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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #1
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Traveling To India with a Canon XL2

Hello all,
I have an opportunity to travel to India for two weeks and I have never traveled with my XL2.
My concerns are these
1). I want to carry XL2 on plane but what case is the one I should use?
Should I carry on a soft case or a hard case and which one fits under
seat with XL2?
2). Will the plane security at New York and else where cause any problems
as they shuffle through the camera? How should I pack the XL2 so
security does not damage anything if they choose to search the case?
3). How many blank tapes do you folks who travel generally take with you
as well as any other tips on what is necessary equipment when in far
off land?

Any thing else as far as traveling tips would be GREATLY appreciated. I leave on the 15th of August. I am traveling for business and not primarily to photograph, however, since I can go no where without taking some kind of camera, I would Really like to take my XL2 and try to get some really exotic shots of India and New Delhi.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #2
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Can't comment specifically on the XL-2 since I have Sony's. However I just got back from an international trip with my Z1. I didn't want a hardcase that was too obvious, but wasn't happy with the idea of a soft case crammed into the overhead compartment the way people generally do with their luggage. I ended up getting a Tamrac "strongbox" case, which is a tough plastic inner shell with and outer fabric covering - looks like a soft case but strong like a hard case. I got this one, which might be too small for an XL2:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

but this one is bigger:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

and even bigger:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

I'm really happy with mine; it has a lot of very solid padded dividers which attach with velco and let you set things up any way you like.

Regarding airport security, you shouldn't have any problems. All the airports I went through asked me to remove the camera from the case and send it through the xray machine by itself in a plastic tray. So my only advice is to pack it so it can be easily removed from the case. But it just went through the machine and came out the other end with no questions asked.

At the airport in Buenos Aires they didn't even want me to take it out of the case. Going through customs into Argentina the agent had no interest in my camera whatsoever, and coming back through customs into the US they didn't even want to see it. Your mileage may vary of course :-)

As far as what sizes the airlines allow, check your carrier's website, they will spell out the rules very specifically. I was flying on American Airlines and you are allowed one carry-on bag and one "personal item." The case I bought met the personal item criteria which means it will fit under the seat if needed. On the plane they were being pretty tough and only allowing people to put one item in the overhead bin, and if the second item didn't fit under the seat they were requiring people to check it.

This is another reason I didn't want to go with a soft case. I was afraid that - for whatever reason - the airline might insist that I check something (if the overhead bins were all full for example), so I wanted a case that could survive that worst case scenario.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #3
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Hello Boyd,
Thanks for the info.
What are the dimensions for fitting under airplane seat?
Do you have the dimensions? Would the second case you gave as a recomendation fit under the airplane seat? This case seems a bit larger and I believe would allow the XL2 to fit in.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 04:40 PM   #4
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I have never traveled internationally with mine but just wanted to throw something out to consider. You may to check to see if you need to get some kind of AC adapter so you can charge your batteries. I know a lot of foreign countries do not have the same 3 hole power outlets like we have here so some kind of adapter has to be used to plug in.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 09:06 PM   #5
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As I said Ed, "As far as what sizes the airlines allow, check your carrier's website". I'm not sure that this info is the same for different airlines. For example, this is American Airlines' policy:

http://www.aa.com/content/travelInfo...llowance.jhtml

As far as what fits where... you need to look on the website for the airline you're using. I'd guess that larger case won't fit under a seat, but might meet the requirements for the overhead compartment, you'll need to do your own due diligence to get the real answer...
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Old July 28th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #6
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Hello Boyd,

I did find the info about the carry on size. So, just for the groups info, the calculation goes like this. You take the "linear" dimension, that is to say, the total length plus the width plus the heigth of the bag and add these together in order to get the total "linear" amount and this must under 45 linear inches to meet the requirement. Now, some of the International flights drop this down to 36 linear inches. SO you have to be careful.

The Tamarc 645, as Boyd pointed out does fall under the requirement by 1/2 of an inch. The total Linear size of the Tamarac 645 is 44.5 inches...so, I guess this is the one. The only other problem would be any special power requirements that I might have for India.
I don't know, but I will investigate this,as well...
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Old July 28th, 2005, 12:50 PM   #7
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Moderator note: we have removed a few comments from this thread which were rather personal in nature and didn't contribute to the topic

Ed: my impression was that the airlines weren't really using a tape measure to get picky with carry-on luggage as long as it was somewhere in the ballpark. But of course it's always good to know you're "legal" if an issue does come up. I think the main thing is to be sure that your carry on really will fit in the overhead compartment, and you personal item will actually fit under a seat. Unfortunately, it may be hard to know this unless you give it a try.

Regarding power, for the most part voltage will be in the 110v-240v range at either 60 or 50 hz. Happily, most modern electronic equipment (computers, cameras, peripherals) can already handle this so usually the only issue is adapting the plug to the wall socket. But be certain to read the nameplate on all your battery chargers, power bricks, etc. to be sure they can handle this range of voltage and frequency! This site has a lot of good info:

http://kropla.com/electric.htm

Specifically regarding India:

http://kropla.com/india_electric_outlets.htm

Have a great trip!
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Old July 28th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #8
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Hello Boyd,
Great Info. Thanks a bunch. The link that you directed me to in Mumbai was excellent, in fact, this very picture was enough for B&H to determine what adapter I needed.
I also ordered the Tamarac case , today. The second one was the best fit for me and the plane.

They say you always forget something when you go on a trip like this. I can't think of what it may be. I am going to take everything for the XL2 that I need but not take any non-essentials. I just hope hope I do not have that tape drop out problem that has plauged me. I am going to do some more tests this weekend. I use only panasonic quality tapes and I cleaned heads, so I will let you know.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 02:25 PM   #9
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Sounds good. Let us know what you think of the case when it arrives. It's interesting that Tamrac doesn't advertise these cases for video cameras. I only found out about them when I was digging through a stack of cases at a little Mom & Pop camera shop near my house, and I almost didn't look at it because it appeared to be just another soft case.

Just be certain to read the specs on any electronic gear you take to India to be sure it can be operated at 230v/50hz.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 09:48 PM   #10
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Get an Aisle Seat!

Ed, don't count on putting the XL2 under the seat. It and the case will fit comfortably in most overheads (perhaps not the commuter jet OH's) as long as you don't get nutzo on the case size. I can't imagine it fitting under the seat in front of you. That just won't happen...
To assure yourself of an overhead position, make sure you get in line to board early, then find the nearest possible overhead to your seat. This is not always the overhead over your seat, but can be 5-6 rows in front of you.

I've been finding that US security has been recently asking to send video cameras thru outside of their cases, which shouldn't be a problem. (I went thru Orange County a month ago with my XL2, and you shoulda heard the X-Ray guys when they saw the camera..."Hey, look at this.Look at that camera..This guy's from NBC or something..." I smiled, said "No" packed the camera and went to my flight...)

Hope you don't have a middle seat all the way to India...

Bill
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Old July 30th, 2005, 12:42 AM   #11
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Ahh India. When I'm there I want to get the hell out, and when I'm gone I can't wait to go back. It's a complicated relationship.

Be ready for the total lack of personal space. As an american this was the first thing that really bothered me. Once I was waiting at the hotel counter, pressed in between 30-40 people (there is no such thing as a line), when I caught the attention of the clerk, I lifted my arm to point at something on the wall, and this short indian guy pushed in underneath my arm so I couldn't even put it down again!

Keep calm, try not to feel claustrophobic, and realize that indians are really a bunch of fun loving people, and they're not trying to squash you to death.

As far as travelling with your xl2 goes, I've done a lot of travel shows, and I always keep the camera (beta sp, dv, whatever) in a soft case on the plane with me. Along with batteries microphone and tape (just in case your checked luggage goes somewhere else). If it's too big (i.e. a full size betacam) the air hostess will usually offer to store it for you somewhere else on the plane. (Unless its an american airline where for some reason they only hire raving fascists for their hostesses). Do not EVER let them check your bag underneath the plane. If push really comes to shove pull the camera out and keep it on your lap for the whole trip, better than the terrible feeling you have opening up your case to find what's left of your camera, after it's been thrown through baggage handling from three airports.

Keep your camera with you personally at all times, there is quite a bit of petty theft in India, but personally I've never had a problem nor has anyone on my crew had something stolen.

I usually shoot about one full mini dv tape a day, and so bring as many as you have days and then a few more for safety. However DV tape is ridiculously easy to find all over asia, (once bought DV tape from a guy in a small shop boat floating down the Mekong in Vietnam) so no worries if you run out.

If you're shooting outside in a public place, you will become the center of attention very quickly and attract a crowd. These people will not hang back and watch you work, but actually press in around the camera and end up not only getting in the shot, but crowding you so much that you can't move (see personal space, above). It's very tricky, especially if you're working with talent. So the idea is to do a lot of rehersals, and get your shot quickly, before the crowd forms. Another trick I do is to pretend I'm finished by placing a shirt or cloth over the camera and lens, and start chatting to the crew. Once the interest dies down and the crowd leaves, then pull the shirt off and try another take.

On the other hand it's very easy to get a crowd shot :)

The good news is you will be getting some great footage. India is amazingly beautiful, and everywhere you point the camera you'll find a great shot.

Good Luck,

JB
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Old July 30th, 2005, 08:17 AM   #12
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Thanks John,
Wow, what a description. Thats a great trick, to keep the camera covered up. Thanks for the tip. The Tamarac specs indicate that it will fit under seat, and accept the XL2 but I also wonder about this. I agree, I was traveling from Tampa to Pgh and I had to check my camera bag. They would not allow any more carry ons. So, the only thing I could do was to pull out my Hasselblad and lens and put it on my Photo vest. Thank God I had my photo vest. It was a real mess. SO, I appreciate any tips on traveling to Far east. I have never been there.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 08:46 AM   #13
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Ed, I think you're confusing a "personal item" with a "carry-on bag." Carry-ons are items which must be stowed in the overhead compartment and (on American Airlines at least) can have total dimensions of 45 linear inches which the Tamrac bag you chose meets.

Personal items must fit under the seat in front of you. On the American Airlines website it specifies these as a maximum of 36 linear inches. The Tamrac 644 which I got from my Z1 just squeeks by at 36.75", but it wouldn't be big enough for your XL2.

You said you were getting the Tamrac 645, but there is no such model... I think you meant the 646? As you point out, it just makes the 45" criterion, but this qualifies it for the overhead compartment and not under the seat. This is consistent with the company's claim, "Meets airline carry-on size restrictions". In other words, they didn't say it would meet the "personal item" size restriction.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 09:27 AM   #14
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I've travelled a little with my XL2 using a Kata CCC-10 bag. It's a little tight for my camera 20X and all accessories but it fit my camera, shotgun mic, tapes, 2 batteries, cables, lav and receiver. And it fit in the overhead compartment easily. Everything fits a little better if the camera is disassembled.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #15
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There is one item you need that's not found in many western camera kits: a coconut. In India it's traditional to break a coconut on the first day of production before you shoot. It's to bring good luck for the upcoming production and is actually taken pretty seriously by the crew. My philosophy is you can use all the luck you can get!

:)

JB
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