There are different types of lenses that can help a photographer get a better shot when sports are their target, but with such a variety of these lenses out there, you may not know even where to start. We share the best lenses for sports photography that you should consider in this post.
1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR (Overall Winner)
At the top of our list, we have the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR zoom lens. When it comes to getting the best value for your money, you really can’t go wrong with this particular lens. This product features an aperture rating of f/2.8 and a zoom level that can be adjusted from 24mm to 70mm. This particular lens is compatible with a range of Nikon DSLR cameras.
The built-in vibration reduction in the lens helps to improve image stabilization, which is a critical feature that any sports photographer will need to rely on. The minimum focus distance of the lens is 35mm to 50mm.
2. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
Sony is known for producing some of the top-rated cameras and lenses for sports photography, among other fields of this profession. When it comes to getting your hands on a lens for this type of photography for your Sony DSLR camera, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is definitely an option worth considering. This lens forms part of the brand’s popular GM range of lenses and gives you a zoom range that is perfect for those action shots that you would like to capture.
The lens features an angle of view that can range from 23 to 61 degrees, depending on your needs. There are nine aperture blades in the lens for better exposure. This is an E-mount lens, and it features built-in no-shake technology to help reduce the instability of your shots.
3. Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is another great option if you own an Olympus DSLR camera. This lens comes at an excellent price when compared to some of the other options on the market.
The M.Zuiko PRO features constant aperture exposure and a seven-blade diaphragm system with zero lens coating. In addition to these great features, the lens also includes a one-year warranty to ensure any factory defects will be fixed by the Olympus brand.
4. Tamron SP AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD
If you find yourself on a limited budget but still wish to try out sports photography, then take a closer look at the Tamron SP AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD XLD lens. This affordable lens is available in three different models that fit various camera models. You can choose between a Canon, Sony, or Nikon mount system.
The XLD glass used in this lens offers a significant improvement in the resolution of your photos. A built-in Ultrasonic Silent Drive feature gives you a faster experience, while also ensuring the motor operates silently. Thanks to the Dual Format Di feature, Tamron’s 70-300mm lens is a great option for cameras fitted with smaller sensors.
5. Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
The Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is yet another great option for sports photography. While the price of this lens is definitely on the higher side, it does come with a range of great features such as top-notch image stabilization, resistance to dust, water and cold, and a triple-linear motor. Fujifilm’s high-speed autofocus makes this one of the best lenses for sports photography available.
6. Rokinon SP 35mm f/1.2
The Rokinon SP 35mm f/1.2 may not be the most impressive option when it comes to sports photography, but at a lower price point, this lens will be able to help you take perfect action shots. The lens is available in two colors, including black and silver, and you can choose between three different mount systems, including Canon M, Fuji X, and Sony E mount varieties.
The Rokinon 35mm is compatible with 62mm filter sizes and includes a one-year warranty.
7. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens comes at an inexpensive price for its size and includes all the features you need for the perfect action shots. The lens is compatible with Canon EF mount systems. This is a full-frame lens that provides the same great features that you would usually find in a telephoto zoom lens.
The lens is weather-resistant as well, which is great for outdoor sports photography.
8. Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
Next up on our list is the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM. This is a super-telephoto lens, which is one of the most recommended types of lenses for sports photography. The lens construction features seven elements that are divided into six different groups.
An inner focus system allows for better control over the focus adjustment of the lens. The lens also features ultra-low dispersion and fluorite glass, which helps to provide greater enhancement of the action that you are capturing.
9. Olympus Zuiko Digital 300mm f/2.8 ED
The Olympus Zuiko Digital 300mm f/2.8 ED is definitely one of the more expensive super telephoto lenses that you are going to find on the market. At the same time, the features offered will be hard to beat in a cheaper product.
The Olympus’ 300mm lens provides a 4.2-degree angle of view, along with a focal length that would provide you with a similar experience as a 600mm 35mm lens. The lens itself has a minimum focusing distance of 6.6 feet.
10. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM (Budget Winner)
Last up is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM, a budget-friendly zoom lens that will give you the ability to take great sports photos without blowing through your budget. The lens features APS-C size sensors and has a built-in anti-shake feature, which helps to provide a significant improvement in the overall stability of the photos that you will be taking.
The Sigma 17-50mm is compatible with a number of 77mm filters, should you need to add additional accessories to get that perfect shot. The closest focusing distance of the lens is 11 inches, which is quite impressive when you consider the affordable price tag.
When Choosing Lenses for Sports Photography
With some of the best lenses for sports photography in your camera bag, capturing the action perfect moment during a big game is no problem at all. Getting your hands on these lenses, however, might be a completely different story. If you wish to buy a lens to elevate your experience and the quality your shots, do your research and consider all options.