This Site Can Tell You If Anyone Else Has Taken Pictures With Your Camera

This Site Can Tell You If Anyone Else Has Taken Pictures With Your Camera
Photo: Triff, Shutterstock

The frustration and despair of losing your camera (or, god forbid, having one stolen) is legendary, even in era of the smartphone camera. Just think: losing both a piece of expensive gear and the priceless digital mementos of your trip to Yonkers. But after you’ve shaken your fist at the heavens and retraced your steps, is there anything else you can do? Maybe. This website provides an avenue for investigation, and offers a sliver of hope. It’s a tiny sliver of hope to be sure, but it’s better than no hope at all.

It works like this: You upload a picture taken with the missing camera to stolencamerafinder.com, which then uses the camera’s serial number (saved in the photo’s EXIF data) to crawls the internet in search of other photos taken with that same camera. If it finds a match, you may have a lead on where your camera ended up.

From there, you can try to track down and contact the “new owner” via email to request your camera’s return, file a report with the authorities, or devote your life to hunting the thief yourself, John Wick style.

None of these options is likely to result in the return of your Nikon, but it has worked in the past, and maybe it will help you find closure. Maybe just knowing what the hell happened to your camera is the best you can hope for? And the site also provides a database of lost cameras all over the world, so you’ll at least know you’re not alone.

Sadly, cameraphones don’t normally save serial numbers, and not every dedicated camera does either, so you may find this path inaccessible to you even before you’ve started down it. However, it’s certainly worth a shot if your missing camera is supported. Here’s a list of those that are.

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