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5 days in Buenos Aires - Camera to bring
Old 06-19-2017   #1
jsrockit
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5 days in Buenos Aires - Camera to bring

Traveling to Buenos Aires (from Santiago, Chile) for 5 days starting on Thursday.

First, I'm not sure what the streets are like in Buenos Aires... are they narrow, are they wide, do they vary greatly? This will help with my lens selection. For example, when I went to Japan...I used a 35mm and 50mm lens. I wish I had a 28mm lens many times. I'm not a huge lens guy and typically use 28-85mm. I do have a 24-85mm (Fuji 16-55mm) zoom that I typically use for travel... which leads me to my next question...

How safe is it in Buenos Aires to be bringing something like a Fujifilm X-T2 with a 16-55mm lens? Would I be better off just bringing my pocket camera (the Fujifilm X70) and making do?

My research online makes Buenos Aires sound very unsafe with regard to theft. However, if you look up any major city in most countries, you can find horror stories as well. I'm trying to separate myth from fact. I'll be traveling with my GF (who's Chilean), and she's been before, but she's not into photography so she never worried about cameras.

Thanks.
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Old 06-19-2017   #2
ferider
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Have a look here, Jon:

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare...New+York%2C+NY

It wouldn't deter me, but be careful. Don't over-dress, be careful at night in particular, etc.

Have fun !

Roland.
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Old 06-19-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Have a look here, Jon:

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare...New+York%2C+NY

It wouldn't deter me, but be careful. Don't over-dress, be careful at night in particular, etc.

Have fun !

Roland.
yikes! I'd take my Zenit 12sd. I can use that as a club and it will still work.
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Old 06-19-2017   #4
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I think the smaller the better, I think the X-70 looks perfect. If only it had a finder. XT-2 looks like something someone might hit you to get.
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Old 06-19-2017   #5
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take a 28mm. i wouldn't worry about theft any more than going to new york.
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Old 06-19-2017   #6
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I would take both cameras.
I was there in 2008. Rented an apartment in San Telmo district for two weeks.
I was almost robbed in Boca. More a crime of opportunity. And I was stupid for not following the travel warnings in Lonely Planet which included; don't walk down any side streets in Boca. I had just finished the stadium tour, which was fun. Late afternoon. Thought I'd take a short cut. More a crime of opportunity. The street looked safe. Except that it was almost deserted, which should have been a clue. 3 kids drinking beer. Started with a demand for change. Intimations of a weapon, but none was ever flashed. I managed to escape when a car came by, I started shouting and then running. I don't think they were serious criminals.

That said, I read reports later of a photographer being mugged in a main square.

As I said, read the travel warnings. Lots of scams. Like smearing sh*t on you and pretending to help you clean up. Someone I know was robbed that way shortly before I went in a main park.

When I went, I took my R-D1 with a couple of lenses, ZM 50mm Sonnar and a Canon 35mm ltm, as well as my GRD2.

Interestingly, on my first morning there, I was photographing some Pride activities near the palace, and a professional photographer briefly met told me to not flash my camera around the city; but then she laughed and said it (the epson) looked like an old camera and it probably wouldn't be a problem.)

Can't speak for all of the areas, because they are different. But my memories are of fairly wide streets. "An imperial city for a non-existent empire," as one author wrote.

The Lonely Planet thorn tree forums would be up-to-date with scam information. You can also download a PDF of the Lonely Planet guidebook chapter for BA, and it wouldn't be expensive, an would have safety tips.

I don't know whether things have changed much. I walked around San Telmo, which was being gentrified but was still rough at the edges, literally and figuratively, at night.
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Old 06-19-2017   #7
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Thanks all. My girlfriend has been there numerous times and she knows where to go and where not to go for the most part.

This is the thing that throws me off. If you read about NYC safety on the internet, it says many of the same things as BA. However, I lived there for 9 years and visited often from NJ prior to that without ANY issues ever.

Additionally, I've read that people steal cameras in Santiago, Chile (which is safe for the most part) and people tell me to watch my camera all of the time... but I go where I want and bring my camera right out in the open. I haven't had any issues yet. I also am very aware of my surroundings, photograph quickly, and keep moving. I'd be more worried about my cell phone here.

That said, perhaps bringing the X70 and just enjoying myself is best this time. I'm more of a 50mm user these days, but I'll get back in the 28mm groove quickly.
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Old 06-19-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
Have a look here, Jon:

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare...New+York%2C+NY

It wouldn't deter me, but be careful. Don't over-dress, be careful at night in particular, etc.

Have fun !

Roland.
Thanks. I always dress in a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. I won't wear my watch even. I'm not a flashy guy really. However, I like to use my cameras on a neck strap and this might be too inviting. Not sure.
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Old 06-19-2017   #9
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Check with your homeowners insurance. It may be that your personal effects are covered when traveling. If so, if the worst happened, you'd only be out your deductible. Transfer your photos to your laptop or backup each night, or carry an SD card for each day. You bought your camera for a reason. It would be a shame not to use it.
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Old 06-19-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Check with your homeowners insurance.
No home owners insurance in Chile currently since my GF doesn't believe in it. I'm looking into it for my stuff but I'm only on a tourist VISA currently.

Quote:
Transfer your photos to your laptop or backup each night, or carry an SD card for each day.
Yeah, I use the multiple SD card method. I don't bring my laptop on trips.

Quote:
You bought your camera for a reason. It would be a shame not to use it.
Well, any cameras I don't use on this trip get used the other 360 days of the year. Travel photography isn't a big deal to me. I prefer to photograph where I live more. I photograph prolifically. No worries about gear not getting used. This is more about what is sensible to bring specifically to BA since it appears to have a little more of a problem with theft than other cities I've lived in. However, we all know there is a lot of myth about certain cities. I'm trying to figure out what to believe and what not to.

On a side note, my girlfriend said that Argentinians will buy their electronics in Chile due to electronics costing a lot more in Argentina. Chile is about 1/3rd more expensive for electronics than NYC is already.
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Old 06-19-2017   #11
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take the x70, relax, and enjoy the trip

you're plenty good enough to "run with what you brung"
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Old 06-19-2017   #12
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Thanks MCT.
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Old 06-19-2017   #13
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As an Argentinian, don't be soooo scared nor so confident... try not to look like a fancy rich tourist and enjoy your stay. . And for lenses, I'd recommend a wide angle and a 35 or 50.. you'll have very different "landscapes"
Any further questions or recommendations needed ask me I'll be glad to help you
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Old 06-19-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManuOManny View Post
As an Argentinian, don't be soooo scared nor so confident... try not to look like a fancy rich tourist and enjoy your stay. . And for lenses, I'd recommend a wide angle and a 35 or 50.. you'll have very different "landscapes"

Any further questions or recommendations needed ask me I'll be glad to help you
Thank you...
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Old 06-20-2017   #15
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Any other thoughts on this?
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Old 06-20-2017   #16
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I'll jump in to share my experiences visiting Buenos Aires.

First and foremost, I highly recommend visiting the San Telmo Street Fair. I took this picture there.

At the street fair, I found the streets were fairly narrow. There are lots and lots of opportunities to get some great street shots. On the other hand, some of the streets in the main part of the city were very wide. For example, the widest street in the world, 9 de Julio Avenue, is located in Buenos Aires. You can even google it to find out more about this street.

How I approached the street crime aspect of my visit was to get a bag that had a closure. It was a copy of the Domke F8
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...m=Y&sku=829791

I brought two cameras, my FM2N and a small Nikon DSLR I was using at the time. Both of them fit in the bag and, when I wasn't shooting, I put the cameras back in the bag so as not to draw attention. This trip was before I bought my first rangefinder, an M6. I even had the film developed an scanned in Buenos Aires. I think the above image in this post was shot on Ektar 100 and was developed and scanned in a shop in Buenos Aires.

I was lucky in that I never had any problems with street crime during my time in Buenos Aires, even the one time when traveling alone at night on the subway to attend a tango dance.

Not sure if you have time to do it on this trip or not, but I highly recommend attending a soccer game in Buenos Aires. It is an incredible experience and not at all like attending a football game here in the US. There are moats around the playing field (to discourage fans from running onto the field) and there were, at the game I attended, police mounted on horseback with riot shields. Before entering the stadium, we had to split into two lines, one for men and one for women, where we were searched.

Have a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires!

Ellen
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Old 06-20-2017   #17
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Thanks for the info Ellen. I'm starting to relax about it.
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Old 06-20-2017   #18
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I used to travel BA frequently. Its a big city with also poor neighborhoods. Going to one of those at night time naturally increase odds of unpleasant experience. But in general I saw or heard nothing of why to be extra cautious or not to bring camera with you. Mine was always in a shoulder bag though, when I wasn't using it.
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Old 06-21-2017   #19
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It's been a few years and some economic hard times since I was there last, but when I was there, I schlepped around not only a Contax G1 with 28 and 45 lenses, but a Canham 5x7 with tripod, five lenses, and a dozen film holders. I didn't take the Canham to Boca, but I did bring it around to the Puerto Madero and Av 9 de Julio AT NIGHT to shoot night shots, and some street scenes in San Telmo, with nary a problem. I even got interviewed on a program called Gonzo TV, which airs on a Latin-American cable network. I did get scoffed at by a little old lady in San Telmo because I told her I found it interesting to photograph. That was the worst of it. I also dragged that rig up to Iguazu Falls and photographed the waterfall with it. So unless BA has turned into Detroit since then, I'd not be more concerned about gear safety than I would in any other major metropolitan area.
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Old 06-21-2017   #20
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So unless BA has turned into Detroit since then, I'd not be more concerned about gear safety than I would in any other major metropolitan area.
Ok, I'm feeling better about bringing what I want. My girlfriends said we will mostly be in good neighborhoods. Thanks all.
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Old 06-21-2017   #21
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Anything I would suggest by way of general precaution would be to avoid carrying a camera bag and perhaps sticking to one camera for the day (always by your hand) but it seems you are already doing that. Basically anything that won't draw attention to yourself and stand you out as a mark. It would be interesting if you just took the X-70 and that would be what I would do as well except it would be my x100s. Have you considered perhaps the X-T2 with a wide/normal lens and using your iPhone as the wide option? Let us know how you go after the trip and which one you ended up using more!
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Old 06-22-2017   #22
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Anything I would suggest by way of general precaution would be to avoid carrying a camera bag and perhaps sticking to one camera for the day (always by your hand) but it seems you are already doing that. Basically anything that won't draw attention to yourself and stand you out as a mark. It would be interesting if you just took the X-70 and that would be what I would do as well except it would be my x100s. Have you considered perhaps the X-T2 with a wide/normal lens and using your iPhone as the wide option? Let us know how you go after the trip and which one you ended up using more!
I'm not a fan of the iPhone really. I prefer to use real cameras . I think I will be bringing the X70 and X-T2 w/ 35mm. I could bring the X100F only as well. Not brining the X-Pro2 because IF something happened to it, I'd be devastated! I have options. I figure once Friday comes, I'll decide completely.
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Old 06-22-2017   #23
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Ok, I'm going with the X100F only. Keep it simple but also comfortable. The X70 only I think wouldn't be the right move for me at this time.
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Old 06-23-2017   #24
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Ok, I'm going with the X100F only. Keep it simple but also comfortable.
Sweet. Good luck and happy travels!
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Old 06-23-2017   #25
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Good luck, js! Stay safe and be cool.
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