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Author Topic: Airline Luggage - How to pack Canon's 600 f4L lens  (Read 4059 times)
hdomke
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« on: November 20, 2005, 04:57:55 PM »
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Does anyone have experience checking Canon's 600 f4L lens at the airport? I'm tempted to try checking it as luggage in the sturdy case that Canon provided with the lens.

Probability of the lens being stolen or damaged?


In the past I've carried it in a carry-on bag but it is too big to fit with today's regulations. I'm leaving for a two-week trip to Southern Florida to photograph birds.

Thanks an advance for any advice.
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Henry Domke

Here are some pictures I have taken in the past with that lens:
Pictures with Canon's 600 f4
« Last Edit: November 20, 2005, 06:38:50 PM by hdomke » Logged

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Jay Kaplan
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2005, 05:55:35 PM »
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I have no experience with something that large of expensive. While I did extensive travel by air in the '80s, it was all for business and after having luggage misplaced on several flights, I started carrying everything into the cabin. A real pain, but at least there was no lost luggage that eventually turned up 3 days later.

I would suggest that rather than relying on the airline to compensate you for a lost or damaged lens that you get all of your equipment insured separately. This would allow you to receive compensation from your insurance company while the airline dithers around and may eventually pay you for the lost or damaged lens.

The premium is way cheaper than the agrivation you would have while waiting for the airline to compensate you.

Oh, and the photos are nice too. Really sharp. How much does that thing weight? Does it come with a rack with wheels so you don't have to lift it to carry it from one place to another?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2005, 05:56:58 PM by Jake21209 » Logged
Paul Sumi
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2005, 06:28:40 PM »
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Henry,

I'm not sure, but the size of the lens (exclusive of the Canon case) seems to be within size limits for carry-on luggage (I took a look at Southwest Airlines, which tends to fly smaller jets).  Is your concern because you may be traveling on smaller, regional carriers?

Personally I would not subject camera gear to the tender mercies of checked-in luggage.  All checked luggage must be unlocked (the TSA will break locks if necessary to inspect), and between the danger of being stolen or damaged due to rough handling, it just doesn't seem worth it.

The only piece of equipment I will check in is my tripod (Gitzo 1348), which rides in a large duffel padded by clothing.  Even then I remove the ball head which goes into my photo backpack.

Paul
« Last Edit: November 20, 2005, 06:47:40 PM by PaulS » Logged

Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2005, 08:09:43 PM »
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Call the airline and ask if you the lens can have special handling. A long time ago, TWA carried a special item in the cabin rather than in the cargo area.

I would not trust baggage handlers as they rolled a Pelican case with a view camera system down a ramp during one of my trips - rolled over twice before coming to rest. No problems, but I would rather they don't do that.
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David White
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2005, 08:20:54 PM »
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I would not put anything in my luggage that I would miss on the other end of the flight.  I had a company laptop stolen out of an equipment case that had TSA locks on it.  They ignored the $40,000 worth of HDTV MPEG analyzer and capture devices in favor of the pos old computer.
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David White
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2005, 11:46:42 PM »
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I travel a great deal worldwide, averaging 250,000 miles each year, on large and small airlines. In fact, another 10,000 miles will be done this week: I'm leaving for Melbourne in a few hours! Lessons from my travel experience - check in nothing you want to be certain of seeing at the other end at the right time and in one piece.  Asia tends to be best for looking after your checked-in baggage, USA and China are the worst.  The most damage my luggage / contents have suffered was in the USA, and in three years only one checked-in item has failed to turn up at all. That was flying from LAX to JFK.

Buy the thing it's own seat on the plane next to you
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Dr. Gary
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2005, 09:45:47 AM »
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Quote
Does anyone have experience checking Canon's 600 f4L lens at the airport? I'm tempted to try checking it as luggage in the sturdy case that Canon provided with the lens.

Probability of the lens being stolen or damaged?


In the past I've carried it in a carry-on bag but it is too big to fit with today's regulations. I'm leaving for a two-week trip to Southern Florida to photograph birds.

Thanks an advance for any advice.
--
Henry Domke

Here are some pictures I have taken in the past with that lens:
Pictures with Canon's 600 f4
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I fly all the time with a Moose Peterson Bag and my 500f/4 L lens. It will also hold a 600mm tele but you need a special foot plate for it to fit. I almost always get the twice over at the security check in but at least I can carry the bag (on my back) as far as I have to.

drgary
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collum
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2005, 10:12:20 AM »
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I've had the chance to work on computers 'behind the scene' at an airline terminal (USA).  It allowed me to observe the baggage handling as it went from the checkin counter to the trams that took it to the plane.  The norm was just a toss of the baggage from onto the tram by the handler... but every so often.. for whatever reason, baggage would get an overhand slam onto the tram. Since then nothing gets checked in that could be damanged by that type of handling.

If i can't carry it on, i send it to the destination hotel via Fed Ex (insured).

it's a little bit harder to get something that large out of the airport by a handler, so i'd expect damage before theft.

      jim
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smurdock
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2005, 10:52:58 AM »
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Henry,
I travel frequently with my 500mm lens stowed in my camera bag which I take as one of my carry-on bags.  I would definitely not recommend checking your 600mm.  Check your clothing and take your 600mm as a carry-on stowed in one of the specialized large lens bags made be LowePro, et al.  It will fit easily in the overhead bin.
Steve
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