Camera Security in Buenos Aires

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by nuclearboy, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I am traveling to Buenos Aires for a week in a few days for a conference and I have plenty of time for sight seeing. Of course I would like to take a few nice photos and possibly frame one around the house. (Its either that or Tango lessons and I don't think I could do it) On the phone today, my host warned me about not bringing a camera because of thieves.

    Is it really that bad in Buenos Aires?

    I normally bring my E-P5 and the 12-35mm along with the 20mm or 25mm and the 75mm or 40-150mm on a trip. Now I am a little concerned about sticking out with a nice lens.

    Has anyone been there and do you have any advice for camera safety and possibly photo opportunities.

    Thanks for any and all advice.
  2. backnblack

    backnblack New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2013
    fort woth,tx
    I spent a week there in 2013. Wee stayed in a very nice area of town, but walked and rode the subways quite a bit. Like any big city use some common sence and you'll be fine. By the way, had an epl-5 with me.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    While I haven't been to Buenos Aires I just arrived back from Cambodia I didn't really find it all that bad, I suspect the same sort of rules would apply to both places. It's mainly about common sense and being prepared to walk away from it all (walking away empty handed is a GOOD outcome if the other option is getting stabbed). I carried a lot of equipment on me as I didn't have a fully secure location during the day (I prefer to get mugged than have it stolen from a hotel room as stupid as that sounds, I was mostly staying in USD$15 rooms for some context). I was using an E-M1 with the 12-40mm as a general purpose lens during the day and *never* switched lenses in public (too easy to snatch them), only really switching lenses for low light once inside venues (various speedboosted lenses). I always had either a wrist strap or body strap (not a neck strap, over the shoulder under the opposite arm) attached so I could rest my hands, I wouldn't use a neck strap personally as if someone snatches it... let's just say it fucking hurts - with the sling style straps the load is spread over your torso rather than just your neck and it generally hurts a little bit less.

    I can't remember how many times people tried to steal my gear but it really wasn't that many, maybe three or four? It depends on what you count... I got followed a lot of times and I had people feel my bag a lot however there was only one time I really felt unsafe. They only go for easy targets so as long as I was always alert and not oblivious I generally found they left quickly eliminated me as a target.

    I'm unsure about Buenos Aires however the biggest problem in Cambodia was people on motorbikes, using a sling bag I always wore it away from the street across my entire body rather than just resting on my shoulder. The downside to this is being dragged down the street however it was the best option I had available to me at the time. I was going through some pretty seedy locations due to the work I was doing and never really had much trouble. If you can look at maps of your location and have an exit plan to get to a public space, one great thing about Cambodia was knowing where temples were as there was generally armed royal guards at them as part of the Khmer new year celebrations (I don't care if it's loaded or not, no one is going to do anything risky when there's a guard looking at you holding a rifle with fixed bayonet).

    Make sure the gear is fully insured, don't do silly things and don't worry about it. Take loads of SD cards so that you can swap the card out after every day so that if the equipment is stolen you don't lose the photos (this only works if you store them in a different secure location), I also made copies of all pictures onto a backup drive and dropboxed the important ones if/when I could. Memory cards are pretty cheap these days so I think it's worth doing if you're taking important pictures for peace of mind.
  4. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    It's been years since I've been there, but unless things have changed dramatically, it's just another big city as far as safety is concerned. Of course, your host would have a better idea than I would. Just get travel insurance.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Good Advice and Cambodia sounds like quite an adventure.... I guess the definition of "all that bad" is relative.

    I have heard of the motorcycle drive by to steal your camera in Bs. As. Your advice on the neck strap is a good idea.
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