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Author Topic: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling  (Read 21029 times)

ahsanford

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Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« on: May 26, 2013, 03:46:53 PM »
Hey gang,

I am off on a work trip to a beautiful but not super nice or safe place.  I will have some down time, and I hope to snap some nice shots.

I've read in various places to consider making your camera look like junk to dissuade thieves.  Links like this http://petapixel.com/2013/03/19/5-critical-tips-for-travel-photographers/  (see point #1) speak to what I am talking about.

I'm going to keep the gear simple on this trip, and leave the red-ringed gear behind.  My 28 IS (which is phenomenal, btw) is a sharp as some L primes and is fantastically non-descript (small, lacks that telltale red ring, etc.).  That's all I'm bringing on the glass side of things.

But I am bringing my 5D3, so I will be temporarily dirtying it up as best I can.  I'd like to do so as intelligently and 100% reversibly as possible.  Knowing I may sell this camera someday, I treat it very well and take great pains to have it looking like new.  What tape will stay on well in hot and humid conditions (think Florida in the summer, not like a rainforest or anything) but come off completely cleanly with minimal cleanup required? 

Any suggestions?  I have electrical tape, masking tape, a black duct tape (Gorilla tape if you know it) and possibly some hockey tape.

Thanks,
A

vscd

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 04:03:11 PM »
Black Tape and an sufficient insurance-contract for your gear, before travelling. I don't think you need more.
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ahsanford

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2013, 04:18:23 PM »

I appreciate the quick reply!  And bonus points for not scolding for me that this is a bad idea b/c thieves aren't choosy.

Can we get specific on the tape?  A few forum posts elsewhere claim that electrical tape (stretchy, grabs well, etc.) will leave a residue, and my hockey tape was a disaster when I tried it -- it needs tension to grab, it seems, so small patches will not stick.

I see that gaffer tape is overwhelmingly preferred, but I am not a pro and don't work in an entertainment field.  Will the cheaper $20 made by 3M gaffer tape work as well as the pricey pro stuff?  Industrial gaffer tape at Home Depot run $69 a roll, and that's terribly excessive for this odd little project.

- A

neuroanatomist

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2013, 04:28:42 PM »
How about $28 for a Delkin skin, then slap on whatever cheap tape you want, maybe with a couple of paint splashes for good measure?
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RomainF

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2013, 04:38:44 PM »
Gaffer tape is the best thing.
Go to a shop and try some of them before buying it. Some of them leave nasty residue on the camera...

You have to make ya camera look like it's an old crappy one.
So cover everything with gaffer and try to make the gaffer look pretty old. Try to rub and scratch it with scissors or anything else.
Get a crappy and discreet strap, like the ones you can find on old film cameras. Or even worse...get a Pentax strap. That's funny but real. Thieves prefer a lot Canon/Nikon !

You could even try to stick some advertising stickers on it ? maybe.

Once you'll be in a "dangerous" area, act like you don't care bout the camera. That may be hard to do but it is important.

Here's mine :
Genuine old one...


To get an even more "crappy-old-one-look", you may take off the little cover thing on the left side and taped some gaffer instead.

I don't know where you're goin but if you go to some "real serious" place, you have to know that if some thugs want to steal ya camera, they'll get it regardless of weather it looks like...it is a big one, bigger than a compact, then it must be expensive. In that situation, just give it to them. That's sad but the best advice i can tell... You'd be happier once alive but without your 5D than seriously armed (or dead) without your camera.

Take care of you  ;)
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 04:52:33 PM by RomainF »
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docholliday

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 05:20:16 PM »
Even if the tape does leave residue, Isopropyl Alcohol or PEC-12 will remove it without damaging anything - I use it all the time to remove residues left on my 1Ds3 and 1D3 from temporary rigging I've done to the camera for different shoots...

ahsanford

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 05:24:55 PM »
Gaffer tape is the best thing.
Go to a shop and try some of them before buying it. Some of them leave nasty residue on the camera...

You have to make ya camera look like it's an old crappy one.
So cover everything with gaffer and try to make the gaffer look pretty old. Try to rub and scratch it with scissors or anything else.
Get a crappy and discreet strap, like the ones you can find on old film cameras. Or even worse...get a Pentax strap. That's funny but real. Thieves prefer a lot Canon/Nikon !

You could even try to stick some advertising stickers on it ? maybe.

Once you'll be in a "dangerous" area, act like you don't care bout the camera. That may be hard to do but it is important.

Here's mine :
Genuine old one...


To get an even more "crappy-old-one-look", you may take off the little cover thing on the left side and taped some gaffer instead.

I don't know where you're goin but if you go to some "real serious" place, you have to know that if some thugs want to steal ya camera, they'll get it regardless of weather it looks like...it is a big one, bigger than a compact, then it must be expensive. In that situation, just give it to them. That's sad but the best advice i can tell... You'd be happier once alive but without your 5D than seriously armed (or dead) without your camera.

Take care of you  ;)

Great feedback, great tips.  On a 1-10 scale of hell (1) to heaven (10) as far as safety goes, this place is maybe a 4.  It's more like going to a bad part of the Bronx -- I'm not going to a war-torn country or anything.  A snatch and grab is far more likely than any guns/knives being involved.

Already have a non-canon strap and the lens is truly dainty and nondescript.  I think the tape will do it.  I've seen the rock-band stickers on lens hoods as a nice 'cheapening' move (remember, hood resale values are poor, so something more destructive makes sense there), but I refuse to pay the comical lens hood price for that 28 IS.  So I just use my hand as a shade.

Gaffer it is.  Off to the store.

- A

ahab1372

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 05:29:23 PM »
Maybe add some duct tape - as if that is the only thing holding it together.

RomainF

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 06:24:01 PM »
Maybe add some duct tape - as if that is the only thing holding it together.

Ya, if you want your camera to seem real dirty/cheap, you can duct-tape part of your strap. That is the most ugly thing i've ever thing. Nevertheless, don't add to much things to your 5D, you don't wanna look fancy.

Quote
Great feedback, great tips.  On a 1-10 scale of hell (1) to heaven (10) as far as safety goes, this place is maybe a 4.  It's more like going to a bad part of the Bronx -- I'm not going to a war-torn country or anything.  A snatch and grab is far more likely than any guns/knives being involved.

Already have a non-canon strap and the lens is truly dainty and nondescript.  I think the tape will do it.  I've seen the rock-band stickers on lens hoods as a nice 'cheapening' move (remember, hood resale values are poor, so something more destructive makes sense there), but I refuse to pay the comical lens hood price for that 28 IS.  So I just use my hand as a shade.

Gaffer it is.  Off to the store.

- A

Ok. Enjoy your trip  8) !
When i go in some hot places, i try to dress as some kind of a thug (funny cause i usually work as elegant as possible), mostly with dark and worn clothes, a hood or a cap... Remember that thugs are less likely to "assault" other thugs...sad but true.

You can also worn your gaffer by gently taking off the corners :
(my backup or anti-thugs camera. I take it when going to burning hot places. It's a small 60D.)
(A plain black camera is definitely less an eye-catcher for thugs than a non-tapped one)

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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 06:33:31 PM »
Insurance is by far the best.

pwp

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 08:04:25 PM »
This is the tape you need from 3M Scotch:
http://www.3m.com/product/information/Scotch-Black-Paper-Tape.html
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Adhesives/Tapes/Products/~?Ntt=235&rt=s&x=0&y=0
It's perfect for making your Mk3 more invisible. One roll will be a lifetime supply.

I have a 1 inch roll. It's a similar surface to your camera, is very obedient and leaves no residue. It follows contours and curves remarkably well. It's got a strong adhesive, but removes easily leaving no residue. I even cut thin strips to cover the red line of an L lens. It stayed put for two or three years. Who invents this stuff?

This tape was originally used in film labs where you processed 6-8 rolls of film at a time, taping the film to a plastic leader which fed into the roller drive of the processor. So it's also waterproof and does not release unwanted residues in water, heat or tough chemical environments.

Also, to reduce the new, look-at-me pro-look of your 5D3 in low security environments, de-grip it & then tape it.

-PW


ahsanford

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 09:07:19 PM »
This is the tape you need from 3M Scotch:
http://www.3m.com/product/information/Scotch-Black-Paper-Tape.html
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Adhesives/Tapes/Products/~?Ntt=235&rt=s&x=0&y=0
It's perfect for making your Mk3 more invisible. One roll will be a lifetime supply.

I have a 1 inch roll. It's a similar surface to your camera, is very obedient and leaves no residue. It follows contours and curves remarkably well. It's got a strong adhesive, but removes easily leaving no residue. I even cut thin strips to cover the red line of an L lens. It stayed put for two or three years. Who invents this stuff?

This tape was originally used in film labs where you processed 6-8 rolls of film at a time, taping the film to a plastic leader which fed into the roller drive of the processor. So it's also waterproof and does not release unwanted residues in water, heat or tough chemical environments.

Also, to reduce the new, look-at-me pro-look of your 5D3 in low security environments, de-grip it & then tape it.

-PW

All good stuff.  Ended up getting this from 3M:  http://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-2-in-x-60-yds-Gaffer-s-Tape-6910/100193027#.UaJ78-tAtjY

And then covered anything with Canon, the Mark III emblem, etc.  For added magic, I put a crappy tan masking tape on top of that in a few places.  And then I decided Kai Wong needed to make an appearance.

The final product is attached.  Fun.

The ugliest 5D3 ever?  You decide.

- A


privatebydesign

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 09:40:26 PM »
I have fairly strong views about taping.
  • First, the only people who notice, in general, are other photographers and they invariably ask, why are you taping?
  • Second, some of the most valuable cameras in the world are taped, pre release test models are normally taped to alter their look a  little.
  • Third, it is a fashion statement, little more. I have no time for fashion statements.
  • Fourth, unless you are shooting in (a) an incredibly dusty place and the tape helps reduce the problem or (b) your life is genuinely at risk from any reflective surfaces on your equipment (a war zone for instance), taping is not serving a practical purpose.
  • Fifth, anybody that believes a bit of tape will deter a thief is too naive to be shooting where they think they need tape. Do you honestly believe a thief who grosses $10/$20/$100 a month gives a damn if he gets $20 or $50 for the camera and lens they just stole? USA retail prices don't mean anything on the mean streets of anywhere. When I did a story on auto stereo thieves they got $50 for an Alpine, $40 for a Technics or Blaupunkt, $30 for everything else.
  • Sixth, taping your camera is camouflaging the wrong tool, you stand out like a sore thumb and will be a target anyway.
  • Seventh, and take this from somebody who has been threatened with guns, knives and sharpened screwdrivers, confidence is your only salvation, be there because you belong and walk like that too, but know when you are done and just give it up.
  • Eighth, as already stated, insurance is your best protection, even short term travel coverage, just make sure it covers the value of the gear you are taking.


So do I feel there is any justification for taping? Well yes, if you fall into my fourth point it can be a good idea, but further, if taping gives you a little extra confidence then go for it, just don't let that confidence fool you into thinking you belong there.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2013, 11:05:42 PM »
I have fairly strong views about taping.
  • First, the only people who notice, in general, are other photographers and they invariably ask, why are you taping?
  • Second, some of the most valuable cameras in the world are taped, pre release test models are normally taped to alter their look a  little.
  • Third, it is a fashion statement, little more. I have no time for fashion statements.
  • Fourth, unless you are shooting in (a) an incredibly dusty place and the tape helps reduce the problem or (b) your life is genuinely at risk from any reflective surfaces on your equipment (a war zone for instance), taping is not serving a practical purpose.
  • Fifth, anybody that believes a bit of tape will deter a thief is too naive to be shooting where they think they need tape. Do you honestly believe a thief who grosses $10/$20/$100 a month gives a damn if he gets $20 or $50 for the camera and lens they just stole? USA retail prices don't mean anything on the mean streets of anywhere. When I did a story on auto stereo thieves they got $50 for an Alpine, $40 for a Technics or Blaupunkt, $30 for everything else.
  • Sixth, taping your camera is camouflaging the wrong tool, you stand out like a sore thumb and will be a target anyway.
  • Seventh, and take this from somebody who has been threatened with guns, knives and sharpened screwdrivers, confidence is your only salvation, be there because you belong and walk like that too, but know when you are done and just give it up.
  • Eighth, as already stated, insurance is your best protection, even short term travel coverage, just make sure it covers the value of the gear you are taking.


So do I feel there is any justification for taping? Well yes, if you fall into my fourth point it can be a good idea, but further, if taping gives you a little extra confidence then go for it, just don't let that confidence fool you into thinking you belong there.

Gotta agree with all of this

(but i did love the Kai lens cap! :P )
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Re: Making your expensive gear look like crap while traveling
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 11:25:01 PM »
I'm probably with privatebydesign on this one. The only thing I have done is getting myself another strap to my 5D3. It's a very ugly black and red Canon strap instead of that shiny one that spells out the whole product name. I shoot in some unsafe places, but those times I mostly make sure I am not alone.