Major league damage: $12K Sony lens hit by 104mph ball

Photographer Jim Rassol's lens was struck by a fast-moving foul ball at a Miami Marlins game last weekend. The Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS is around $12,000 / £10,800 / AU$18,000 to buy. 

The commentators seemed somewhat sympathetic, the first asking: "How much did that baseball cost?" and being told "A lot, those are not cheap." After a moment the team did – we hope jokingly – add "Thirty or forty bucks?!"

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The Miami Marlins are a Major League Baseball (MLB) side, and play in the National League East. According to Rassol the ball left the bat at 104mph, but despite obvious disappointment on his face, he managed to quickly turn a "better the lens than me" look to the TV cameras.

One of the other questions which went around the stadium – where the sound of broken glass was audible – and was voiced by the commentators for the world was "I wonder if he got the shot as the ball was going into it." Sadly we don't seem to have an answer, but it'd be impressive if the autofocus could keep pace with a >100mph ball!

We were also surprised to read, on sonyalpharumors, that one of the photographers friends thinks the insurance won't pay out. Is it an 'Act of god?' because the team sheet would suggest otherwise. It's also suggested that he didn't have any, but a friend, Joseph Cavaretta, has organized a GoFundMe to help Jim Rassol already. 

You might think the odds of an event like this are low, but it's not even the only similar incident we've reported at the Miami Marlins – back in 2022 O'Neill hit a foul ball that sailed directly over home plate and smashed straight into the batting angle camera.


A baseball blooper at the Miami Marlins back in 2022 – broadcast cameras, however, usually have protective glass so the optical glass isn't lost in an incident like this. (Image credit: Miami Marlins / MLB)

This time the Marlins were taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and eventually scraped a win in what looked a tight match.

Whether he'll want it or not, it seems Jim did get the rest of the match off. He told followers that the lens is beyond repair (not a shock if you watch the clip in the tweet) but he is OK.

Miami Marlin's next game is against the Boston Red Sox.

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook