Here's a common scene—but still impressive—at the Beijing Olympics: dozens of photographers firing the most expensive digital photography gear available on the planet at full speed. The sound of all those shutters re-clacky-clicketing alone must give goosebumps to any photo aficionado, but the total price of all this machinery would actually make anyone faint. How much does this all cost?
In this image alone I can count 23 cameras. I can see loads of Canon L-Series EF and Nikkor AF-S 500mm super telephoto lenses—each around US$5,800 a pop—, a few 400mm, 600mm, 700mm, 800mm here and there. Let's assume a conservative average of US$6,000 per telephoto lense. That's US$138,000 total just on lenses. Most of them are probably using the biggest and baddest Canon and Nikon cameras, so we can assume an average US$5,000 price tag per camera, which brings the grand total to about a quarter of a million dollars.
Now, there are 1,100 accredited photographers at the Beijing Olympics, which we can assume will have more than just one set of lenses and, at least, one secondary camera, just in case the first one breaks or they want to have two different set of lenses ready to shoot at any time. A good low-estimate per photographer would be US$20,000 minimum, which brings the grand total to US$22 million in professional digital photography equipment at the Olympics. [Stern via Dark Roasted Blend]