Slightly dopey novice question re flying to America and camera kit

Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
I find myself looking forward to the holiday of a lifetime during 2019 with a trip to America, visiting family and friends in the Western States, I'm going for several weeks.

I haven't travelled by aeroplane for over 25 years - I'm reliably informed that passengers sit inside these days hahaha. In terms of flying anywhere I class myself as a 99% novice.

This will be a holiday for taking snaps of people and photos of landscape and wildlife.

Here's my thinking and I'm really inviting advice based on practical experience please:

Kit:
5DII + battery grip and lenses or Samsung Note 8 phone cam - do I enjoy the ability to get the best out of every situation with the option of using either piece of kit or do I simply travel light with the phonecam?

If 5DII kit, I'm probably going to want to take my 16-35L and 70-200L and CP filters, (leaving behind 50mm, 100-400L and all mf lenses) plus spare batteries and charger. I probably wouldn't take a flash unit.There's a growing weight issue here and a practicality in terms of what else I might need to carry. I use a padded shoulder bag which will just accomodate the camera & grip, the two lenses, filters and a couple of spare batteries but I wouldn't trust it to absorb a serious bash.

File storage/transfer: I'm I'm prepared to get a new 2Tb storage device to empty my CF cards to, daily if needs be.
-
Flight travel luggage: I'm completely ignorant on whether to carry all my camera kit as carry on hand luggage or to consign it to hold luggage? I need to emphasise that this is a holiday for my wife and me, taking photos will be a secondary activity (the house rule is that we go somewhere because we want to and I take photos, we do not go somewhere just for me to take photos.)

Data Integrity: Do I worry about airport security scanners corrupting my stored files?

Am I over-thinking this?
What would you do?
What would you advise?
 
Messages
22,411
Name
Phil
Edit My Images
No
#2
File storage: if this is just a holiday, then you shouldn’t have to worry about downloads unless youre a very very prolific shooter.

Luggage: On no account put your gear in the hold unless youre putting it in a sturdy bomb proof locked case.

Data integrity: theres no chance that airport scanners will corrupt your files.
 
Messages
540
Name
Matt
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
I'm off to NY in Jan and I'll just be taking my cameras/lenses as my hand luggage, it's a decent ThinkTank bag so plenty of space for travel documents etc as well.
If you need to free up some space you could always pack chargers spare batteries etc in your hold bag, but nothing that won't survive being thrown around!
 
Messages
10,402
Name
Rich
Edit My Images
Yes
#4
I'm off to NY in Jan and I'll just be taking my cameras/lenses as my hand luggage, it's a decent ThinkTank bag so plenty of space for travel documents etc as well.
If you need to free up some space you could always pack chargers spare batteries etc in your hold bag, but nothing that won't survive being thrown around!
Don't think lithium batteries can go in hold luggage or at least they couldn't earlier this year when I last flew.
Also only two spares per person and the terminals need to be isolated to prevent short circuit
 
Messages
540
Name
Matt
Edit My Images
Yes
#5
Ahh yeah I remember that from last time actually, I had them in a battery grip that time so it was ok...might just take a powerbank this time, i'm not intending to take that many :)
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#6
File storage: if this is just a holiday, then you shouldn’t have to worry about downloads unless youre a very very prolific shooter.

Luggage: On no account put your gear in the hold unless youre putting it in a sturdy bomb proof locked case.

Data integrity: theres no chance that airport scanners will corrupt your files.
Thank you. I'm erring on the side of caution. I don't know how many photos I might take over say four weeks but I don't want to leave myself short of CF card space.
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
Don't think lithium batteries can go in hold luggage or at least they couldn't earlier this year when I last flew.
Also only two spares per person and the terminals need to be isolated to prevent short circuit
Oh that's useful information which could prevent a glitch at booking-in. How does this sound, two batteries in the camera, two spares in my hand luggage and two in SWMBO's hand luggage?
 
Messages
10,402
Name
Rich
Edit My Images
Yes
#8
Thank you. I'm erring on the side of caution. I don't know how many photos I might take over say four weeks but I don't want to leave myself short of CF card space.
If you empty your cards it's not back up, you need to keep the originals too in case one or other get corrupted, lost etc
 
Messages
259
Name
Andrew
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
Take your camera gear as cabin baggage. It's safer. If I'm travelling with a tripod I pack that in a suitcase padded with clothing and other stuff.

Check your airline cabin baggage rules - weight and size - for all airlines you are travelling with - airlines have different rules. Watch for differences - some may allow just one bag - others may allow a bag plus a camera.

People will tell you that they have no problem regularly violating these rules - and how they never have problems. Trouble is that the airlines are inconsistent - and that one time you get caught will be the most inconvenient. So not worth the risk. I see enough people getting stopped at checkin or worse - at the boarding gate.

The security scanners don't affect your cameras or storage.

Watch out for the weight of your bag. Sometimes I pack my gear in a light bag for carrying in the cabin and pack a heavier better camera bag in with my suitcase.

As has been stated - spare lithium ion batteries have to be carried in your cabin baggage - and typically you should make sure that the terminals are covered. Som batteries come with covers. I put mine in little resealable plastic bags.
 
Messages
10,402
Name
Rich
Edit My Images
Yes
#10
Oh that's useful information which could prevent a glitch at booking-in. How does this sound, two batteries in the camera, two spares in my hand luggage and two in SWMBO's hand luggage?
Sounds fine to me, I used the little plastic coin bags from the bank to isolate the terminals, BA were ok with them
 
Messages
251
Name
David
Edit My Images
No
#11
Thank you. I'm erring on the side of caution. I don't know how many photos I might take over say four weeks but I don't want to leave myself short of CF card space.
Hard drives are cheap - just buy one and rule out the possibility that you might run out of card space.

You shouldn't have any problem getting the kit you mention onto a flight to the states as hand luggage - don't put it in the hold
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#12
If you empty your cards it's not back up, you need to keep the originals too in case one or other get corrupted, lost etc
I accept your faultless logic and maybe on this occasion I should keep the originals: even though I usually just upload from camera to laptop - I know I'm naughty.
 
Messages
10,402
Name
Rich
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
I accept your faultless logic and maybe on this occasion I should keep the originals: even though I usually just upload from camera to laptop - I know I'm naughty.
Memory is so cheap these days and it would be a shame to lose your holiday of a lifetime photos.
Thinking of a big US trip in 2020, plan to use a hard drive and job lot of memory cards, might even if possible upload to the cloud too.

When I go on short European breaks photos get backed up every night to an Android tablet with expanded micro sd card memory.
 
Messages
1,096
Name
Peter
Edit My Images
No
#14
You kit sounds ok - I guess the limited lenses are because you want to travel light, what you have will fit comfortable in the cabin storage of a widebody jet.

As everyone has said - all the valuable stuff should go in cabin luggage, only the things you MIGHT miss in the hold - tripod, chargers and cables etc. Memory cards are hideously cheap now (unless XQD), and for a 5D2 a couple of 32 or 64 GB cards might suffice.

One suggestion I have - is that HP Stream laptop etc are just over £100 and I have one to transfer images from cards to external WD portable drives (mirrored) and it allows you to view the photos - extremely lightweight. Super also if you want to catch up on british tv on catch-up.
 
Messages
6,193
Name
Graham
Edit My Images
No
#15
Not sure if you're being a little over cautious/thinking with some of this. For example, do you really need 6 batteries? I'd understand that if you were trekking or something but I assume you aren't so could be charging at night if you take an adaptor.

Memory cards and backup. I admit, I don't think about this enough other than sometimes taking a laptop with me and backing up to that but I assume there are some good cloud based options these days which might cut down on cost and bulk a little.

Personally I'd always want to take good kit on a trip like this. It's why we have it isn't it? Would be a shame to leave it behind. I'd be tempted to take the 50mm lens with you too though. Could always wrap it in a few socks in your suitcase, though I agree with the general sentiment about transporting your gear in hand luggage where possible.

Sounds like a great trip!
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#16
Hard drives are cheap - just buy one and rule out the possibility that you might run out of card space.

You shouldn't have any problem getting the kit you mention onto a flight to the states as hand luggage - don't put it in the hold
Okay, hand luggage. I might want to invest in a bag with more padding, one with room for a laptop too. I may have neoprene slips/pouches for the body and the lenses somewhere....
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#17
You kit sounds ok - I guess the limited lenses are because you want to travel light, what you have will fit comfortable in the cabin storage of a widebody jet.
Yes, the point being if I'm on a walkabout somewhere one lens in the bag and one on the body...


As everyone has said - all the valuable stuff should go in cabin luggage, only the things you MIGHT miss in the hold - tripod, chargers and cables etc. Memory cards are hideously cheap now (unless XQD), and for a 5D2 a couple of 32 or 64 GB cards might suffice.

One suggestion I have - is that HP Stream laptop etc are just over £100 and I have one to transfer images from cards to external WD portable drives (mirrored) and it allows you to view the photos - extremely lightweight. Super also if you want to catch up on british tv on catch-up.
Yes, good suggestion. Life would be slightly simpler if I wasn't on CF cards but I can plug the body straight to my laptop and upload via Photoshop Elements.
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#18
Not sure if you're being a little over cautious/thinking with some of this. For example, do you really need 6 batteries? I'd understand that if you were trekking or something but I assume you aren't so could be charging at night if you take an adaptor.
Good point.Ta!

Memory cards and backup. I admit, I don't think about this enough other than sometimes taking a laptop with me and backing up to that but I assume there are some good cloud based options these days which might cut down on cost and bulk a little.

Personally I'd always want to take good kit on a trip like this. It's why we have it isn't it? Would be a shame to leave it behind. I'd be tempted to take the 50mm lens with you too though. Could always wrap it in a few socks in your suitcase, though I agree with the general sentiment about transporting your gear in hand luggage where possible.

Sounds like a great trip!
I admit it is tempting. I tend to use 50mm for walkabout more than I use 16-35 so I'd be in danger of defaulting to the 50mm: but this should be good wide angle territory.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
Messages
31,294
Name
Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
Edit My Images
Yes
#19
Most modern chargers will take 110-250 V (AC) as an input voltage so unless your camera eats batteries like I eat chocolate, 2 should be enough (especially since it's a holiday with a camera rather than a specific photographic trip.)
ALL Lithium batteries must be in hand baggage, NOT the hold.
If you're staying with (or visiting) family, I'd think that they would let you burn a couple of DVDs and/or transfer/backup files to a couple of USB sticks. Some hotels will let you do this too.
 
Messages
1,459
Name
Jim
Edit My Images
Yes
#20
On the backup side, look at wd mypassport pro. In built sd card. Get an sd card to go with your cf cards. Shoot to both cards in backup mode. Backup the sd card every day (or more often if you wish) and put the cf card away as your 2nd copy. If you have a tablet you can link to the mypassport pro by wifi

I did this for a safari trip last year. Was very space efficient for travelling and ensures youve always got 2 copies.
 
Messages
864
Name
Sue
Edit My Images
Yes
#21
Just to say, for a holiday like that where you I tend to photograph wildlife, there is no way I would leave behind the 100-400. I would take the 16-35 and that, and leave the 70-200. I would also pop in a teleconverter.
 
Messages
19,089
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#22
Just on taking camera gear onboard...

A few years ago I put my gear in the overhead cupboard and was annoyed to see the next guy act like a total twonk getting his case in, he rammed it in time after freakin time squashing all the other bags to get his in. Needless to say I was less than pleased and to avoid my kit being squashed by an idiot and the resultant argy bargy I no longer use the overheads and now put my bag under the seat infront which works for me as I have a relatively small Sony A7.

I'd advise anyone using the overhead to watch out for selfish uncaring idiots ramming their bags in.
 
Messages
61
Name
Jason
Edit My Images
Yes
#23
Just on taking camera gear onboard...

A few years ago I put my gear in the overhead cupboard and was annoyed to see the next guy act like a total twonk getting his case in, he rammed it in time after freakin time squashing all the other bags to get his in. Needless to say I was less than pleased and to avoid my kit being squashed by an idiot and the resultant argy bargy I no longer use the overheads and now put my bag under the seat infront which works for me as I have a relatively small Sony A7.

I'd advise anyone using the overhead to watch out for selfish uncaring idiots ramming their bags in.
Yes seen this so many times that I now use an old school hard sided carry on with my camera bag inside. The downside being that a peli case is obvious and I get it inspected most trips.
 
Messages
6,013
Name
Bazza
Edit My Images
No
#24
The quickest way to clear everyone out of a USA airport is to put a rocket blower in your kit. They are so neurotic they think it is a hand granade.
 
Last edited:
Messages
251
Edit My Images
No
#25
Camera kit and laptop in your hand luggage wouldn't check either unless you're prepared to lose them or have them arrive smashed - they're not called "baggage chuckers"by the staff without a reason.
Batteries you've had good advice but check the requirements for your airline specifically, print them out and take them with you.
A mate regularly flies with drone equipment and having the accurate details of what he is really allowed to carry in black and white has saved his expensive batteries from over zealous security staff
For example these are KLM's (PDF link)
https://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/images/Lithium-batteries-on-KLM-aircraft_tcm638-671555.pdf
 
Messages
509
Name
Kell
Edit My Images
Yes
#26
Rules and regs just around luggage have changed massively over the year with regard to cabin baggage.

It used to be that everything had to go in the overheads. On certain flights (low-cost short-haul typically), everything had to go under the seat in front unless you've paid to put it up top.

As others have said, it's worth checking the rules for all flights - especially if you have connecting flights.

I certainly wouldn't put my kit in my hold baggage though...

As for batteries, I think you're being overly cautious. I bought a battery grip for my old 600d, but to be honest, it just made the camera needlessly bulky and I found it far easier to have one battery in the camera and one in my pocket - or a bag. I've only ever taken two with me and charged them up at the end of the day. Rarely did I ever have to move on to the second battery during the course of a normal day.

Like you, my trips were holidays first, not photography trips.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,467
Edit My Images
Yes
#27
I take my 7d2 and lenses on as hand luggage never had a problem. I stay in the use for about 7 weeks at a time I take several sd cards with me as I do take a lot of shoots. never lost any yet. I also have my iPhone as well
 
Messages
13,820
Name
Nightmare
Edit My Images
No
#28
Of course take the phone only. You won't want to bother yourself with the national parks and all the pretty sights. Shopping and cafes is where the life is. Maybe throw in some night clubs for good fun. You will certainly come back with lots of badly exposed selfies which is all it matters these days for a vibrant and successful fakebook or instafail profile. Enjoy.
 
Messages
1,800
Name
Meeten
Edit My Images
No
#29
You'll have access to a charger, so 2x batteries should be sufficient?
the 50mm is a must - light, small and very capable.
The 70-200 makes sense, as long a you are planning to use it.

Most of all, remember to enjoy the trip - esp if it going to take another 25yrs to go again!!
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#30
Just to say, for a holiday like that where you I tend to photograph wildlife, there is no way I would leave behind the 100-400. I would take the 16-35 and that, and leave the 70-200. I would also pop in a teleconverter.
Well I have a teleconverter and I have a 100-400... it's a while since I used the 100-400 for walkabout... oh crikey!!
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#31
You'll have access to a charger, so 2x batteries should be sufficient?
the 50mm is a must - light, small and very capable.
The 70-200 makes sense, as long a you are planning to use it.

Most of all, remember to enjoy the trip - esp if it going to take another 25yrs to go again!!
Leave battery weight and take another lens? That makes sense.

The 70-200 is almost permanently attached to the camera so it would be used. Even though are friend MadWoman suggests I leave it behind and take the dustpump.
 
Messages
781
Edit My Images
Yes
#32
Ior Samsung Note 8 phone cam - do I enjoy the ability to get the best out of every situation with the option of using either piece of kit or do I simply travel light with the phonecam?
Not sure if you are for real suggesting just a phone in place of DSLR kit or its tongue in cheek; If you are genuine - I resoudnly answer with no. Obviously the SLR will be millions times better - but if you'r struggling with weight and kit - check out a decent compact. I suggest - Sony HX99, (I have the HX90), Panasonic TZ70 - TZ200 or a small bridge - best of which would be Canon G3X. These will be a billion times better than a smart phone. And weigh almost nothing as well. FWIW - just got back from NY couple weeks ago and took my Panasonic G kit - One body and 4 lens all fit neatly in a small bag and carried around. Very glad I didn't leave this at home.
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#33
Not sure if you are for real suggesting just a phone in place of DSLR kit or its tongue in cheek; If you are genuine - I resoudnly answer with no. Obviously the SLR will be millions times better
Err, no, not entirely but I've had a few busy and gloomy weather autumn weeks without a proper camera in my hand so I suppose my mojo is a bit limp... oh whatevs! Good on you for giving me an encouraging prod not to wimp out.


- but if you'r struggling with weight and kit - check out a decent compact. I suggest - Sony HX99, (I have the HX90), Panasonic TZ70 - TZ200 or a small bridge - best of which would be Canon G3X. These will be a billion times better than a smart phone. And weigh almost nothing as well. FWIW - just got back from NY couple weeks ago and took my Panasonic G kit - One body and 4 lens all fit neatly in a small bag and carried around. Very glad I didn't leave this at home.
I'm surprised not to have had more suggestions of the decent compact/travel camera middle ground (I don't want to say compromise): it had certainly crossed my mind and I'd dismissed it fairly quickly.
 
Messages
1,064
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#36
Don't put it in the hold. One annoying thing is that with camera equipment they often take it all out and examine bit by bit. If they do this make sure that they put it on the trays. They didn't do this with Tamron 150-600 mm and it almost fell off the equipment.
 
OP
OP
tikkathreebarrel
Messages
1,890
Edit My Images
Yes
#37
Don't put it in the hold. One annoying thing is that with camera equipment they often take it all out and examine bit by bit. If they do this make sure that they put it on the trays. They didn't do this with Tamron 150-600 mm and it almost fell off the equipment.
Okay, okay, it's coming in the cabin with me. If anyone wants to examine it, I'll be there supervising.
 
Messages
19,089
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#38
Don't put it in the hold. One annoying thing is that with camera equipment they often take it all out and examine bit by bit. If they do this make sure that they put it on the trays. They didn't do this with Tamron 150-600 mm and it almost fell off the equipment.
I must have been lucky as I've only once had them take any interest at all in my camera gear and that one time the (gorgeous) Kazakh security lady said "You got a camera in there?" To which I answered "Yes, do you want to see it?" She said that she did but when I got the camera out of the bag she never even looked up from the screen she was looking at.
 
Messages
431
Name
Tom
Edit My Images
Yes
#39
My days of humping heavy DSLR kit around the world are over and I am not sorry! Travelling is bliss these days( photography wise!) as I have a choice of high-end delightfully portable compact cameras to choose from. My favourite is my Sony RX100V which is sooooooooo compact and very versatile indeed, if I fancy a change then my Nikon Coolpix A fits the bill and sometimes I take both! If I want to plan particularly important shots then my Sony RX1 works! I would not go back to the nuisance and worries of humping heavy camera kit around but obviously, each to their own view.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,096
Name
Peter
Edit My Images
No
#40
I insist on putting my cabin luggage in the stowage bins, even when the moronic BA check in staff give me a yellow tag to put on my bags - even when I am carrying on just one piece. Oftern inevitably leads to arguments, I put the tag on and the rip it off. Once I was asked to place my Lowepro Computrekker in the floor space in front of me - cue massive argument, a) it's a huge bag, b) I am tall, and c) I have paid for the privilegde of allowing those who bring on LGVs into the cabin.

Moral of the story is - you're in that seat for 7+ hours, your comfort is far more critical than kit,

As for rocket blowers - security in CDG love them, they really do. That's about the ONLY positive i can think of for flying through that awful airport.
 
Top