GearGuard Products by Gary Fong

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      In summary

       

      Full review

       

      Late in 2010, Gary Fong added a new range of accessories to his portfolio under the brand name ‘GearGuard’. The GearGuard system is the first security system that allows photographers to lock their equipment to prevent theft. It includes camera body and bag locks, a lens lock and a novel ‘cage’ that protects a compactdigicam from impact damage and doubles as a table-top tripod for this type of camera.

      The Combination Lock and Security Cable lies at the heart of the GearGuard system. Consisting of a 915 mm plastic-covered wire cable and three-barrel combination lock. The cable has a loop at each end, secured by a solid metal seal.

      The lock is a standard luggage lock so it may not discourage an accomplished and determined thief. However, both it and the cable are substantial enough to prevent casual pilfering. Together they can be used with the Camera Body Lock, Camera Bag Lock and/or Lens Lock, which have the necessary loops for the cable but aren’t supplied with either cable or lock.

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      The GearGuard Combination Lock and Security Cable. (Source: Gary Fong.)

      The Camera Body Lock consists of two components: an anchor that is attached to the camera’s tripod socket and a cover that slides over it and prevents the tethering screw from being undone. Loops on each component line up to allow the cable to be passed through them and attached to any secure anchoring place.

      Both components are made from thick and very solid black plastic with a metal screw for fitting the lock to the camera. It would take a determined and resourceful thief to break this set-up.

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      The GearGuard Camera Body Lock in use. (Source: Gary Fong.)
      The Lens Lock is similar to the Camera Body Lock and consists of a very solid black plastic cap that fits over the end of the lens that attaches to the camera body. A rotating inner section swivels around to lock the cap in place. Large loops on each part line up when the lens is locked. As with the camera lock, the lens lock requires the Combination Lock and Security Cable.

      This lock is available only for Canon and Nikon lenses so far and specific to each brand. Because each lens mount is the same for all lenses in a manufacturer’s range, this lock will work with all lenses that have the appropriate mount (including third-party lenses).

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      The GearGuard Lens Lock tethering a lens to a secure anchoring place. (Source: Gary Fong.)
      The Camera Bag Lock comes in two sizes and contains two locking modules. Each locking module consists of two components, a sheath and a slide-in panel. The sheath fits over the clasp and strap that holds your camera bag shut, while the slide-in panel fits into it, completely covering the camera bag’s clasp.
      Both components have the standard loops that allow either the metal cable or the luggage locks to be fitted. Once this is done, the camera bag cannot be opened.

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      The Camera Bag Lock in place, coverign the quick-release buckle. (Source: Gary Fong.)

      Whether you use both locking modules together will depending on the size and number of closures your camera bag has. And the module size you select will depend on the size of the bag’s closures. The large locks are roughly 30% bigger (and thicker) than the small ones.

      The plastic from which these modules is made is not quite as thick as the plastic in the other locks so it may not provide such good protection. However, it should prevent casual pilfering.
      The Flip-Cage Pro is arguably the most versatile product in this suite. Although not carrying the GearGuard branding, it nevertheless provides some protection against impact damage for cameras it contains. However, its main value is as a table-top tripod.

      The concept is deceptively simple: take a plastic platform with an adjustable (in one direction) tripod plate; add two rectangular ‘legs’ that can be rotated through 180 degrees, throw in a couple of diffuser panels that clip onto the legs and, Viola! A surprisingly useful bit of gear.

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      The Flip-Cage Pro without diffuser panels. (Source: Gary Fong.)

      The tripod mounting plate has a horizontal slot that lets you adjust the lateral position of the camera. The screw that attaches the camera to the plate is also threaded (at the opposite end) so you can fit the camera plus Flip-Cage Pro to a normal tripod. However, once again, you will be limited by the adjustability of the tripod head. (The diffuses can be handy, though.)

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      The Flip-Cage Pro plus camera mounted on a normal tripod. (Source: Gary Fong.)

      The diffusers, which are made from flexible translucent plastic, clip onto slots in the lower section of the ‘legs’. Once in place, they can be rotated through almost 170 degrees to diffuse the light and/or reflect light onto the subject.

      The Flip-Cage Pro seems sturdy enough but is too small to be useable with most DSLR cameras. It’s small enough to slip into your camera bag and you can unclip the diffusers to make it easier to pack. Unfortunately, the range of camera positions it provides is limited and, although you can set it up with the camera pointing downwards for close-up shots, this position will only work with a compact camera that can focus to within a centimetre or so of the subject.

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      Two variants in the way the Flip-Cage Pro can be set up. (Source: Gary Fong.)

      In Summary:
      The overall finish of the Gear Guard products is a bit rough and their value to everyday photographers in Australia will be limited, particularly since their local prices are somewhat higher than what US-based photographers are paying for them. (Prices in the USA can be viewed on the Gary Fong Store website (http://www.garyfongestore.com/.)

      The body and lens locks will probably be quite effective at deterring casual pilferers, although they may not prevent your gear from being stolen by cunning and determined thieves. The bag locks should prevent prying fingers from opening the quick-release buckles on your camera bag. However, they won’t deflect a thief who is armed with a sharp knife that can cut through the buckle straps.

      Nevertheless, by attaching these locks to your equipment you’re sending a message to robbers that you’re no easy touch – and in some situations this may be all that’s required to keep your equipment safe. For the relatively small investment involved, these locks could earn their keep over time.

       

      Specifications

       

      Products list:
      Combination Lock and Security Cable (RRP $29.99)
      Camera Body Lock (RRP $29.99)
      Camera Bag Lock Large (RRP $24.99)
      Camera Bag Lock Small (RRP $24.99)
      Lens Lock for Canon or Nikon (RRP $49.99)
      Flip-Cage Pro (RRP $34.99)

       

      Retailers

       

      CamBuy

       

      www.cambuy.com.au
      Digital cameras, lenses and accessories with 100% genuine Australian manufacturer’s warranties.
      Ph: (02) 9029 2219

      Camera House

       

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      CH_Logo120

      www.camerahouse.com.au
      Ph: 133 686
      The largest speciality photographic retail chain in Australia.

      Camera Pro

       

      www.camerapro.net.au
      CameraPro Pty Ltd
      Suite 607, 180 Queen St, Brisbane 4000
      Tel: 07 3333 2900
      Australian owned and run company based in Brisbane.

      Camerasdirect

       

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      CamerasDirect133

      www.camerasdirect.com.au
      Retailer of digital camera equipment and more.
      Secure online shopping and delivery across Australia.
      Ph: 1300 727 056

      Camerastore.com.au

       Camerastore.com.au
      Ph: 1800 155 067

      Camera-Warehouse

       

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      camera-warehouse120

      www.camera-warehouse.com.au
      Comprehensive range of digital cameras and accessories online (www.camera-warehouse.com.au) and an online print service (www.royalexpress.com.au).

      Digital Camera Warehouse

       

      www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au
      174 Canterbury Road 367 High Street
      Canterbury Northcote
      NSW 2193 VIC 3070
      Ph: 1300 365 220

      Electronics Warehouse

       

      www.electronicswarehouse.com.au
      1300 801 885
      Australian retailer of Vapex rechargeable batteries offering factory direct prices and fast, free shipping Australia wide.

       

       

      Photographic Equipment & Supplies – Retail & Repairs. Click here for list of stores.

      Ted’s Cameras

       

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      Teds-Logo120

      www.teds.com.au

      1800 186 895
      Big range of cameras and photographic products with stores in most states and online.

      Rating

      Buy