Can You Bring A Camera On A Plane? (through TSA)

credit: Yay

When you are traveling on a plane, one of the most important questions to ask is what camera equipment you can bring your camera on the plane with you. When you hear the horror stories of checked baggage being treated so roughly and items being “pilfered,” the thought of not taking your camera on board with you is extremely alarming.

You can bring a camera on a plane when travelling domestically and internationally within, to and from the USA. Certain restrictions apply to the size of the camera and related equipment as it should fit into the overhead lockers or underneath the passengers legs.

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Can You Bring A Camera On A Plane?

The TSA (Transport Safety Administration) has mandated that digital cameras and related equipment be carried on aircraft traveling within, to, or from the United States.

The only suggestion that the TSA makes is that the passenger checks with the airline to ensure that the dimensions of the camera and its related equipment will fit into the aircraft’s overhead lockers.

As with any luggage carried on an aircraft, smaller is better. When a camera is taken on board as carry-on baggage, it must be able to fit underneath the passenger’s legs or in the overhead lockers.

If you have a large camera bag filled with expensive telephoto lenses, consider leaving them at home unless you are comfortable with them being carried as check-in luggage and all the dangers that represent.

As a general rule, don’t aim to use your camera equipment while on the aircraft unless you have a window seat. If you want to photograph, always aim the camera outside the aircraft, not inside, as people’s privacy may be compromised.

If you want to photograph family or team members you are traveling with, it is better to use your cell phone camera discretely. Always be willing to show a record of the images taken to prove that you were not photographing other people in the aircraft.

Can You Bring A Camera Through TSA?

TSA has a relaxed attitude about carrying cameras on a plane; however, they may require that the camera and related equipment be scanned separately for the rest of the luggage.

Unlike the old days when camera film could be overexposed when being passed through the x-ray machines, with modern SD cards, there is no longer any danger that the scanning equipment will damage them.

If the TSA agent is unhappy or unsure of the details seen on the x-ray equipment and wants to check further, they are entitled to inspect the camera and equipment more closely.

Can You Bring A Camera Through Airport Security?

Yes, there is no issue with carrying a camera through airport security.

Always pack an SLR or mirrorless camera with the lens removed and the covers on. It serves two purposes.

  1. It allows the security agent to look inside the camera and shows a willingness on your behalf to cooperate.
  2. It prevents forces from damaging the lens housing and the delicate attachment points.

Bring spare batteries for the camera and have these available if the agent asks you to switch the camera on.

Always carry the loose batteries separately, as while it is unlikely, you don’t want any fire risk caused by the contacts’ short-circuiting.

If the camera is removed from you for checking, ensure you keep your eye on it to prevent theft or even to understand who to hold responsible if it is damaged.

If your camera is misplaced while your work your way through airport security, check-in, customs, and emigration, and then through the waiting area, always revert to the TSA, which maintains a very comprehensive lost and found database.

Can You Bring Your Camera In Checked Baggage?

Yes, you can travel with your camera as checked-in baggage, but this is probably not the optimum way to travel with you.

The potential for damage (baggage handlers are not known for their gentle handling) and the risk of theft is very high. While you may be used to high ethical and honest staff in your part of the world, that characteristic is not carried through many other places.

Can You Bring A Camera Into Canada?

If you are a visitor to Canada, request a certificate of registration to prove that you are not importing the camera into Canada, in which case you would have to pay import duty.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers are permitted to examine all goods carried into Canada.

The reason why a CBSA officer will examine your camera equipment is to.

  1. Check the admissibility of your goods.
  2. The identity of the device
  3. Your failure to comply with Canadian regulations.

Canada has a strict policy of activating the devices, and they are allowed to request passwords to enable full access to the contents.

The CBSA officer will inspect the device in your presence.

Can You Bring A Camera Into The UK?

The UK authorities have a similar attitude to the Americans regarding cameras, permitting them to be carried in the aircraft cabin or as checked-in luggage.

The UK customs officials are fairly relaxed about carrying cameras into the country.

Even though privacy and child protection laws in the UK are very strict, there is a broad allowance of who and what a photographer is allowed to capture.

As long as the photograph does not fall under the following categories, photographers may “shoot” virtually any image they choose.

  1. Not for commercial gain.
  2. The photograph is in a public place.
  3. Is not pornographic
  4. Contains no hint of child abuse of pornography or any other indecency.
  5. The photographer is not harassing, threatening, stalking, intimidating, or causing distress to someone they are attempting to capture.

While in the UK, remember that photographs are not permitted in Westminster Abbey, London.

You are a guest in that country, and it is only correct that you do not abuse the privileges they have advanced you.

Can You Bring A Camera Into Europe?

You can travel with a camera as hand luggage or as checked-in luggage.

Be aware that the European Union’s data protection laws are strict, and it is forbidden to post anyone’s picture online without their permission. This rule applies to holiday snaps as well.

Photography is forbidden if you are in Amsterdam and happen to be touring through the famed Red Light District.

Although not technically in Europe, it is also not permissible to take photographs in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.

Can You Bring A Camera Into Australia?

Australia has similar regulations as the other countries discussed in this article.

They permit cameras to be carried on as hand luggage or with your checked-in bags.

Photographers have the freedom to capture virtually any image in the country. Australian law dictates that no one has the right to privacy.

Photographers are free to capture almost any image as long as they are not contravening other regulations, such as trespassing.

When photographing children, the photographer must ensure that the images are not provocative, of a sexual nature, or contain any nudity, indecent, and/or defamatory.