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Take A Look Inside This Professional Sports Photographer's Bag


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Sony Artisan @Jeanfruth is a sports photographer and storyteller. Throughout a baseball game day, she’s capturing multiple facets of the sport to tell the complete story. To do this, she needs reliable Sony Alpha cameras and a variety of Sony lenses for different angles and views. In the video below, Fruth takes a deep dive into her professional sports photography setup. From pre-game portraits to post-game celebrations and all the action in between, see what she uses to cover the full story from beginning to end.

“The Perfect Camera For Sports Photography”

Fruth relies on multiple Sony Alpha 1 cameras, which she calls perfect for sports photography. “Not only am I taking portraits with it – and it’s good in low light conditions,” she says. “When I shoot my grassroots work we’re not always on the most well-lit fields, so in these low light conditions you have to have a camera that’s going to be able to perform – and this gets the job done. Even when I have to pump the ISO up super high, I’m not worried and I know my product’s going to be fine and I’m going to get the images that I need to make.”

While she doesn’t always use the Sony Alpha 1’s capabilities to shoot 30 frames per second, it’s something that always comes through when she needs it. “When the action’s about to happen, you have to hit that 30 frames per second and make it work.”

Above all, the most important thing about the Sony Alpha 1 for Fruth is its Eye Autofocus. “Being able to lock on the athlete’s eye or face and follow the athlete through with Real-Time Tracking, that is just a game-changer for me. Because the camera is free to do its job, so that I am free to do my job and create. So I’m framing and composing the shot all the way through and capturing exactly how I want to capture it knowing that the autofocus is taken care of.”

Pre-Game Portrait Lenses

Prior to the official action of the game, Fruth likes to start with some pre-game portraits of the players. For this, she’ll use lenses like the Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master or Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. “These two are just great for either pregame and batting practice when I want to do something beautiful and give my work a little bit of a different look.” She’ll usually choose one of these go-to lenses and one camera to spend the entire pregame taking portraits or something more formal.

Game Time Lenses

Right before the game, Fruth switches to having three different lenses on three separate Sony Alpha 1 camera bodies at the same time. Her first combination consists of the Sony Alpha 1 and the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. “The 16-35mm lens for me is pregame, fun stuff on the bench, pregame rituals that are happening in the dugout. It’s a great wide angle, whether you’re taking a portrait of a single player or you have a group shot of a bunch of guys on a bench.”

On her second Sony Alpha 1 she has the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II, which she calls her workhorse lens. “I always have this in my bag,” she says. “This is such a versatile lens for me. Especially with the Alpha 1 now, being able to have these bigger file sizes. So sometimes I now go to a shot specifically to shoot wider to give myself the option later if I want to crop and go tight on the action. It’s really just the versatility to go tight on the action or go loose and be able to show a sense of place. This is a must for sports photography.” 

For her third Sony Alpha 1, she attaches the Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master. “The 400mm is of course just the standard to be able to capture action quickly – there’s nothing faster. The combination of the Sony Alpha 1 and this 400mm f/2.8, I mean this is the epitome of sports photography. You just never miss. When you have 30 frames per second, and you have this lens, the autofocus is so fast you do not miss. So you just capture the action every time and that’s what it’s about every time with sports photography – it’s capturing the athlete at his or her peak action.”

The “Scene-Setter” Lens

Another go-to lens that you’ll always find in Fruth’s camera bag is the Sony 12-24mm f/4 G. “Because I’m a storyteller,” she explains, “and it’s not about just telling the action, it’s telling the story all the way through. Which is why I have my portraits in the beginning, my pregame, but it’s also important to have a beautiful scene setter to tell your story, and that’s what this lens does for me every time.” She always arrives at the ballpark early to go up top and scope out her scene-setting shot as an important part of the story.

The Scouting Lens

If Fruth is done shooting or she’s even scouting before the shooting, she goes around with the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. “It’s just a great, what I call, ‘going to dinner and walking around’ lens. So I scout with that lens because it's got a great focal length for me to think about what shots am I going to get early morning, what shots am I going to get when my subjects arrive. Just a nice lightweight option and always having something with you.”

The Accessories

In addition to Fruth’s cameras and lenses, she has other accessories she never leaves home without. Extra batteries, for example. “Because if you’re without extra batteries, you can guarantee your game is going to go extra innings.” She also carries a small lens cloth for quick wipe downs and a larger lens cloth to clean off all of her gear. You’ll also always find extra memory cards, sunscreen, chapstick, eye drops and of course her Sony PRO Support card in her bag. 

Fruth photographs for the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants, so she also has her season credentials in her bag for access into the ballparks. She usually also includes a Gitzo monopod in her bag because it’s both sturdy and lightweight. “That’s like the gear too, all the Sony gear. It’s such a big deal for me. When you’re my size, having gear that’s light – the 400mm f/2.8, people think I’m so strong, but I show them how lightweight that is. We’re shooting 8 hours, 9 hours or 10 hours in a day, and it makes a big difference.”

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