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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Airplane Travel with a DSLR
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11/22/2006 01:31:06 AM · #1
So I am going to be fly to LA, and then going on a Mexican Riviera cruise in December. My question, is how to best transport my camera. I want to have it with me on board the flight as I don't want to let it out of my sight, but how tight are security measures for this? Should I make sure to take off my neck strap in case they try to say I might use it to strangle someone? Just wondering how you guys travel with your cameras.
11/22/2006 01:33:59 AM · #2
Worth the investment.

Especially if you drag along some lenses etc.
11/22/2006 01:37:34 AM · #3
get a Lowepro Computrekkor AW, its hte biggest carry on size the allow on airplanes
11/22/2006 01:40:30 AM · #4
I should say that buying a case at this point is not going to happen (not much money to throw around considering I still have to buy a lens for this thing). I don't travel much, in fact, the last time I was on an airplane was 11 years ago (love flying, just don't get the chance to much). I am going to have a small case, and I will probably just safely keep it in my backpack, along with my DS, iPod, and other entertainment things. Just more worried about the security aspects.

Message edited by author 2006-11-22 01:41:09.
11/22/2006 01:41:39 AM · #5
Originally posted by LERtastic:

So I am going to be fly to LA, and then going on a Mexican Riviera cruise in December. My question, is how to best transport my camera. I want to have it with me on board the flight as I don't want to let it out of my sight, but how tight are security measures for this? Should I make sure to take off my neck strap in case they try to say I might use it to strangle someone? Just wondering how you guys travel with your cameras.

I fly from L.A. to Chicago each week and I bring my camera with me. I have a small camera bag that holds 70-300mm lens, my 18-55 lens, spare batteries, charger, and a couple of filters. This bag fits into my larger backpack. During the security screening, I have never taken the camera bag out of the backpack, nor has TSA ever asked me to take it out. I do, however, have to take my laptop out.

Once on-board, I keep everything together in my backpack and put it under the seat in front of me. I would put it up in the overhead compartment but I never check my luggage, so my suitcase goes up there.

If you have a window seat, get yourself a good polarizer filter and if the window is clean enough, start shooting the aerial views of mountains, Grand Canyon, etc. I'm an aisle person, so it's rare that I get an opportunity to shoot out of the window.

11/22/2006 08:33:04 AM · #6
Originally posted by LERtastic:

So I am going to be fly to LA, and then going on a Mexican Riviera cruise in December. My question, is how to best transport my camera. I want to have it with me on board the flight as I don't want to let it out of my sight, but how tight are security measures for this? Should I make sure to take off my neck strap in case they try to say I might use it to strangle someone? Just wondering how you guys travel with your cameras.


Carrying on a camera with a strap is not a problem. If they were to consider the strap a strangulation weapon, everybody would need to check their laptop power cords as well. The whole weapon thing is ludicrous anyway...anything brought onto an airplane can potentially be a weapon (from a bottle of wine to that businessman's Mont Blanc pen that makes a wonderful stabbing device).

Fear not with your camera gear. Just keep it in your sight at all times. If you place it in the overhead, make sure that the bozo boarding behind you doesn't smash his bag into your gear when he tries to stuff his 50 pounds of baggage into a 20 pound space. If you travel with a video camera, airport security will need you to remove it from your bag for closer inspection (why, I haven't figured this out...it may have something to do with videotaping security checkpoints).
11/22/2006 08:40:25 AM · #7
Originally posted by lesgainous:



If you have a window seat, get yourself a good polarizer filter and if the window is clean enough, start shooting the aerial views of mountains, Grand Canyon, etc. I'm an aisle person, so it's rare that I get an opportunity to shoot out of the window.


Don't you find the window polarization ends up giving you wacky cross polarisation effects with the filter ? I find it best just to shoot without a polariser unless I really want the rainbow effects.
11/22/2006 09:08:30 AM · #8
I have just returned from Africa. Here is one mistake I made: I have a favorite table top tripod that is very stable and immensely useful. However, when it folds up it is shaped exactly like a hand gun, and being sturdy metal it makes a threatening image on the airport scanner. Not a big probelm in the end but I was surrounded by an awful lot os securuty guards in ENtebbe airport.
11/22/2006 09:45:31 AM · #9
I have a Lowepro rolling bag I use and it will fit overhead (minus the laptop). You can put your gear in a large tote and place it under the seat in front of you.

11/22/2006 09:53:21 AM · #10
Originally posted by argyle:

. If you travel with a video camera, airport security will need you to remove it from your bag for closer inspection (why, I haven't figured this out...it may have something to do with videotaping security checkpoints).


Interesting, I've never been asked to take my video camera or DSLR out of the bag.
11/22/2006 09:55:13 AM · #11
I fly pretty frequently and ALWAYS have my camera with me, within reach. I just keep my camera bag inside my larger carry on bag. Never have a problem with getting it through security (never have to take it out, turn it on, etc., just stays in my bag the whole time) nor do I have a problem with taking shots during the flight.
11/22/2006 10:00:15 AM · #12
I have never traveled with a DSLR however I have carried a Sony HDR-FX1 on to several planes without a second look by security. But they made me take off my shoes.

11/22/2006 10:18:38 AM · #13
I just returned from Hawaii. I packed my tripod in the checked baggage. Carried my camera bag and laptop bag on the plane. Laptops are still required to be removed for screening. Both going and returning they required the camera to come out of the bag after going through the xray machine, inspected the camera and all lenses. What they do is pull the caps off to look through ensuring they are lenses. Just took a little longer, maybe 5 minutes tops, to get through security.

Edit for time allowance.

Message edited by author 2006-11-22 10:19:35.
11/22/2006 10:50:03 AM · #14
I went to Germany last summer and to the Florida Keys last month always carring my camera bag with me this is not a small bag hold two cameras two leses and light meter flash exc. no problems and not even asked to remove anything from bag.
greg
11/22/2006 11:11:43 AM · #15
I always bring my camera gear on with me and have never had a problem or had anyone open my bag. I like to shoot out the window as I fly, makes the time go by faster as I do my favorite hobby :)
11/22/2006 11:15:47 AM · #16
Originally posted by Bugzeye:

I have never traveled with a DSLR however I have carried a Sony HDR-FX1 on to several planes without a second look by security. But they made me take off my shoes.


Photographers have notoriously smelly feet. It's just a standard safety precaution if they see a camera.
11/22/2006 11:28:34 AM · #17
I carry on a heavy photo backpack (2 bodies, long and wide lenses etc, iBook etc) which only fits into an overhead compartment when squeezed. So far, I've managed to get it on all flights, to Europe or inter-continental. Yes, I've been encouraged to ship it, but refused.

Everything (the iBook separately) gets scanned every time.
11/22/2006 12:03:14 PM · #18
We took all of our camera gear carryon, two SLR's, on glorified P&S, lots of lenses and crap. No questions asked.

If they were worried about you strangling someone, then they would take you shoestrings away.
11/22/2006 12:06:08 PM · #19
The only things that can be a problem to carry on are tripods. I'm not sure about the small table top ones, but you can have problems getting a large tripod on, as it could be used as a club.

Anyone have problems with small, metal table top tripods ?
11/22/2006 01:17:35 PM · #20
Originally posted by emorgan49:

I have just returned from Africa. Here is one mistake I made: I have a favorite table top tripod that is very stable and immensely useful. However, when it folds up it is shaped exactly like a hand gun, and being sturdy metal it makes a threatening image on the airport scanner. Not a big probelm in the end but I was surrounded by an awful lot os securuty guards in ENtebbe airport.


Where can I buy that? The time at the airport is always so boring. :)


11/22/2006 01:49:37 PM · #21
last summer i flew from memphis to uruguay (through miami)... everything i had fit in my kata r-103. only thing i had to take out was the laptop, but that's kinda standard these days...

it also fit either overhead or under foot quite nicely...

wonderful bag. absolutely the most comfortable backpack i've ever worn, especially loaded w/ 25+ lbs of gear...
11/22/2006 02:34:27 PM · #22
No problem carrying a tripod that was strapped down to my Tamrac backpack. Domestic flight to Reno, they scanned my bag twice. No problems going to and coming back from Japan.

Used the Tamrac backpack to transport to location and I packed a smaller daily bag in my check-in and used the smaller bag to walk around town. There's no need to carry all equipment when walking around.
11/23/2006 12:43:22 AM · #23
Just curious - where was all this inspection? I was in Hawaii (Maui, Kauai, Big Island) in Sept and never was my camera equipment looked at. Laptop, yes, but no one ever bothered with my camera bag. I am going back to Hawaii in Jan, so I wonder if anything has changed?

Originally posted by kawesttex:

I just returned from Hawaii. I packed my tripod in the checked baggage. Carried my camera bag and laptop bag on the plane. Laptops are still required to be removed for screening. Both going and returning they required the camera to come out of the bag after going through the xray machine, inspected the camera and all lenses. What they do is pull the caps off to look through ensuring they are lenses. Just took a little longer, maybe 5 minutes tops, to get through security.

Edit for time allowance.


Message edited by author 2006-11-23 00:57:36.
11/23/2006 12:54:39 AM · #24
I'm a flight attendant... People bring their cameras on board all the time. In bags or not. The camera strap shouldnt be an issue.. women carry on purses, men bring brief cases, all have straps ;)

I never fly without my camera (with work or for pleasure).. every once in a while security takes a swab of my camera equipment.. which is no biggie and takes a minute or so extra through security.. (seriously not a big deal)

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/430/thumb/280521.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/430/thumb/280521.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' This picture was taken by Pedro on a plane.. I'd highly recommend you bring yours on board... never know what you are going to see ;) and I'd also recommend you dont check your camera for too many reasons to list here.

Happy Flying...
11/23/2006 01:06:29 AM · #25
Thank you all for your replies, I have heard of people not being allowed to bring their laptop charger cable on a flight, but I believe that may have been somewhat soon after 9/11, so it would make sense that things have calmed down now. Hoping to have a polarizer by the trip :D. Should be fun!
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