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all my gear was stolen - now what??


raphaelfranco
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Last week I was traveling on the train from Amsterdam to Berlin. My bag with all my gear was in the compartment above my seat, I looked down to answer a phone call and when I looked up a minute later the bag was gone. The police on the train said it was a probably a team who had followed me on the train from the platform. Of course I felt stupid for losing it, but I also decided not to dwell on what I couldn't change and find my way back on my feet as efficiently as possible. I won't go into the whole story, but I have been shooting a documentary for the last 4 years on my GH2. Personal-view was a huge asset in helping me assemble the kit I have been using with what have felt like great results. But all my camera equipment, lenses, sound gear and my 16TB harddrive was in the bag. Thankfully I have a backup HD in NYC, so I only lost a few interviews and a couple days of work, but I didn't have insurance. So my gear is gone.

I have actually taken the loss better than I would have expected. I've been able to keep a positive attitude, and a freelance job came out of nowhere the day my stuff was stolen so that I will be able afford to replace most of what I lost. In total I lost around $6,500 worth of gear. Now I need to replace it to be able to keep shooting. I will buy another GH2 for sure, but I also thought it would be interesting to post about what happened and hear if there are any suggestions from the community about possible upgrades, so that the misfortune actually becomes an opportunity to enhance what I was working with. Of course I will need something that can cut with my hacked GH2 footage, but a lot obviously changes in 4 years... so if any of you could put yourselves in my situation, what purchases would you make to update and replace your kit?

Here are the lenses I lost:

SLR Magic 12mm

Lumix 20mm pancake

Lumix 25mm 1.4

Lumix 12-35mm

Olympus 45mm

Olympus 40-150

Rokinon 85mm

and the sound gear I had:

Sennheiser MKH 40

Sennheiser wireless Lav kit w/ a Countrymen Lav mic

Zoom H6

Many thanks for any suggestions.

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I'm really sorry for your story,

 

I'm not that expert anyway I'll try, If you earn money for your videos I would sugget you to start renting a good camera + kit lenses and audio, for some works. After that you have tried different models you can buy a new camera for yourself with major awareness. renting you can try new models without spending the whole price.

for audio instead of the zoom if you use external xlr, take a look for a tescam, because it can record 2 separate tracks, one of them is a minus tot. decibel for safe backup. zoom can't do it (but you can use a "Y" cable splitter).

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7 hours ago, raphaelfranco said:

so if any of you could put yourselves in my situation, what purchases would you make to update and replace your kit?

Not meaning to sound like a douche, but if I was in your situation the first purchase I would make would be comprehensive equipment insurance...then work out what you can afford to rebuild your stolen gear. Otherwise this may happen again, statistically more likely if you do assignments that involve travelling...and especially if you carry all of your camera gear in one bag. 

 

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raphaelfranco - Sorry to hear that. Almost exactly the same thing happened to me in France and I know others who had similar problems on trains or in stations. It is a major problem and you need to be VERY careful.

Hans Punk - It's virtually impossible to find insurance that covers the transport of equipment by train, largely because there is no proof you have checked anything in. The best investments are lockable cases and some way to attach your bags together and then to something solid in the train. 

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The Senheisser 400 is a joke of a Senheisser, get the 600 and Rycote wind protectors (there something from Sen as well, but I haven't tried it and it seems expensive, maybe it is alright).

The new Tascam DR100mkIII will be the extremely cheap recorder industry standard for now on.

The wireless kit is probably the most expensive kit of your gear. Check the Rodelink first, and if you are not happy, there is no other way around it.

You have to consider if you want your sound (and image) to match exactly your 4 years of work, if so, you have to buy the same input devices (especially for sound).

Good luck, and sorry for your adventure, maybe even better than an insurrance, have an assistant (a sound recordist perhaps)!

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Here's my tip.

Reduce the pool of gear to a smaller amount of items, so you can keep your bag within arms reach at all times when travelling. I never put stuff in overhead areas or leave it out of my sight at any point. If you have a smaller bag you can just put it down by your legs. Unless you fall asleep, nobody is going to get it off you then.

Don't bother re-buying the following...

Lumix 20mm pancake
Lumix 25mm 1.4
Lumix 12-35mm
Olympus 45mm
Olympus 40-150

Clinical 2x crop glass...zzz.

Replace your SLR Magic 12 with the SLR Magic 10mm, it's better than the 12 and stays nice and wide on the GH4 in 4K.

Re-buy the Rokinon 85mm, it's handy. Or even a Canon 85mm F1.8 EF.

Now invest in the Metabones Speed Booster XL.

Pick up a Sigma 18-35mm for your wide angle shots.

Use your good old Rokinon 85 for any shot that needs longer.

In-between is kind of a no-mans land although you may already have a fast 50mm you can use on the EF Speed Booster.

Don't bother with the Lumix OIS glass. You have in-body stabilisation for the Sigma 18-35mm and Rokinon 85mm on the Panasonic GX85 now. Much better image than the GH2 in 4K of course and 1080/60fps. Better in low light as well.

That will get you up and running again right now.

Then, skip the GH4 and wait to see what the GH5 offers.

If you invest mainly in Canon EF lenses now and use the Speed Booster, you even have very fast AF for stills with these lenses on Panasonic bodies, and because you jettisoned 5 lenses from your prior collection and now only have 3-4, much easier to carry even though EF lenses are larger than their equivalent Micro Four Thirds ones.

If you end up missing a nice zoom, then Canon 24-70mm F2.8 II is your friend. Not cheap, but the image is glorious.

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4 hours ago, DPC said:

Hans Punk - It's virtually impossible to find insurance that covers the transport of equipment by train, largely because there is no proof you have checked anything in. The best investments are lockable cases and some way to attach your bags together and then to something solid in the train. 

Impossible - in what country?

I have all my photo equipment insured (up to a value of 10k or 15k euro I think). It can get stolen, I can drop it from a roof, into the water etc - and the insurance will cover it. All I will need is to prove that it's been in my ownership with a receipt or such.

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9 hours ago, dahlfors said:

Impossible - in what country?

I have all my photo equipment insured (up to a value of 10k or 15k euro I think). It can get stolen, I can drop it from a roof, into the water etc - and the insurance will cover it. All I will need is to prove that it's been in my ownership with a receipt or such.

Is that a specialist policy for photographers and how much per month does it cost?

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12 hours ago, animan said:

most insurance that covers theft wont pay you anything in case the bag is unsupervised or in a place where it can be taken without you noticing

Really?  They would consider a bag in an overhead compartment that you looked away from for a few seconds "unsupervised"?  I've never looked into this type of insurance but that seems a bit unreasonable.  If that is the case then that is pretty useless.  Is being locked in the trunk of an unattended car considered "unsupervised"?

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15 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Is that a specialist policy for photographers and how much per month does it cost?

I got a special price for it - since it's an addition to my normal home insurance and travel insurance. It's around 100 euro additional per year added on top of the other insurances. I haven't needed to use neither home insurance or travel insurance ever, so my premiums are quite low.

It isn't specially for photographers. But specially for owned items that you carry around when you're out and about like laptops, photography equipment and other electronics - up to a certain total sum.

This applies since I've bought the camera equipment privately - not through own company. I believe company insurances will be priced quite a bit higher (although I haven't looked into it), but might be worthy if you travel a lot.

My insurances are through one of the larger insurance companies in Sweden, and they're only acting on the Swedish market. However, I know there were similar insurances available when I lived in Finland as well - so I would expect there would be some insurance company providing similar services in other EU countries as well.

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Everyone, thanks so much for your replies.  Because I'm from the US, the insurance policies I looked into were always prohibitively expensive.  I know there are usually much better options in the EU, but unfortunately they aren't available to us yankies.  So short of finding a better policy, I'm at least going to put a small tracker in any of my equipment bags.  

But thanks a lot Andrew Reid for the reply about lenses.  You may have guessed that some of my package I put together based on suggestions from your GH2 guide from back when.  I think it makes a lot of sense to get the GX85 and wait for the GH5, and the sigma 18-35 + metabones speed booster seems for sure the way to go,,, but you wouldn't suggest a 25mm (meaning 50mm bla bla) prime?  I hear you about Lumix glass, but curious if you suggest a better 25mm lens - was looking at the voigtlander but $$$

 

Thanks for again for the tips.

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