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Kuwait Bans DSLR Cameras Use For Non-Journalists 446

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-give-'em-ideas dept.
DaveNJ1987 writes "Kuwait has banned the use of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras in public places for anyone who is not a journalist. The ban, which was passed by the unanimous agreement of the country's Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Finance, prevents the public from using DSLR devices on the streets of the Middle Eastern State. Tourists are to be affected by the new laws and must be aware of this before travelling to Kuwait. Smaller digital cameras and camera phones are exempt from the ban."
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Kuwait Bans DSLR Cameras Use For Non-Journalists

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  • funny and ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:26PM (#34321636) Journal
    An ironic twist I think... I know many people whose DSLR pictures totally suck because the camera is beyond their ability to master even simple photographs. Also, ironically, anyone who would want useful information from digital pictures can readily shoot quality pictures with non-DSLR digital cameras. Is this for real?
  • by index0 (1868500) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:31PM (#34321712)
    Are these cameras legal on the streets of USA? From this past decade of news, it seems like it is illegal in USA too.
  • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:32PM (#34321730) Homepage
    If you can identify a journalist by his camera, it's easier to target journalists when you want to keep "bad news" from leaving the country.
  • Re:What what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:32PM (#34321746) Journal

    Why? Is there any reason at all for this ban? Help me out here.

    I guess they don't want HQ telephotography of abuse of power from safe locations etc, where they won't even know who's photographing them so they can't see who they should arrest. :-p

    However... Smaller digital cameras OK? Uh, what about the Canon SX30 IS with 35x zoom? That's better than my Nikon D90 with my 200mm lens. While perhaps not the same optical quality, this doesn't matter at all unless they're trying to ban photographs with a nice bokeh, or low noise levels, haha. :p

  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:33PM (#34321766) Homepage

    Oops, I guess it is.

    http://www.pixiq.com/contributors/248 [pixiq.com]

  • by Tangential (266113) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:36PM (#34321814) Homepage
    We've all seen or heard about such things. Primitive, uneducated, unsophisticated peoples often fear that cameras will steal their souls.

    Maybe DSLRs are considered big enough to steal souls while camera phones and point-and-shoots just aren't big enough to hold a soul.
  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:38PM (#34321842)

    They did it because they can, and because nobody will punish them for their temerity with a bullet in the head.

    They can't be tyrants because we, the US of A, liberated the Kuwaiti Royal Family and this monarchy from the evils of Saddam Hussein; which we then invaded Iraq to free its people from the oppressive tyranny of that tyrant in order to install a democracy.

    Don't you just love US foreign policy?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:48PM (#34321996) Homepage

    It has been discussed many, many times. Belief beats fact. Fear beats belief and fact. This seems to apply to everyone across the board. It's like the anti-gun groups who conveniently ignore the reduction in crime in the US states where CHLs are issued and continue to cry "blood in the streets." It simply doesn't matter how much fact you shovel out. They won't see anything but what they want to see... and by "they" I mean pretty much everyone including you and me.

  • by Cwix (1671282) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:49PM (#34322014)

    Its not the camera that takes great photos, its the photographer. Ive seen great pics taken with a crappy disposable film camera. Ive seen shitty photos taken with a DSLR.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:52PM (#34322060)
    Most point and shoots do not do 10x or better. Go check newegg.com if you doubt me.

    I pretty much wrote off your entire post when you mentioned digital zoom, BTW. Mentioning digital zoom when the question is about quality and clarity of an image is a sign of utter ignorance.
  • by lazlo (15906) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:53PM (#34322074) Homepage

    Or what about interchangeable lens cameras with an LED-based "viewfinder" that do not actually use a reflex mirror? I think they're called by some "bridge cameras", and I'm not entirely sure I understand what the advantage of the reflex mechanism is for a digital camera. (for a film camera, yeah, I completely understand. But those reasons mostly don't translate to digial *at all*.)

    In reality, I suspect that the term DSLR is being abused similarly to "assault weapons" is in the US. The law really means any camera that looks too scary to be permitted to civilians, and the real definition will be defined ex post facto.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:56PM (#34322126)
    Do you want to explain the distinction between an optical and electronic viewfinder to the local police?
  • by Goaway (82658) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:08PM (#34322252) Homepage

    What?

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:25PM (#34322572) Homepage Journal
    If I'm a spy and my target is something in Kuwait I think the last thing I want is a bulkier SLR, I'll take a digital. In fact, I'll buy one there in Kuwait, snap off pix of my target(s), and send them over the internet. No need to go through customs anything that might be connected with spying. Seriously, the people who run governments need to step up their games.
  • by Algan (20532) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:59PM (#34323012)

    Talking about 10x or 20x is irrelevant. Ten times what? A 200-400mm lens is technically only 2x, but it goes further than any point and shoot camera. Most point and shoot cameras start at around 20-30mm and go to about 100-200mm focal distance, since that's the range most people want.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:03PM (#34323060) Journal

    That's what you believe. The fact is that gun control prevents gun crime:

    http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gunaus.htm [converge.org.nz]
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms [nationmaster.com]

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:29PM (#34323424) Homepage Journal

    Its not the camera that takes great photos, its the photographer. Ive seen great pics taken with a crappy disposable film camera. Ive seen shitty photos taken with a DSLR.

    This is why top photographers prefer disposable film cameras over DSLRs.

    Oh, wait...

    A good photographer can take good pictures with any camera -- but only because he factors the capabilities of the camera into the decision of which shots to take. Many images which could be captured with the flexibility provided by a high-end DSLR with the right lens cannot be captured effectively with a cheap point & shoot. Good equipment provides options. A poor photographer won't know how to use those options, but that doesn't mean a good photographer doesn't need them.

  • by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:42PM (#34323584) Homepage Journal

    It's also apparent that the overall homicide rate is consistent with the trend prior to the enactment of the gun bans of '94-'96.

    I'm not sure why Aussies seem to think it better to be stabbed or beaten to death than to be shot, but more power to you, I guess. Myself, I prefer to be able to adequately defend myself.

  • by KingArthur10 (679328) <arthur DOT bogard AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:03PM (#34323936)

    Annnnd..... you missed the point entirely. You CAN build a 500x zoom for a p&s. period.

    Oh so wrong. A 500mm lens is easy to build (well, 500mm in 35mm equivalence. A 500X lens would be an incredible feat. Lets say it's 10mm on the wide end (VERY close to fisheye). That would be a 10mm-5000mm lens. Hell, you find me a 5000mm lens on any system and I commend you. Technical knowledge, you know not.

    Lenses are not special on dslrs in any technical sense of the word. I specifically said that dslrs are more capable of producing better pictures. My recommendations on limiting quality are also more effective than the uninformed "ban all dslr" policy that is in place.

    Lenses on dSLRs are not special in any sense of the word. The issue is that your caps on pixel count is absurd on small format lenses. Diffraction, the scattering of light passing through an eyelit, as modified by smaller absolute apertures (although equivalent relative apertures), limits the camera's ability to resolve beyond 8-10MP. Even the significantly larger 4/3rd sensor on the Olympus and Panasonic system is diffraction limited to f/6ish. So, your arbitrary limitations would be useless and simply limit a company's ability to market their new 50bajillion megapixel camera to the public. It's as arbitrary as banning dSLR cameras.

    Yes, i know that you really can only subjectively measure quality, and sensor size matters when calculating relative zoom, but that isnt practical as a policy. What would be practical would be banning higher powered lenses, and limiting quality of sensor.

    "Higher powered lenses" are an arbitrary assignment. Are you saying banning telephoto lenses beyond a certain throw is a good idea? 'cause that MIGHT be more worthwhile. I can find you a 1x lens that can spy a rivet on a bridge across town easily. Again, the multiplier has no bearing.

    Issue is, how does anyone enforce that? Smaller sensor cameras use smaller lenses. There are some amazing 300mm+ lenses on P&S cameras that fold up into the body. Do we have all police become considerably more technically sound than yourself?

    It all reeks of political stupidity. Are they also banning EVIL cameras (no reflex mirror)? Interchangeable lens systems? Does that include adapters screwed onto the front of fixed lens systems?

    Point is, what you propose is nothing more than what they propose. It's all stupidity by those with no technical knowledge on the subject area.

    So you can act like a smug dick all day, but to imply that the slr aspect of a camera is what defines its capacities is wrong. Just. Wrong.

    Awwwwww.....did you not comprehend my previous post? Exactly my point. You, and those like you, are sadly the ones making these arbitrary rules.

  • Yeah sure. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:55PM (#34324666) Homepage Journal

    USians simply don't grasp the fact that, bar war zones, they live in some of the places with the highest homicide rates in the world.

    The mental blockage to link phallic enthusiasm for guns and homicide rates eludes other wise reasonable pople (oh wait, half of you would vote for Sarah Palin if given a chance. Forget what I said)....

  • by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @10:37PM (#34326630)

    If you need any reminders that the middle east is not the USA, remember the hikers that are still hanging out in Iranian prison for being spies with no proof or evidence.

    Uh, I'm no fan of the Iranian rulers, and I can think of many other reasons why the American system of government is vastly better to Iran's, but we've held a lot more foreign nationals indefinitely without evidence in the last decade. And although lots of Iranians have died under "questioning" in their prisons, so far there's no indication that any of the hikers have been tortured, let alone killed - and our record there isn't too great either. I hope the remaining two get out soon, and I hope our government presses for their release, but this is one case where we have no basis for a smug feeling of moral superiority.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @02:58AM (#34328086)
    It's about keeping track of journalists by limiting an easily identified tool for journalists and a way of throwing "unregistered" journalists out of the country. They see that journalists carry DSLRs so that's what they limit for all of those situations where a journalist has to put a different profession on the visa to be allowed into the country. The technical details of the cameras are not important since it is a tool of social control, which we will find when a journalist with a point and shoot camera is charged.
    Kuwait is a very corrupt country but depends on having a good reputation so they don't like journalists poking their cameras into unexpected places.
  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @03:52AM (#34328310) Homepage

    Just out of curiosity, which of these countries are at a development-level comparable to USA ? Does even a single one of them have a GDP/person that's atleast 1/3rd of that in usa ?

    Can you find me a country where wealth/person is atleast half of USA, and where homicide-rates are comparable ?

    If you're happy to beat Kenya, then yeah, fine, more power to you.

  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:19AM (#34328430)
    Call me crazy but I greatly prefer someone lunging at me with a knife in their hand. Fuck give them two knives. I also know that if I am running away from an attacker I greatly prefer they have something in their hand which requires close contact to be effective, and not a projectile weapon. Pre-meditated murders will still happen, but it's the jealous ex boyfriend, or cool dude you insulted infront of gang that will give you a fighting chance (or a running chance), even if they are armed with a fucking sword.
  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by metrix007 (200091) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:07AM (#34328632)

    Americans. Not USians. Americans. Retard.

  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:22AM (#34329068)

    Yeah, compare the US to a load of third world countries and ex-communist bloc failed states great.

    Try a comparison to civilized countries. You know all those will far lower murder rates...

  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by modecx (130548) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @02:40PM (#34344186)

    If I tried to find a country which is truly comparable to the US to make such a comparison, I would fail from the start. Our place pretty unique amongst the world's countries-one for being a relatively young nation, and two for being more diverse than most.

    Besides the GDP and other social issues you bring up--and I agree with those points you've made....There's also the 'melting pot' factor of the US, it's certianly had it's positives and negatives, but I believe the former outweigh the latter. Outside of the recent immigration of millions of African/Turk/Arab (etc.) followers of Islam, I don't think many Europeans can truly appreciate how diverse our metropolitan cities are. If you point randomly on a globe, it's a guarantee we have people from that place!

    At first, most all US immigrants formed ghettos around their cultural ties, and more or less left everyone else alone. The next generation saw more intermingling and more strife. And eventually it started to level off and finally reach a state of assimilation... However, the two cultures in the US which are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence and crime are fractured from the culture-at-large and show no little need or want to assimilate--much like Europe's new Muslim contingent.

    While there are surely different cultures and ethnicity in European life, you've mostly lived with each-other for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I think Russia shares similar problems thanks to the expansionist philosophy of the Russian Empire, which was going strong until the 19th century, and then it really picked up with the advent of the Soviet Union.

    The USSR tried to force assimilation en masse--we see how well that worked out! I don't say these things to be racist, I'm fine with other peoples and cultures--but it's the way I see how all of these things came to be. It's a big complicated issue at any rate.

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