SLR Cameras Only With Olympic Credentials
I’ve received several emails this past week asking whether or not individuals with general admission tickets will be allowed to bring professional camera equipment into the Olympic venues. I’ve confirmed with two senior BOCOG officials that SLR cameras and lenses will not be permitted beyond security checkpoints without Olympic credentials. Their reasoning is that SLR cameras will block the view of other fans, so they simply will not be allowed. You shouldn’t run into any problems bringing point & shoot cameras and using them in the venues as long as you do so from your own seat and don’t block the view of other spectators. Because of broadcast exclusivity, video cameras will also likely be prohibited. This seems obvious to me, but BOCOG suggested that I mention that photo positions in the arenas will be restricted to credentialed photographers as well.
I’ve held off on posting this information for a few days while searching the city for a “no camera” sign to serve as art for this post, but believe it or not, I haven’t run into a single sign yet. Photographers and their cameras are allowed virtually everywhere, including Beijing’s infamous counterfeit markets. I was yelled at by a salesperson in the Silk Market yesterday when trying to photograph a fake Omega watch, but only because officials are cracking down on fakes associated with the Olympics (Omega is a sponsor) -- that was the only time I’ve run into anyone refusing to be photographed. If you’re attending the Olympics without press credentials, be sure to leave the SLR at home and carry a small point & shoot camera to avoid refused entry.
Updated 7/23/08 8:18PM: Tom's at it again, but this page appears to be even more relevant -- BOCOG lists "5.1.6 Any unauthorized professional photography equipment" under the heading "Restricted or Prohibited Items and Behaviours."
Updated 8/4/08 10:02AM: I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here, but it looks like "professional photography equipment" is not on the banned list at venues. BOCOG's website (see link above) has not been changed, but the signs at venues do not list professional photography equipment with prohibited items. More details here.
Updated 8/11/08 11:49AM: Great news -- SLR cameras are being allowed into the venues!