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08-13-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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Sneaking in SLR when "no pro cameras allowed" ?

I'm going to a concert soon, and have been trying very hard to find out rules for photography. I know some venues limit lens size (for example, "no lenses greater than 50mm allowed" to keep people from taking good closeups. Others say no cameras with removable lenses. I had a point and shoot I could have taken, but it broke, and I won't be able to replace it in time, insurance company is slow. So, I'll be taking my Pentax *Ist Ds.

I have a few lens choices, 24mm, 50mm, 135mm and 500mm. All are primes. I'd definitely like to take either the 24 or 50 for wider shots. The 500 is very long and would probably be noticed much sooner than the other lenses, but I do wish I could take it to get some great closeups... The 135 should be taken so I can get closer than the 50.

How can I get this in and avoid getting in trouble for it, if they have some rule about lens length or "professional" cameras? I've thought about putting a body cap on the camera so it looks like a huge PnS, and leaving the lenses in someone else's purse so they hopefully won't attract attention. Any tips here? I figure this isn't a serious offense like trying to take pictures of a military base or something, just some musicians. I've heard the band is fine with cameras, but worry that the venue will have specific rules. I'd be ok with just taking in one lens, you know, but I'm worried that they'll say my camera is too "pro" and can't be allowed, any arguments to use to try to get them to let me have it in, if they notice and object?

08-13-2009, 03:43 PM   #2
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You always ring the venue and ask the questions, then you'll know exactly where you stand so to speak.
08-13-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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Call the venue. If the receptionist doesn't have the information, ask for the house manager. I've never seen a "no pro cameras allowed" policy; the venue I worked at, and the shows I've been to elsewhere, have either been "no cameras" or "photos okay." Also, the artist and venue may have different ideas of what is appropriate, so cameras may be banned despite the artist being okay with them.

But if there is a "no pro cameras allowed" policy, then the venue will have defined "pro camera."

If there isn't a good definition ... well, you could take a UV filter, crack the glass, then mount that on your lens. When they say, "gee, it looks pro to me," take off the lens cap and say, "does that look pro to you? if I were pro I could afford a lens that isn't broken!"
08-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JonPB Quote
If there isn't a good definition ... well, you could take a UV filter, crack the glass, then mount that on your lens. When they say, "gee, it looks pro to me," take off the lens cap and say, "does that look pro to you? if I were pro I could afford a lens that isn't broken!"
That sounds like the advice of a man who knows that stunt works.

08-13-2009, 03:59 PM   #5
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Why not print out a few pages from the thousands of threads in different forums that states that Pentax is not a pro camera.
08-13-2009, 05:22 PM   #6
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Paste a piece of construction paper reading"Toys R Us" or "My other camera is a Pro model" in crayon over the Pentax logo.
08-13-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JahJahwarrior Quote
How can I get this in and avoid getting in trouble for it, if they have some rule about lens length or "professional" cameras? I've thought about putting a body cap on the camera so it looks like a huge PnS, and leaving the lenses in someone else's purse so they hopefully won't attract attention. Any tips here? I figure this isn't a serious offense like trying to take pictures of a military base or something, just some musicians. I've heard the band is fine with cameras, but worry that the venue will have specific rules. I'd be ok with just taking in one lens, you know, but I'm worried that they'll say my camera is too "pro" and can't be allowed, any arguments to use to try to get them to let me have it in, if they notice and object?
I did exactly this when I went to a Madonna concert last year. I had the body in my jacket pocket, and my wife had my 50-200mm lens in her purse. It helped that we were in a suite and I could sit back in the dark and not be noticed.

At most they can do is kick you out. Unless you are really obnoxious about it, or causing a problem for those around you, you will probably be fine.
08-13-2009, 11:02 PM   #8
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I think it's a rule made up by someone who knows nothing about photography. I think their main concern is you not getting close up, professional looking pictures. I don't think they realize that some point and shoots can be a 470mm zoom, which is much longer than a 100 or 200mm lens someone may bring in on a dslr.

You could definitely bring in a ZX-L with a 50mm lens attached and they'd probably mistake it for a point and shoot! The only problem is the lenses, but why pay for parking and/or transportation and the event tickets only to get booted out for not abiding by their photography rules? Venues have sophisticated CCTV cameras that can see audience members with long lenses.

08-14-2009, 03:45 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JahJahwarrior Quote
I have a few lens choices, 24mm, 50mm, 135mm and 500mm. All are primes. I'd definitely like to take either the 24 or 50 for wider shots. The 500 is very long and would probably be noticed much sooner than the other lenses, but I do wish I could take it to get some great closeups... The 135 should be taken so I can get closer than the 50.
"Sir, I can see the camera. No pro-grade cameras. Venue policy."

"That's not a camera."

"Well, what is it?"

"I'm just happy to see you."

"Sir?"

"Really, really happy to see you."

It's a bullshit rule. Forgive me for giving a crap about the photos I take. My brother borrowed my *istDS to watch the cricket, along with his own Pentax A series P&S, security guards told him that he could use the A, but not the *istDS.

That crazy backwards logic, where your camera determines your status...it's like joining the Lomo society!

Even film cameras are frowned up. Your cameras will, however, be held in the cloak room - known in the hospitality industry as the "free shit" room.
08-14-2009, 06:48 AM   #10
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I tried getting my 10D into a hockey game in Phoenix, the guy said the NHL does not allow a lens longer than the width of the body, I didn't have my 50mm with me but I also think it was my camera bag with stuff. I snuck in my 10D and 100-300 to a concert in Toronto by separating the lens but in December it helps to have a bulky winter coat. Schmap ended up using 1 of my pics, which I obviously don't have a signed release.

Schmap Toronto Sports Grounds
08-14-2009, 09:29 AM   #11
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An almost horror story, checking in advance doen't always work

A few years ago, before the proliferation of DSLRs, I wanted to take my camera to the Hollywood Bowl for the July 4th show, including fireworks.

I prepared my Canon SLR with my 55mm f1.2 lens with 800asa film and no flash.

I called the Bowl office and spoke to three people, they said cameras were ok with no tripods or telephoto lenses for safety reasons. I got on the bus to the Bowl, tried to enter with my sweater draped over my camera. The guard spotted it and stated "no cameras are allowed". I replied with the names of the people I spoke with and politely reiterated their stated policy. The guard and his supervisor would not yield. I had to check my camera at the admin office. My wife insisted that I check the camera. We were with four friends and the bus would not return for 3.5 hours.

I checked the camera sat in my seat and saw the flashes from almost 10 thousand P&S cameras. The guard at my gate was misinformed or just wanted to express his authority. I retrieved my untouched camera after the show.

The moral I took was that even with proper preparation, you still may not be able to bring your camera!
08-14-2009, 09:21 PM   #12
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I was thinking about taking some photos at the Denver Broncos Training Camp. Their distinction is "No professional lenses." I figured I could just take my Sigma 70-300 and tell them that it's only a $120 lens. Certainly can't get any good photos with a cheap lens, right?
08-15-2009, 06:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by code4code5 Quote
I was thinking about taking some photos at the Denver Broncos Training Camp. Their distinction is "No professional lenses." I figured I could just take my Sigma 70-300 and tell them that it's only a $120 lens. Certainly can't get any good photos with a cheap lens, right?
That's funny! Are you going to try it?
08-15-2009, 08:47 AM   #14
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Get a press pass.

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08-15-2009, 09:53 AM   #15
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Print out some threads from here and Canikon forums, all insisting that Pentaxes aren't 'pro cameras.'
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