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The Six Most Stolen Photography Gear of 2013

By fotosiamo on December 18th 2013

Earlier in the year, we talked a bit about Lenstag, the online database website where you can register the serial numbers of your camera bodies and lenses. The idea behind this is that in the unfortunate event that someone steals your gear and try to resell it elsewhere, a potential buyer can look up the serial number to see if that item is indeed a stolen item. The serial numbers are also added into Google Search, so the buyer doesn’t even have to go into Lenstag’s website.

Lenstag recently release an intriguing infographic that shows which gear are most sought after by thieves and which places are the most popular targets for theft.

Most Popular Location for Gear Theft

Whether it is from being careless and leaving your camera bag in plain sight in the backseat or forgetting to lock your car, 29% of gear theft occurs when your gear is in your car.

So how do you protect your gear in your car? First of all, it goes without saying that you should leave your camera bag in the trunk whenever possible. Gear that is just sitting in your front or back seat in public view is asking for trouble. If you can, try to also park close to your shooting location or at least in an area with busy foot traffic. The more onlookers walk by your car, the less likely that a thief will try to break into your car.

As we mentioned in our article on how to protect your gear from theft, it is also a good idea to have either a motion alarm like the Tool Guard or a GPS tracking system like the PocketFinder in your camera bag for those time when you do have to leave your camera bag in your car.

At 25%, the house is surprisingly the second-most popular location for gear theft. When it comes to high-dollar electronics, camera and lenses are some of the easiest to pick up and leave with. There are of course many safety precautions that you can take whenever you leave your house, from alarm system to double checking the entry points of your house.

If your camera bag has the GPS tracking device that we mentioned before, it can help the police department track down your stolen gear. Additionally, using a serial tracking service like Lenstag can also help you and the police find your gear.

GPS Tracking

Most Stolen Camera Bodies and Lenses

Although you may think that full-frame DSLRs would take the top spots for most stolen DSLRs, the top three are actually mid-range to advanced APS-C DSLRs:

  1. Nikon D7000
  2. Canon 60D
  3. Canon 7D

Although the most popular bodies are all mid-level DSLRs, the most stolen lenses are all high end, professional Canon L lenses:

  1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
  2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens
  3. Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens

The Lenstag Stolen Gear Infographic

Lenstag Stolen Gear Infographic

What Else You Can Do

Having your gear stolen can be a very costly disaster, especially if your livelihood depends on your gear. There are some actions steps that you should take to minimize the financial damage. The first is to make sure you insure your gear. Whether it is through a dedicated photography insurance company (I use APA Insurance) or your homeowner’s insurance, having insurance means that your bank account doesn’t have to take a massive hit in order to replace the stolen items.

The second is to register your gear on the manufacturer’s website and on serial tracking websites such as Lenstag.

Finally, whenever possible, keep your gear in front of you where you can see it. Earlier in the year, we posted an article about a thief who walked away with a Pelican case containing $6,000 worth of camera equipment during a wedding ceremony. The wedding photographer placed the case at the back of the ceremony and was shooting in front of the ceremony by the altar.

Luckily, the videographer caught the act on tape, as you can see at the end of this video clip. The police did eventually track down the stolen gear and arrested the perpetrator.

So in the end, mind your gear when it’s in sight and when it’s stored away. It’s not as hard as you think for someone to just walk away with your bag.

To learn more tips, check out our article on how to protect your gear from theft.


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook


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  1. Matthew Silliman

    I shoot with a D7000, fortunately it has not been stollen! But I have had reflectors walkaway from a shoot.

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  2. Marty

    That’s why I always have 2-3 assistance, seriously, I have one specifically for that reason to watch the equipment

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  3. Maniah

    Looks like we need a GPS chip in camera, lens, and almost everything :)

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  4. Patrick Nick

    “Although you may think that full-frame DSLRs would take the top spots for most stolen DSLRs, the top three are actually mid-range to advanced APS-C DSLRs”.
    This could easily be a consequence of the data. Imagine a world with 1’000 mid-range bodies and 100 high-end bodies. Mid-range bodies have a chance of 10% to be stolen, whereas high-end bodies have a 20% chance to be stolen. This means 100 mid-range bodies and 20 high-end bodies are stolen, even though the thieves like high-end bodies twice as much as mid-range bodies.
    From the given data, we cannot know which models are how likely to be stolen because we don’t know how many of which are out there.

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  5. Dan

    It would seem that these are the most commonly stolen lenses because the cost of most kit lenses is negligible and they’re not registered with Lenstag. I suspect all easily seen and accessible lenses in a car or house would be stolen. The crop sensor bodies being stolen equally justify Lenstag registration rather than lower cost bodies and the fewer full frame bodies. This seems more like basic market presence than startling news.

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  6. Dave

    It would be interesting (if possible) to compare the most popular cameras by number of sales with the most stolen items to see if that explains why those bodies are stolen as if can’t imagine thieves being camera savvy enough to identify particular models. Brands maybe, but models and other rear?

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    • Christopher

      That’s a very good point … i would be very interested in seeing that study/infographic

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