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Gear Talk => EOS Bodies - For Stills => Topic started by: Physicx on March 18, 2012, 10:18:01 PM

Title: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Physicx on March 18, 2012, 10:18:01 PM
Yes, thats right. Going backpacking. Got my 5DII. Sold my 450D for some extra cash. I got some good L glass and sigma 50 1.4. Plenty.

Now, Im going to some dangerous areas, or even safer places but places I dont feel comfortable taking out my 5DII and Sigma 1.4. Hence the idea of taking a muggable-backup body + a lens came about.

Im thinking of taking this body + lens for night walk abouts or just dangerous places during the day when I can possible be mugged lol. The ideal pair would be the 550D + Sigma 30 f/1.4 for a nice walk around. But it is pretty expensive. Esp the lens.

So... Im thinking of a 400D + Canon 50 1.8. The 400D because it is the lowest camera I can go down that has a screen big enough so I can review my photos. The 50mm 1.8 for lowlight/walk around. The whole kit is £200 2nd hand. Quite a bit, but nothing close compared to losing the 5DII and sigma 1.4.

Another idea is just bring a point and shoot as backup. That is possible, my logic is that taking a cropped body could help with telephoto shots with those lenses.

suggestions are welcome.

Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: cpsico on March 18, 2012, 10:25:57 PM
A smith and Wesson would make good back up body for muggers
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: wickidwombat on March 18, 2012, 10:55:08 PM
A smith and Wesson would make good back up body for muggers
I was gonna suggest a 1D on a monopod can double as a good club but yours is better :(
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: David KM on March 18, 2012, 11:13:13 PM
G1X is looking very good and low profile.

I actually do quite a bit of street work in Oakland, Ca. and (seriously) carry a Springfield XD .40cal when out in questionable areas.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: iso79 on March 18, 2012, 11:15:36 PM
Just wrap your camera up with gaffer's tape and pick up a low profile camera strap. Works wonders! People are drawn to brands/logos. Funny how human psychology works.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Cardad on March 18, 2012, 11:33:23 PM
I just bought a 50D as a backup for my 7D.  One thought for the backup is to carry the 50D with no grip, a black lens, and an unbranded strap to be a little less obvious.  I have a friend who used to put black electrical tape over the "Nikon" brand on his camera.

Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: justsomedude on March 18, 2012, 11:34:00 PM
7D... if only for the weather sealing and mag. alloy body.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: distant.star on March 18, 2012, 11:36:08 PM
First suggestion: Stay out of dangerous places. There's no "LOL" after you really get mugged. There are plenty of great pictures in the world without risking your health and property.

If you're going anyway, take my nephew with you -- it only takes one punch for him to put them down. Seriously, if you go to such a place, the odds of being targeted for attack drop dramatically if you're not alone.

If you're going to persist with such ill-advised "adventure," buy a used S95 and put some black tape over the white Canon lettering on the front. Also, take a lot of small cards and swap out often -- if you lose the camera you still probably get to keep some pictures to remember the pain by.

And as a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer and this is not intended as legal advice!
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Hillsilly on March 18, 2012, 11:51:58 PM
Are you going to have somewhere safe to keep the 5Dii and lenses while you're out with the other camera?  You might find that you're burdening yourself with more gear, only to find that you don't like leaving the expensive gear back in your room.  Otherwise, I'm thinking the 400D would be a handy backup option.  Its low cost and compatible with your other lenses.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: ronderick on March 18, 2012, 11:55:33 PM
Yeah, it's usually not a good idea to go to places you know have security concerns. Why risk your health and possessions if you don't have to?

Being mugged is one thing, but sometimes even the simple act of pulling out the camera may lead to over-reactions you may not be expecting.

If you really want to cut the loss, then just bring an old cell phone that takes photos...
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: rm on March 19, 2012, 12:06:59 AM
When you say "backpacking" do you mean season bus/train passes, staying in hostels, going out on the batter with fellow backpackers etc.?

If that is the kind of thing you have in mind, I'd give serious consideration to something like an 'S' series.  It is small enough to fit in your pocket so it's always with you and discrete for when you want to stay under the radar.  Like others have suggested, I'd also change out the standard neck strap on the 5DII.

How much gear are you planning on carrying (everything, not just cameras)?  You may quickly regret all that weight/bulk of multiple bodies and lenses if you have to trek far.  Also don't forget you have to carry all this when you are doing bus/train transfers, queuing for tickets while being pestered by beggars, etc.

If you are staying in hostels, give some thought to how you are going to protect the gear left in the dorm - security ranges from very little to none in my experience, no matter where you are backpacking.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on March 19, 2012, 12:12:03 AM
You might want to try to ding up the camera a bit before going. If we were talking furniture, we'd use the word "distressed". But, assuming that if someone wants it, your going to hand it over (not worth your life), used point and shoots might be the best option.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: RC on March 19, 2012, 01:10:11 AM
At the very least (and if that's all you can carry), carry pepper spray.


Edit: Gramar
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: bvukich on March 19, 2012, 01:54:12 AM
I have a couple of suggestions...

First off, and most importantly, your first backup body should be a buddy with good situational awareness.  If you're anything like me once you get those "photographer eyes" going you're not aware of your surroundings in the traditional sense, and are more on the lookout for shots than danger.  Also, two people are much less likely to be hassled than one.

Second. If you were in the US and in a state where constitutional rights are still intact (i.e., concealed carry is allowed), and your buddy it licensed to do so... then I'd say do so.  But since you're in the UK, my only suggestion would be a sturdy tripod or monopod carried by your buddy.  Normal people wont even notice it, but thugs certainly will; and will think twice about how badly they want your equipment.

Third.  Hopefully the above two precautions would allow you to feel comfortable carrying your normal kit.  But if not, you can still do great photography with a 400D & 50/1.8.

Remember, layers of defense.  And if things do go pear shaped, your kit isn't worth your life.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: D_Rochat on March 19, 2012, 01:55:23 AM
Put a Sony badge on it. No one will waste their time.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Angryoak on March 19, 2012, 02:22:11 AM
Just get travel insurance and take the good body with you
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Marsu42 on March 19, 2012, 02:23:30 AM
So... Im thinking of a 400D + Canon 50 1.8. The 400D because it is the lowest camera I can go down that has a screen big enough so I can review my photos.

If you're set on going into "dangerous" areas I guess it's clever to take something you won't miss that much. Actually, I used to take the smaller 60d + the 50/1.8 to demonstrations because it low-light capable, fits in my pocket and I only take it out shortly for point and click shooting style, so that worked for me. Hiding the big "Canon" label with some black tape and resisting to use your big Canon neck strap might be a good idea, too. Or get an insurance, but that won't replace a stolen body immediately back at your hotel.

But of course to less well-off people *any* dslr gear looks valuable, and if they really want to *rob* you (not pickpocket) my personal, but strong advice is: Don't resist and cut your losses, any weapon you have might be turned against you - gun or spray - and some hundred bucks aren't worth your health, let alone your life.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: briansquibb on March 19, 2012, 02:28:56 AM
Put it on a wire harness so it cant be snatched - and it leaves two hands free for flee or fight. None of my cameras have a strap.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: tuankid on March 19, 2012, 07:31:55 AM
my advice: don't go to dangerous place, even if you're not taking pictures. if you think it is dangerous, stay out of it. the fact that you're alone make you a perfect target!
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on March 19, 2012, 08:47:24 AM
Put it on a wire harness so it cant be snatched - and it leaves two hands free for flee or fight. None of my cameras have a strap.

I'd advise caution on this one. If your dealing with people who would hurt you, you don't want any delays in handing over your gear, or them taking it.  But normally I do recommend theft reistant straps.  On the plus side, a wire in the strap means you can use it to defend against a knife attack, but only if you have training or your fighting for you life.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: hhelmbold on March 19, 2012, 09:13:18 AM
I think the Nikon D4 is a good option... If something should happen... who cares, it's a Nikon  ;D
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: grahamsz on March 19, 2012, 04:09:12 PM
Just get travel insurance and take the good body with you

This! Especially if you have a new for old policy. If you find yourself mugged, you file a police report, pay a deductible and get an upgrade to the latest kit.

Obviously it pays to be aware of your surroundings, but there's much to be said for not acting like you are in a dangerous part of town. If you are confident and comfortable then I believe you are much less likely to be targeted. If you stick out like a nervous tourist then you'll be treated as such.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: SPG on March 19, 2012, 09:02:37 PM
Ignoring the "danger" or perceived danger, you may want to take a look at any of the recent G series cameras. RAW, small, good controls, less obtrusive than a DSLR. In fact to the untrained eye, a G camera looks like a really old point and shoot since it doesn't look like a modern sleek small camera. Shooting travel with my G-9 tends to attract much less attention than my 7D, and thus producing more natural shots if people are walking past.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: aeturnum on March 20, 2012, 05:16:42 PM
In regards to those advising you to carry a concealed weapon, if you take that route be sure to be proficient with the weapon you choose to carry. If you lose your camera, you're out a few thousand dollars, but you raise the stakes when you arm yourself. Improperly handling a situation could result in you hurting yourself or someone else unnecessarily (which has its own financial and legal burdens). Personally, I don't think the increased risk is worth the money you might save, but there are plenty who don't agree with me :) .
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: mjp on March 20, 2012, 11:08:12 PM
As we have no idea where you're going, the type of 'dangerous places' vary from country to country. If you're travelling abroad (even if you're not), absolutely do not carry a concealed weapon - in many countries you'll be facing a lot more troubles than lost camera gear if you go this route and are caught. I see no reason why you should not just carry the 5DII and take along a simple street shooter like a Fuji X100, Xpro1, OM-D, etc. I've been to many questionable areas in North America as well as overseas and have never had a problem with people wanting to steal my camera gear. Not to say it won't happen. Good luck.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: SPG on March 21, 2012, 01:11:27 PM
As this conversation is veering back towards the notion of dangerous areas and the potential of getting robbed, a few key points...
1. Carrying a firearm is a ludicrous suggestion for most people in most places. Yeah, I know...2nd amedment, 'merica! and all that, but the reality is that the chances of you successfully defending yourself with a gun in any kind of street robbery are ridiculously slim. People who rob others depend on the element of surprise and speed. You won't have enough time to even get your hand to your gun. I'm not even anti gun in general, but the idea of a gun as a magic wand that makes bad situations disappear is simply ridiculous. The real world just doesn't work that way.
2. Don't be an easy target. One person with their eyes on a camera or slinking around looking lost will look like a vulnerable target. Two people walking with a purpose is a harder target. Three is a threat. Bring a friend. They can keep an eye out and watch your back while you're looking through the camera.
3. Know where you are and be aware of your surroundings. Know which direction you can run to get to a crowd of people.
4. Trust your instincts. Something doesn't feel right? You think that guy is sizing you up? Get out of there. Now.
5. Get insurance and don't worry about the gear if you get robbed.
6. NEVER, as in never ever not even for a couple minutes leave your gear in a car. Ever. That is the number one target and the number one place where cameras are stolen. Out of sight in the trunk? Nope. Any thief spotting tourist locations will size you up and break into your car looking for your luggage and laptop. The cameras are a nice bonus for them.
7. Travel light so you can bring it with you and not look like your mounting an Everest expedition complete with a team of Sherpas.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on April 02, 2012, 10:58:49 AM
Probably the wrong way to go, but...

(http://hight3ch.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/PhotoGun.jpg)

(http://paradoxoff.com/files/2007/08/gun-camera.jpg)
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: westr70 on April 02, 2012, 11:36:59 AM
Our company does photography of historic structures in So. Cal. and that leads to being in some interesting areas.  We have found out that many gangs are very unhappy about having their turf or members photographed.   Gang members are NOT intimidated by two or three people.   The only thing I would advise, other than not going, is to have a clear destination and get out of the area in under three minutes.  Not a bad idea to have a driver at the wheel with the engine going.  I would also recommend that you not "cruise" slowly down any streets in gang areas.   My two cents.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: unruled on April 02, 2012, 12:01:26 PM
the gun idea seems rediculous. Most theft is theft of opportunity, so I'd say don't be/look to be the typical nonchalant tourist.

More importantly, where are you going that you deem to be so dangerous?
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Tracy Pinto on April 02, 2012, 12:56:43 PM
Bring a 5D Mark III and have the mugger read this blog first. He will hand it back to you and maybe leave you a small tip.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: dirtcastle on April 02, 2012, 02:02:27 PM
This is one of those "If you have to ask..." questions.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: kirispupis on April 02, 2012, 02:02:53 PM
This really depends on what you term "dangerous areas".  Last year I travelled with my full gear (5D3, 7D, several L lenses, tripod) to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Never once did I feel unsafe.  I have also been to Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Mexico, and China in the last few years and never had an issue with my gear.  The only time I felt a bit nervous was in Peru - but even then only in Lima.

While I was travelling in Uzbekistan, I ran across two guys with had taken their SLRs on motorcycle trips throughout Asia and Europe.  One guy had been to every single country in Europe and was on his way from Germany to China and another guy had biked in numerous countries in Africa and was on his way from Bulgaria to somewhere in Siberia.

So when you use the term "dangerous", do you mean somewhere truly dangerous or somewhere you simply perceive as dangerous?  Southern Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, bad neighborhoods in Brazil, and large parts of Somalia are truly dangerous.  If you are going to those places, the safety of your DSLR will be the least of your concerns.  If you are travelling there, you will have someone who is managing your personal safety.

Assuming that your travel destination is not truly dangerous, but you are just perceiving it as such, your real issue has to do with the way you are travelling.  By backpacking you put your equipment in numerous situations where it may be stolen.  It really doesn't matter whether you are travelling with an XTi + kit lens or a 1Dx + L lens.  Thieves rarely know the difference between different models.  They just see a DSLR that may be an easy target.  In terms of camera equipment, therefore, my recommendation is to bring the best you can.  You likely will not be visiting these places again any time soon.

In terms of making sure whatever you bring is not stolen, the following are my recommendations.

- Learn the local language, especially if you will spend a lot of time in one place.  This shows respect to your hosts and you are less of a target when you show respect.
- Learn the customs of your area and obey them.  If local customs frown on photographing women, do not do it.
- Safeguard whatever is on you at all times.  When you sit down, wrap the straps of your backpack around your leg or chair.  Never leave anything of value unattended - even for a second.
- Be gracious with questions on your gear.  Do not shy away from questions on how much your gear costs.  People are just curious.  Be friendly, but of course never hand your camera over if they want to see it.
- Consult with locals on where it is OK to go and where it is not OK.
- If you can afford it, stay in better hotels.  In most better hotels you can leave your gear in your room and no one will take it.  Of course, this by definition is not backpacking. :)
- Trust the companions you happen across as much as you trust strangers with your gear.  You are more likely to have your gear stolen by a fellow traveller than by a local.
- Make sure you bag is not easy to open from the back and that it is well strapped to you.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: aldvan on April 02, 2012, 02:11:25 PM
A gun in unskilled hands is a further target for robbery. Bad people know very well how difficult is pulling the trigger for regular people. In the best case you can find yourself robbed of your camera AND of your gun, by a bad guy who, a that point could be really enraged by your naive menace. But this is just academic, since, if you are passinf a border, in every part of the world, nobody will allow you to pass carrying a weapon.

Camera conditions, make or model don't represent a deterrent. Any camera (or watch, cell etc) is a target, in some areas.

I don't know, as other before me stated, what you intend for dangerous areas, so it is difficult to say if is a good idea to travel there or not. Very very dangerous places apart (let me say, where kidnapping or slaughtering are common practices), I never restrain myself to go everywhere. I travelled in many very dangerous area, I twice I stopped people trying to bag or pocket snatching me (Once in Sao Paulo, once in Hong Kong). The only advice that I can give is acting grayer you can. Low profile, no flashy clothes, avoid both the macho than the fearful attitude. Don't forget that, as many others said before me, people in poor areas usually don't like being photographed, even less if they have bad intentions, but a kind and respectful approach, asking for permission, is an effective strategy, not only correct but also getting you a good cooperation , pass by the subject. If they say no, skip over...
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on April 02, 2012, 06:45:51 PM
Did anyone seriously suggest a gun?  I didn't see it.

Physicx, I don't think you have commented since the first post.  Where are you going that you think will be dangerous?
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Tcapp on April 02, 2012, 07:59:21 PM
Put a Sony badge on it. No one will waste their time.

+1
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: pdirestajr on April 02, 2012, 10:29:34 PM
This really depends on what you term "dangerous areas".  Last year I travelled with my full gear (5D3, 7D, several L lenses, tripod) to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Never once did I feel unsafe.  I have also been to Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Mexico, and China in the last few years and never had an issue with my gear.  The only time I felt a bit nervous was in Peru - but even then only in Lima.

While I was travelling in Uzbekistan, I ran across two guys with had taken their SLRs on motorcycle trips throughout Asia and Europe.  One guy had been to every single country in Europe and was on his way from Germany to China and another guy had biked in numerous countries in Africa and was on his way from Bulgaria to somewhere in Siberia.

So when you use the term "dangerous", do you mean somewhere truly dangerous or somewhere you simply perceive as dangerous?  Southern Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, bad neighborhoods in Brazil, and large parts of Somalia are truly dangerous.  If you are going to those places, the safety of your DSLR will be the least of your concerns.  If you are travelling there, you will have someone who is managing your personal safety.

Assuming that your travel destination is not truly dangerous, but you are just perceiving it as such, your real issue has to do with the way you are travelling.  By backpacking you put your equipment in numerous situations where it may be stolen.  It really doesn't matter whether you are travelling with an XTi + kit lens or a 1Dx + L lens.  Thieves rarely know the difference between different models.  They just see a DSLR that may be an easy target.  In terms of camera equipment, therefore, my recommendation is to bring the best you can.  You likely will not be visiting these places again any time soon.

In terms of making sure whatever you bring is not stolen, the following are my recommendations.

- Learn the local language, especially if you will spend a lot of time in one place.  This shows respect to your hosts and you are less of a target when you show respect.
- Learn the customs of your area and obey them.  If local customs frown on photographing women, do not do it.
- Safeguard whatever is on you at all times.  When you sit down, wrap the straps of your backpack around your leg or chair.  Never leave anything of value unattended - even for a second.
- Be gracious with questions on your gear.  Do not shy away from questions on how much your gear costs.  People are just curious.  Be friendly, but of course never hand your camera over if they want to see it.
- Consult with locals on where it is OK to go and where it is not OK.
- If you can afford it, stay in better hotels.  In most better hotels you can leave your gear in your room and no one will take it.  Of course, this by definition is not backpacking. :)
- Trust the companions you happen across as much as you trust strangers with your gear.  You are more likely to have your gear stolen by a fellow traveller than by a local.
- Make sure you bag is not easy to open from the back and that it is well strapped to you.

You had a 5D3 last year?

I suggest a point & shoot like a S95, S100 or a Lumix LX5
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: chrysek on April 02, 2012, 11:11:57 PM
Maybe just grab GO PRO :)
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Marsu42 on April 03, 2012, 12:31:37 AM
Put a Sony badge on it. No one will waste their time.

But then the people from Sony rumors will come after you, and they are dangerous because their sensor tech is in alliance with Nikon :-p

Did anyone seriously suggest a gun?  I didn't see it.
...
Second. If you were in the US and in a state where constitutional rights are still intact (i.e., concealed carry is allowed), and your buddy it licensed to do so... then I'd say do so. 
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: Shamus1 on April 03, 2012, 12:43:13 AM
Ok, a couple points...  If you are in a 'dangerous area', you might want to review your shots LATER, like at the hotel :)   Might want to consider a S95 - S100 as it shoots RAW and when not shooting, put it in your pocket.   Also there are camera bags that don't look like camera bags :)

Re the Hotel.  I recently traveled with a dance group and after the show, left most of the gear in the hotel room and took a single body.  How you ask?  First insurance AND I brought Pelican cases.  I secured them with bicycle heavy cables and large lock to the metal sink drain in the bathroom.  They were also secured in the vehicle the same way, allowing leaving the gear briefly in an unattended to rest stop breaks.  Might have lost a window, butu not the gear.
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: 7enderbender on April 03, 2012, 09:34:05 AM
A smith and Wesson would make good back up body for muggers

I was just about to suggest the Walther PPS 9mm...
Title: Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
Post by: 7enderbender on April 03, 2012, 09:35:18 AM
I just bought a 50D as a backup for my 7D.  One thought for the backup is to carry the 50D with no grip, a black lens, and an unbranded strap to be a little less obvious.  I have a friend who used to put black electrical tape over the "Nikon" brand on his camera.

Or you could just put a Nikon strap on the 7D...;-)