Nikon Robotics Used to Shoot Wimbledon From ‘Impossible Locations’

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When famed sports photographer Bob Martin came to this year’s Wimbledon competition, he came not only armed with his usual gear, but with a powerful robotics system that allowed him to capture imagery from vantage points not previously seen at the world’s oldest tennis tournament.

The system, comprised of Nikon’s D4 digital SLR and a sophisticated SFH-30 robotic head from Mark Roberts Motions Control (MRMC) allows the photographer (in this case, Martin) to quickly move and rotate the camera with response times under 0.1 seconds — making this an excellent solution for sports photography.

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Martin mounted the system to the roof in center court at Wimbledon, which have otherwise been an unfeasible location to plant a photographer — especially one that is responsible for covering multiple vantage points.

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Similar deployments can be applied to other sports, including soccer

Nikon UK’s Professional Services and Business Solutions Manager James Banfield say the company has been working with Bob Martin and photo agencies (along with MRMC, of course) for a bit of time since the Summer Olympics in London last year to develop an improved robotics shooting system.

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Bob Martin also shot Wimbledon using MRMC’s Polycam configuration, which utilizes three robotic heads used in synchronization. Martin controlled the master head, and the two remaining robotic heads tracked the same subject — producing simultaneous imagery of the same thing from three separate angles.

“Using this set up, it’s proved that capturing the impossible is now possible, which is very exciting for the future of photography,” says Martin.

(via Photography Monthly and SlashGear)

Image Credits: System photos by Nikon, Wimbledon photographs by Bob Martin

  • ProtoWhalePig

    Those pics are kinda dull…

  • Tim O’Bryan

    So let me get this straight. He operates remote heads and shutter releases for these cameras? Or he moves one control and all robotic heads track the same subject as match move? The latter would be absolutely insane.

  • Csaba

    Even though the D4 is capable of subject tracking, I believe they meant that whatever he follows with the main head, the other two just move to follow that. Simply forwarding the position information to the other two heads, so they calculate where and how fast to turn to capture the exact same frame from a different angle.

  • caracully

    nice photos…..from a difficult location.

  • jonathanjk

    I disagree. You can tell simply just by the composition of the very first image of the tennis player, These aren’t your typical actions shots, your brain needs to adjust to the new reality. :-)