How to Find Your Stolen or Lost Digital Camera [Quicktip]

What would you do if you have lost your digital camera? What can you do to track it down and retrieve it? Back then, at best you can get a network provider to track the IMEI number of your phone and block the number from being used further. Today, we have better preventive measures to retrieve the information inside the phone, even if we’re not seeing that lost phone ever again.

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Misplacing your digital camera, that’s a whole other story. If you merely lost it at a place where you usually go, there’s still a chance you can get your camera back, but is there hope if the digital camera was stolen from you? Actually, yes.

You see, every photo taken with a digital camera has an EXIF data that is like a unique serial number of you digital camera. Granted that the camera thief uses the camera like how it is commonly used today, i.e. posting the pictures taken with the camera somewhere online, you can track the camera down and get it back. For this to work, you will need the help of the aptly named web service Stolen Camera Finder.

Find your Lost or Stolen Camera

To start locating your lost or stolen digital camera, go to the Stolen Camera Finder homepage.

Stolen Camera Finder

In the middle of the page, there is a drop area, simply drag and drop in a photo that had been previously taken with your lost camera.

Drop a photo

Once you drop a photo, Stolen Camera Finder will automatically start searching other photos on the Web based on the EXIF data. If they find anything, you will see results. Even if you don’t find any photos, you still get to see the details of your digital camera that they are using to track down other photos that are taken with the same camera.

Result

One thing to remember, the photo that you drop or submit to Stolen Camera Finder must be an original, non-edited photo, this is to make sure that the EXIF data remains with the photo. Some photo editors will wipe away these details.

Briefly about EXIF Data

Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) is a file format for storing metadata in an image or audio file. Every photo taken with your digital camera contains information of the image and the camera, such as the date and time taken, camera model and manufacturer, temperature and more.

Example Exif

What Stolen Camera Finder does is crawl through as much data as possible from images all over the Internet that contains EXIF data, so when you report a stolen camera, it will check your EXIF data (i.e. the camera serial number) based on the image you submitted, and then try to match it with their collections. The bigger collection of data they have, the better the chance of you finding your camera.

Contribute to Stolen Camera Finder

You can donate to their cause or help Stolen Camera Finder by installing its Chrome extension on your Chrome browser. This extension will do only one thing that is to scan EXIF data stored in all images loaded on your browser. The data will then be sent to the Stolen Camera Finder database. Alternatively, you can also use Flickr Scrapper that does the same thing but limited to only Flickr images.

Chrome Extension

Important FAQ

If you are wondering, you can find out if Stolen Camera Finder supports your digital camera from their supported camera list. If you don’t have a photo saved, you can simply enter your camera serial number from the manual submission form. For a clear picture of its traction, you can view the lost and found map from the website.

Lost and Found Map

Conclusion

Stolen Camera Finder has made it possible for you to track and locate your lost digital camera, but if the user never uploads photo taken with the camera to the Internet, you will not be able to find it with this web service. Also, if the camera does not support EXIF records, this web service is of no use to your search. For list of supported camera, you can check here.

Have you or your friends tried Stolen Camera Finder? Do you have any success stories to share? Keep your cameras safe!



Author:

Mustaza is a traveller, social media lover and a freelance web designer with years of experience working collaboratively over the Internet.