Quote Originally Posted by edz View Post
Spy and secret agents are the guys with Minox cameras!

If you want to take pictures and not stick out these days you use a cell phone. Minox subminiature cameras are for getting noticed striking up conversations.

One of the more interesting (quirkier) cameras that the East German secret police used (for crowd surveillance) was a TLR (Meopta Flexarette) with a silenced Robot 50 hidden inside. A Robot as an usual camera would have been noticed. An old TLR was nothing to take notice of--- especially closed in its case.

Throughout most the world today (especially Middle East) cameras stick out as their middle classes, for the most part, consider them old stuff and obsolete. On development projects (research) with Middle East and Mediterranean partners when I pull out one of my cameras its always greeted with curiosity (and considered a bit freakish). Alongside everyone's cell phones with cameras nearly all also have a newish digital camera (sometimes purchased just before a conference).

Sometimes its not the act of taking a picture that presents a problem but the "performance". During the cold war visiting East Berlin, the not-so secret police accepted that people had ordinary cameras but if someone was to pull out an Arriflex they'd be in deep !@# as an unauthorized TV journalist as **all** 16mm cine cameras required a special authorization. Its about perception and not logic. I was once stopped at the East/West crosspoint with my Bolex but (luckily) the police just laughed at the funny old fashioned wind-up camera.

What do you think would happen if I stood across the road (in front of the park) from the White House or the Pentagon with a 1000mm Astro Berlin telephoto attached to a 1940s camera (the state of the early 1940s art)? You bet someone with a pod-in-their-ear would come over to have a lookie....
Reminds of a Japanese journalist who has just returned from Iraq after staying there for 9 months or so by smuggling and working in a kitchen as a cook. He said in his blog he was literally spying on the mercenaries and the outside scenes and sometimes going out with his camera phone and took pics. But it turned out the quality of the photos was so poor, I guess in low light it was useless, and he only got pretty poor audio of bomb explosion, etc. But he's a good writer and has been writing about it ever since, so I guess he didn't lose much...