The best lenses for sports photography (and ideal focal lengths to use)

The two most common questions about using sports photography lenses

With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner, photographers of all abilities will be thinking about sports photography. We thought we would count down to Friday’s opening ceremony with a different tutorial each on how to take better sports photography. Today we’ll start with a look at some of the best lenses for sports photography – and which focal lengths are best for capturing some of the most common subjects. We’ll also answer what we believe are the two most common questions about using sports photography lenses.

The lens you choose to use in your sports photography depends on what you’re planning to shoot! The decision really comes down to how close you can get to subjects, and how tightly you want to crop. Telephotos are the obvious choice – but there are other types of lenses that can prove useful for sports photography…

Best Sports Photography Lenss: Wide-angle zoom


1. Wide-angle zoom
If you’re shooting in a stadium, think about getting some wide shots of the whole setting rather than just focusing on the sports or performers.

You’ll need a really wide focal length around 10-12mm on a typical DSLR, or around 16-17mm on full-frame cameras.

Popular lens options include Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Nikon’s AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, Tokina’s 11-16mm f/2.8, or Sigma’s 10-20mm f/3.5.

These ultra-wides can also be used for dramatic shots of some extreme sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding.

PAGE 1: Wide-angle zooms
PAGE 2: Mid-range zooms
PAGE 3: Telephoto zooms
PAGE 4: Best focal lengths for sports photography
PAGE 5: The two most common questions about sports photography lenses


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