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Kuwait Bans DSLR Cameras Use For Non-Journalists 446

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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  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:33PM (#34321762)

    I'm from Kuwait and YES!

    I think they claim people aren't comfortable being pictured by others with these pro cameras!

    Lame I know

  • by Dominic ( 3849 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:39PM (#34321870) Homepage

    Really? Not noticed this, and I'd have thought that I would, what with living there and everything.

  • Re:I have to ask... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:45PM (#34321950)

    Why? Seriously, what benefit is there banning DSLRs over other cameras? It can't be the existence of telephoto lenses, because there are lots of compacts that have large zooms. Maybe it's a war on artful, quality photos?

    Not only that... but there are non-SLRs that have Telephoto lenses you can attach, I am pretty sure. Some of the compacts with Zoom capabilities are probably SLRs, technically

    There are some "SLR-LIKE" cameras that are not SLRs, because they have a separate viewfinder which does not look through the main lens though.

    By definition a SLR is a camera that has a single lens, and a mirror, the viewfinder looks through the LENS a Prism is used to restore the orientation of the image, in a manner, that when you look through the viewfinder, you see the photo will be taken. Any camera that has a single lens and uses this method reflection, so that the viewfinder and the image sensor both utilize the same lens is called SLR.

    A DSLR just refers to digital technology.

    So this should be easily circumvented by using any camera that is not a SLR, I guess, i.e. any Camera that has a viewfinder which that its own lens on the front of the camera and does not look through a single lens, OR uses a mechanism other than reflection to duplicate the image in the LENS to the viewfinder.

    For example, a camera that electronically displays a rendition of the image hitting the image sensor using an electronic backlit display, without any reflection, instead of passing the image straight to the person viewing.

    I suppose viewfinders that incorporate an electronic display, will, however, be more expensive than the reflection technique, and the image appearing on the display will be less true in quality than the actual picture.

  • I was in London last year and took quite a few photos with an DSLR. Hell, I even got a bobby to pose [imgur.com] for me.

  • by jmottram08 ( 1886654 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:54PM (#34322102)
    Right, compare the US to a country that bans cameras. Everything is about you.

    The current police filming incidents are headed to the supreme court, where they will be overturned.

  • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:05PM (#34322222)

    The point of DSLRs is that if you have sensors that are designed to only capture when the mirror flips up, they can be much more sensitive/less noisy than sensors which have to run all the time and produce a video stream. Now, some of the newer DSLRs which can record 1080p, obviously they can handle it and maybe they don't need the mirror, but theoretically at least you could still design a better sensor for a still-only camera.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:2, Informative)

    by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:21PM (#34322498)

    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.

    While this is absolutely true, having a good camera definitely makes it much easier to take good photos. The easiest place to see this IMO is in low-light situations. Even the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000, both high-end point & shoots, hit their highest ISO setting at half the speed of the highest (non-boosted) setting on the respective entry-level DSLRs. The flagship DSLRs increase that even more. Put a reasonably fast lens on, and you'll get pictures that are half as blurry. And the larger sensor means that the noise level is likely comparable at the high end, so it's not like the DSLRs present a tradeoff in that dept.

    The way I describe camera choice is this. It is demonstratively possible to take great, interesting photos with even "crappy" cameras. But, if you have a specific image that you want to capture, it can easily be the case that if I give you a crappy camera you won't be able to take that shot and have it come out the way you envision.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Informative)

    by tirerim ( 1108567 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:43PM (#34322792)
    Indeed. But a bad camera can still hinder a good photographer. If your camera takes half a second between pressing the button and taking the exposure, it's much harder to take action shots (unless they're very predictable action shots). If your lens can't focus at close distances, it's much harder to take photographs of small things. If your camera doesn't offer control of aperture and exposure length, it's harder to take pictures of contrasty scenes.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#34322838) Homepage Journal

    On my full frame sensor is 400 on my crop sensor SLR its about 600mm.

    No. It's 400mm in both cases, You've conflated field of view with magnification. The lens puts the same image at the focal plane; the crop sensor doesn't capture the edges (because the sensor is smaller) and this gives you the same field of view as a 640mm lens, but the information in the crop isn't any larger.

    There are only two factors that affect captured magnification: One is the lens; the other is the sensel density on the sensor. For instance, if there are twice as many sensels across a specific linear measure of a sensor as compared to another, it will give you twice the detail, exactly the same effect as doubling the mm of the attached lens.

    If, however, you have a crop sensor and a FF sensor of the same sensel density, moving a 400mm lens between the cameras will give the same magnification, but not capture the edges on the crop sensor.

    Practical example: Canon 20D, a crop sensor camera, and a Canon 5DmkII, a FF camera, both have sensel densities of 6.4m. Consequently, if you put your 400mm lens on one, then the other, given that the scene hasn't changed and the cameras are placed on the same tripod, they'll capture exactly the same image in terms of magnification. But the 20D will not capture the image at the edges, because the sensor is smaller, which effectively "crops" off the edges.

  • A Kuwaiti's Rant (Score:2, Informative)

    by MBHkewl ( 807459 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:04PM (#34323088)

    I'd like to note that those government officials keep pulling up crap like that every once in a while. It's kind of entertaining and frustrating at the same time.

    Last year, one idiot in the Ministry of Communications issued an order to all ISPs to ban youtube. Needless to say, the ban was lifted the next day.

    As for this DSLR thing, it's probably one dude who was taking a picture of scenery and some idiotic women shouted that he was taking pictures of them. It could be, but who'd do that with a huge DSLR?!

    This is not some sort of media control. It's a fling & hopefully will be gone soon. I wish those morons get fired, but I know they'd just rotate to another ministry :/

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:5, Informative)

    by KingArthur10 ( 679328 ) <{arthur.bogard} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:17PM (#34323260)
    Annnnnnd.....you know nothing about photography. A 5x lens can be a 8-40mm (35mm equiv), or a 100-500mm lens. The "X" is nothing more than a ratio of the focal length at the widest to telephoto end of the lens. Also, with smaller sensors, aperture is the limiting factor for lens/sensor resolving power due to diffraction issues. Most lenses on compact cameras cannot resolve beyond 8-10MP anyway. And no, you cannot build a 500x zoom on a P&S nor a dSLR. It's impractical and extremely expensive. There's a reason you rarely see beyond 10x zooms on dSLR cameras and 16x on super-zooms. Like those politicians, you should not ever be put in a position to make policy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:30PM (#34323436)

    OK, still call bullshit.

    Section 44 allowed search and seizure in certain areas at certain times which had to be predefined (I think they were called "notified" areas).

    The assertion that "professional" pictures requires a license is blatantly repudiated by your own 3rd link from the cops themselves:

      "Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel."

    Some police did think they had the authority to confiscate equipment without the reasonable suspicion of terrorist intent outside the areas described by section 44, but these were very regretable failures by idiots and does not represent any policy at all.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:02PM (#34323926)

    I see your links from 1999 data and post later data refuting your links :)

    About your first link: here is the Snopes link showing that data is not as clear as you present:


    Your second link is the usual correlation != causation fallacy and is not worth addressing. Heck - it even shows absolute numbers of homicides instead of relative rates. If you have some claim about the numbers you care to make then I'll address them.

    Here is a good read with tons of data: http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/5.1/gun-facts-5.1-screen.pdf. From the source it is likely biased, but it provides a good starting point to debunk your "fact".

    The truth of the matter is that in many places gun control prevents crime, and in other places it increases it.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Informative)

    by theapeman ( 1068448 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:05PM (#34323960)

    OK, '640mm effective' or '640mm equivalent' are bad nomenclature.
    The problem is that in the past there was only 35mm, so focal lengths were usually used instead of angle of view.
    And the tradition has gone on of quoting an equivalent focal length for small sensor lenses, because it is easier for people to compare different cameras by using the 'equivalent' focal length - People have a good feel of what to expect from a 200mm lens compared to a 28mm lens.

    Its too late to change it. Just get used to it - a 840mm lens no longer means a lens with a focal length of 840mm. It means a lens with the same angle of view that an 840mm lens would have with a 35mm image frame. This makes things especially confusing when the same lens might be used with a full-frame or APS-C size sensor. You can blame the journalists (so tedious to always say 'equivalent') or the camera manufacturers (what would sell better 5-100mm or 25-500mm?), but it isn't going to change things.

    It is rather like using equivalent MHz as a CPU speed measurement unit.

    But the point is that these smaller cameras can have amazingly small angle of view. Smaller than almost any DSLR lens. You can get a camera which has the same angle of view as an 840mm lens on a 35mm camera, and it will resolve more detail than than many older full-frame DSLRs (in the right conditions).
    In good lighting conditions these can take excellent pictures. A DSLR will take better pictures in less well lit conditions, may focus more quickly and more accurately, and may take more pictures in quick succession. And a picture taken in good conditions with a long DSLR lens might resolve more detail than a good small camera. But there is not very much in it - and a small camera is certainly easier to carry around and handle. (And in Kuwait in daylight I expect the lighting conditions are quite bright).

    With a small sensor you get a greater depth of field (for the same angle of view and aperture). But you get greater problems with diffraction - some cameras reach the diffraction limit at f5.6, so stopping down does not improve the image.

    I am aware of medium and large format in addition to 35mm. But they were (are) always relatively specialised, and people who used them know what they are talking about and dont buy things based on meaningless paper specs, unlike many of the people who talk about 35mm equivalent focal length.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:42PM (#34324488)
    If you actually look at those statistics instead of taking at face value what the people presenting them are saying, you'll find that the overall homicide rates are essentially unchanged.

    In fact, the only difference is that homicide with firearms has decreased.

    Crime didn't go away, gun control didn't prevent any crimes. All it did was stuff it under a rug so you can continue to ignore the problem. "Gun Control" is a complete farce, a non-issue. You can't solve violent crime by trying to remove every weapon an assailant might own. People will kill each other with sharp sticks and rocks, and good luck banning those!

    Yet the benefits of firearms far outweighs the drawbacks. You never hear of the millions of times a firearm has been used in the US to safely end a run-in with a criminal - with no blood on either side. The mere brandishing of a firearm is enough to send most criminals running. [Nor do you hear that the vast majority of gun-related homicides in the US are from gang-on-gang violence or criminals killing other criminals]

    Guns are an equalizer. They take the monopoly on violence away from the young and the strong, and give it to everyone. People like you seem to think that the second you put a gun in a normal person's hands, they suddenly become vicious criminals who want to kill someone else with every argument, and who will go rob a convenience store at the first chance.

    Well, lets get back to reality. That doesn't happen, the simple fact is, a weapon doesn't magically make people violent. You don't suddenly become bloodlusted when you hold a sword, why do you think it happens when you hold a gun? These people who commit crimes are already violent, and even without access to a firearm they will still find a way to take their violence upon others. At best all you've managed to do with a firearms ban is prevent the innocent from defending themselves from their aggressors.
  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @07:34PM (#34325102) Homepage Journal

    the cameras we have today (even the point and shoots) are MILES above the top of the line film cameras from even a couple decades ago

    Then that explains why my fiancee, who is a photographer, is holding on to her 1967 Pentax SLR for dear life?

    There are a lot more widgets on modern cameras, to be sure, and they're very helpful to people who take shots kind of at random. And of course not having to worry about burning through rolls of film -- so you can, for instance, take ten shots of the same thing and hope one of them turns out well -- is great. But the quality of the optics is no better than it used to be.

    Also, until very recently, the resolution on the types of CCDs that get put into cameras wasn't as good as that of film. They've just about caught up now, but quality control on dense CCDs isn't that great -- you're a lot more likely to get dead pixels than you are dead spots on high-quality film. It will probably be several years before this is really resolved.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @07:36PM (#34325118)

    Its easy to throw around phrases like 'consistent with the trend' to obfuscate matters. Lets quote from the linked, researched and sourced article however, shall we:

    "The overall rate of homicide in Australia has also dropped to its lowest point since 1989 (National Homicide Monitoring Program, 1997-98 data). It remains one-fourth the homicide rate in the USA.

    The Institute of Criminology report Australian Crime - Facts and Figures 1999 includes 1998 homicide data showing "a 9% decrease from the rate in 1997." This is the period in which most of the country's new gun laws came into force. "

  • by macshit ( 157376 ) <snogglethorpeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @08:04PM (#34325394) Homepage

    Another attribute that currently differentiates most DSLRs from non-DSLRs is that DSLRs can use "phase-detection" autofocusing, by redirecting some of the light to the phase-detection sensors in the mirror-down state. Phase-detection autofocusing is typically much faster than the "contrast-detection" autofocusing used by most cameras without a mirror, and fast autofocusing is hugely important to many professional photographers.

    [The reason that it's faster is pretty simple: with phase-detection, the camera can tell which direction to adjust the focus in, with some indication of how much, whereas with contrast-detection systems, it can't tell those things, and in fact, doesn't even know whether the picture is in focus or not without adjusting the focus and seeing what the effect is. So contrast-based systems have to "hunt" for proper focus, and even with clever algorithms, hunting involves mechanically adjusting the focus, which is slow, especially as it typically needs to constantly change direction.

    I'm not entirely sure why a camera without a mirror can't use phase-detection focusing, except that it involves having something in the optical path (the beam-splitter that redirects light to the phase-detection sensors), and maybe that unacceptably degrades photo quality. [I suppose maybe you could have a camera without a mirror, but with a PD beam-splitter that flips out of the way like mirrors do in DSLRs...]

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Estanislao Martínez ( 203477 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @09:18PM (#34326032) Homepage

    But the quality of the optics is no better than it used to be.

    Actually, that's not true. The field of optical engineering is seeing very rapid advancement, in part due to new lens coatings and in part due to the ability to model complex series of lenses in computers, rather than having to build and test them experimentally.

    Strictly speaking, that's been the case since the 80s.

    The result is that today's top-quality lenses are sharper and have less distortion (chromatic abberation, barrel and pincushion distortion, etc.) than older lenses. And the new technology is making some things possible that simply weren't before, like the new crop of superzooms that actually have reasonable performance across very wide zoom ranges.

    And actually, one of the newest techs is the use of software instead of optics to correct chromatic aberration and curvilinear distortion. I.e., if your camera's viewing and capture systems are all-electronic, your lens design can be relaxed when it comes to those, as long as you can profile it accurately and correct it in software with a reasonable loss in quality.

    This is actually one of the reasons those superzoom cameras work as well as they do.

  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:3, Informative)

    by modecx ( 130548 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @11:17PM (#34326908)

    You mean countries/territories like:

    El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, South Africa, Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Mexico, Russia, Swaziland, Panama, Paraguay, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Thailand, Zambia, Belarus, Barbados, Seychelles, Uganda, Georgia, Estonia, Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Kenya, Argentina?... In that order of homicides per capita?

    All of whom lead the US in homicides, and all of whom have strict gun control laws? Admittedly, a lot of these places are shithole and third world countries, but there are many which aren't.

    Maybe, just maybe it's about their culture? No... Then you would next recognize that a few of the US's larger cities are responsible for the vast majority of our so-called "gun crime", not because they have more guns, but because they are more prone to a culture of violence and lawlessness in general. You would also then learn that not only do they have vastly more firearm related homicides, they also have more non-gun related homicides per capita than any of the rest of our fine country.

    You'd also find that many "USians" live in places with virtually no homicide, firearm related or otherwise, and it's a really big fucking deal when someone is killed--usually when some tramp comes to town, or in the passion of a domestic squabble. These are also the places which tend to have higher concentrations of gun owners. Imagine that.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Informative)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @12:32AM (#34327378) Homepage Journal

    I've seen this argument before, and frankly, the cameras we have today (even the point and shoots) are MILES above the top of the line film cameras from even a couple decades ago. Yet, somehow, the photographers from that era (and earlier) managed to get these shots that people think are impossible on lower end models of today. All it takes is a little understanding of your in most cases.

    No, they're really not. A good film SLR from a couple of decades ago would likely have metering and probably even auto-exposure, and probably even automatic focus. That camera, coupled with modern film, will take pictures that are roughly on par with as a modern DSLR, and the lenses from that era still generally spank the lenses built into point-and-shoot cameras in every way---the light gathering of the lens, the amount of chromatic aberration, the amount of barrel and/or pincushion distortion, the number of blades on the shutter, etc. All of these have a very real effect on the quality of photos, and there's really no way around it. Sure, you can take photos with great composition with any camera, but it will still be of noticeably lesser quality than an otherwise identical shot taken with a DSLR or even a thirty-year-old film SLR, assuming a good photographer who is familiar with the equipment.

    And no...a good photographer doesn't need all these options on the flagship models.

    It's not that good photographers need all the features of the high-end cameras, but rather, that they need the ability to disable all those features. A good photographer dealing with tricky lighting conditions will find him/herself wanting to throw a point-and-shoot within about a minute. Most of the point-and-shoot models I've used over the years were designed for people who only care about point-and-shoot photography. As soon as you need to put one of them into anything approaching full manual, it's an absolute pain in the backside. There's rarely a manual focus at all, and even the other manual controls---aperture, exposure, gain (ISO), etc.---are usually very clumsy to use when compared with a DSLR. It may sometimes be possible to get some of the same shots with lower end cameras, but it's as much fun as a root canal without anesthesia. Just about any film SLR ever made is easier to use as soon as you need to set up a shot manually.

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