logos and identifying marks. I used black duct tape as it’s a black camera. You could use masking tape and use marker (or a sharpie) over it too.
- Tape up any bits that could look like they’ve been taped up to hold it together and that it’s a piece of crap. Just taping over logos is going to look a bit suspect. You need to make it look like you wouldn’t get €5 for this thing.
- Remove the branded camera strap and branded lens cap. You can get plain lens caps in any camera shop for a few and likewise camera straps. I actually got a sling by Joby which screws into the baseplate. However, it came loose in Romania and my camera fell down a mountain. I was about to cry. But thankfully only the skylight filter broke and I just had to knock the broken glass out with a stone and frazzled nerves.
- At this point you should have lovely shiny tape all over your camera. This is not what you’re after. It still looks new. Get out some light sandpaper (or an emery board) and rough up some of the edges, as what would get scratched and scuffed if this was falling around your bag because you don’t care about it since it’s a piece of crap. Do be careful not to go over any of your actual camera body or sand through the tape itself. You can take the plain lens cap off and scuff up the front off some concrete or whatever, just be sure to clean it before you put it back on your lens to avoid any possible scratching!
- Dirty up the strap a bit.
- Check that your tape is not covering anything critical like batter or card flaps, the pop-up flash etc. I don’t use the flash on mine so it’s not a big deal. And I can easily peel back the tape to access the battery or card. My lens doesn’t have any markings so that’s not affected either. But you don’t want to be thinking about this at a critical moment and lose a shot.
There you go and you’re done! Disclaimer: this is not a guarantee against camera theft. It’s about reducing it. If possible. However, if it’s a choice between yours and one that looks like it’s been in a few less wars… One would hope that yours doesn’t get picked, to the misfortune of the other person.
One added bonus of all this is people take you less seriously as a photographer. Why is this a good thing? If you’re not a ‘professional’, and people do judge based on your equipment, they are far more likely to be less guarded and more natural.