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Wednesday, 06 June 2012


Minolta|Sony Mirror-type AF 500mm f/8 rocks there!

Also Tokina announced Reflex 300mm F6.3 but without autofocus.

It's a bit sad that it's all about making money and not about sport.

The restrictions surrounding product and licence at the London Olympics is indeed labrynthine.

Bearing in mind that the whole of London is going to be brought to a standstill (AT OUR EXPENSE) for three weeks, there should be some sort of payback for those of us that are suffering (and about to suffer some more).

As I understand it, there is just one Olympic Games event that made a profit, and those were in HotLanta, I believe that the Canadians are still paying for the 1968 games.

If it was about sport and taking part, I would be a little bit more circumspect, but this is only about the people that claim to be our government puffing their chests out and beating them.

I feel sick.

I find it strange that us Canadians would be paying for the Mexican Olympics of 1968. :-)

I believe that right_writes is referring to the the 1976 Montreal Olympics and I believe it's correct that we still are paying.

My favourite among the banned items was "excessive amounts of food", closely followed by "flags of any country not participating in the Games". Damn, and I'd bought that Vatican tee shirt especially.

It has nothing or at least little to do with making money but an awful lot to do with people not getting shot or worse!

In related news, hotel bookings are down 30% on this time last year.

A 30cm lens with the hood out, a tele on and a pro-series body is still a very big camera to the person next to you in a small olympic venue seat.

The limit has been known about for some time and is based on bag size, which in turn seems based on the amount of space for bags under seats. It was in place for the test events at the Olympic parks earelier in the year, although I didn't see anyone stopped and some fair size cameras in the venues (no 400/2.8s outside of the pros, though)

http://lensesforhire.blogspot.co.uk/2012_02_01_archive.html shows just how much kit you can fit within the size restrictions if you're determined and don't need padding between items.

Its not about sport, its about making money

Nice idea, but I think they've left it rather too late.

Olympus might have made some decent money if they'd converted some of their pro glass for micro 4/3rds, and sold a high end Olympics kit for the OM-D.
For instance, the 300mm f2.8 is 11.1 inches in length; the 150mm f2, 6 inches; the 90-250mm f2.8, 10.9 inches.

Might have been a realistic plan twelve months ago.

Wat you really need is Pentax Q with 180mm Voigtlander f4 lens, and you are set.

Does the 30 cm include the lens shade?

Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm (200-600mm eqiv.) f4.0-5.6 O.I.S. Approximately 7.5 inches when extended fully.

I must admit I always enjoyed watching the Olympics on telly smugly knowing someone else was footing the bill and putting up with the mayhem.

Now I am paying the bill and planning to get as far from London as possible until the darn thing is over. The underground in July is bad enough on a normal day....

Canon shooters could try the EF 70-300 f/3.5-5.6 DO IS USM diffractive optics lens which is just 3.9 inches long. That gives 480mm-e on a crop sensor body like the 7D. Not sure if it's compatible with the 1.4x and 2x extenders.

The Canadian games of 76 were paid off a few years ago. 1968 games were in Mexico City.
But I guess the press corps and their Speed Graphics will not be permitted.

@right writes, I think the 1984 Los Angeles games were profitable (actually, I think I recall they were wildly profitable).

I used to shoot a Zeiss Jena (East German) 180mm Sonnar on my Contax Aria via a Zoerkendorf (sp?) adapter. I got some nice photos with that combo, but it was unwieldy, to say the least. I wouldn't mind an Olympia Sonnar on my m4/3 camera.

I suppose many of these restriction (lens length, no tripod etc) are for practical, crowd flow reasons and are fair, if not what one would like.


Montreal Olympics were in 1976 and the debt was repaid in full in 2006.


Canon SX40 HS or Nikon P510 seem like good choices here, unless they are laughably considered "large."

Hosting a large international sporting event in your city/country is actually a lot of fun. What's more, the spirit which it creates is hard to measure in purely financial terms. Looking back at the 2010 World Cup which, despite what a lot of people predicted, wasn't a disaster and didn't bring South Africa to a standstill, there are a lot of positives which came out of it. The only bad taste I still have in my mouth (apart from the "officially sanctioned" beer) really comes from the restrictions imposed by the organisers around things like food stalls. For example Macdonalds were allowed in but the vendors who traditionally serve food at local football matches were chased away. Photography is just another one of the limitations that goes with the commercialisation of big sporting events.

As for the Vuvuzelas. There's nothing to beat a stadium full of them every once in a while. This may be a uniquely South African view. The interesting thing for me is that they are less annoying in real life than they are on a TV broadcast, showing that sport is still best viewed from inside the stadium.

And these seem mild when compared to Formula One racing's photo policy.

I was in LA getting my MFA during the 1984 Olympics and after a year of warnings about how impossibly gridlocked the city was going to be everybody either left town or stayed inside. It was quite plesent being in LA with almost no traffic.

Living in New York , I'm really glad we aren't having it here this year.

I have always wondered, is that 11.8 inches extended or not extended? My Sigma 150 - 500 is about 10" at 150 mm and probably 14-15" at 500 mm.

The panasonic 100-300mm is only around 12cm when retracted. A 30cm long prime for micro 4/3 would be a nice telephoto (although you'd need a model with a good grip). A 400mm f5.6 would be a sweet addition to the system.

" I believe that the Canadians are still paying for the 1968 games."

I hope not, Mexico hosted it then. Montreal hosted the games in 1976.

Agree with you that I don't think London will be a fun place to be for three weeks or so and the restrictions on photographers is dismaying.

Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds Lenses for size comparison

Panasonic has some nice small zooms for Micro Four-Thirds. The 100-300mm is optically quite nice, offers image stabilization, and is 600mm EQ. Not bad for something not much larger than a can of soup.

Here's an excerpt from my twitter stream while I was a semi-spectator at the Vancouver Olympics with an EF 500mm. And a Super Bowl followup:

Don Craig ‏@tripleflash 21-Feb-2010

Waiting for ski-cross to start on cold metal seats, enduring loud electric band - to keep the youth occupied, I suppose.

That's the waiting that's on cold metal seats, not the ski-cross. At least the band suppresses crowd chanting - the swedes are very loud.

Photographer harassment time - "no long lenses allowed in the stands" "what's a long lens?" "that is" "how about 180mm?" "how long is that?"

"ok, I'll allow that black lens. But not the white one. And someone else might still ask you to leave."

In the event, the crowd around me grew thick enough to dissuade attempts at enforcing focal length violations. Now I hope I got something.

Half-way through the Games, the press bus contents stare into space or nap. One maniacal looking photog in a wool cap is culling selects.

I liked the maniac's selects better than mine. Photo used only for personal, private, and non-commercial purposes at http://bit.ly/axPSak

One more ski cross photo used only for personal, private, and non-commercial purposes at http://bit.ly/c4TMMQ

Don Craig ‏@tripleflash 8-Feb-2011

Superbowl XLV had a six inch lens length limit for spectators. It's time to get serious about catadioptrics. 500mm f/6.3 is 4.7 inches long.

Nothing is more annoying at any sporting event than a photographer with a DSLR who thinks he has a press pass, and we all know DSLR users are annoying on their own. I say ban all cameras and DSLR users, even if they don't have their DSLR with them.

Even though I'm nowhere near London and only vaguely interested in sports of any kind, this has me thinking about just how much reach is theoretically possible with lenses shorter than 30cm.

Canon FD 500mm f/8 mirror lens, 14.6cm long according to specs + 2x teleconverter, about 5cm long for the one I own + FD-to-Pentax-Q adapter + Pentax Q.

Assuming my math isn't too shonky, that's somewhere in the region of the same field of view you'd get with a 5,500mm lens on 35mm, give or take a bit. You're going to be hoping for bright sunshine though and even then you'd be well into nosebleed-ISO territory to make the rig hand-holdable. Keeping it lined up on target while manually focusing would be a major problem too, so this is not a very practical combo.

That's an extreme case though. There are lots of other options which would mount to a Q to give you a ton of reach, be entirely hand-holdable even if the clouds are out and still not be so large as to irritate the people seated around you.

Oh well, completely irrelevant to most UK residents as ticket allocations are a complete fiasco. Of all my acquaintences, only 1 person got any tickets - and that for an event he wasn't interested in.

Me, I'll be busy shooting events that will get totally ignored during Olympics hysteria (with my oversized Canon 500 f4)

At the world cup in Germany in 2006 I was told by a stadium worker that my Rebel XT with a 17-85mm lens was too big to take in. I walked to another entrance out of sight of the first where I was let in with no questions asked.

As an American at the world cup in South Africa in 2010 I have to agree with Henk Coetzee - a stadium full of vuvuzelas is an amazing experience. They were everywhere in Cape Town and proved to be photogenic props.

Other people have noted the resurgent possibilities of a market for oft derided 500mm mirror lenses. Time to sell my Zuiko 500mm f8? I have even used it with the 2x adapter (not to be recommended, but it works). So, (having a bit of harmless fun) on an OM-D with it's vaunted high ISO performance, we could have the "equivalent" of lets see, at ISO 3200, a 1000mm f2.8 at ISO 400, or crikey, a 2000mm f4 at ISO 200 with the tele converter. All at the size of a can of beans, which couldn't even be banned on the basis of excessive amounts of food. Of course, you can't actually see anything through it to focus.

A few years ago I tried going to a Seattle Mariners game with an Olympus E-3 and an old used Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 lens that I just bought on eBay. They would not let me in with the lens saying that it was to big and too long. They said that the professional photographers were complaining about us amateur's competing with them. I had walked from the ferry dock so I could not put the lens in my car. I used to take my Tamron Sp350mm mirror lens with no problems. This was news to me.

So what did I do after getting very discussed with this? I gave the tickets away and left. They lost a loyal fan that day and I have not been back. I have not watched them on TV either. I finally realized It was not about the fans anymore. We (the public) helped pay for that stadium but we had no rights. A private concern had all the rights. We were just pawns in the game, so it did not matter that I supported the team. All "Professional" sports are about one thing, money. With their "high priced whiners" (ball players) they can take it elsewhere for all I care.

One thing I like about the m43rd's gear is that it is small. It is a lot more stealth than my old Canon gear. I have never gotten permission or a permit to shoot so I was not about to start now.
I could now show up with my m43rd's outfit and probably get past the goons at the gate. But Why?

"We (the public) helped pay for that stadium but we had no rights. "

Sounds remarkably like the Olympics. The last straw for me was the special traffic lanes being laid on for 'officials' and 'dignitaries', with priority at traffic lights. I realize this was a condition of getting the games, but it's a bit too much like the practices of the old communist regimes for my taste.

Call me curmudgeonly, but I have no intention of going anywhere near London that month.

Back on topic, I note that Samsung and Panasonic are among the official sponsors. I guess we ought to be grateful that the use of other camera brands isn't forbidden in the venues. Yet.

30cm is perfect!

My 420mm to 800mm f8-16 telescope lens is T-mount and sits in at just 25.5 cm with the adapters and hood! So on M4/3rds you have about 1600mm to work with. Also the image quality is not that bad at all, some say better than the Sigma 50-500mm.

For me a big sporting event in a big stadium is not the opportunity to get great sport photographs. The angles are wrong, the space is wrong and that's not why everyone around you is attending the game. If you must take photographs, never underestimate the possibilities with wide angles.

Have a look at




although these are not the work of a slightly drunk fan in the crowd with a P&S :-).

Dear folks,

I'll second Richard's suggestion. I bought a real beater of a Sigma 600 mm f/8 on eBay for $49 to photograph the annular eclipse (lenses in good to excellent condition can be bought for a little more than twice that). On a micro four thirds camera, it's a great deal. The off-axis image quality and curvature of field deteriorated rapidly with lenses of this ilk the further you got from the center of the field, which made them pretty poor performers in 35mm format. But when you're only using the central half of the field, the image quality is much more uniform and quite acceptable. Contrast tends to be rather low, which was a problem for film photographers, but we digiterati can easily tweak it up later.

Further benefit of using such a lens on micro four thirds is that you don't have to be able to see through it to focus; you're looking atan on-screen image which the camera amplifies as needed, not a direct optical image. Note, though, that the focus is insanely finicky, and I'm not sure I could hand-hold this steady, even with in body stabilization.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

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