The UK and Ireland’s largest press agency is switching to full-frame Sony cameras and lenses
posted Monday, August 23, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
Just over a year after finalizing a massive deal with The Associated Press, Sony has scored another big win for its camera business by partnering with PA (formerly known as the Press Association) in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
As part of the new arrangement, PA's photojournalists, including video content creators, will shoot with Sony cameras and lenses. While Sony Europe's announcement mentions the Sony FX3 and Sony A9 II cameras, it's safe to assume that some journalists will be shooting with other full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras, like the Sony A1.
Sony also mentions numerous E-mount lenses, including G Master optics. As you'd expect for photojournalists, Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS zooms will be used, as will FE 135mm f/1.8 GM and FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS primes.
Sony will be providing PA with personal delivery of gear and hands-on support and training. It's a safe bet that many of PA's photographers have been shooting with DSLR cameras, so it stands to reason that it may take a bit of time to get used to shooting with Sony mirrorless cameras. With over 90 photographers and videographers across the UK and Ireland, PA is the largest press agency in the region and covers key events throughout the year, including major annual sporting events like the recent EURO 2020 soccer tournament.
Why is PA moving to use Sony gear exclusively? Sony writes, 'With developments in the quality of still and video technology and specifically the introduction of Sony's full-frame silent shutter mode and remote capture, it has meant that journalists and photographers have been able to adapt and shoot in situations not possible before – for example silently during broadcast – a key requirement for official engagements, where most recently the Sony Alpha 9 II has been used. Remote shooting is becoming a more common requirement, so being able to control cameras and send images quickly and efficiently to the newswire, is key for success. Along with a close working relationship with the Sony UK Pro team, it is for these reasons that Sony imaging kit was selected as the preferred choice.'
Of course, Sony is not the only company that offers cameras with silent shutters and remote capture capabilities, not by a long shot. However, having a close relationship with the Sony UK Pro team has a lot of value in and of itself.
'We are extremely honored to announce this collaboration with PA Media, the largest press agency in the UK and Ireland. We are incredibly proud to be working alongside them to deliver best in class photography and videography for news and sports to their clients,' said Yasuo Baba, Director Pro Business, Sony Europe, 'The partnership and ongoing relationship will not only help us develop our camera system further but allow us to better serve their professional photographers and video journalists in [the] future, giving them the opportunity to capture, transmit and deliver imagery in ways they never could before.'
Martin Keene, Group Picture Editor at PA Media Group, adds, 'Sony's silent shutter, superb lenses and brilliant sensors, along with the relationship that we have built-up with them over the past few years made the switch an easy choice. In addition, we have had first-class support from the Sony team in the UK to make the swap and ensure that our photographers can go out and use the kit the next day. Having both stills and video cameras from the same manufacturer simplifies the workflow and color balance across both genres. It's a big investment, but the opportunity to have all of our team using the same brand new, state-of-the-art kit is both rare and really worthwhile, and will make a real difference to the quality of the pictures that our customers see.'
PA Media Group is a privately owned company with 26 shareholders. Many shareholders are UK-based newspapers, including major publications such as the Daily Mail.
Alongside last year's massive partnership with The Associated Press, Sony has made significant inroads in the photojournalism space that has long been dominated by Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. With Canon and Nikon now fully invested in their respective mirrorless systems, it appears that Sony's head start in the mirrorless space has given the company a significant competitive advantage. Sony's investment into professional photography with the A9 series and the recent A1 camera, plus Sony Imaging Pro Support, is paying dividends.
When AP announced its partnership last year, Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics, said, 'We are extremely honored to announce this collaboration with The Associated Press, an organization with an incredible history in journalism that continues to raise the bar for global news reporting and delivery.
AP Director of Photography J. David Ake added, 'The new mirrorless technology in Sony's cameras allows for a completely silent operation, meaning our photojournalists can work in environments without interrupting the scene around them.' Both AP and PA cited silent shooting as part of the reason to switch to Sony gear. AP also discussed using the same gear for both photo and video, which likely matters to PA as well. Further, having every journalist using the same equipment has significant advantages in consistency, workflow and overall product support. When time is of the essence, as it is in journalism, consistency and ease of use matter.
AP anticipated that its full transition would take 18 to 24 months. Assuming COVID didn't disrupt plans, the transition should be well underway. PA's transition has begun, too, although it's unclear how long it will take. Of course, PA has significantly fewer staff to equip.