Getty Images Sports Photographer Robert Cianflone Reporting from Sochi…

An inside look at the crazy amount of gear Getty photographers at Sochi have to chose from

camera gear

In the picture above, taken on January 30th 2014, you see more than 315,000 Euro worth of Canon camera gear or 425,659.59 US dollars! That’s the value of a house and more than a Lamborghini Aventador!!! Now pick up your jaw, put it back into place, wipe away the drool and read about how the pictured gear wasn’t even around seven years ago.

When IOC President Jacques Rogge announced in July 2007 that Sochi was named as the host city of the 2014 Winter Games, the Getty Images global operations team went into full swing to begin preparations.

Even though the actual event only runs for 16 days, years of planning are required to bring an event together so it runs seamlessly for all those involved.

At this point the venues that will host the games haven’t even been built!

The team has to find out as much information as possible in advance.

Where are the venues? How do we get there? What technologies are available? When will the venues be complete? As I write this all the venues are still receiving finishing touches so that they are ready to go for both the athletes and the general public when competition begins.

By the time Getty Images is ready to start coverage of the games, 20,000km of cabling will be in place to connect all the venues to the editors based at the main press Centre in the Village Cluster, and another in the mountains. About 70 staff will be on site for the entire duration of the games, including photographers, editors and sales staff.

So what’s changed about the gear you see now to how it was seven years ago?

Back then we had the MkIIN cameras with a crop sensor. Now we have the full frame 1Dx’s, with a TON of features — including various AF controls, better white balance and the ability to send remotely either via the WFT device or directly with the VLAN Ethernet system. The cameras also feature full HD video capabilities, which have opened up a whole new world for us.

The prime telephoto lenses are now much lighter and more streamlined thanks to new optical technologies. The new 200-400mm f/4 would have been just a fantasy seven years ago, it is now a reality, and has become my first choice when shooting events. There was no 800mm f/5.6 or 8-15mm zoom fisheye. The flash system can now be controlled by the speedlight transmitter.

Also, the entire range of zoom lenses available then has been redesigned and features all new optics.

At most major global events photographers receive support from the professional services of Canon and Nikon. Having these services helps photographers to do their work better, knowing that if something goes wrong with our equipment we can get it fixed on the spot without having to send it away.

This service also is a great help when trialling new equipment that may be about to be released, or to simply speak to the technicians and ask questions about camera or lens set ups.

Robert Cianflone

The majority of the pool of gear you see at the top will be used for back up to our own gear if something fails, and for remote camera set ups. Remotes are used to give us an extra angle or angles at particular events or remotes can also be set up in advance in areas where a photographer would not be able to stand otherwise.

Here’s a list of everything pictured above:

  • 20 Canon 1Dx cameras
  • 3 Canon 5DmkIII cameras
  • 1 Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens
  • 2 Canon 14mm fisheye lenses
  • 2 Canon 15mm fisheye lenses
  • 5 Canon 16-35mm zoom lenses
  • 7 Canon 200-400mm zoom lenses
  • 2 Canon 200mm f/1.8 lenses
  • 2 Canon 300mm f/2.8 lenses
  • 2 Canon 300mm f/4 lenses
  • 2 Canon 35mm f/1.4 lenses
  • 2 Canon 50mm f/1.2 lenses
  • 2 Canon 400mm f/2.8 lenses
  • 8 Canon 500mm f/4 lenses
  • 10 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses
  • 7 Canon 8-15mm fisheye lenses
  • 5 Canon 800mm f/5.6 lenses
  • 2 Canon 85mm f/1.2 lenses
  • And a set of Tilt Shift lenses

At some point or another, most of this gear will be in use for the Winter Olympic coverage.

This year is a big year in global sporting events with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth games in Scotland.

Again, all planning for these events have been done by the Getty Images team, the best in the business. The only thing left is for us is to show up and provide great coverage.

About the author: Based in Melbourne, Australia I have been a staff photographer with Getty Images for 16 years. After realizing that I lacked the height (and a little talent) to play top-level sports, I took to getting behind the camera and capturing the big moments.

In the past 16 year I have been lucky enough to have covered a multitude of local and international sporting events for Getty Images. These include Football World Cups, Olympic Games, Formula One Grand Prix, Moto Gp, Asia Cup Football, Cricket, Australian Rules Football, Tennis events and may other sporting events.

I thoroughly enjoy what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else. There is saying somewhere: “Find something you love to do, and you will never work a day in your life.” Well that certainly rings true with me, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

You can follow Robert on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or the Getty Images blog.

  • Vlad Dusil

    File this under senseless gear porn. Nothing new to see, move on.

  • OtterMatt

    Implying that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Peter Borghard

    nice gps tag in the photo showing the equipment location. Someone call Danny Ocean.

  • Zaidi Ademeit

    That’s great; but imagine if you were working with film?! Back in the day, it was labor-intensive art making. Today, it’s choose your toy and push a button!!

  • Pascal

    sorry to say – but the photos of the freeskiers & snowboarders published until now are insanely bad.
    can’t belive these photographers did not even checked a few skiing/boarding shots on the internet to know what works and what not…
    athletes = best of their game. photogs = don’t know their game.
    another example why great gear doesn’t take great photos itself.

  • first and last

    THANK YOU, I was under the impression they were trying to save cash and were shooting these with their phones or something….here’s my tip: Include some point of reference in the shot, like the take off or landing to give some perspective rather than someone just flying through the air, could be 1 foot off the ground or 100 feet off the ground, who knows. It would also be neat if they were grabbing their board rather than looking like they are flailing, there will be few times any of these riders will be starfishing through the air. Kind of basic stuff really.

  • David Liang

    If Ocean was involved…what you’re looking at are duds and the real things are already on skid out of Sochi.

  • soleil morgan

    why would he announce how much his equipment cost? does he want to be a target to theft?

  • Guest

    Wish I could get my hands on just on of those cameras!

  • Maree Cardinale

    Interesting. Thanks for the post.

  • Mike

    So far it is the dumbest comment.

  • Mike

    Why then have you bothered to read the article and leave a comment?

  • John

    You’re an idiot.

  • Robert J.G.

    Would be even better if it were all Nikon!! But what do you want, you can’t have everything!!

  • Junior Santos

    Aiiiii.. To chorando aqui no Brasil dos impostos!!!

  • Corbin Walp

    ~$411,920 later…

  • LOOK

    $425,659.59 but only <10% of the photos will be published?

  • Daniel Walldorf

    You really understood the business. Just like spreading ones word used to involve going out and talking to people. For you, now, it’s just pressing a button.

  • JPTX

    DROOL! White Lens Mecca!

  • CrackerJacker

    But what we’ll really look at is Instagrams of #SochiFail.

  • nviledn5

    It’s still labor-intensive, just in a different way and with different expectations. Imagine if your job depended on you sending in photos from an event within minutes of it happening back in the film days.

  • Syuaip

    typing on keyboard also only about pushing buttons…

    so someday even a monkey could become Shakespeare

  • Ham Bone Phillips

    Nikon is always one step behind canon, in the body department. That’s what I used to think. Nikon glass is great. I’m only referring to still body technology. Canon has to release a larger sensor based body. It’s needed and time already. I hope the focus on video has not been distracting the R&D department so much that they are finally falling behind Nikon.

  • Tyler

    Robert, how many photographers does Getty have covering the Olympics? You mentioned that most of that gear is backups and remote setups — just wondering what the ratio of photographers to gear will be.

  • Clarte Photography

    I guess BH Photo shouldn’t publish where their store location is then…after all…they may be a target of theft….

  • Nick



    The pic of the guy with the rings behind him has arms growing out of his head ! I hope this is not one of the pro shooters!

  • Amanda Kimpton

    Robert is clearly a very talented photographer to continue to be asked to go and cover all these incredible sporting events world wide. What an honour covering the olympics! Thanks for sharing and congratulations. Amanda

  • nestazhe265

    my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover
    LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Trent Gillespie

    To the author… those are EF 200mm f/2.0 lenses, and not the 1.8 variant. The 1.8 version was discontinued years ago. The tripod collar is different between the two versions, which is noticeable in the photo.

  • the other kimpo

    hey Rob, you look a bit pale, is it cold there? Maybe you needed that other jacket!!!

  • inca

    Robert, thanks for the insight.
    I have a question for you regarding your gear: what kind of insurance do you use for events like these?

  • Rob

    Of course Kimpo!

  • Rob

    All insurance is covered by Getty.

  • inca

    Thanks. I’ve been trying to find an international insurance company and all I find are american companies that require me to be residents in the US. I will keep looking.
    Or, hmm, perhaps I should aspire stronger to start working for Getty, as a better alternative solution :)

  • run ace

    too many haters cum geniuses here..need to go..

  • Anton Berlin

    Sad that they only had Canon. Still having communist style shortages of useful luxury items like Nikon, Zeiss and Sony. Who are these Getty thugs? Haven’t they read the Geneva convention? Getting stuck with a Canon is like going back to before the Berlin Wall fell.