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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

I enjoy sports photography but do you really need all the big, expensive lenses ??

Sports photography is a challenging and rewarding genre of photography that requires a lot of skill, patience and creativity. One of the most common questions that aspiring sports photographers ask is whether they need to invest in big, expensive lenses to capture the action.


The answer is not so simple. There are many factors that affect the choice of lens for sports photography, such as the type of sport, the distance from the subject, the lighting conditions, the desired effect and the budget. In this blog post, I will try to explain some of these factors and give you some tips on how to choose the best lens for your needs.


The type of sport


Different sports have different characteristics and require different approaches to photography. For example, if you are shooting a fast-paced sport like soccer or basketball, you will need a lens that can focus quickly and accurately, and that has a long focal length to zoom in on the players. A telephoto lens with a focal length of 200mm or more would be ideal for this purpose.

On the other hand, if you are shooting a slower-paced sport like golf or tennis, you might want to use a lens that can capture more of the scene and show the context and environment of the sport. A wide-angle lens with a focal length of 35mm or less would be suitable for this purpose.


The distance from the subject


Another factor that affects the choice of lens is how close you can get to the subject. If you have access to the sidelines or the court, you can use a shorter focal length lens and still fill the frame with your subject. However, if you are shooting from the stands or behind a fence, you will need a longer focal length lens to get closer to the action.


The lighting conditions


The lighting conditions also play a role in choosing the best lens for sports photography. If you are shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, you can use a smaller aperture (higher f-number) to get more depth of field and sharpness. However, if you are shooting indoors or in low-light situations, you will need a larger aperture (lower f-number) to let more light in and freeze the motion. A lens with a large maximum aperture (f/2.8 or lower) is preferable for low-light sports photography.


The desired effect


Another factor that affects the choice of lens is the effect that you want to achieve with your photos. Do you want to isolate your subject from the background and create a shallow depth of field? Do you want to show the motion blur of your subject and create a sense of speed? Do you want to capture the whole scene and create a sense of scale? Depending on your artistic vision, you might want to use different lenses for different effects.



For example, if you want to isolate your subject from the background and create a shallow depth of field, you will need a lens with a long focal length and a large aperture. This will help you achieve a smooth bokeh (the blurred background) and make your subject stand out.


If you want to show the motion blur of your subject and create a sense of speed, you will need a lens with a short focal length and a small aperture. This will help you achieve a slow shutter speed (the time that the camera's shutter is open) and capture the movement of your subject.


If you want to capture the whole scene and create a sense of scale, you will need a lens with a wide-angle focal length and a large aperture. This will help you achieve a wide field of view (the angle that the camera can see) and capture more of the environment.


The budget


The last factor that affects the choice of lens is your budget. As you might have guessed, big, expensive lenses tend to have better performance and quality than small, cheap lenses. They usually have faster autofocus, larger apertures, better image stabilization and sharper optics. However, they also tend to be heavier, bulkier and more difficult to carry around.

Small, cheap lenses tend to have slower autofocus, smaller apertures, less image stabilization and lower image quality. However, they also tend to be lighter, more compact and easier to transport.





I hope this blog post has given you some insight into how to choose the best lens for sports photography. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy shooting!


Not all big lenses cost big money and can give great results for those on a budget.

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