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Thread: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

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    How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I have a nifty foam lined case that came with my new Hy6, but it's too big for carry-on.

    Do you ship your camera ahead, check it (gulp), or carry them on in a soft case, and worry that the football player next to you cramming his bag into the overhead is crushing it.

    With my M8 this is not a problem.

    Thanks for any help,

    Mitchell

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Well i do not follow conventional wisdom and use a hard case I actually use a backpack and this Lowe Pro Primus which for me i cut a bunch of straps off and made it more to my liking but I put my Phase body, lens and back in the top section for easy access. My 28mm lies down in the back and my 150 2.8 , 35 and 55 also . Than created a little slot in there for my batteries. I really like this setup so far which is saying a lot since i have been through more bags than i can remember.

    here are some stock photos from B&H

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Oops got the thumbnails
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I took the waist strap off buy cutting it and burning the edges , the same for the chest strap and a few other dangling straps that I will never use.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Thanks Guy,

    So you trust it to the overhead rack?

    Best,

    Mitchell

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Yes . I just lay it on the back side your back side since that is where the pad is for the top . The lens area is fully padded but the top only the back which is intended for personal items really but the back is padded. The camera goes in side ways also so the bottom of the camera is on the pad side
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I carry the camera and back in a shoulder bag (Domke, Billingham etc) with me on the plane. The lenses go in a Tenba Air Case and are checked. I have flown internationally many many times by now with a checked Tenba air case, and I have never had a single problem -- those cases are the perfect design, because while they are totally solid, they have some give, so they do not transfer shocks or vibrations in the same way that hard bodied cases do. They are also lighter, and thus invite softer handling (the baggage handlers don't have to struggle to move them, so they don't heave them around as much). As for the theft issue -- well, TSA locks and insurance...that's what they are for. If you don't have your equipment properly insured, you should not be traveling with it...or at least you shouldn't be angry when it gets stolen and you are screwed.
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I have a Thinktank Antidote. It is a small carry-on, legal for even the tightest international regional jets. In it I can get my body and back with 150 mounted, 35, 55 and 80, charger, batteries, filters and cleaning gear, AND still have room left over for my M8 and three lenses! (The M8 charger needs to be checked or carried in another bag.) This pack comes with a thin front pocket and padded laptop case that holds my MacBookPro. http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_pr...ArprtAntdt.php
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    Mort54
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I use ThinkTank's Airport Antidote. It's spacious and well padded, but its main claim to fame is that it fits in the overheads of even the smallest regional jets. No more nerve wracking gate checks.

    It'll fit my Mamiya AF-D II, P45+, 35mm, 55-110mm, and 150mm lenses, along with a Nikon D300 or D700 and a few Nikon lenses, plus extra batteries, cable release, polarizer, step up rings, GND filters, and misc odds and ends.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    What about carry-on weight restrictions? Anybody had a problem with these?

    Sure, the case is the right size, but an MF body, a few lenses... it soon adds up! Some of the budget airlines only allow 5kg for hand luggage.

    I've never been stopped, but when you're straining to carry a full kit bag, and trying to keep a nonchalant face...

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    For what it is worth, I have flown more times than I care to count with my cameras all in a carryon bag. Weight has never been an issue. They do not want the responsibility for damage in the hold of something this expensive. It's always gone into the cabin with me.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Never ran into it but my bag does not weigh much. i carry the laptop separate since when I get there I don't want to lug that always on a shoot and leave at hotel. My workshops i never go out with the laptop or PR stuff so rather keep that bag separate . If I have more gear than i load a small J803 or F803 with non essential stuff and pack in luggage , same with tripod. Worst case i may have to pay for a second bag but I NEVER check my camera's or lenses. If i have trouble i won't fly that airline. Also don't fly with a roller bag. Here is why if you are 3/4 of the way in when boarding they will sometimes stop roller bags for the overheads since they fill up and they start checking them in cargo. But a backpack they can't do that because you can always stuff under your seat. I have had this happen to me and after a huge fight I finally got permission but it took some real begging in the jetway. I almost left that flight
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by shakeshuck View Post
    What about carry-on weight restrictions? Anybody had a problem with these?

    Sure, the case is the right size, but an MF body, a few lenses... it soon adds up! Some of the budget airlines only allow 5kg for hand luggage.

    I've never been stopped, but when you're straining to carry a full kit bag, and trying to keep a nonchalant face...
    I've been weighed. The trick is to travel with a travel jacket or vest with lots of pockets. Once you're through security, they cannot do anything about stuff crammed in your pockets. Pretty easy to get your bag under the 5 - 7kg limits if the heaviest lenses and batteries are not in the bag
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    The lenses go in a Tenba Air Case and are checked.
    Stuart,

    Insurance or not, you are a adventurous soul! I'd never trust my equipment (or anything else remotely valuable) to the baggage handlers et al.

    I'll toss another vote in here for the Airport Antidote, it's a great bag for traveling. In fact all of the ThinkTank equipment is highly recommended, they have such good design, materials and accessories.

    Cheers,

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    That's the whole point Simon -- the air cases are designed to be checked. That is their purpose -- so that you can check equipment that otherwise might be damaged by rough handling. I know it is not ideal, and I certainly don't check things unless I have to, but if you are leaving for months at a time, you have two choices -- either you leave a bunch of the equipment you need home, or 2. you pack it in something designed to protect it as checked baggage, and trust in your insurance if it is lost or stolen.
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I travel with my MF using one of two methods: Thinktank carryon sized rollerbags (have one of the original version bags) or an F.64 backpack. I have never had an issue with the size restrictions in terms of getting through security. On occasion they have wanted to search my stuff but as far as getting through security--no other issue. The only other problem I had once was that one of my connecting flights was via a small puddle jumper type plan and my back pack did not fit overhead or below. As a result, I told the flight attendant that I had a bunch of expensive lenses and camera gear and she stowed it in some sort of closet.

    So this is what I normally do-- if i am bringing my MF gear, I have the one backpack or roller bag and carryon. I usually have a second briefcase with my computer and any misc stuff. I check my clothes and tripod in my suitcase.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I've been weighed. The trick is to travel with a travel jacket or vest with lots of pockets. Once you're through security, they cannot do anything about stuff crammed in your pockets. Pretty easy to get your bag under the 5 - 7kg limits if the heaviest lenses and batteries are not in the bag
    That's also what I have done You can even carry the camera over your shoulder, according to the regulations I am familiar with.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    That's also what I have done You can even carry the camera over your shoulder, according to the regulations I am familiar with.
    Me too... I wear cargo pants and load myself up with all the heavy stuff then re-pack in the departure lounge...

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Here is another carry-on option..the "backpack" harness is removable.

    Steve
    http://www.guragear.com/index.php

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    Here is another carry-on option..the "backpack" harness is removable.

    Steve
    http://www.guragear.com/index.php
    I just ordered one of these the other day, have yet to find a backpack that really works but this looks like it could be it.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by TimWright View Post
    I just ordered one of these the other day, have yet to find a backpack that really works but this looks like it could be it.
    I would be interested in your report. From what I can see from the pictures, it looks as if it might be both a good back pack and camera case. I would especially like to know if it is set up so that the weight is supported by the waist belt and not by the shoulder straps. Also how well the tripod carrying is done.

    Steve

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Travel Update.

    Some of the airlines might be looking for ways of generating revenue. I flew from Brisbane to Bangkok - left yesterday, arrived today, via Singapore Airlines. They weighed my laptop bag and my camera backpack. As a result I had to check in one of these items - I opted for the laptop - it cost me $250 in excess.

    Then, in the security check in Brisbane, the XRay revealed an alan [alun] key, and I had to remove it from the camera bag. The security types confiscated it. When I asked why - the response was - well, you could start to dismanle parts of the aircraft. [It did not matter that I have carried that back onto about twenty flights, with alan key, in US, South East Asia and Europe.]

    It was almost comedic.

    John

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I use a Billingham 445.
    ADF and P45+ with short lens (35/55/80) attached, room for 150 and two shorter lenses stacked, plus 15" laptop and all necessary chargers/mouse/cables, room for batteries, cards, blower, etc.
    I am very happy with this arrangement other than if I am toting it with a roller bag, it does not have a reliable way of nesting on top.
    I have not tried the accessory shoulder harness.
    -bob

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
    Travel Update.

    Some of the airlines might be looking for ways of generating revenue. I flew from Brisbane to Bangkok - left yesterday, arrived today, via Singapore Airlines. They weighed my laptop bag and my camera backpack. As a result I had to check in one of these items - I opted for the laptop - it cost me $250 in excess.

    Then, in the security check in Brisbane, the XRay revealed an alan [alun] key, and I had to remove it from the camera bag. The security types confiscated it. When I asked why - the response was - well, you could start to dismanle parts of the aircraft. [It did not matter that I have carried that back onto about twenty flights, with alan key, in US, South East Asia and Europe.]

    It was almost comedic.

    John
    Wow John... More than comedic, I'd say air travel is getting absurd.
    Jack
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    John -- that truly is awful. It is not surprising though -- anything they can do to make it more unpleasant...flying is torture. I wish they would just hurry up and invent teleporters.

    Bob -- I also use the Billingham 445 as my main shoulder bag -- it is a really great bag, and if you don't stuff it too fully, it will fit quite easily in an overhead compartment. I have tried the backpack harness -- it is not really worth it...it helps if you are going to be carrying it for a long distance, but it is not nearly as comfortable as a regular backpack, and it is rather awkward to attach and detach. If you need a backpack, a real backpack works better. But as a shoulder bag it is great.
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Well, those of you who have noticed my Phase P30 up for sale in the GetDPI buy/sell forum know how well packed my MFDB travels....

    All kidding aside, I travel with my gear in either a Lowepro AW Computrekker II which I am not particularly fond of---since it tips the scales at about ten pounds empty. It has much padding and does fit (barely) as a travel carry-on item. The new Guragear bag looks good, but *ouch* expensive and---what, buying another bag?

    A much lighter alternative that works well for me is the Airport Ultralight backpack. (But not a great long day hiker). Only 2-3 pounds empty. And, it can fit into a Pelican 1510 roller case, which by itself is a nice protective travel case. At least on small hopper flights where you are forced to "gate-check" you know your gear will be safe in the Pelican 1510 when you pick it up off the tarmac....

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    Mort54
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I've had an alan wrench confiscated as well (a couple of years ago). I'm amazed at how good airport Xrays have gotten, because it was jumbled in amongst lots of metal items, and somehow they picked it out.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    At least on small hopper flights where you are forced to "gate-check" you know your gear will be safe in the Pelican 1510 when you pick it up off the tarmac....
    If you've ever seen how baggage handlers handle bags, you'd have second thoughts about that statement. I used to travel with my gear in a Pelican 1510, but for small planes it didn't fit in the overhead, so I frequently had to gate check it. One day after landing and waiting for the plane door to be opened, I watched the handlers unload the gate checked bags. They were litterally throwing all of the bags out onto the tarmack, including my Pelican. The Pelican survived, and all my gear survived, EXCEPT my DSLR mirror got knocked out of alignment, messing up the AF and causing the camera to severely front focus. It got knocked out of alignment so badly I couldn't even reliably manual focus. What a mess. I'm sure that was the exception, not the rule, but right after that I bought an Airport Antidote. No more gate checking for me.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Wow, John, what a hassle for you. I fly to Bangkok regularly from San Francisco and have not experienced what you describe (obviously each departure airport is different). I typically board and am screened in Sacramento, California, but occasionally have to clear security at SFO again. And upon return I must clear security in San Francisco for domestic flights. My point is that I'm sorry to hear of your hassles, and hopeful that it doesn't spread to many other airports.

    I typically fly with one or two DSLRs and 5 to 7 lenses, a ball head and tools (allen wrenches), laptop, etc. My camera kit gets hand inspected about one out of six or eight outbound flights. UA hand-inspects (sort of) all carry-on bags departing from BKK.

    My MFDB kit fits into the same backpacks that I use for DSLR and I'm comfortable with them as carryon. My laptop goes into a separate bag in my roller bag, but must be removed from the main bag on first and last legs of the Bangkok round-trips because the flight b/n Sacramento and San Francisco is a B120 30 seater turbo-prop. AFDII, P25+ and six lenses from 35mm to 210mm fit fine. Never a problem and never weighed.

    BTW: I always mention to the screener that "there is a tripod head for photography in that bag" and they typically nod and smile with disinterest. After starting that I have had no closer inspections. Don't know if it's related. The ball head is in my roll-on bag which goes through first. My camera kit is always last through the x-ray, after laptop and shoes (in case I get hung-up waiting for the guy to flag me through).

    Flying is a hassle these days.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    BTW I do this all the time when putting my camera on the belt at security . I ALWAYS tell them lot's of camera's coming through. I rarely ever get checked. For some reason they like to know what's coming and your upfront about it. Try it
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Hello all
    Another vote for the TT Ultra light.
    I use this case for flying, I can get quite a bit in there, also I do find the harness quite comfy for around town/airport travel, but not for actual backpack use for hiking and the sort.
    If traveling by car I like using my pelicans as I normally lock it down to the child seat anchor and feel a bit of peace of mind if I have to leave the car unattended for a bunch of minutes. It's not pro theves I worry about, they will take the case regardless of how big the pad lock is , it's the smash and grabs I worry about!
    am

  32. #32
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I swear, we should've got a bodyguard with the purchase of a VA warranty for our Phase backs.

    I tend to keep all of my gear in either the HPRC 3500 hard shell back pack case or a normal Lowepro camera bag while traveling. I try not to check anything into the gate if possible, I do not trust TSA with any of my stuff.

    If I'm walking in a really sketchy neighborhood or anywhere in Downtown Los Angeles, I'll drape a light jacket over the camera while slung from my shoulder. That way, it doesn't necessarily read as a camera, nor do I have an actual camera bag for anyone to come and rob from me.

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    I have a nifty foam lined case that came with my new Hy6, but it's too big for carry-on.

    Do you ship your camera ahead, check it (gulp), or carry them on in a soft case, and worry that the football player next to you cramming his bag into the overhead is crushing it.

    With my M8 this is not a problem.

    Thanks for any help,

    Mitchell
    i either use a dedicated contax 645 bag that fits a basic kit and four additional lenses, or a delsey roller that fits the same plus two more lenses.

  34. #34
    carbonmetrictree
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Jeez! I guess I won't be bringing my trusty Alpa tool kit with me to assemble my camera when I take a trip. With six different sized tips, I could probably dismantle an entire wing of a plane


    Quote Originally Posted by Mort54 View Post
    I've had an alan wrench confiscated as well (a couple of years ago). I'm amazed at how good airport Xrays have gotten, because it was jumbled in amongst lots of metal items, and somehow they picked it out.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    I expect that one could check the Allen keys, to avoid having them confiscated.

    Irakly, what is the custom Contax 645 bag you speak of?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Irakly, what is the custom Contax 645 bag you speak of?
    there is only one in existence, contax cordura bag.
    it has two shortcomings: plastic buckles and huge tacky "contax" embroidery on the front. other than that, it is excellent

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    With MF gear I no longer, ever, ever travel with a shoulder bag or backpack.

    I use a Kata roller bag that fits under the seat or in the overhead even in smaller airliners. It uses Kata's Interfit roller dolly system ... the roller part can be removed and folded for really tight storage spaces, or after you arrive ... but when running for a plane the dual wheels easily expand outward for extra stability even with other bags piled on it. One roller can be used for different sized bags.

    Here's what it holds: two H3D-II cameras (each with mounted lenses: 100mm & 50mm, grip batteries and prisms) ... plus a 24mm, 35mm, 150mm. 1.7X, 4 grip batteries, charger, CF wallet, e-release, plus odds and ends and personal stuff like spare glasses.

    Kata is an interesting company ... they make body armor for the Israeli army. Their bags are the tougest I've ever used. They're padded by means of raised exterior "bumps" of tough armor that's as light as can be. The interiors are yellow felt like padded material that allows you to see the gear in dark conditions (like a corner of a candle-lit wedding reception).

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Fotografz:
    what's the model number on your Kata bag?
    thanks in advance
    am

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I expect that one could check the Allen keys, to avoid having them confiscated.

    Irakly, what is the custom Contax 645 bag you speak of?
    one just popped up on ebay. does not seem to be in great condition, though.
    i forgot to mention one very nice feature: the back pocket can be opened on the bottom, and the bag can be put on a roller, or on a handle of a roll-away luggage.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Contax-645-Syste...QQcmdZViewItem

  40. #40
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Re Allen keys: they're the kind of things that officious TSA employees seize even thought they're not prohibited. I had a small pair of folding scissors seized once, and began carrying a copy of the TSA prohibited/permitted items list when I travelled. (The scissors had a rounded tip and were expressly permitted.)

    The list permits carrying tools or screwdrivers less than seven inches in length: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...d-items.shtm#7

    The problem is that arguing with a TSA employee is likely to make you to miss your plane, or even be deatained or arrested.

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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Wow John... More than comedic, I'd say air travel is getting absurd.
    I predict that within 5-10 years air travel will involve nudity.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

  42. #42
    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: How Do You Travel With Your Amazingly Expensive MF Camera and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Re Allen keys: they're the kind of things that officious TSA employees seize even thought they're not prohibited. I had a small pair of folding scissors seized once, and began carrying a copy of the TSA prohibited/permitted items list when I travelled. (The scissors had a rounded tip and were expressly permitted.)

    The list permits carrying tools or screwdrivers less than seven inches in length: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...d-items.shtm#7

    The problem is that arguing with a TSA employee is likely to make you to miss your plane, or even be deatained or arrested.

    Stephen:

    Don't forget that the TSA rules are for travel in the USA. Other countries have other rules and the TSA may have to apply these too if you are at an airport flying internationally.

    Tools of any sort have not been allowed on flights in Canada since the Air India incident in the 1980's when all our security was tightened up to levels similar to what 911 created in the USA.

    Robert

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