Olympic Committee Clarifies Photography Rules for London 2012

A month ago, quite a bit of controversy was stirred up when Amateur Photographer pointed out some stringent and seemingly unenforceable restrictions included in the London 2012 Ticker Holder Agreement. Initially it seemed that attendees might have been prevented from posting images to social networks (an assumption which was later refuted). But even though attendees will be allowed to post images to Facebook to their heart’s content, amateurs and non-media who wanted to get some commercial-grade pictures of the Olympic events are still out of luck.

While larger venues might be more lenient, camera equipment over 30cm long (about 12in), including tripods and monopods, will not be allowed in most of the venues. In addition, attendees have also be warned that there is no storage available, so if you surrender your camera equipment to security, you’re not getting it back. If you have any doubts regarding your equipment, it’s better to leave it in your room.

The most interesting rule, however, has nothing to do with the camera equipment you use, but rather with your smartphone. Attendees, while they will be allowed to bring iPhones and Android phones into the venues, will not be allowed to use them as WiFi hotspots — in other words, if you wanted to connect your SLR (with an acceptably short lens) or WiFi enabled camera to social networks via your phone to do some on-the-fly uploading, you will not be allowed to do so.

Some are saying that the newly clarified rules are just another example of how photographers are having their rights slowly stripped away. What’s your take on the them? Fair? Unfair? Unenforceable? Let us know in the comments down below.

(via BJP-Online via Amateur Photographer)

Image credit: London 2012 : Two Gents by huitgalerie

  • Sergio Alonso Rodríguez

    30cm?? mmm BIGMA!!!!

  • Matt

    Oh, so you can ONLY bring a D800 with a 70-200 f/2.8 in? How sad.

    I shot the Vancouver opening ceremonies with a D90 and a 70-300. I was probably 150 yards from the action, but I got some great photos. If you can afford $3500 for London opening or closing ceremonies ticket, you can afford a few hundred to rent a pretty amazing rig for the day.

    As for the wifi ban, I’d love to see that enforced without jamming or turning off the signal. More likely, the network will just melt down, as with most major events.

  • John R

    The Olympics became worthless when professionals were allowed to participate. 

    This whole event is about money.   True there are sincere amateurs participating but they are irrelevant to this hideous sponsored cashfest.  The Olympic spirit died a long time ago, now it is just greed.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    It’s not a monopod, it’s a cane!

    Also, the restriction on WiFi hotspots is ridiculous. You could just as easily hook the ethernet port of your D4 to a laptop with an mobile broadband card.  Or just use the usb dongle on a 3G iPad.  Or use your Eye-Fi card as the AP and have your iOS Eye-Fi client connect to it then send the photos.  Or or or or!

    They are missing the spirit of the olympics, an event for the people of the world to share and compete with each other, not an event for totalitarian media domination… or, more realistically, the spirit of the olympics has changed and it’s just another Big Media™ Event.

  • Josephine E. Segura

    The Olympic spirit died a long time ago, now it is just

  • Ralph Hightower

    12 inches is generous. I took my camera to a baseball game and the venue limited lenses to 6 inches. My 80-205 f4.5 just measured in. Since it was a night game, I used ISO 3200 B&W film.

  • MOL

    Is it correct that I read i can take my 400d with 70-200? or should i not take the risk?

  • Matt

    Bring a printout of the rules, and a ruler. And go early, in case somebody in security wants to try to separate you from your gear.

  • jdm8

    The equipment size is reasonable, not allowing monopods & tripods isn’t too terrible, it would probably be disruptive anyway, especially if you have so many fans setting up their tripods such that it blocks or constricts smooth pedestrian traffic.

    The WiFi hot spot thing can’t be enforceable.

  • geeves

     “The Olympics became worthless when professionals were allowed to participate.”

    Ugh, I hate this argument because it’s so short sighted even as it was before the 20th century.

    Professionalism has been creeping in since 1970 and while amateurism was a nice idea, the idea was more to stop people from either training all year (seriously, by the 30s everyone was training full time for the Olympics, professional nor not) or perhaps there was fear of people buying their way into the Olympics.

    The idea of the Olympics should be the best against the best based on skill regardless of class. 

    The Olympic spirit died?  While I am not an Olympic caliber athlete only been to nationals, there is a very big Olympic spirit amongst its athletes.  In 96 I swam against Tom Dolan and Gary Hall, Jr. and while I only had a few minutes to speak with them around the time of our heats, it was a pride thing to be able to tell them to go kick ass in Atlanta.

    So yes, who cares about Olympic spirit for the nation – maybe advertising and capitalism won out there, but for the athletes is a very real thing.

  • Tianlechen

    or stick a microsd into adapter, stuff it into dslr, transfer into phone, upload. assuming, of course, that one isnt using iphone. aint going to break any rules man.

  • Mrinsane19

    30cm gets you pretty much anything you want. Bigmas, Canon 400DO, 70-200, Sigma 120-300/2.8. Quite reasonable really.

  • Duncan

    The real trick is getting tickets in the first place.

  • Flwong88

    I think is sad these rules was implemented. What can we do? Even professional media has limited access to. SAD

  • PPusa

    Limiting the gear based on size makes sense since big DSLRs really disturb other spectators who have paid for their tickets.

  • alxlr8

    As a big DSLR user with a long lens who has ALSO paid for his ticket, I am entitled to take in my equipment (within the restrictions – because those restrictions include big DSLRs, thank god) and use it to take photos, whether the guy sitting next to me likes it or not. Maybe he has a camera with a long lens as well, and wants to take pictures… I won’t stop him – he paid to be there too!

  • PPusa

    Naturally there is no problem bringing cameras that fit the organizer’s specs. People also bring large flags etc. to sport events and most of them understand that there are times when the flags disturb others and times when they can be waved.

    Thanks to selfish camera owners, photography is today banned in many places. That is sad.

  • JR

    The mobile hotspot restriction is due to concerns of interference with the olympic venue’s 3,500+ official wifi accesspoints – there’s some very careful spectrum planning needed for that alone given the density of accesspoints and client devices, and how few wifi channels there are, especially in the 2.4GHz range!

  • MD

    I also was concerned when I read the recently released photography rules by the London Olympic Committee. While just a casual photography lover who’s fortunate enough to be attending 4 of the events at London, I’m OK with my D300s and 70-200 lens (which just makes the 30cm limit).  But my monopod is 48cm long and so I’m now scrambling to find a 30cm monopod that can handle the weight.  I hope one exists.  If anyone’s aware of a good, short monopod, would appreciate recommendations.

  • alxlr8


    I have exactly the same camera rig as you going with me to the olympics.I found this awesome monopod by gitzo: That's the smallest one I’ve seen with a good weight rating (25kg!!).

    But get ready to pay top prices!

  • alxlr8

    And actually, I think the length of the monopod should be entirely academic. It’s much longer when it’s extended out anyway, and people will be allowed in with umbrella’s that don’t fold as small as these monopods. 

    Does the size restriction really apply to the monopods? I can understand the camera itself – it sticks out. I can also understand banning tripods – it’s a stupid idea taking them in. But restricting the size of the monopod?

    My advice to people is to take a long umbrella with you (a cheapo one), and take it in alongside the monopod. If they complain about the monopod, point out your long umbrella. If they say you can’t have the monopod, tell them you’ll do them a deal: let me bring in the monopod, and I’ll forfeit my cheapo umbrella.

  • DanC

    I wonder how – or even *if* – LOCOG have clarified this with Wembley?

    Wembley Stadium has a blanket ban on any cameras with removable lenses – I’ve had mine confiscated at an England game before, even though all I had with me was an 18-55mm kit lens…

  • MD

    alxlr8, do appreciate the reply and recommendation on the Gitzo.  Still concerned over the 16″ min height of the unit.  As a fellow attender of the games, want to ensure you’re not surprised at a venue gate as LOCOG has indicated they won’t allow large umbrellas (  I’ve only been able to find the one tripod at or below 30cm for the minimum length (  Received an email today that the monopod been’s shipped – so should be able to test it in about a week.  I’m hoping/praying it’ll have the strength I need to hold the camera & 70-200 lens.

  • MD

    Unsure why first link is no longer finding the web page.  Using the below link( ), go half-way down and click on Download of Prohibited and Restricted Items List.

  • The Ambience

    It seems a fair enough rule to me. What do you want a bigger camera for ? Start your own tv broadcast ? At football grounds, you pay a small fortune to get in and you can’t take a camera in, not even a pocket one (except a mobile camera and then you agree by using the ticket to not upload to anywhere). Too scared you might capture something better than those blokes sitting behind the nets, who are all licensed and official.

  • Louise

    So confused about the camera size I want to take my canon eos 500d I’ve got the standard short lens plus a canon zoom lens 55-250mm can I take it of not?