The Olympics photography crackdown appears to have taken a new twist as a spectator is told photographers can only bring one lens into the North Greenwich Arena.

Photography enthusiast Chris Plant took a Nikon D3 with a 28-300mm and 14-24mm lens to the former Millennium Dome where he had a ticket to watch men’s gymnastics on Saturday.

Under Olympic organiser Locog’s previously stated rules, ‘large photographic and broadcast equipment over 30cm in length, including tripods and monopods’ are banned.

However, there has been no mention on the number of lenses spectators can bring.

Plant claims a security guard told him there had been a change in the rules.

‘I had read, and re-read, everything that I could find in the rules for Olympic events and felt comfortable that I could comply. I had no intention of using any photos for commercial use…

‘Yet, when I went to go through the final security hurdle, inside the arena itself, security were adamant that I could not take a second lens, and that they were only allowing cameras with one lens because of an error with the rules.

‘Apparently, they would not normally allow a lens wider than 35mm.’

The venue’s web page for prohibited items was not accessible at the time of writing, and a Locog spokesperson had yet to comment on the incident.

Meanwhile, the photographer has called on Locog to issue urgent clarification on the rules.

‘I have tickets for the Paralympics at the Excel and Olympic Park in a few weeks, so now I wonder what I can actually take to those.’

Earlier this month, Locog warned spectators not to bring any interchangeable-lens cameras to Wembley, in case they fall foul of rules on professional-looking cameras.

A spokesperson for G4S, which came under fire after failing to deliver enough guards, referred to the 30cm limit already outlined by Locog when contacted by Amateur Photographer a few weeks ago.



  • Jonathan Drake

    I was also at the North Greenwich Arena on Saturday 28 July to watch the team GB men’s gymnasics amazingly beat the Chinese team into second place in the first preliminary round, on their way to a bronze medal. I was stopped by a rather officious lady photography marshal from taking photogrpahs with my Nikon D3100 fitted with a Nikkor 55-300mm lens. The total length of the camera body and lens is 20cm (25cm including the lens shield) which was well within the 30cm rule. I was told that the lens was far too long and was therefore prohibited. I got the impression that if I continued to use the camera I would be ejected, so stopped using it. This was a pity as it would have been nice to have some photographs from the event. Nothing I can do about it now but it is irritating to be denied my own record of the event by someone who wrongly exercised power to prevent legitimate use of a permitted camera.

  • StonehamMel

    The Brits are are closet cop wann-be’s. Give them the opportunity to invent a law on the fly – and the law will assuredly be inane.

  • Eleanor Scriven

    Been to O2 (28 Jul – first day, first session), Wimbledon Centre Court (29 Jul – second day), Hockey at Olympic Park (29 Jul – third day). Only problem was at O2 – disgusting. Security guards improperly briefed – quoting rules that were not Olympic rules – comments such as “is your lens detatchable”,”your camera isn’t 35mm” – it was a Canon EOS1D Mk III !, your camera is professional etc etc, when the rule is for equipment less than 30cm in length to be allowed. My lens was 70-300mm L series- well within the limit. They refused to accept our assurances (by now a large group of spectators refused entry – of all nationalities, including one who worked for LOCOG and told them adamantly they were wrong as he had been involved) but they STILL WOULDN’T LISTEN. The group of security guards around would allow NO DSLRs – no mention of number of lenses. It took over 40 mins for a “team leader” to appear, more like a bouncer, who acted aggressively then flounced off and refused to deal with the situation. By now, almost in tears, not wishing to leave my amateur albeit expensive kit at the confiscations desk and miss the event I had paid more than £200 or a ticket for, I said I would hand my equipment in, was admitted, slipped everything in my bag in the queue for the desk then walked in unimpeded. These problems were not at the official screening area by the army but at a second set of desks set up within O2, presumably by permanent O2 staff in Olympic get-up. Suffice to say the arena was quite full (in the seats that were not empty anyway but that’s another story) of people with DSLRs. So don’t be put off. This was the same venue who then told me to take a union flag down, which we had draped across the edge of our section (which was within the size limit too). My advice is know the rules, stick to them, take acopy with you an in the non )2 venues you should be fine.

  • Dave

    1. Photographs are all about composition so a professional ‘looking’ camera has no bearing on whether the pictures look professional.
    2. I call on all photography enthusiasts to boycott the games.
    3. LOCOG has banned enjoyment in case it gets into the wrong hands.

  • Mike Durrans

    The Stazi always make up the rules when they see something they want to obstruct.
    How many more days to go. the sooner the better.

  • Pete

    What happened? Did Chris go in to the venue and leave his lens behind?

    Going to the Velodrome next week and don’t want to have to choose between my camera and my ticket!

  • Andrew Garrard

    ARGH. Just when I’d concluded security was being reasonable. I took a D800E, 80-200, 14-24, 28-200 and 8mm fish-eye into Wimbledon on Sunday with no problems; there were a lot of DSLRs present and someone had taken in a 200 f/2. Supposedly only the 200 f/2 had been a problem at the O2 (and they had a bag check, unlike Wimbledon). The “wider than 35mm” must, surely, have been a misunderstanding by the guard.

    I can understand that listing every legal camera/lens combination isn’t practical, but surely “anything smaller than this example” with a boundary case wouldn’t have been hard.

  • Andrew Moss

    I went to Wembley yesterday forthe match. the security was nothing like the rest of the Olympic venues as there werent the full airport scanners. Everon was quickly frisked and my bag was just felt from the outside but not fully searched. Once inside I saw a signifcant nber of DSLRs with lond lenses being used by the crowd with no problem.
    Makes me wonder what I shoud do next Saturday when I go back for my next macth!!

  • Andrew Moss

    I went to Wembley yesterday without my camera but there were lots of people inside with DSLRs. The security check is a simple frisk plus a “bag feel” were they just feel the bag but dont look inside. Frustrating to say the least! The compact is a very poor relation

  • Nick Barber

    The usual uninformed chaos seems to reign. I’ve seen quite a few spectators (on TV) att indoor and outdoor events with DSLRs and long lenses. Either security, communication or both are poor – or inconsistent….