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August 11, 2008

SLR Cameras Allowed at Olympic Venues

A few weeks ago, I was originally told with 100% certainty, and confirmed on BOCOG’s website, that professional photography equipment would not be allowed into the Olympic venues. Recently, however, I noticed that professional photography equipment wasn’t on the banned list at the venues, so today I decided to try my luck at bringing an SLR through security.

I had a general admission beach volleyball ticket for this morning, so I packed my Olympus E-520, 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens, and 1.4x teleconverter in a large messenger bag, and headed over to the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground. Before I went through security, I took the camera out of the bag and ran it through the x-ray machine individually, so there wouldn’t be any chance of it sneaking through without someone noticing. They noticed my E-520, but handed it back to me after it passed through the belt. One guard even complimented my choice of equipment.


Once I was in the venue, I spent the first few minutes shooting from my upper level seat, before walking down to an empty seat in the front row. I shot an entire game from directly behind a photo position, only a few feet from the court. When the seat’s occupant returned, I went up to a camera platform, and was even allowed to shoot from there without security asking any questions. I never took out my credential the whole time, and was not wearing a photo vest.

A friend also told me today that he was able to enter the Olympic Green with a Nikon D300 and 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, without any questions from security. He didn’t bring his gear into any of the venues on the Green, but noted that spectators only pass through security when they first enter the Olympic Common Domain, not before entering individual venues. Please post a comment if you’ve successfully brought equipment into other venues, but at this point I don’t anticipate any issues.



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Bulk SMS

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here are my tips after a few days.
Bring whatever camera gear you want.
I saw a spectator with a 300 f2.8 and 3 pro bodies at weightlifting

I used a D300 and 70-200
just don't use a flash
I had a full think tank belt bag on...just pass it through the scanner

DO NOT BRING A TIBET FLAG....you will not make it in...

do not bring rolaids...one time they went through, one time they did not.

They will frisk you after going through the metal detector...i had a chick do that...very nice!

you will see people buying tickets outside the spectors entrace...they will not sell to you. Ask them who to buy from since some will point you the correct way.

Stubhub has a local location in some hotel which I will not give.
They are sharing a hotel room with another ticket broker...seems risky if you ask me.

We had a guy deliver tickets to room.

Bring a UV light flashlight to check tickets. It will glow and image on the tickets.

They got rid of a slot of the soldiers in the area on Tuesday. The IOC said they were scaring the vistors. I thought they were funny....try to take a closeup photo and watch them start moving and shifting....I love doing that to them.

Sunday....it was a nervous behive and the volunteers and security had no clue where to send you
The taxi drivers are clueless about where an event is...get a map of the games in chinesse. Match the ticket icon to the map and point on map where you want to go and get ready to pay about 15 us bucks to get there even if a far drive. Be prepared to have him stop a few times and look at the map...for those far off places or not the olypmic green area.


Anyone bring in a a rebel body with the battery grip? it makes it bigger so i kind of looks like a pro body for people who do not know what it is.

Zach Honig

Hey Allen,

I didn't see any "pro" bodies -- nothing larger than what I had, but I don't think you should have a problem with that kit.

As far as tickets... they're no longer being sold by BOCOG, but you should be able to find some on eBay and craigslist -- just BE CAREFUL. BOCOG has given us a few tickets to various events, but I don't believe they have any more for sale.


Thanks Zach,

I'm on my way to Beijing later today. As I watched the events on tv, I was scanning the audience looking for cameras. I did notice some fans with slr's but not pro bodies. Did you see anyone with one inside the venue? I'm traveling with a D2X, 70-200vr, 17-55 and 10.5 fisheye.

Are the games truly sold out? I'm a volleyball fan and have noticed empty seats during indoor and beach matches. I would love to get some more event tickets.

Thank you for the good work you are doing. It has been very informative.


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