Gear protection is an important issue nowadays. As for any stuff, if somebody steals something, is because somebody will buy it later, even without knowing it.
To try to prevent or at least reduce gear theft, Lenstag is the service around. Not a new thing, it’s already around for more than an year, but I just really got to it now.
The service was created by Google engineer Trevor Sehrer and is growing on a daily basis. Quite often we see testimonies of gear recovery through reporting it as stolen/missing and searching the web for new images associated to the reported gear. Now it has even expanded towards image misuse.
The idea is great and I’ve been willing to do it since I’ve heard about it an year or so ago. Then you get stuck at the “I have to enter the information, I have to prove it’s mine”. Your mind starts wandering even before you go to their site “How will I prove my very old lenses are mine? Do I need to send them a copy of the receipts?” and the thing gets put in the back-burner and sits there forever.
Some weeks ago there was a Photography Tips & Tricks episode where RC Concepcion talks about the mobile app of Lenstag and goes through the process. I was “It’s so easy! Why am I stalling to do that???”. So I installed the app and did the process.
– Enter the “Model Name”. It has some “auto-complete” thingy for models already in the system.
– Enter the “Serial Number”.
– Take a picture of the serial number and submit it.
That’s it! It stays in a pending status, waiting for verification on Lenstag (they check it somehow, no idea how) and in one or two days your status is updated to “verified”. In a couple of minutes I have registered camera body, lenses and speedlite. The most difficult part was taking a picture of lightly metal engraved serial numbers in very tiny font 🙂
If you sell the gear, you generate a transfer key and give it to the buyer.
If you buy gear, check the serial if it’s not reported as missing/stolen, get the transfer key and take over the registration.
If you get robbed or lost gear, report it.
Haven’t had the opportunity of actually using the service (didn’t buy any used gear, found any on the street, or -luckily- got robbed recently), but the fact that it’s there and that it was so easy is already a relief, even if only for the fact that “my serial numbers are stored somewhere”.
Also haven’t had the change of going into the image search. Soon!
In summary. The idea is great, it’s giving good results, the execution is great, the use experience couldn’t be any easier and better! Just download the app and do it NOW! 🙂