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Thread: Flying your gear

  1. #1
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    Default Flying your gear

    I'm heading over to America at the end of July, and I'm just curious as to how other people fly their gear internationally. I currently don't have much and it's pretty compact. I have just the one body plus the two kit lenses which all fits nicely into a shoulderbag, pretty sure it's this one here http://products.lowepro.com/product/Nov ... 105,20.htm My issue is mostly, what do I do with it. I would love to carry it with me, but I'm already going to have my laptop in my backpack and possibly my graphics tablet (though I could always put that in my check-in luggage). I have always in the past put my backpack under the seat in front so I can always keep an eye on it (even if it does limit my legroom). Which begs the question of, if I was to have a backpack, I think you can also have a 'personal item' and I think that my camera bag would be small enough for that, but then do I keep the backpack with my laptop where I can always see it, or my camera gear... Also, when you go through the x-ray at the airpot, I always have to take my laptop out of my backpack to get it scanned, will they make me do the same with my camera gear too? If so, it could get very tiring as I'm going to have at least 4 flights to board.

    My other option is of course to pack my camera gear into my luggage. In which case I would put extra padding in the camera bag, and then put the camera bag in the middle of all my clothes. But it is still likely to get bumped around quite a bit. So I'm not quite sure what to do. My camera bag does fit inside my backpack, but it would be tight with the laptop in as well and more awkward, but I'd likely pack less other things in it if I was putting it in there as well.

    I'm just after some opinions, I don't want to ruin my gear, fortunately I don't have a great deal, though I do want to buy a 400mm while I'm over there, so bringing that back will be a whole new ball game as well... :roll:
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    This blog has a few tips, but not entirely what you are after:

    http://craigingramphoto.blogspot.com/20 ... -gear.html

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Bec,

    It is best to carry your camera and lenses with you as personal luggage in the cabin, while putting extras like tripods etc through as checked luggage. It's not hard to find camera bags/packs that fit international carry-on size standards that will carry one or cameras and several lenses including up to 500mm and larger, e.g. http://products.lowepro.com/product/Com ... 925,16.htm. Potentially the biggest problem is the 7kg weight limit, so options like putting the tele lens on camera and wearing it around your neck, or wearing a photo vest and carrying things in it may be a consideration.

    The only time I've seen the 7kg weight limit rigorously enforced was at Melbourne Airport about six or seven years ago when they had a security guard not allowing anyone into international departure if their carry-on baggage weighed more than 7kg. Never experienced that before or since.

    I haven't had to remove camera/lenses from bag for inspection, although I imagine it might happen.

    Simon

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Thanks for the responses guys, it's certainly given me something to think about and some good tips. I'm sure I remember a few years back the carry on luggage weight limit being 10kg, but I could be wrong. I probably will take my gear as carry on, especially since I don't have that much of it, I'm sure I'll figure out a way to manage it. I can always sling the camera bag over my shoulder if need be as well, it's not that large. Otherwise, I can just walk around the airports with the camera bag on my shoulder, laptop in my backpack, and when it comes time to go through the checks, just swap them over. Because they always make me take my laptop out anyway.. :roll:
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Bec, I Have the Lowepro Computrekker AW backpack and have used it for years travelling to Africa. It has a separate compartment for laptops and it is very easy to remove the laptop without going anywhere near the rest of your gear in the backpack. On the last trip I had 2 camera bodies the 300mm f/2.8 lens, both the 1.4 & 2.0 TCs, the 100 - 400mm lens & 420 EX flash & laptop in the backpack all as carry on. I also had room for a spare set of clothes & toothbrush etc. I was definitely over the limit for carry on gear but was not challenged. It would be more than adequate for your current gear. Just do a google search for it.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Africa!! I am supremely jealous. That is one of my dreams. I appreciate the tip though, it certainly does look handy having the laptop in an easy-access spot like that, it is a little tricky to slide out of my current bag when it's full. And I'd likely have more space and be under weight requirements with less gear. Hmm, very tempting... I am going to need something to hopefully bring back the new 400mm in.
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Definitely get a laptop camera bag, best way to carry the laptop plus camera gear. Security generally don't enforce the how much you carry in, just what you carry in. The Lowepro bags are OK, but the think tank bags seem better made. I have this one which is just under max legal carry on size:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/store/think ... drive.html

    it will carry everything you need and easily take a 400mm. This one is similar but slightly smaller, the laptop goes on the front rather than in the zip compartment behind:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/store/think ... -v2.0.html

    The trick at airports is never take your backpack off except when going through security and stowing it, just act like it's light as a feather. You won't have to remove the camera gear from the pack, just the laptop, though you may have to open it for inspection if the security people decide they want to have a look, I have never had that occur on any of my trips to the US.

    I would suggest though that you find out what you'll be flying in in the US apparently they have a lot of quite small regional jets now and some have small o/head compartments. Don't be last to board either, they have little regulation on carryon baggage on many airlines and if the compartments fill, you may have to gate check your bags. The two bags listed above will fit under the seat above on almost any plane, I had it under the seat in front on a Qantas Dash 8.

    BTW if you are planning on buying a 400mm in the US, you may find the cost difference to buy here minimal. at B&H photo a 400mm f5.6 is $US1329 + new york sales tax if you buy in store plus GST on arrival, that comes to $A1489 at current exchange rates plus whatever your credit card company slugs you in forex fees. Quality camera has them for $1559 at the moment.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Flying your gear

    Bec i recently bought a Think Tank Airport Security roller bag and love it. As Chris said - better made i think than the Lowepros. I was told that a large newspaper company got rid of their lowepros and bought Think Tanks due to the durability.
    Only drawback is that they weigh 4+kg empty so you need to watch the weight. I have flown with a 500mm plus a couple of bodies etc in it. I have also been caught out when checking in on a Jetstar flight from Avalon and had to put it in the hold which wasn't a big deal except that they wanted to charge me extra. This was the first time i have ever had my hand luggage checked and they were being complete "insert nasty word here" about it to every passenger so it wasn't anything to do with the bag. Just the wrong place at the wrong time. LIke Simon i put my tripod in checked in luggage.
    Cheers, Dave

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