Photography and Art

Feature: London 2012 Olympic City

18 July 2012

London 2012 Olympic City

The London Olympic Games are almost upon us as London (and the UK) steps up its preparations to host the international sporting event.

Possible camera type restrictions at events

The Olympic events should represent a great photo opportunity but it has been reported that restrictions may applyLondon 2012 Olympic Games regarding the types of cameras that may be brought to an event. DSLRs and mirrorless (compact system) cameras seem to be the target of these restrictions so if attending an event it's best to get some clarification. It seems the Olympic authorities are trying to limit the possibilities of professional quality photos taken by non-authorised (or non-accredited) sources. Read BJP for further information. The safest bet seems to be the compact cameras and of course cameraphones.

The street based events (cycling, running, etc) may present much better photographic opportunities, as there are unlikely to be restrictions on camera types. The challenge would be to find suitable vantage points to shoot from.

The Weather

The summer has seen more rain than sunshine so far so it's best to be prepare and have suitable weather proofing protection for camera equipment. You cannot go wrong with at least a decent camera bag that protects against the elements.

Camera types

Compact cameras with a powerful zoom lens should prove most versatile for dealing with fast changing shooting conditions. An articulating LCD screen would improve the chance of getting that once in a life time shot when stuck in a crowd. In good ambient lighting conditions quality photos should be captured to with plenty of detail. The optical quality of the lens will be a big factor although the very nature of the design places the greatest limitations when theLondon 2012 Paralympic Games lens is zoomed towards the telephoto extremes. The lens becomes optical slower which means less light illuminating the sense and a resulting slower autofocusing performance. The typically small sensor also imposes limitations especially in terms of image noise. Increasing the ISO makes increases the image noise but but this might be unavoidable in challenging lighting conditions. Knowing how a camera is likely to respond in difficult lighting conditions improves the chances of getting the results required.

 For the DSLR, SLT or mirrorless cameras offer a higher level of image quality and typically have a large selection of lenses to choose from. The highest quality optics will produce high quality results but possibly at the expense of having to carry a bigger and heavier kit compared to the more midrange optics. The superzoom lens would make for a lighter kit but the optics might struggle to keep up with fast moving action (depending on lighting conditions).

The cameraphone can produce very good shots especially now that shutter lag has generally been reduced and the optics improved. However they won't offer the same level of versatility as a compact camera. They do however come into their own when there is the need to instantly share a photo with family and friends via email or social networks.

The Countdown

The five interlinking rings have been making an appearance in various London locations. The most prominent location is from Tower Bridge for all the passing river and road traffic to see. Kew Gardens has a floral version which seems best seen from passing aircrafts.

The countdown clock is located at Trafalgar Sqaure with on face counting down to the main Olympics and the other face counting down to the Paralympics.

Lets hope for some great weather during the period of the Olympics and Paralympics.


Update (2 August 2012): It seems LOCOG has been given further clarification on bringing in DSLRs to Olympic events. They are allowing visitors to bring their DSLRs (or CSCs) to venues but permitting only a single 35mm lens. Apparently zoom lenses are prohibited. Read the full story as reported by Amateur Photographer. As most DSLRs are usually sold (and used) with a zoom lens of some description this ruling is sure to cause problems for visitors. It does seem the superzoom compact is the best way to go at this time. Alternatively, this is probably where the Canon G1X and Sony RX100 may earn their keep due to their larger sensors.


Mini News

22 November 2012: Sigma 18-250mm now available in Sony's A-Mount

Sigma Imaging UK Ltd has announced that the 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM lens is now available at a suggested retail price of £499.99. Sigma's APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens will shortly be available in Sony's A-Mount for a suggested retail price of £1499.99.


17 October 2012: Firmware update for Sony NEX 7 v1.01

Sony NEX firmware update provides the following;

  • Addition of capability to enable or disable the MOVIE button
  • Addition of exposure settings of bracket shooting (three frames /1.0EV,2.0EV, 3.0EV)
  • Improvement of response for showing auto review image.
  • Improvement of image quality when using a wide angle lens
  • Improvement of indication when setting “Flexible Spot”.

Visit the link: http://www.sony.co.uk/support/en/product/NEX-7/updates

Firmware updates are also available for the a77, a65, and a57.


15 October 2012: Purchase Sigma's 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM ultra wide angle lens and claim FREE 77mm UV DG filter

From Monday 15th October 2012, Sigma Imaging UK Ltd are introducing a short term special offer that enables anyone who purchases Sigma’s multi-award winning 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM ultra-wide angle lens to claim a FREE Sigma 77mm UV DG filter worth over £60!

A Sigma Ultra Violet filter is the perfect accessory to protect your lens from damage to the front element. Sigma’s DG filters benefit from a special multi-layer lens coating, developed to counteract the highly reflective characteristic of image sensors.

Terms and Conditions apply. Visit www.sigma-imaging-uk.com or ask your local photographic retailer for more details of this offer and how to claim your FREE Sigma 77mm UV DG filter.