Olympics bosses crack down on spectator camera gear (update Friday)

Olympic organisers have drastically tightened rules on what camera equipment can be taken into venues as spectators pour in with what is considered professional gear.

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UPDATE FRIDAY 3pm: The London 2012 website continues to state the original '30cm' rule. AP is seeking a response from Locog on the reason for this, given its spokesman's comments yesterday, plus any further clarification it can provide for people visiting the Olympics. Locog is about to release a statement to AP clarifying its position.

READ THIS FIRST: NEWS ALERT Friday 4.45pm

 

[Original article from Thursday continues here]

Until now Olympic rules have limited the length of camera gear to 30cm at all venues apart from Wembley where all interchangeable-lens cameras are effectively banned.

However, a spokesman for Olympic organiser Locog this afternoon revealed a radical tightening of restrictions at venues nationwide.

He told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘One [interchangeable-lens] camera with a 35mm [focal length] lens [is acceptable] but anything more is considered professional equipment and too large for spectator seating.'

The Locog spokesman confirmed that these rules apply to the general public, as opposed to accredited professional photographers, at the Games. ‘That's the rule being deployed now,' he added.

He said the new rules, which effectively outlaw zoom lenses on all changeable-lens cameras (consumer or professional-level), were drawn up after a consensus was reached between Olympic venues.

The news comes after an amateur photographer was warned that more than one lens would not be allowed at the men's gymnastics in the North Greenwich Arena last Saturday.

The move suggests Olympic organisers may have significantly underestimated the growing use of changeable-lens compact system cameras, in a market not limited to people who pursue photography as a serious hobby.

Samsung and Panasonic, key sponsors of London 2012, both make compact system cameras - a new breed of camera that first broke onto the market in 2008, smaller than traditional DSLRs owing to their lack of a mirror box.

Locog has previously expressed concerns that camera gear interferes with spectators' view and that people may record shots of sports action for commercial purposes, or upload their images to YouTube.

When AP pressed Locog for clarification on its rules earlier this week, a spokesman said it would limit 'professional equipment... since unaccredited photographers are not permitted to distribute their images'.

But he added: 'At the end of the day, if security disallow a spectator into a venue, the final say is with them.'

Locog has not made clear whether the 35mm focal length limit applies to the actual length stated on the lens, or relates to the focal length equivalent on a 35mm film camera.

Wembley will continue to employ its own Locog-approved rules on spectators' camera equipment.

 

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