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I'm an amateur photographer. I take pictures using my Nikon D5200 that comes with two lenses.

  • AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G
  • AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G ED

Recently I asked event organizers whether I can bring my camera to Brisbane's Tennis tournament. I received following reply:

Hi Matthew, as long as your camera lens has a focal length capacity less than 200mm.

The rules are (also in the FAQ):

  1. Prohibited items. (...) camera tripods, monopods, telephoto camera lenses with a focal length capacity greater than 200mm;

As I said. I'm an amateur. Does this mentioned 200mm mean that I can take my 18-55 with me, but not 300mm because I will be able to zoom too much? Does the 200mm refer to mm mentioned on top of my lens?

Nikkor 55-300mm

  • If they did not specifically state "focal length" it would be understandable for someone to think they meant lenses that were physically longer than 20cm. In the FAQ, they also use the phrase "focal strength", perhaps to prevent photographers from bringing small-sensor superzoom bridge cameras in with the effective focal length scratched off. – xiota Aug 24 '18 at 2:57
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Yes, the 200mm refers to the maximum focal length allowed, which is the 55-300 range on that lens, so it would not be allowed.

At least they are specific about what is and isn't allowed. Many venues have vague wording around not allowing "professional cameras".

  • Agree. If you use a small mirrorless camera that has a lens with a 20x scale, it could potentially have more close up than a 200mm tele. – Rafael Dec 9 '15 at 15:44
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The wording of their answer was pretty clear. You cannot bring a lens that has a focal length longer than 200mm. By that itself there is no room for speculation, since the focal length is an optical property which is given by the manufacturer as the focal length number.

I don't think we can speculate on how the officials of the tournament meant their rules. However, I think it is highly unlikely that they train their security personal to understand crop factors.

Hence, you could bring a 55-200 mm lens for example. If it is important for you, you once could get those cheaply used for around 50 bucks (without image stabilization).

  • A 55-200mm lens might be at the discretion of individual security personnel to interpret whether the rules intend to prohibit greater than or equal vs strictly greater than 200mm. Security is often given wide discretion by including some catchall rule about following the directions of event staffing. – xiota Aug 24 '18 at 2:48

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