Sony 400mm Lens Saves Sports Photographer From 104 MPH Foul Ball

Sony 400mm Lens Saves Sports Photographer From 104 MPH Foul Ball
Jim Rassol wasn't expecting to have his $12,000 Sony 400.. G Master lens smashed when he headed in to photograph an MLB game on June 24, 2023. Check out the story of how his lens saved him from injury and the community rallied together to help him fix his lens.

Things took an interesting turn during the first inning of the MLB baseball game between the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, June 24. Sports photographer Jim Rassol was covering the game with his Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master lens, when a 104 MPH foul ball came screaming towards him. 

What Happened? 

Shared by @BallySportsFL on Twitter, the "expensive foul ball" completely smashed the front element of Jim's prized sports photography lens.

As scary as that moment must have been for Jim, thankfully, he didn't sustain any injuries. He was smiling and happy to walk away unscathed, even though his beloved Sony 400mm GM was shattered.

Jim shares: "400 2.8 got taken out by a line drive, glass everywhere. Fortunately, I'm ok. Found out later the line drive that hit my lens had an exit velocity of 104 mph."

The Aftermath and Outpouring of Community Support

Interestingly enough, Jim didn't have any insurance on his lens at the time, and despite having evaded serious injury, he was now faced with a total loss of over $12,000 for his Sony lens. Luckily, it didn't take too long for Jim's friends to organize a GoFundMe page to help him raise funds to replace his lens. The community rallied together and generously raised a total of $7,363, but that's not where the story ends.

As word began to circulate about what happened to Jim, the team at Sony Pro Support got wind of the situation and stepped in to match the outpouring of community support. In an amazing act of kindness, Sony Pro Support immediately sent Jim a 400mm on loan, agreed to completely repair his lens for the amount that was raised on GoFundMe, and even extended Jim's Pro Support membership for an additional year at no additional cost. 

Needless to say, Jim was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity from Sony and the community, and shared: "I want to sincerely thank each and every person who donated to help me get my lens fixed. Sony is going ahead with the repairs for the amount in the GoFundMe fundraiser, and they are giving me a free year of my current membership to Sony Pro Support. Sony has been remarkable in this process. Usually, you only see this kind of outpouring of support when you lose someone. It’s so humbling to see how much people care about you."

It's always amazing to see how the creative community rallies around their own during unfortunate and tragic times. I couldn't agree more with Jim about how amazing it is to experience this level of generosity and energy when all the chips are down. It revitalizes me personally as a creative, and inspires me to keep going in the face of the daily challenges that I face. 

It must feel incredible to know that you're in good hands, Jim. Hats off to everyone who donated and to Sony for standing behind their professionals and their commitment to our community of artists. 

What are your thoughts on Jim's story? Share your feedback in the comments below!

Reza Malayeri's picture

Reza is a professional photographer, cinematographer, and educator based in Seattle WA. He specializes in a variety of creative fields, including wedding photography, portrait photography, cinematography, and FAA Part 107 drone aerials. As an educator, Reza's aim is to produce compelling educational content that inspires and empowers creators.

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I´m glad everything turned out for the better for Jim but I still can´t understand why you don´t have insurance on your gear?
If your livelihood is dependent on your gear and you can´t afford to replace your gear if it breaks/get stolen etc insurances is a small premium to pay.. I wouldn´t dream of not having my gear uninsured, there is no way I could fork out 20k any day of the year, a $150 deductible on the other hand is not an issue.

That part is definitely interesting Jonas. I was kind of surprised myself when I found that out. Hopefully it was a simple oversight by Jim that he's rectified now.

I´ve met quite a few colleagues that see insurance as unnecessary or to expensive, especially if they have just started to work professionally and haven´t started to make descent money yet.

It can also be quite expensive, depending on where you are. I remember back when I went to get a quote on business insurance for my photo gear they quoted me something like $400/month and I didn't have any big expensive glass like this guy has. I'd have been rebuying my entire kit in insurance costs every 3-4 years at that rate. I decided better to just put some cash in an emergency fund and insure myself.

In that case you made the active choice to be uninsured and accepted that risk, which is perfectly fine.
The important thing is to decide what risk your are willing to accept and have a plan how to handle a possible incident, but then you probably wouldn´t have to set a gofoundme either.

Great points guys! It can definitely be pretty expensive to get good coverage. Glad we have our community to support us in drastic situations like this, and to bounce ideas amongst eachother for alternative solutions!

Everyone else is talking about the insurance blah blah blah...

But I want to know how what sort of damage there was to the lens xD.

Is it just the front elements that were smashed? What happened to the rear elements? What was knocked out of calibration? Presumably the motors are still fine. I mean cmon, how often do you get to do forensics on an event like this?

Wow, a very feel-good ending. I do agree with a couple of previous posts. Maybe some insurance?
I'm a pro support member at Sony and they have really helped me out a few times when I needed help. They got me out of a jam, I have used their loaner program when I want to evaluate a piece of equipment before purchasing. Anyway, glad it all worked out and you weren't hurt.