Nick Didlick covered 15 Olympic Games during his 38-year career as a professional photographer, starting in 1984 with the Games in Sarajevo (then in Yugoslavia). So to say he’s a seasoned pro is an understatement. Didlick is set to cover the upcoming 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China, and recently shared a fascinating blog post, listing all the gear he’s taking with him. You can check it in the image below.
An Olympic-sized gear bag
And here is the full inventory list:
The Price of All That Ice (Equipment)
That’s a lot of material! Some quick math puts the total price of it all at $99,047.00, before taxes, assuming you buy everything new. The five a1 bodies alone account for just under a third of the total cost, while the two telephoto lenses account for a quarter.
In addition, Didlick mentions bringing trigger systems from Rocosoft and Pocket Wizard, presumably to control these four remote platforms. It also mentions “network equipment”, capable of transmitting files. We’re not talking about other accessories, like memory cards, batteries, or monopods, but you can bet he has an equally long inventory list of photography peripherals to pack.
Seven camera bodies
Of the seven camera bodies Didlick is complete, four are reserved for use as remote capture cameras, including the two a9 II boxes. That means it’ll physically carry up to three Sony a1 cameras on it while shooting, which actually seems a lot more reasonable – and slightly less grueling – than seven.
It is interesting to note that Didlick switched to the Sony E-mount system in 2017 – and mirrorless in general – with its first professional non-DSLR body being the original a9. He compares this technological leap to his transition from film to digital in 1996, before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Related: Professional sports photographer Simon Bruty is ready for uncertainty at the 2021 Olympics
There is a lot of impressive and expensive glass in Didlick’s gear list. The 600mm f/4 is the longest native E-mount lens, so it’s no surprise to see it included in the kit – it’s also a $13,000 lens. The Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM is another we’d expect to wear ($12,000); and the same goes for the 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 100-400mm zooms.
It’s a bit intriguing to see him carrying so many fast aperture lenses, because it’s definitely not the type of lens you think of when you think of sports photography. But again, when it comes to low-light photography or medal ceremonies – where you might want lots of depth of field for artistic purposes – they’re probably invaluable.
The only non-Sony lens in the kit is what appears to be a Canon 50mm f/2.8L tilt-shift, which makes sense as Sony doesn’t currently offer one. And a quick trip to Didlick’s website proves he’s clearly a fan of these lenses (check out that first shot!). Maybe he’s helping Sony develop theirs?
In addition to seven cameras and 16 lenses, Didlick also features two 1.4x and two 2x teleconverters. According to Sony, these teleconverters are intended for use with the 70-200mm and 100-400mm zooms only (it’s unclear if they would play well with the 400mm or 600mm). It still gives Didlick a maximum of 800mm range for this year’s Olympics, not too shabby.
Support for all this equipment
Traveling halfway around the world with $100,000 worth of camera gear in tow can seem risky/stressful. What if something breaks before it even gets to the Games? But Sony’s professional service staff are on hand at the Beijing Olympics, ready to diagnose and repair any problematic equipment (as well as lend you equipment). Should Didlick needs to trade something, Sony has 250 cameras and 600 lenses prepped and ready to go.
We love sports photography here at PopPhoto and we are incredibly excited for the start of the Winter Olympics this week. Expect additional coverage from us, including interviews with photographers in the field, as well as more cheesy insights.