I came across an app for my iPhone the other day, and the idea is so good that I have to share it with all my fellow photographers out there.
The idea behind Lenstag is very simple. It's a free (yes FREE!) service where you can register all the expensive camera gear you own. In the event that it gets stolen, you can flag it as stolen in the system, and the Lenstag community can then keep an eye out for your gear, identified by serial number. It's also a great place to look if you are buying some 2nd hand kit - double check the database to make sure it's not stolen goods!
Even better, Lenstag can monitor the web for any sign of photos taken with your nicked gear. Presumably it plows through image metadata for the embedded serial numbers of the equipment it was shot with, giving you another angle to chase down your gear from.
Setting up your Lenstag account is simple as. You download the app onto your phone, tablet or whatever. You then enter the details of your camera gear - brand and model. Also enter the serial number, and then take a photo from within the app of the serial number as a verification that you actually own said item.
That's pretty much all you need to do!
Once verified, Lenstag adds your gear into its database. It has a nifty little valuer, letting you know roughly how much your kit is worth both new and used (handy for determining how much to insure your precious gear for). It also gives you a personalised link to the list of your gear - here's mine: https://www.lenstag.com/u/jonharrisphotography. At the moment this page isn't particularly useful - as the service progresses it'd be nice to see some stock images of the gear, or perhaps even the ability to upload your own images. Perhaps linking off to the manufacturer's product page too. But hey, this is a free service so I can't really complain!
Clearly, the more users there are in the Lenstag community the better to keep an eye on each other's gear, and the more powerful and effective this concept becomes.
So if you have some camera gear, and you reckon you'd be pretty peeved if someone knocked it off, then sign up to Lenstag and spread the word to start building the Lenstag community!