How Police Officers See DSLR Cameras

Apparently this is what some police officers see when they look at a camera, which explains the horror stories of photographers being harassed by law enforcement for having cameras and making pictures.

Here’s a closer look at this Canon 16M:

There was an interesting article published last week over on SFGate titled “Turning camera on police activities is good thing“.

Full-res image here (via Reddit)

Image credit: Image by Mind_Virus and used with permission

  • Jack Kennedy

    The general public see cameras as a great big net capturing children, as all photographers are paedophiles. How naive can one planet be?

  • Coffee Photography

    Even camera phones are in the firing line.

    Last week staff at Edinburgh Airport were stopping parents taking photos of their kids who were standing in the windows of the terminal posing in front of the plane.

  • Daniel Cruz Rojas

    The past may 1st a cop beated me cuz i was “the one who love taking photos”…

  • tara

    As a photographer, at least an ethical and responsible one, you should ALWAY get permission to take a photo of a child.  That is simply because of the world we live in. If indeed you are not a pedophile, then this should not be a problem for you.    

  • Tom Halpin

    And if people push paranoia of high-res photography equipment too-far it will only end with people having to photograph covertly or in secret – which ironically would be worse for that paranoia!! :-) 15 megapixel sunglasses perhaps?

  • TriadX1

    I am an avid photographer and there is nothing better than being able to include your family in this hobby, but here where I am torn:

    I have always hated posed photos and prefer candid type shots. They are a real world snapshot in time that tell a real story of my kids just being kids, playing and having fun instead of a made up, posed picture of them worried about how their smile looks.

    But now I don’t dare do this type of photography in a public place because people see a long lens and immediately assume you are some kind of freak. Sad, because it has really taken the fun out of it for me, and is depriving me and my kids of these lifelong photographic memories.

    Now on the flip side, there are a lot of perverts out there and it is kind of nice knowing people are out there watching for them.  I just wish people could approach it differently. Maybe just kindly strike up a conversation with the photographer rather than just assuming they are guilty…

  • Byron Edwards

    How do you know “there are a lot of perverts out there”?
    This is where the paranoia comes from, everybody just ‘knowing’.

  • Andrew MacDonald

    Well said sir. I totally agree. I was out taking pictures of my little niece and nephew in town the other week, she is only 3 and he’s 2 and I – like you – prefer the candid shots. 

    I kid you not (excuse the pun), a police officer approached me and asked why I was “sitting alone with a big camera taking pictures of that child, because a member of the public has just approached me and reported you for taking pictures of a minor. ”

    I honestly couldn’t believe it. The officer didn’t even ask if I was related before he proceeded to tell me about this report of me taking pictures of a minor. My niece playing with her cousin, her mum nearby and me sat on a bench pretty close, taking some family pictures. 

    I seriously don’t know what has happened to this earth, its getting beyond ridiculous. 

  • Marc Evans

    The whole thing about cameras and children is absurd. Go to google images and search “children” and even with SafeSearch set at “strict” you will get almost 84 Million images returned.

  • docwalker

    I guess adding a BushHawk shoulder mount to my kit was not a good idea :-)  Even more gun like.

  • Eric Lauri Kulo

    That is ridiculous indeed and very worrying. You can’t defend that kind of paranoia on any levels, not at all. I know what a lot of people would say, but this whole “think of the children”-attitude is getting out of hand when a father can’t photograph his own children without being approached by a police officer.

    “Better safe than sorry, mister!” – you know what? No. Not in this case.

  • Andrew MacDonald

    Here here. 

  • Jack Kennedy

    When it comes to candids, I’m intrusive. Pop on a wideangle [usually my kit lens, 18-55, or my 28mm. I prefer the 18-55, as it has AF] and just get in there, and just be casual about it. I’m forever snapping away at the general public, adults and children alike, yet they don’t know a thing. 

  • Dummy

    In 1982, standing near the same spot the Queen had been fired at with blanks during the previous year’s Trooping the Colour, with a 600mm Sigma cat with lens hood, I was nearly jumped on by the men in suits with hearing problems when an American tourist shouted “look at that thing, it looks like a goddam bazooka”.

  • Klaus

    Neither of your assertions is true,

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  • Mahmoud


  • Howard Joey

    goddamn bazooka….hehehehehehe. thats a good one, never heard that before. I have now for a few months a mirror 500mm and it doesnt look like a bazooka. true as you know i need alot of light to use it, but cept for shooting video on a beach, i havent had anyone say anything yet. Dummy: is that 600mm a 1.8, or 5.6f or what, just wondering. not sure where all this is going, but with most people owning mostly P/S, most dont have a clue as the what it takes to create a decent image! and most have no a clue as to what the photographer is taking an image of at any given time. but they jump the gun as it were and call the cops, “there is a pervert shooting children, come quick”!  

  • Tony Bodinnar

    “Innocent until proven guilty”. And if they persist ask when was the last time they were reported for ‘kiddy-fiddling’ ’cause they seem to know so much about it.

  • Tony Bodinnar

    “Innocent until proven guilty”. And if they persist ask when was the last time they were reported for ‘kiddy-fiddling’ ’cause they seem to know so much about it.

  • Tony Bodinnar

    Seriously though, it IS a problem. I’ve been photographing kids (and adults) in parks for years and never had any problems until recently. You can see my images on FaceBook. Your comments would be appreciated. Incidently I’m very overt about what I’m doing while still trying to get candid shots of the kids. If you ask permission first the parents invariably tell their kids to ‘smile for the camera’ which defeats the object so I shoot first then approach the parent and show them the image, ask for their e-mail and offer to send them a copy. (I also tell them if they’re not happy I’ll delete, which I do in front of them).

  • Cameron Ellsworth

    Exactly Byron…I was taking photos with my Nikon D7000 a couple weeks ago at the Clark County fair in Washington State and after about 30 minutes of taking pictures of various fair things and people was approached by no less than 7 Clark county sheriff’s deputies.  They stopped me and said they had received complaints from two separate people that I had been “following them and taking pictures of their children”, I told them that I haven’t been “following” anyone all day except for the people in line in front of while waiting 45 minutes for a free pancake meal.  They asked to see my camera, I obliged and they went through all of my photographs one at a time.  Finally, they give my camera back and ask me if I don’t think it’s a little strange to be walking around taking pictures of people.  I say no I don’t think it’s strange, so even after seeing all of my pictures and only a portion have pictures of children in them they tell me I’m free to go but not to take any pictures of children!  I tell them that after being interrogated by them it’s soured my whole day and that I’m leaving the fair now.  I talked to an attorney and he told me there was nothing I could do about it.  I mean come on…two separate people complained I was “following them around!?”,  in retrospect I think this is a line they repeat to photographers to place them on the defense immediately!