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August 04, 2008

SLR Cameras Not on Banned List at Olympic Venues?

While still listed on BOCOG’s website as banned from the Olympic venues, professional photography equipment is not present on the list of prohibited items outside security checkpoints. Professional video equipment is still banned, but according to new signage, “unauthorized” professional still cameras are not on the list. Does this mean you’ll be able to enter with all of your equipment no questions asked? I don’t think we’ll be certain whether or not SLR cameras are allowed until spectators try using them at the venues, so please comment on this post or send me an email if you’re able to successfully use your SLR equipment at venues without a credential. A partial list of banned items can be seen below.



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Belstaff Jacket

Christmas is probably the most special day of the year for children. One thing that makes it special is the popular tradition of Santa Claus.


I also posted above that a Newsweek reporter I know at the games has seen spectators with SLRs at several events and no hassles.

Tom Theobald

Yes, seeing same same on tv also! Whew ok, am coming with my gear to Beijing now too. In comments on Zach's Aug 10th entry, Teresa notes taking her Nikon D80 and 300mm into soccer match at Shanghai, no problem. Also she remarks seeing longer glass! Ok now...what about monopods??? Will try ask her... -T


Looking at TV coverage of close-up spectator scenes at various venues, it is clear that there are MANY SLRs in the stands. Looks like this was much ado about nothing. I'm bringing my gear.

Tom Theobald

Thanks Mark,
This is so important info, re 'go or not go' to Beijing for some of us... Plz, if you can, write again here your SLR venue entry experiences (ANYONE please!). Would be so way cool to hear FIRST-HAND accounts how your gear passed security and if the volunteers/ushers gave any problems. Whew, let's hope IOC rules prevail as before. Ps. Yes, 300mm here and trying for Beijing Univ Tech arena (currently badminton, after 20th rhythmic gymnastics). Wait your news mates... -Tom

Mark Amy

I live in China and the latest news on Chinese forums is:

1) No video cameras
2) No tripods
3) No lenses over 300mm
4) Flash photography only allowed during the opening and closing ceremonies
5) No photography at all during certain events, but not clear what the specific events are

Apparently the Olympic Committee have said the rules haven't changed and it's the same as for previous Games.

People say the D300 is fine, as that's the camera I have, so there shouldn't be any problems. They're just worried about people obstructing other people's view.


I am traveling from Toronto.

WIll arrive and stay at the Taiyue Suites. $2400 RMB per night. Walking distance to 'the Den'. Ex Pat (english) pub that serves a mean Guinness and hearty English pub food.

I will indeed email Zach my findings if I cannot log on.

I fly tomorrow. Hopefully when I land on Friday the 8th, I can see something of the opening ceremonies.


I am arriving in Beijing on the 11th and will be at two events on the 12th, will post my findings here. Good luck to everybody!



Hi Bloodyraven,

As a backup, can you email Zach your findings just in case you are not able to access this website in Beijing.


Where are you traveling from? I'm in Los Angeles.


I arrive on the 8th. I'll miss the opening ceremonies, but I am up and running on the 9th and 10th. I'll try to log back in and advise the group. On my last 2 trips (April and June) of 2008, the internet has been wonky, and sites normally allowed are blocked. (Blogs, facebook, myspace, etc.)

Hopefully ok for here.

Tom Theobald

Thanks Zach,
YES! ANYONE please do advise here your first-hand spectator venue experience. For me (arriving 2nd week of Games), this is crucial GO or NO-GO info, to know re pro still gear in the venues. The info will be of great value to all of us arriving later and still packing our bags. In my case, have visa, hotel, tickets etc...yet there would be little sense in even coming to Beijing...if SLR cameras and pro lenses really are banned.
Agree with you Hugh, every OG until now has been ZERO PROBLEM entering venues with pro SLR gear (Sydney and Athens show on my web at moment)... Pro sports and rock concerts, ok ok their bans are understandable without a credential. But why would Beijing be any different then all the earlier Olympic Games for spectators?

If the spectator pro SLR ban turns out to be for real...I wonder if the IOC would have any influence with BOCOG on this particular point. (Zach, have you met any IOC folks yet?:)) Thanks again, Tom


Yeah, thanks for keeping us updated on tihs Zach.

I arrive in Beijing on the 15th, which works out pretty good in terms of allowing enough time for me to find out what is allowed and what's not.

I'm not sure what it's like in other countries, but here in Australia there is similar restrictions on spectators taking 'pro' cameras into major sporting events, concerts etc. So it's pretty hard to argue that China is taking a hard line with this approach.

I just don't buy the arguement it's because it's distracting other spectators.

I took my new P&S to a Soccer match on the weekend to test it out, having to hold it arms length in front of my eyes to see whats on the LCD took up a lot more room than using my SLR.


Thanks for staying on top of this story Zach. This gives me some hope. I will continue to monitor this blog with great interest. I depart for Beijing next Monday.

For anyone attending the 1st day of competition, I would appreciate it if you post your experience here to let the rest of us know what to expect.

Hugh Browne

I’m shocked at this restriction. We have a group of International Olympic attendees called Olympic Oneness Dream. www.olympiconenessdream.com We will be sharing our photos and stories. It looks like we will be shooting more of Chinas’ oppressiveness than we will shoot Sports from the stands. I feel this will backfire on them. I was planning to bring my Nikon D300 with me to all events, now what? This will be my fourth Olympics, I never had and restriction on the type of camera I could carry .I also hear that they will ban Blacks from the Bars and Clubs. How do you say “I have a Dream” in Mandarin? If you are going join with us we will have more strength together.

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