Sony was a major player in the massive record-setting broadcast production of Super Bowl LVIII but its support of image capture at the event didn’t end there. More than 50 a9 III cameras and 145 lenses were available for photographers and Sony Pro Support was on hand, too.
Arguably the largest sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl presents unique challenges for photographers tasked with capturing it. Just as it does for the Olympics, Sony was on-hand at Allegiant Stadium with a massive haul of equipment as well as an on-site team to keep photographers and their gear running at peak performance.
In addition to repair and cleaning support, Sony’s on-site presence at the Super Bowl included a massive haul of 145 high-end lenses and more than 50 new a9 III cameras.
Agency photographers had access to Sony’s pro support at the game, which included camera and lens cleaning and repair, if needed. Photographers also had access to the library of cameras and lenses that Sony brought to the Super Bowl — all free of charge.
While Sony’s support is likely greatly appreciated by the continent of professional photographers in attendance, eventually the duty to capture incredible photos falls on their individual skill — but the latest and greatest equipment certainly helps.
“Sports photographers often have to anticipate a moment using their past experiences with the game and what they know about athletes. The exception to this is when you’re covering athletes like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce,” Kyle Rivas, a member of the Kansas City Chiefs’ photo team tells PetaPixel.
“Many times the crucial moment is likely something we’ve never seen before. That’s where I think the Sony a9 III will excel for sports photographers. I was able to cover the AFC Championship in Baltimore for the Kansas City Chiefs Photo Team while utilizing the Sony a9 III.”
Rivas used the a9 III to capture the photo below and explains what about that experience impressed him and why he continued to rely on it for the Super Bowl.
“Early in the first half, Mahomes was scrambling on a crucial 3rd downplay when he tossed the ball to Travis Kelce. Travis did something that nobody had seen him do quite like this, he leaped after the ball and went parallel to the ground while making a big catch. This happened so quickly that no other photographer from our team was able to find Kelce, focus, and capture the key moment except for my lens,” he says.
“Two things were crucial here. Because I had pre-capture activated, the A9 III was capturing several frames of the ball before it hit his hands while my brain was still tracking the moment. Because I was shooting at 30 frames per second, I didn’t just have one or two keyframes, I turned in a series of frames which our Chiefs production team 65 TPT was able to also utilize on the video side as well.”
The a9 III is a very new camera — it only became publicly available last week. Still, Rivas didn’t shy away from using it in the biggest moments.
“The Sony a9 III in my opinion is going to force sports photographers to change and adapt the way they approach certain moments. Some photographers are going to scoff at the higher frame rates and say we’re just glorified videographers,” he says.
“Others may balk at the amount of frames being taken in a given moment because of both the higher frame rates and Pre-capture. I say if this camera’s power allows me to think at the same pace as an athlete like Mahomes and Kelce, I choose the Sony a9 III every time.”
Image credits: Sony