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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-25-2016

500mm Through Airport Security

I have a question about getting a 500mm Lens through airport Security. More specfically the Japanese Airport Security.


The back story. I came here on vacation with a few friends of mine, checking off our bucket list to travel around Japan (and parts of South Korea) for landscape, street photography, and wild life. However while i was here i was in Fukuoka City to watch the Softbank Hawks play baseball. During exploration of the city we found a 2nd hand store and i saw the Canon 500mm F/4 sitting there with the price tag of 390,000 Yen (About $3,700). I couldn't say no and I bought it. I have ALWAYS wanted a high powered Super Telephoto but could never afford it (On ebay they range from 5-6.5 Thousand Dollars). I tried the best i can to translate using a translator to ask if there was anything wrong and he let me take it outside and shoot with it. I did not see any issues the AF was quick, was very heavy to hand hold, the IS seems to be working, and it came with the Canon Hard Case (I however did not come with a cracked Lens Hood, but thats ok ill spend the 500 dollars to buy a new one (for now i just taped it up with duct tape). Nevertheless I am supremely pleased with my purchase and took as many wildlife as i can (Means i dont have to use my 70-200 F/4 with a Teleconverter).


But now the issue arises. How can i get this lens through security? I already have 1 checked bag and my Camera Gear bag and my small backpack full of random knick nacks are my 2 allowable Carry Ons. Has anyone had any trouble bring a 3rd carry on? I have seen people with 2 carry ons carry their guitars on board. Do you think the Airport will allow similar situation to happen with my Precious Glass? Anyway Help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You





Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,218
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: 500mm Through Airport Security

Can't you just call and ask them? Or ask the ariline? Or a Japanese travel agency? I take it you're reluctant to ship the lens, so why not check the lighter of your two current carry ons, paying whever extra they charge you for it?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-25-2016

Re: 500mm Through Airport Security

[ Edited ]

To be very honest i would gladly contact the airline, but i am nervious. if it was an american carrier e.g Delta, United, American. However we did fly ANA here. Of course im going to go to the airport and pay fees if they are invovled i am just trying to prepare ahead to see if anyone else was in a similar situation where Japanese customs wont allow the max carry on. I dont want to put my smaller duffel bag onto checked as it has a few vital things that require to follow me (and i cannot shove into the camera bag as i accidentally packed that bag tight). Shipping would be my absolute last resort if its what it comes down to though. I am not scared of shipping the lens i just rather have it by my side. But if thats what it takes to get it back to the states then so be it.

Posts: 12,081
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 500mm Through Airport Security

I have never flown to Japan but my son has.  I am going to bet you have to pay customs on it. You will have to declare it.


I don't think you should be worried about shipping it.  It is a very tough lens and will take a lot of abuse.  Just make sure you insure it.  

You can't imagine what I have seen some guys do to these big white Canon lenses.  I still own one and believe me they are unbelievable.  Remember all of them ship from Japan anyway and they are just in a cargo container.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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