It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/29/it-would-cost-more-than-10k-f.html


#2

Sony will always be the lesser thought of camera when compared to Canon / Nikon. I’m a Canon geek from way back, so perhaps I’m a bit prejudice.


#3

What exactly is it about this Sony?


#4

I’m not a photographer, but I’d imagine cameras are a lot like musical instruments. A Stradivarius is worthless in the hands of someone without skill or music, and a talented artist can outshine competition with a violin made of matchsticks. If I wanted to learn photography, I’d do what I did to learn music. I’d buy the best practical budget rig I could and focus on using it well.

Given how many of the iconic photos of our times were taken on phones, I don’t think the world or posterity is all that hung up on how amazingly big and clear your lens is.

It seems like the main attraction of super-expensive gear is the idea that you can’t be taken seriously until you’ve spent a lot of money. Which sounds like some cunning marketing on the part of the gear manufacturers.


#5

Wow, my Praktica cost about $50 used. But that was a long time ago.


#6

FYI that toy cat camera in the photo is not available except from alibaba (maybe), where it is listed for 254.16, but the image provided is a drawing.

I was disappointed, too


#7

But sports photography is different - speed is super critical, as well as the ultimate quality of the photo.


#8

What did they do before state-of-the-art cameras? Did sports go undocumented?


#9

Still use my Canon EOS RebelG.
Also have a 1961 Canonet on its box.


#10

They either took crappier photos or relied on shots that had less demanding requirements for optics and shutter speed.


#11

You’re the graphic artist. I defer to you. But it seems unfortunate that only well-heeled pros can get into sports photography. It would seem to preclude most people and therefore most of the pool of potential talent.


#12

It’s certainly not impossible to get a great shot with mediocre equipment, it’s just a lot harder to do so consistently enough to make a career of it.


#13

I know a lot of photogs with nice kit, and I can’t think of any who are particularly wealthy. It’s a labor of love, and they accumulate their gear over a while. High-end sports photog usually isn’t the first job on the resume of a photographer.

The article is also a bit off – the long fast glass used in this arena (see what I did there?) is certainly more expensive by a wide margin vs. the bodies it gets attached to. So if anything, the article is downplaying the costs to change manufacturers.

Finally, “Canon” vs. “Nikon” is a spiritual thing for many folks, and they are very loyal to their brand of choice. Hopping to Sony? Yeah… no.


#14

Um, there have always been state-of-the-art-cameras.


#15

Waltzed one of those all over the planet when I was a Mariner & purchased it at a swap meet for a pittance of $10 US too. Fine camera for its day.

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#16

I meant today’s state-of-the-art. Poor wording on my part. Sorry.


#17

If you are making a living as a photographer, it isn’t the ability to make a great shot that matters, it is how many great shots you take and in particular your ability to deliver at least one stunning shot per engagement that is better than your competition.

The fact that your competition is also tooled up with high end digital gear is what makes it difficult to make a living with film. But truth be told, the difference between the bottom end Nikon at $500 and the phase 1 at $50K is really not all that great. It is all about the glass. A $200 lens on a $5000 camera won’t help you anywhere near as much as a $2000 lens on a $500 camera.

The other dimension is that Sony cameras have a reputation for looking much better on paper than in the field. That is also the difference between Canon and Nikon to some extent. Canon has a reputation for being first to market with the latest tech. The reason Canon was able to take over the professional space from Nikon in the first place was that they beat Nikon to market with in-lens autofocus by about five years. Nikon has a reputation for only shipping when they are absolutely certain the product is right and only shipping the product they think people need. Nikon has patented a dozen f/1.2 50-60mmm lenses over the past 20 years and none has made it to market. When they did produce a successor to the Noctilux it was an f/1.4 because that is what they thought people would be happier with.

However great Sony’s new camera is, it is almost certain that Nikon will have one that is at least as good in a couple of years time and much more refined.

Also take note of the fact that a lot of the comments on the bulletin boards are rather misinformed. The size of a camera sensor doesn’t actually have much impact on performance. Imagine that you are using an LCD projector. You can make the image size bigger or smaller easily enough. But the bigger you make the image, the dimmer it is. The brightness of the image depends on the size of the bulb in the projector. And the amount of light captured in a digital camera depends on the aperture of the lens measured in mm. If you compare the results from a f/1.4 80mm lens on a full frame with a f/1.4 50mm on a crop frame, you are not comparing like with like. The apertures are 58mm and 35mm and it is the aperture that drives price. My 80mm lens cost four times what I paid for the 50.

Point is that it is really easy to play around with the specs on paper in ways that don’t improve results.

Full frame DSLRs are better than crop frame because the whole mechanics of the camera have been designed with a particular size image in mind. In particular the area through which the mirror sweeps. Leica cameras provide stunning results because they are not SLRs, there is no mirror. That gives the lens designer a lot of freedom.

Sports photography is going to be using DSLRs for many years to come because it is mostly telephoto work which is not impacted by the SLR constraints on lens design and speed of taking the photo is everything. Landscape is the opposite. I expect that mirrorless will take over in that space.


#18

You probably didn’t have a 300mm f2.8.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/732108-USA/Canon_4411B002_EF_300mm_f_2_8L_IS.html


#19

This Iconic Photo was taken on an iPhone. Yes. An iPhone.


You Camera snobs make me sick.


#20

It has the ability to take lots of images at very high shutter speeds very quickly. And it does so at very high resolution, with very low noise, while keeping track of focusing sharply on a subject with rapidly changing range.

For example, imagine that you have one chance to take a great photo of a kid jumping into a pool. The kid is going to jump once. Maybe you can get an image with your phone. But with the A9, you can take a whole bunch of images of that one jump, in RAW format. You can probably even program it to take those images in a range of shutter speeds or apertures. So, when you get into Lightroom, you have a bunch of raw material to work with. There is a much higher chance that the perfect image will be in there somewhere.

I recently went through a similar situation, although I am not presently a professional photographer. My daily camera died. I was stuck with the decision of whether to stick with Leica, which meant spending a bunch of money that I could not really afford to spend for a new body but keeping my lenses, or going with a new system. It is a tough decision to make, and a significant investment.