With camera equipment being a popular target of thieves (especially if you're in San Francisco), the ability to track and locate missing cameras or another piece of gear has never been more important.
To that end, many companies are now offering hidden cavities to slide in the Apple AirTag. SmallRig has become the latest camera accessories company to add the hidden security feature into their designs.
How AirTags Work
If you’re unfamiliar with how the Apple AirTags work, then let us break it down for you.
Users can access the location of the AirTag using the Find My app on their iPhones, Apple computers, or MacBooks. Priced at $29, the quarter size AirTag sends out a secure and anonymous Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby Apple devices, then transmits that signal to the Find My network.
The device then transmits that location information up to iCloud, where the user (or local authorities) can access it to find the location of their missing items.
SmallRig To The Rescue
Many camera accessory companies have started to design a little cavity for the AirTag or devices like the AirTag into their products. This gives users the ability to insert their AirTag, and keep track of the location of gear that is notoriously difficult to guard against being lost or stolen.
SmallRig Mount Plate for AirTagCredit: SmallRig
SmallRig has designed its quick-release plates and cage attachments to house them. The universal SmallRig Cage for AirTags costs about $15, and has two ¼”-20 screws to attach the housing to the camera itself. SmallRig also has a quick-release Acra-Type plate design for a more compact configuration. That device is priced at $22.
SmallRig Quick Release Mount PlateCredit: SmallRigThe housing measures 36 mm x 40 mm and is about 16 mm deep, and is made of PVC plastic, which doesn’t interfere with the device’s Bluetooth signal. The device can then be screwed onto a camera cage using two of the many mounting points. The housing itself uses M2.5 Torx screws to securely lock in the Apple Tag, making it more difficult for a thief to remove it.
The Nine Volt AirCap
Another company that offers a hidden AirTag slot is Nine Volt, and its AirCap line of camera lens and body covers. Made out of durable carbon fiber, the camera body cap has a hidden rear compartment built into the body cover to house the AirTag.
The company says that they have designed the AirCap in a way that the hidden compartment isn’t obvious or easily removed. It is secured by four neodymium magnets. That design security isn’t cheap at $49, AirTag not included, but it is a small price to pay when your camera cost thousands of dollars.
Nine Volt AirCap camera bodyCredit: Nine Volt AirCap
The Waterproof TagVault Keychain
There’s also the ElevationLab TagVault Keychain, which offers a secure and waterproof housing for an AirTag, which can then be affixed to backpacks, bags, and camera straps. The housing is low profile with custom self-piercing Torx screws and a fiber-reinforced composite construction. For $20, you can’t beat the price. There are also two packs for $35 and four packs for $60.
Credit: Elevation Lab
An honorable mention is Pelican, which also makes adhesive AirTag Holders. These can be attached to everything from camera bags to tripods, and their line of hard shell equipment cases. Those tags are best hidden in the camera cases so that they aren’t obviously viewed.
Pelican protector sick mount for AirTagsCredit: Pelican
Having the security to track thousands of dollars worth of gear seems to be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, privacy advocates complain that the small pocket-sized Air Tags can be used to track people as well, with some users suing Apple over the devices being used by stalkers.
Apple, however, counters with the fact that the AirTag is designed to let your iPhone know if someone else's AirTag finds its way into your bag or other belongings. It then notifies you with an alert and a sound, so that the suspect tag can be located and disposed of.
Moreover, choosing to track your stolen equipment without police can be dangerous. It’s wise to provide the location data to the authorities and let them recover the gear in the case of theft.
Either way, being able to securely track your camera gear at any given moment provides peace of mind when traveling or working on location. With perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in film or photography gear at stake, investing the $29 that Apple charges for the Apple AirTag seem a slam dunk.
All one needs to do is find a hard-to-find place to hide it, and these devices do the trick. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Source: Nikon Rumors