by Dirk Moeller
It really is as simple as that. "Why?" you ask?
Because stuff gets stolen. Everyday, everywhere.
Because photographers buy used / second hand gear, which totally makes sense and is often a real bargain.
The two facts combined create the market for stolen camera gear.
This is where Lenstag comes into play. It is a big database for serial numbers of everything photo related.
Now, once you've done that, all your gear will appear in a list:
The verification takes a couple of days at most. It is a manual process and as far as I know, Lenstag is a classical "One Man Show".
From now on, every possible buyer of equipment can use the Lenstag Android or iOS App to look up that particular serial number and gets an alert in case it is stolen/registered. That is not only every potential individual, but also larger reputable camera stores that use Lenstag already.
If you sell anything of your gear, you transfer ownership in Lenstag to the new owner or remove the item from your gear list. A new feature will also estimate the total worth of your gear list. That works not particularly well with Leica gear (too exotic?), but should work with the big brands.
The latest addition to the service is Lenstag Rescue, an extension for Chrome browsers that constantly checks the EXIF of photos on websites you browse on and compares the camera serials with the ones flagged as stolen in Lenstag's database. This is similar to stolencamerafinder.com, but in this case the extension users are basically the crawler, looking for stolen gear - which makes sense to me, considering that photo forums and closed usergroups can't be crawled at all. I have activated the extension and can so far report no performance loss in my browsing.
So, now go and register your gear on Lenstag. It's free.