Podcast: Adapt! Inauguration Coverage and Vintage Glass on Sony Mirrorless, with David Burnett


When we started the B&H Photography Podcast more than six years ago, the concept was “watercooler conversations” with photographers, about gear. Well, honestly, it hasn’t always turned out that way, but this episode with famed photojournalist David Burnett comes as close to that idea as any we have done; there’s barely an edit in the whole episode. Burnett joins us, and we just talk.

We begin with his coverage of the recent presidential inauguration and his decision to use a 1930 Graflex 4 x 5 camera in addition to his Sony mirrorless with an FE 100-400mm lens. Burnett reflects on the reasons he incorporates vintage cameras and lenses into his workflow and the need to challenge your own point of view as a photographer. We discuss the motivations that bring a particular camera to his eye and his sense of “obligation to all that has come before.”

In the second half of the show, we talk about using legacy glass on mirrorless cameras and the relentless (and at times “goofy”) experimentation that both Burnett (and Allan) enjoy. From aerial reconnaissance lenses to old Kodak cine lenses, there is nothing that can’t be adapted, and we go into the weeds to discuss some of the many, many lenses Burnett has not just tried, but used successfully for his professional assignments. We also ask about the new Sony Alpha 1, the benefits of customizable functions, and his preference for the Sony a9 II and a6600 cameras. Join us for this easy-going conversation.

Guest: David Burnett

Photograph © David Burnett

A soldier with a letter from home, Lang Vei, Vietnam, 1971 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images
Bob Marley, 1976 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images
Al Gore on the presidential campaign trail, 2001 © David Burnett/ Contact Press Images
John Kerry in the last days of the presidential campaign, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2004 © David Burnett /Contact Press Images
Daniel Céspedes arrested by the Chilean military, 1973 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images
Ayatollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the Iran Revolution, 1979 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images
Mary Decker looks on in pain after colliding with Zola Budd and falling during the 3000-meter race at the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves