How do you make your camera more discreet?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by zensu, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Bobby
    Do you think a more discreet camera is more appropriate for unobtrusive street photography, and if so do you think making your camera look distressed or much less valuable might be a good idea.
    The reason I ask is when I was a young man I went out shooting and with careful awareness of my environment being safe I felt I could fend off a thief unless they caught me off guard. Now I'm an older frailer man who could be an easier target for thieves. I've been concerned about this and have even thought of 'cheapening' the look of my street shooters kit, always an Olympus E-P5 with Pana/Leica 15mm F1.7, infrared of course. :hide:
    Bobby
     
  2. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    811
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    Things may be different in your part of the world but these days small cameras aren't the desirable consumer goods they once were. Anyone can flip a smartphone, but a camera is only going to be bought by someone whose hobby is photography.

    Secondly, where are you going that makes you afraid for your gear? Would you not be better off avoiding these places, or going in a group?

    Lastly, I'm sure you've found that street photography is best when you blend in - so take the minimum, wear unbranded straps, and fit into your environment. Be confident that you can raise your camera and get the shot in an instant. This also makes you unobtrusive to anyone coveting your camera.
     
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  3. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Bobby
    All good points ionian. I'm not going anywhere particularly dangerous but the places I've been photographing over the years are getting more dangerous, of course it could be the world in general is not as safe as it seemed when I was younger. Of course it could also be that I feel more vulnerable in general. I always try to blend in as best I can. Don't wear anything that looks expensive such as watches or expensive clothes or shoes which is easy because the only expensive thing I own is a camera and lens. I guess what I'm asking is can I make my camera and lens look like something a thief would see as something not worth bothering with.
    PS, I just carry one camera with lens on a plain looking strap. E-P5 w/PL 15mm.
     
  4. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    I used to put a piece of black tape over the word "Nikon" back in the days of the F2/4/5 cameras. It also helped with reflections in windows.

    The most obvious thing is the camera bag. Some people have lovely expensive bags that look well worth stealing. I always had a horrible looking old bag that no one would possibly want. Nowadays I have a small messenger bag that doesn't look special.

    I don't think anyone is going to mug you for your camera. They will mug you for your phone and your wallet. When in more dangerous locations my passport, cards and money are deep inside my trousers in a sensitive location. Most muggers don't think to ask you to take your trousers down.
     
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  5. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    811
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    I think you are doing all you can - and whilst there is a risk, the danger probably isn't as acute as it may feel to you because only you know how much you have invested in that camera ;)

    I carry my GX7 on a wrist strap when street shooting, so it's always in my hand and can't be grabbed. Plus I can just bring it up to shoot - I'm in aperture priority mode and my fingers are already adjusting aperture and ISO before the camera is up ready to fire.

    I compose without the camera to my eye: I know that takes some practice and not many like to shoot this way, but it really allows you to keep your head up and visualise your image. I see the key components of a picture, camera comes up, I arrange them as I want and click - job done.
     
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  6. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    You can always modify to make it look like this:

    22229619616_0588352ca4_c.

    :rofl:
     
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  7. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Yes, gaffer tape on the brand name and logo maybe, lens cap too or an unbranded one, but the E-P5 is quite low profile anyway.

    I usually put back the camera into jacket pocket as soon as I'm done, just by habit and to draw less attention from subjects. The main downside is to have to put the lens cap on and off anytime. Or put on a filter and use an empty pocket, fingerprints would probably build up quickly but you can clean it without much worries.
    Try not to get too paranoid though, for yourself and not to get the opposite result acting like you are hiding a Leica M9.

    EDIT: and download pictures often: the camera can be replaced and it's just a tool (and a good excuse to get a Pen-F :) ).
     
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  8. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    633
    Aug 19, 2016
    Burnaby, BC
    Your SD card contains the only unreplaceable part. Buy a bunch of smaller capacity cards and try not to carry too many days of pics at a time. I once had a camera stolen (not violently) and the only part I still miss is the roll of film inside.
     
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  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I'd wear a t-shirt that said one of the following:

    - Not a Nikon
    - Not a Canon
    - Not full frame

    That should keep quite a few camera thieves away.
     
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  10. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Canada
    Part of the reason I got the E-M5 is because it's such a low-profile camera. Most people assume it's a film camera.

    Black body (getting pretty dinged up), black lenses, generic/vintage-style strap with no brand names or logos, and a beat-up brand/logo-free messenger bag. Taken it to dozens of countries on four continents...never had an issue! :D

    EDIT: Oh...and I wear no jewelry, no watch, and usually wear worn cargo pants/shorts and a non-descript T-shirt when travelling/shooting...I do not look like a guy who owns anything worth stealing. ;)
     
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  11. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Oct 12, 2013
    I just upgraded to a silver and black GX85. Even though I think it's a good-looking camera, it does not scream, "expensive." I think your E-P5 falls into the same category. To be honest, at this point when I see somebody using a camera (not a phone) to take pictures, I usually figure it is somebody behind the times.

    On the flip side, I'd say that the larger the camera and lens, the more expensive it looks. And, to be fair, in m4/3, the larger the camera and lens, the more it probably costs!

    I agree with most of the other comments above.
     
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  12. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Bobby
    Valid suggestions from all. The one I hadn't considered is the issue with SD Cards. I DO need to use smaller cards and change Cards more often because it is true that the images are more valuable, irreplaceable actually (Thanks Giiba). I think covering some of the logos and adding a few minor customization (Sugru hand made hand grip) could make the resale value look like a lot less money. All of the replies have given me thoughts about this issue and maybe others will post with another idea I hadn't considered.
     
  13. Zensu - I have a feeling that you watch a lot of news. The world maybe not as safe as it used to be overall, but I don't think that you have any reason to be concerned. People were mugged and murdered 30 years ago just as it happens today.
    Go out, have fun, and most importantly watch less news.

    PS: if anything, our own small world is safer.
     
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  14. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Bobby
    You are correct 50orsohours, now that I'm retired I do watch way too much news. I should watch more Photography videos on YouTube and get out and take more pictures!
     
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  15. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I carry my camera in a reusable shopping bag. The more compact the camera, the better!
     
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  16. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I used to use an old canvas bag I got from a surplus store. That definitely looked like it wasn't worth stealing. :)
     
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  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    But I actually still use my shopping bag for groceries, so it does double duty! ;)
     
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  18. If you really think about it, in our daily lives, nothing has changed for the worse. We have always had criminals. You should experiment for 4 weeks, by not watching ANY news shows or read news of a negative nature. There is a better world out there if you don't let the media tell you otherwise. Most people have empathy, are kind and don't mean harm.
     
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  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I do not think that the average thief is so sophisticated to appreciate these things, or even notice with a quick glance, and to think about resale value (that is probably close to $50 anyway, unless he sells it directly online). It's not a bike that you leave unattended for hours.
    So I would not "ruin" the camera just for this reason (like with sugru for example) killing your resale value for sure and maybe your enjoyment too.

    And IMO these things do turn into constant reminders of remote risks making the problem more real and alarming than it is.

    Yes, there are sophisticated thieves, one in one thousands maybe, and these are not going to target an E-P5 anyway and won't be fooled by simple tricks.

    Traveling abroad may be more dangerous, not because other countries are necessarily more dangerous, but because there you are a stranger and this makes you a more interesting target in a few different ways. In your home town things are different, thieves work in the most expensive parts of the city, just because it's where there are more opportunities.
     
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  20. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Bobby
    You are correct 50orsohours, I'll try out limiting my news to 1 hour max. in the morning to help wake me up and spend more of my retired hours improving my photography skills. I've always been blessed with an intuitive nature in that whenever I have sensed danger I follow my gut and get out of there. It's hard to describe but in over 60 years that gut feeling (ESP if you want) has saved my life on more than one occasion. I'll just need to stay attuned to the hair on the back of my neck and that will let me know whether to flight or fight. It will more likely be flight if I know me. :biggrin:
     
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