Sunday, July 21, 2013
Lenstag Aims to End Camera and Lens Theft
They are never safe even if insured, and when you lost them and get stolen you rush to foruns and friends databases to try and keep track to them.
It's always a pain and in most cases you will never get them back, even after spending several hours reporting them to the police and insurance company.
I know that most of the online databases where you could mostly try to find your gear by serial number (Flickr or Google) aren't our best friends but then came Lenstag.
Well you can say puff!! it's an online free service and no one would care about this.
Well let me explain you something!!
Lenstag was created by Google engineer Trevor Sehrer and is an online equipment registry that makes it easier to report and track stolen cameras and lenses.
Let’s take a look at how the service works. It starts with a simple one step sign in/up form. Enter your email and password, and you’ll soon find yourself looking at a main registry in which you can list out all the gear you own.
After you sign in to your account you will your account. At this moment you will not have much there except a link to Share your gear list with your friends, that is very useful and you can customize as you please in the settings area.
Let's Start to add gear. You can register any gear you would like but some are already in there, for the most used gear anyway. As you start to type a list will show you the options, but if your gear is not in the list you can add it manually.
The same for your lenses and other accessories.
Here is a list of some gear I set and are now ready to be verified by ticking the blue icon or removed by clicking on the red trash icon.
After you have registered all your gear online, it's time to verify if it's really yours.
This may be the part where you will back away just because it will take you a little longer to have all your gear photographed.
Don't get yourself carried away by this step, this will really make a proof the gear is yours and is a great safety precaution to have it registered. Not like on Canon CPS or Nikon NPS where you can have all your old lens and cameras even the ones you have already sold so that you can have that Platinum membership.
Don't be LAZY go and take pictures of all your registered gear and make this happen ASAP!!!
If you have sold some gear or want to transfer it to someone else this is also possible, just follow the steps.
Then if you have some stolen gear that was already registered you can report it stolen, just that simple.
This is the message that will pop up after you report it stolen. Once this report is filed, your gear will be marked as stolen in the Lenstag system.
For example, a photographer buying a lens on Craigslist will now have an easy database to query for figuring out whether they’re buying stolen wares. Police departments and pawn shops can also use the Lenstag registry for easy lookups.
In addition to providing the information through a Lenstag search, the site attempts to make the stolen gear report show up in Internet searches. Each stolen piece of gear has its own public web page that lists it as a stolen item.
And you can also check the online gear that was already reported stolen. This way you can buy your 2nd hand gear on ebay or somewhere else with "some" safety. I say "some" has this will not contemplate for the moment all the stolen gear that are out there but it's a good starting point.
This page is indexed by search engines such as Google. What this means is that you won’t need to do any special searches on the Lenstag website — a simple search on Google for a serial number and a keyword (e.g. “stolen,” “lenstag”) will do.
Larger businesses have already begun partnering with Lenstag in order to keep a handle on their gear. These include two large equipment rental companies, LensRentals and BorrowLenses, who are now utilizing the system to reduce theft and speed up equipment recovery.
There is another place where you can look for stolen cameras and we talked about that in this Lighting Mods article "Stolen Camera Finder, helps you find your camera".