Dear Transport for London, why do you hate dSLRs?

Tim's photo, taken with a compact camera

One day, someone will be able to give me an answer to the question: 'Why have you made the arbitrary decision to ban digital SLRs from your venue/ exhibit/ event, but no other type of camera?' It's a question that I seem to have to pose quite a bit, and today it's the turn of Transport for London (TfL) to attempt to respond.

What's prompted today's round with reticent PRs? Tim Allen, a Kent-based photographer took a tour of the fabled Aldwych underground station yesterday. The station's been closed for years, but it's used for training and even in films (think V for Vendetta) and very rarely, TfL will open it up to the public, at a price. When you're going on a tour of a disused underground station, taking a few photos wouldn't exactly be out of the question, would it? Except that TfL won't let you take them with a dSLR. To quote the sign outside the station yesterday:

Due to their combination of high-quality sensor and high-resolution, digital SLR cameras are unfortunately not permitted inside the underground station.

Really? So I can't walk in there with my Canon 450D, but waltzing in with a Fujifilm X-S1 (when it's released, obviously) would be absolutely fine? What on earth would they say about some medium format yumminess? And I guess that they'd have no objections to a series-topping range-finder, either?

How in the name of all that is photographically beautiful do they manage to dream up such ridiculous distinctions? And if one person dare say to me it's because dSLRs constitute professional equipment, I shall be forced to deposit the PR from every entry-level dSLR ever produced on her or his head. From a great height.

The ignorance, or maybe naivety, of these people astonishes me. If they are attempting to prevent images of their property from commercial exploitation, then prohibiting the use of dSLRs in their vicinity won't make a blind bit of difference. If they're intent on irritating anyone who owns an SLR, they're going about it just the right way.

The equipment that you use doesn't define you; and Juno and Minerva, just because you're a professional photographer it doesn't mean to say that on your day off you might not happen to enjoy taking the odd photo of something that interests you.

Thankfully for Tim he didn't turn up with his dSLR yesterday, he went for a slightly more pocketable compact camera. And he still took some photos that are now plastered all over the intergoogles.

I am, naturally, still waiting for TfL to respond to my telephone call. It's a good job that I'm not holding my breath.


And yes! There's is an update! You can read what TfL has to say for itself - and just what I think of them - over here!