Camera to Stealth Mode

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As a street photographer I like to blend in with the city background, choosing clothing that does not stand out from the crowd, or in tourist areas actually looking like a foreign tourist. I like to operate in what I call stealth mode. But what about the camera, can it operate in stealth mode was well? The answer is yes it can.

There are number of things you can consider to help operate your camera in stealth mode, quite, unassuming, un-noticed and above all quiet.

The first is noise.

Turn off all of those annoying beeps and tones that modern digital camera manufacturers seem to think we actually require but don’t. I don’t need the camera to beep every time I’ve taken a picture. I know, I’ve just pressed the shutter with my finger! I also don’t want my target subject to know I’ve just pressed that shutter either. So, first thing I do is disable any menu items that will make a noise. This includes the fake shutter release noise on my latest camera the Panasonic Lumix G6.

The next thing to consider is flash.

The last thing you want is your camera flash to pop up at the most inconvenient of times, i.e. usually when you’ve just got your camera in position for that once-in-life-time shot – a flash firing off alerts everyone around you that someone is taking pictures. Not a good idea. So, dig into those settings and set the flash never to fire. You can always enable it later when you actually want to use it.

And the next item is little red lights.

Another thing to consider, though not all that common on digital stills cameras, are little red LED’s beaming merrily away on the front plate of the camera. I have one on my older Pentax S5Z and I think it makes the camera sticks out like a sore thumb, especially on dull days or at night. Look at me I’m a camera and I’m switched on. Again, delve into those settings and turn the damn thing off.

The final item I want to mention is the colour of the camera.

Most cameras come in glossy or matt-black, and as a colour that’s okay as far as stealth is concerned. I’ve seen a few models available in a mid-grey colour which might also blend in rather well. I would always avoid anything in silver, aluminium or the like, just too flashy for stealth mode. Anything bright yellow, pink, red, orange and so on…well, what do you think?

Finally, whatever colour of camera you have think about the background against which the camera will be seen. Perhaps it might be better to wear a black or dark coloured top, jacket or whatever of carrying a dark coloured camera? A black camera hanging around your neck while wearing a black jacket would certainly be a good idea.

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