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Author Topic: Flying With Camera Gear  (Read 14782 times)
JerseyT
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« on: January 14, 2010, 10:31:08 AM »
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An interesting and informative article about the latest flying hassles.  I only have one quibble.

If you put chargers and critical cables in your checked baggage, you could have a big problem.
If you're going to a remote place and your baggage doesn't arrive, you will not be able to use
your cameras and computer once the batteries run down.  And there may be no way to
replace them before you return home.

I used to pack them as Michael suggests, but after a bit of a scare on a 3-week Hawaiian
trip I now carry the critical parts with me.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2010, 11:07:38 AM »
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It's a judgement call. I feel that with at least two fully charged batteries in my camera bag I'm good until my lost bag arrives.

Michael
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jackmacd
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2010, 11:18:17 AM »
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I have to ask...seven lenses?
I have to laugh, the forums always ask the question, what two lenses or what three lenses?  Now I will ask, if you could only take seven lenses, what would they be?

So please tell, which were they?

Jack
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2010, 11:57:08 AM »
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I live in one country and work in another, flying some 100+ times a year. I love the TT Urban Disguise 60 and have used it now for over 2 years of travel. Holds my laptop, camera, lenses, a flash or two, all my spare HD's and bits, etc as well as a book, food and other stuff. Best of all it looks like a simple light laptop bag and has never once been questioned. I often carry 10-12 kilo in it and although recently the strap broke, TT fedex'd me a new one overnight to Jerusalem once I had emailed them a photo of the broken part. Lifetime warranty and they are good for it. If you don't carry all your gear with you every time you fly, if you're a PJ, etc, it's a very very good bag for flying with. Can't recommend it enough.

Something to keep in mind is that when flying from the UK they will weigh your hand luggage often. If it's a cheap airline then it's a given. Something like a TT Airport Antidote and certainly a pelican may well be over the weight limit when empty! When flying with a certain airline they would weigh the hand luggage again just before boarding to include all your duty free purchases (nasty people!). The people at the desks are usually mindless morons (in the UK at least and I'm English, I can say it   ) a trick is to go to check in without your hand luggage, get a friend to hold it somewhere unseen, check in holding a book or something in your hand to look realistic then pick up your bag quietly afterwards and go to security. Another favorite trick if they will weigh your bag is cameras over your shoulder under your coat, load your pockets with lenses and hard drives, heck even ask your friend just to hold your laptop while you check in!

I personally have switched to a netbook rather than my powerful 3kg toshiba monster with 2 extra batteries.  With my Asus 1000HE netbook, 320GB HD and 2GB RAM I get 8+ hour battery life (and I have two), it's slow but powerful enough to edit entire weddings, that's 1300+ RAW files in LR from RAW to completed jpg ready for the lab. It also does all my music, films, ebooks, yada, yada in a package a fraction of the size and weight of my previous laptop. Yes it's slow but I forgive it everything for it's tiny size. When you fly that much believe me it makes a huge difference. I couldn't even fully open my Toshiba in cattle class...

As for the battery chargers, tough one. I keep chargers for both cameras and laptop in both countries to be honest, I can't afford to arrive without when I'm shooting a wedding the next day. A camera battery charger is not big, put it in your coat with the plug and cable in your checked luggage, any electronics store will sell the canon cable at least, not sure about other manufacturers.

If your country has retina scan or fingerprint scan machines at customs, sign up for it! Nothing is more fustrating after the hell that is modern flight than having to wait in a long queue because a flight just got in before you with 200 half drunk toughs back from Majorca    I'm signed up in both countries and boy does it make my life easier.

I hate flying so very much but hey, got to live...
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 12:02:15 PM by Ben Rubinstein » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2010, 11:58:45 AM »
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Hi,

I'm not answering for Michael, but what I used to take is:

In the Kiboko:
12-24/4,5-5.6 Sigma EX
24-70/2.8 ZA
75-300/4.5-5.6 G APO
100/2.8 Macro
16-80/3.5-4.5 ZA (this is a APS-C only lens)
400/4.5 G APO
1.4x and 2.0x extenders

Two bodies: Sony Alpha 900 and 700

Add to this:
Tripod (in checked luggage)
Two extra batteries
Two chargers



Quote from: jackmacd
I have to ask...seven lenses?
I have to laugh, the forums always ask the question, what two lenses or what three lenses?  Now I will ask, if you could only take seven lenses, what would they be?

So please tell, which were they?

Jack
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thomashoven
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2010, 01:29:15 PM »
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I fully support Michael's observations about carry-ons being weighted. Even worse if you have a small hard-shell carry-on with wheels. It's ALWAYS weighed (with rare exeptions). The best is a carry on without wheels that you keep on your back (backpack) during the check-in process (as if you forgot it's there). I often use a ThinkTank Airport Addicted which is about the largest permitted in the cabin. A larger bag that is not full is also usually accepted without question. A bag, even is smaller than the limit, is sometimes checked if it looks like it's filled beyond capacity.

I wish all airlines could agree on the same size for carry-on (and preferrably also weight). I experienced one low-fares airline in Europe that had a normal size-limit, but no weight limit on your carry-on as long as you could easily handle it yourself, and had no checked luggage. I liked that. Easy for both passenger and airline. Many of my trips are 2 - 3 day trips within Europe, and my ThinkTank can take all I need - cameras, computer and most necessary clothing.

Thomas
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Thomas
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francois
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2010, 01:39:11 PM »
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FWIW, I've had my roller bag weighted both in the UK and in the US. I now only travel with a non-roller bag and have yet to put my bag on a scale (sure enough, next flight will the first time     ). Three years ago, n the UK, just before boarding the flight, an employee weighted carry-ons "by hand".
I always try to minimize air travel but sometimes it's impossible to do so, unfortunately.
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Francois
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2010, 02:06:21 PM »
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I travel every few weeks on business within Europe with carry-on only, and a few times a year on business/pleasure with check-in around the world, and have had my carry-on weighed maybe once in the past five years. I usually travel with a carry-on wheeler and a laptop bag on top of it. In smaller planes they ask me to put the carry-on in the cargo hold, drop-off/pick up at the plane.

Discount airlines are notorious for adhering to weight rules, though. Or more accurately, they take every opportunity to squeeze more money out of their customers.

The secret is to check-in at home, or at the automatic counters (not sure if you even can check-in with a person these days at many airports in Europe unless you fly Business), this way there's less chance of nosy check-in personnel to take a closer look at what you're carrying. If you're really worried, make sure to have some questions requiring them to think, and ask them before they offload their check-in script at you

As for chargers, one of the best gadget buys I've ever done is an iGo charger with tips for my various gadgets. It's small and light, and fits in my carry-on so I'll be able to charge my phone even if Air France once again loses my luggage. Unfortunately they don't make tips/cradles for camera batteries, so I still have to lug around that - fortunately Canon's charger is very light.

edit: I've flown 6 legs within Europe since Christmas, and I've seen no changes in security whatsoever - and I'm based in Amsterdam. I imagine the story is very different going to the US, and I'll avoid that as long as I can - it has been a major hassle since 9/11 already.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 02:34:55 PM by feppe » Logged

John Camp
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2010, 03:13:17 PM »
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Michael,

What you may not have known, since you were cut off from the news media, is that on Jan. 3 a guy snuck under the ropes into the secure area at Newark, after a TSA guard left his post. The guy (a Chinese national) just wanted to kiss his girlfriend good-bye. But after he kissed her, he walked off with her. Other passengers told the TSA guard, and the airport was shut down for hours, and flights all over the east coast were screwed up. The guy was located and arrested the following Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, the TSA at Newark was under harsh scrutiny, the question being asked, how could a guy just sneak in, right there in public? And why couldn't he be found afterwards? What you experienced was probably just the usual over-reaction by people whose bosses were afraid for their jobs...
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michael
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 05:18:54 PM »
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Quote from: jackmacd
I have to ask...seven lenses?
I have to laugh, the forums always ask the question, what two lenses or what three lenses?  Now I will ask, if you could only take seven lenses, what would they be?

So please tell, which were they?

Jack
Leica M lenses are so small that there's no point in leaving any at home. Also they are almost all primes.

For low light I had the the 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm f/1.4 Sumiluxes
Longer lenses were the 90mm f/2 and 135mm f/3.5
I also had the f/4 28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar and the f/4 16-18-21mm WA Tri-Elmar for daytime walkaround use.

Michael
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andyptak
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2010, 06:40:39 PM »
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Welcome home Michael, hope all went well.

Because you were out of touch, one snafu you may not be aware of is flying from Canada to the U.S. - NO carry-ons!

Camera and laptops are exempted if you can carry them sans bag. On the way home, one carry-on is allowed.

What a pain in the ass.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2010, 07:16:33 PM »
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The other day I canceled a planned photo shoot in the USA. Unfortunate, but the hassle just isn't worth it, particularly from Canada, where the carry-on rules are both unusually tight by world standards and inconsistent. The ambiguity about the carry-on situation combined with the utter chaos at the airports makes it particularly unattractive to fly from this country. There will have to be great things to photograph within comfortable driving distance until the situation settles down.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 07:17:01 PM by Mark D Segal » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray Maxwell
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 07:30:03 PM »
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I believe that most of the security procedures are "Security Theater" to make everyone feel safer.  They keep adding security procedures only after a terrorists has used one they did not think about.  They need to increase their spending in the area of infiltration and intelligence.  If a person is willing to become a suicide bomber, I don't believe you can stop him at an airport check.  In Saudi Arabia a member of the Royal Family was attacked by a suicide bomber where the bomb was up his rectum.  They believe that it was detonated remotely.  Are we all going to submit to a "cavity" search in order to board an airline?  Give me a break.  In many ways, if we continue in this way, the terrorists have won.  They have made our lives miserable (we are no longer free to travel) and they have increased the costs of travel.

We are more safe today for two reasons...One, people in the cabin of an airliner are not going to sit passively if a person tries to take over the airplane.  One man was killed when he made a dash for the cockpit.  Two, the cockpit door is now reinforced and secure.  Both of these things have added much more to our security than the "Security Theater" at the airports.  They should use metal scanners for guns and knives and x-ray bags.  More than that does little to increase security.

See Gwynne Dyer's article in the "Georgia Straight"

http://www.straight.com/article-279538/van...curity-measures


Ray Maxwell

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jackmacd
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2010, 07:38:42 PM »
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Thanks for the lens answer Michael,
If I had those lenses I would bring em all too.
And they take up about the same space as a Canon 24-70 2.8

Nice shots too. Is there a place where I can see more of them?

On the Canadian travel subject, with no carry-on, sounds like the right time to wear a photo vest.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2010, 07:42:47 PM »
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Ray, I agree with most of this, and most of the real security experts say the same thing. A third reason why we're safer today is that there have been major improvements of S&I, and if we are to believe them, an unstated number of potential disasters have been apprehended over the years since 9/11 because of it. But there is nothing new about terrorism involving aviation. We're well into about four decades of it by now - reel your mind back to Furstenfeldbruck military airport in 1972. The fact is that S&I will never be 100%, so other measures are needed to catch the difference between 100% and what S&I can achieve. The only issue is the smartness or lack thereof with which it's done, and until the smartness improves the combination of photography and air travel, especially from Canada, will be difficult.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
michael
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2010, 08:28:35 PM »
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Because of my travels I was unaware until this evening of the new Canada to US flight restrictions. What insanity.

One solution is to drive or take a bus from Toronto to Buffalo, or Vancouver to Seattle, and fly from there. If enough of us did it Canadian carriers would get the message quickly enough and would pressure the government to regain their sanity.

Michael
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2010, 08:56:14 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Because of my travels I was unaware until this evening of the new Canada to US flight restrictions. What insanity.

One solution is to drive or take a bus from Toronto to Buffalo, or Vancouver to Seattle, and fly from there. If enough of us did it Canadian carriers would get the message quickly enough and would pressure the government to regain their sanity.

Michael

Well yes indeed - and there is more to it than that. The return airfare from Buffalo to Phoenix on SWA was going to be 221 USD. The return airfare from Toronto to Phoenix on Westjet was going to be 700 CAD. Buffalo International Airport allows carry-ons and Pearson doesn't. (But who knows - perhaps this could be a fluid situation depending on the uncertain nature of the environment). Toronto has the highest landing fees and airport/security taxes in the world, and all we get for it is chaos on an unprecedented scale. I've seen pictures of chaos at both Canadian and US airports during the past couple of weeks. The airlines are no angels either - they are participants in the utter incongruence of the whole situation. If you are flying from Toronto to Phoenix via Calgary on Westjet for example, there is a transit time of one hour and ten minutes to clear customs and security at Calgary airport, at a time when they know full well many travelers are reporting a three hour process to achieve this. Kevin O'Leary, our famous or infamous guru of business strategy, reported on the CBC news several days ago that it took him three hours wading through chaos at Pearson to board a flight from here to NYC. The airlines haven't amended their schedules and operating procedures to cover the inevitable lag between any lobbying they do and any change of policy they may achieve. It will take time for all this to settle down, especially with fresh news reports that this chap's underwear exploit may have been a test run of "new technology" with more to come. I really believe the only sensible policy for the time being is to avoid flying if at all possible and if you value your sanity. And anyone who needs to fly will just have to devote half a day to navigating the airport and "take a valium".
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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hcubell
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2010, 09:03:41 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Because of my travels I was unaware until this evening of the new Canada to US flight restrictions. What insanity.

One solution is to drive or take a bus from Toronto to Buffalo, or Vancouver to Seattle, and fly from there. If enough of us did it Canadian carriers would get the message quickly enough and would pressure the government to regain their sanity.

Michael

Have you considered sending your camera equipment ahead to your shooting location in the US by FEDEX?
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gerk
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2010, 09:31:20 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Because of my travels I was unaware until this evening of the new Canada to US flight restrictions. What insanity.

One solution is to drive or take a bus from Toronto to Buffalo, or Vancouver to Seattle, and fly from there. If enough of us did it Canadian carriers would get the message quickly enough and would pressure the government to regain their sanity.

Michael

I have friends travelling tomorrow with gear and that's exactly what they opted to do and they told Air Canada exactly why they cancelled their tickets last minute and decided to fly from Buffalo to Arizona instead of directly from Toronto.  As you state in the article there are not a lot of options when you're carrying expensive gear -- aside from maybe to courier it to your location ahead of time ... but when you're shipping $20k+ worth of equipment it also ups the hassles in a big way ... shipping insurance, someone you trust on the other end to accept it (or ship last minute and hope that it arrives in time for you to accept it before your gig) ... the added cost of shipping, etc.

Why are we canadians being targeted out so specifically I wonder when flights from EU are not ... or is it just the Air Canada (and their smaller affiliated airlines) are just more willing to cave and for the sake of (their) simplicity just say no carry ons at all?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2010, 09:54:27 PM »
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Quote from: gerk
IWhy are we canadians being targeted out so specifically I wonder when flights from EU are not ... or is it just the Air Canada (and their smaller affiliated airlines) are just more willing to cave and for the sake of (their) simplicity just say no carry ons at all?

Don't blame the Americans or Air Canada for this. It is home-made. The carry-on policy is made by Transport Canada and implemented by CATSA. The motivation is very simple - the less they allow us to carry-on the less screening space and the fewer staff they need. Instead of being ready to cope with the increased security arrangements which the periodic episode or S&I warnings indicate would be advised, they heap the consequences on the travelers - notwithstanding the huge amount of airport tax and fees they collect from us. It is a scandal which goes well beyond inconveniencing us traveling photographers, but we're obviously in the front line of the consequences. What's worse is the inconsistency of policy statements we're getting on the issue. One doesn't really know exactly what to do - except keep away.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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