Olympic organisers say they mistakenly issued false information about spectator restrictions on camera equipment, but admit that rules are open to interpretation by officials.

Speaking yesterday, by phone, a spokesman for Olympic organiser Locog told Amateur Photographer (AP) that new rules meant spectators would only be allowed to bring one interchangeable-lens camera, with a lens not exceeding 35mm in focal length.

This conflicted with rules published on the official Olympic website which limit the length of camera gear to 30cm, at all venues apart from Wembley where all interchangeable-lens cameras are effectively banned.

The news sparked disbelief among amateur photographers, many of whom vented their anger in comments made on the AP website.

Today, however, Locog’s press office adopted a different stance after checking an exchange of internal emails on its policy.

A spokeswoman told AP: ‘I think the “35mm” was a typo.

‘There was a slight misunderstanding and nothing has changed.

‘The policy for spectators on the [London 2012] website still stands.’

Locog today refused to be drawn on whether spectators are allowed to bring more than one lens with them.

The spokeswoman claimed that ‘common sense will prevail’ among

officials, before adding: ‘People on the ground will make decisions

based on these [previously stated] regulations.’

Last Saturday, a security official warned an amateur photographer that, under new rules, more than one lens would not be allowed at the men’s gymnastics in the North Greenwich Arena.

Locog’s rules add: ‘You cannot use photographic or broadcast equipment for commercial purposes unless you hold media accreditation.’

  • Anil Joshi

    Thanks for the info Chris. I attended a few events during the games and took my kit to every single one. I had 2 different lens (one of wide angle and one a telephoto) and through the security I had no problems what so ever.

    I changed my lens from the camera many times (taking care of not disturbing the neighbouring spectators) and worked pretty well.

    I wanted to ask you one thing. Is it possible to use some of the images that I have taken during the games in any competitions at all? Some of them have come out pretty decent and would be a waste if I don’t enter them in any.


  • Allan Harris

    I went to the rowing at Eton Dorney and took my new Canon 5D Mk III and my Canon 100-400 lens in a small backpack. The lens is 26cms long, unzoomed! Sailed through security and had a really great day.
    as an example see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/allan_harris/7747077548/in/photostream

    I also used the same combination in the women’s roadrace, where the only restriction was the crush of the crowds and people waving compacts in front of me!

  • G J Clifton

    Perhaps I should have objected to LOCOG routing the cycling right past my garden gate.
    The cyclists might have looked at me!

  • Anthony Sproson

    Well, that’s a shame, left my D7000 at home as I didn’t want it confiscated based on that info last Friday and took a P7100 instead.it was OK for snaps but really couldn’t cut he mustard for action shots…
    Ho Hum 🙁

    However, we were there there for Super Saturday in the Stadium, got some nice pics of Jessica Ennis after she won her gold,
    Re the atmosphere, I have run out of superlatives,,,,,you REALLY had to be there to experience it …

  • Ron Tear

    I believe in “sport for all” and our freedom also. Why is it you cannot use a camera at an event such as the Olympics. Understandingly images are sacred but amatuers should be allowed to capture a moment. In the world of digital capture, camera’s should be allowed. We may even sell one to an agency!!! ( thats the worry !!)Photographers could have their own ” golden moment ”

  • Bruce Baker-Johnson

    Big Brother gets bigger and bigger every day. Orwell reads quite mild now! Was it the Nazi’s who started this sort of thing? How about a “Bill of Rights” for Photographers?

  • Peter Caulfield

    I used manual focus SLRs from the late 1970s to 2002 when I went digital. I now use an Olympus Pen plus a clip on electronic viewfinder, 14×42 and 40x150mm lens….I will not use a DSLR anymore, because of the unwanted attention they draw. Not only from the authorities, but also the dishonest people who would like to take it from me. I have had experience with both over the years. Now I am 63 I don’t want to argue with security or fight off thieves. For me CSCs are the answer.

  • Mark Smith

    Regarding your comment for the Gymnastics at NGA, I was allowed a 1D4, 17-40, 70-200 f2.8, 1.4x, 2.0x, flash gun and Gorilla Pod with no issues. Although this all did fit in a bag within the 30x30x20 rules. However, on a seperate note, it was a waste of time as Getty/TV crew put a large camera on a pole right in front of my view so for the entire pommel horse session I had to look at the back of thier camera mount rather than be able to watch the gymnastics.

  • David Downward

    I took a Nikon D3 with 70-200 f2.8 and a 24-70 f2.8 and had no problem getting into Eton Dorney

  • Roger Moore

    It’s a good job our atheletes are doing so well because the organisation has been abysmal. The next thing will be you cannot drive near an Olympic venue in a car over 4 metres long. Totally pathetic. Jobsworth gone to extremes! What happened to the free country we are supposed to live in.

  • Chris Jack

    I have been taking a Nikon D4 with a 70-200mm lens (which a combined length measuring just under 30cm) into a lot of different Olympic venues including: Wembley Arena, Excel, Olympic Park, Earls Court, and the Horse Guards Parade.

    The only one where I have been queried was at Wembley Arena (note: not the Stadium) where I was let through when I offered to show the rules that I had printed out from the LOCOG website.

    The thing that worries me about professional sport is a lot of it seems to have taken something that was originally in the public domain and effectively privatised most parts of it with all sorts of negative consequences. Remind me again which food companies are Olympics sponsors?

    Rules about photography at a lot of places (not just sport) now frequently involves the courage to turn up with a camera and risk being turned away. The rules on the website do not always tie in with the rules enforced at the door.

    I went to see world gymnastics at the O2 last year: where the official policy for just about all events is to only allow in compact cameras. Yet the (amateur) woman next to me had managed to bring in a good mid range DSLR without any issue. As I had only brought my “gig” Canon G10 camera with me (good for low light but not a patch on a DSLR), I was less than impressed with the venue.

  • Greg

    I went to the Gold Medal basketball game at the 1984 LA Olympice. I used my Minolta SLR and 80-200mm zoom lense and 28mm wide angle. No security personell questioned me and I got some great shots.

  • Steven Rolfe

    My 120 to 400 mm sigma zoom was not allowed in! It was in its case, it measured 26 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm……. I was told as it was over 200 mm focal length so not allowed in. Full stop! I had no idea of the size restriction so I had to hand it over till the end of the evening at the men’s gymnastics final on July the 29th at the O2… I asked to speak to the security manager at the gate and he confirmed the position… Really pissed me off as during the event I saw several people in the crowd with long lenses, several of them I took pictures of…. I’m a wheel chair user and the seating position I had would of in no way made the use of my lens a distraction to others… I have made a formal complaint to the Olympic organizers as the aparent size rule I was quoted seems to be rubbish and the 20 x 20 x 30 cm rule that I have subsequently found out about was not mentioned at all ….

  • Marcel

    Common sense and officials are two things that don’t compute 😉

    It is time for a pancake 300 mm lens

  • evie

    I’ve just come back from the Olympic Park (saw athletics in the stadium). I got in with a canon 650d, 10-22mm, 1.4ex, 70-200 F4 L. No problems at all, no comments, no-one even asked me to open my bag. Also fine taking shots with the above and they were also fine when I wandered around a level that wasn’t my own with the gear taking other shots.

    Easy peasy and lots of smiles from the stewards!

  • Frank Hollis

    What a shame AP didn’t check this out a bit more thoroughly. Or at all.

  • Evie

    I’ve just come back from the Olympic Stadium and went in with a Canon 650d, 10-22mm and 70-200 F4 L with an additional 1.4x extender. No problems at all, no comments at security and no-one even opened the bag. Other venues may vary, but the Olympic park itself was utterly unconcerned!

  • JohnR

    Well, with the number of Bridge cameras (fixed lenses) that have focal lengths of up to 840mm, that would be a way of bypassing this rule.

  • Richard Beisigl

    Why did the Olympic people not let the public of this policy before they bought airline tickets, paid for hotels/motels.
    I do not watch the Olympics, so it does not concern me. But I feel sorry to those who have and are spending large amounts of money to attend the Olympics in hopes of capturing that “one in a life time shot” with their expensive camera gear.
    Are the Olympic big wigs afraid of some amateur photographer taking better shots than the accredited photographers?

  • Simon Taylor

    IF it was a typo, what was it meant to be? 350mm?

    Just goes to show that the people making these rules and reading them out, simply don’t have a clue!