Robotic Photography and Tennis

Digital Photography Review has a really interesting article up about how Nikon and Mark Roberts Motion Control helped to engineer a new way for images of the fast-paced Wimbledon games to be captured. Instead of relying on the normal “from the sidelines” positions, this team worked together to build a series of rigs for the camera with two lenses: a 200-400mm and 80-400mm. The rig was then placed on the ceiling of the court, allowing top-down images for the first time. The robot rig and cameras could also track the players’ movement and could capture the same action from different angles.

Nikon is especially keen to experiment with similar techniques in the future. Imagine soccer games where the referees could pull up a photo to see if a foul was committed. Or baseball games where the action down the baselines could be obtained without the photographer getting too close and becoming part of the action he’s trying to capture. Football already makes use of many different cameras from many different angles in order to both broadcast the game as well as provide the teams and the coaches with material they can use to refine their playbooks.

Head over to and read up on the details of this endeavor from Nikon!

Photo by Bob Martin