Sports Illustrated Shoots its Latest Cover with the Moto Z and Hasselblad True Zoom Mod

Cover image courtesy of Sports Illustrated. Image by Mike LeBrecht.

As part of the proof that cameraphones are becoming better and better, Sports Illustrated shot its latest cover of its magazine with the new Motorola Moto Z and the Hasselblad True Zoom attachment. The image was shot by photographer Mike LeBrecht who has shot sports portraits and photos for many years now. Of course, there’s also a crazy amount of lighting involved and it looks pretty darn photoshopped, but at least it shows that the industry is evolving quite a bit.

On the cover is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in part of a special story on how the Rock got his start in sports. Dwayne started out in Football and later went onto the WWF (now WWE) to wrestle. There, he grew enormous stardom until he wanted to start acting. After his role in The Scorpion King, he kept at it. Now, Sports Illustrated is calling him the king of Hollywood. It sounds like a pretty awesome profile feature, and obviously what’s going to have the tech world abuzz is the fact that it’s being shot with a phone vs a more traditional camera of some sort.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Moto Z Play & Hasselblad True Zoom product images for review (12 of 22)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

I’m personally pretty surprised by this. Yes, the raw files and image quality that the True Zoom can offer really aren’t that bad. They most likely used constant lighting and metered the scene to whatever the aperture on the lens was due to its zoom range, and the vignetting that you experience at wider angles was either Photoshopped out or it was shot at a longer focal length.

But what I’d really love to know is just how much work was done on this image to make it look this way? I’m not at all doubting the abilities of the photographer, but instead I’m praising what the editors and retouchers can do. Surely, Mike had to do a lot of work to get it perfectly right in camera as much as he possibly could within a small amount of time. Not only did he have to light the Rock perfectly, but also all the areas of the scene that really mattered to his creative vision.