Capture the Moves! 8 Best Lens for Sports Photography

Mariotama – There are plenty of options when looks for the best lens for sports photography. Taking photographs of any moments in sports will give you disappointing results when you only use your go-to lens on your camera. You need to get the right lens, which offers more range and speed than your basic lens.

You need to look for the lens that is essential for taking those sharp, high contrasts, vibrant keep sporting moments. In a search for the right lens, you should choose the lens with telephoto capability, great speed, and quick autofocus.

Here are some of the best lenses to let you capture the best moments of sports you can get.

8 Best Lens for Sports Photography

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Last updated on March 31, 2020 3:50 am


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1. Best Requirements: Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens
  • Revised Optics for a lighter Super telephoto EF L Lens
  • Continues strong tradition of image quality associated with L-Series lenses
  • Super spectra coating (ssc) and Air sphere coating (asc) minimizes ghosting and flare
  • Increased heat shielding measures for reliable, longer shooting outdoors
  • Dust- and water-resistant with fluorine coatings for use even in harsh conditions

This Super Telephoto lens is designed for Canon SLR cameras. It comes with an ultrasonic motor and image stabilizer. The accurate and fast autofocus of this lens will clear images stunningly when capturing the fast-paced sports moments.

The diffuse background blur feature in this Canon lens will bright focus to key players as you would expect. The body is built with a weather seal to prevent liquid or dust to get inside the lens. You can even shoot shine or rain clearly.

This Super Telephoto lens from canon is the next-generation of L-series lens that comes with image stabilizer. It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. On Amazon, this Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens is available.


  • It has very good performance.
  • Works really well in low light and long-distance shot
  • Easy to use


  • It’s pretty tricky to do handheld shots.
  • It’s not lightweight.

2. Best Rated: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens
130 Reviews
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens
  • Minimum Focus Distance-3.6ft.(1.1m)
  • Diaphragm blades: 9. Format : FX/35mm. Minimum Aperture : f/ 22
  • Focus distance indicator- 1.1 m to ∞
  • Accepts Filter Type:Screw-on

It is another great choice for sports photography. This lens from Nikon is often looked at as a great lens for portrait photographers. It comes with many benefits too for sports photos because of its high versatility.

It is one of the best-rated options. It has the incredible ability in speed, accuracy, and low light. The build quality is durable but a little bit heavier than many other lenses at the same level. The telephoto zoom range is quite standard.

It is also packed with image stabilizing and a silent wave motor system. Besides sports photography, it is also a recommended lens for photojournalism and wildlife. This lens features Nikon Super Integrated Coating that enhances the transmission of light.

The coating also offers great color consistency and flare reduction. There are some other special features to explore. You can get this decent telephoto lens on Amazon. You need to add a little bit more money for the version with a polarize filter or protection filter.


  • The lens is packed with amazing features.
  • Perfect for portraits
  • Fast and quiet autofocus


  • It’s a heavy gear.
  • The lens hood is so plastic.
  • A very slighting vignette appears when using a wide-open lens.

3. Best Optical Layout: Nikon 300mm f/2.8 Lens

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED Vibration Reduction II Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
30 Reviews
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED Vibration Reduction II Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Fast-aperture f/2.8 NIKKOR Super Telephoto. Wide aperture, professional telephoto performance
  • Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization. Vibration Reduction is engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens.
  • Exclusive Nano Crystal Coat. Further reduces ghosting and internal flare for even greater image clarity.
  • Three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements. Offers superior sharpness and color correction by effectively minimizing chromatic aberration
  • Virtually eliminates coma and other aberrations, promoting image integrity

It is a solid lens with many amazing features. This super-telephoto lens is designed to perform well even in the most demanding and difficult conditions. That is why this lens is perfect for shooting fast-paced subjects like in sports event.

This lens offers super-fast focusing speed, edge to edge sharpness, image stabilization, and vibration reductions. It is suitable with all Nikon’s teleconverters. The Silent Wave Motor really helps a lot in performing autofocus.

This is the telephoto lens designed only for those professional sports photographers. If you want to get into it seriously, this lens is a perfect choice that provides you such high quality action sports images.

It has a Nano Crystal Coat that is exclusively from Nikon. It helps to give ghosting and internal flare reduction to produce images with greater clarity. On Amazon, you can purchase this super-fast lens. It’s bundled with LensAlign MkII Calibration & Software.


  • It offers great detail with beautiful bokeh.
  • The color shooting wide open
  • This lens is extremely fast.
  • The resolution is amazing.


  • It’s so pricey.

4. Best Versatile Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, White - 3044C002
65 Reviews
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, White - 3044C002
  • Constant f/2.8 Maximum Aperture throughout Entire Zoom Range.
  • Canon’s Air Sphere Coating (ASC) Minimizes Ghosting and Flare.
  • Optical Image Stabilization at up to 3.5 Stops of Shake Correction.
  • Fluorine Coating on Front and Rear Elements to Help Reduce Smears and Fingerprints.
  • Highly Resistant to Dust and Water, and Improved Durability Even in Harsh Conditions. Inner Focusing System with Ring Ultrasonic Motor. Full-time Manual Focus. One Fluorite Element and Five UD Elements for High Image Quality. Minimum Focusing Distance of 3.9 ft./1.2m.Diagonal Angle of View: 34° - 12°

Compared to the previous Canon’s lens, this one is friendlier to beginners. It is a standard to a telephoto zoom lens. This wide-aperture telephoto zoom lens is designed specifically for sports photography.

Whether you are an advanced hobbyist or a professional photographer, this is a great lens to rely on n. It is in face one of the most world’s famous telephoto lens. It works perfectly on both APS and full-frame sensor Canon.

The fast autofocus technology is supported by the four UD glass elements to promote contrast, accurate shots. The ultrasonic motor inside the lens lets you focus smoothly and quickly. This lens is also compatible with tele extenders like the Canon Extenders EF 1.4x and 2x II.


  • It offers a sharp image results.
  • It’s perfect in any light condition.
  • The AF is ridiculously fast.


  • This lens is heavy.
  • It’s not weatherproof.
  • It doesn’t have IS.

5. Best High-End Lens: Sigma 120-300 F2.8 Sports DG

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 Sports DG APO OS HSM Lens for Canon
43 Reviews
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 Sports DG APO OS HSM Lens for Canon
  • Offers OS (Optical Stabilization
  • Two FLD Glass Elements
  • Fast Focus

This Sigma lens is designed to work on Nikon DSLRs. It is the first lens in the Sports category that comes from Sigma. It is packed with the fast and constant f/2.8 aperture all the way through the zoom. It is a great privilege for sports photographers to capture without giving up speed.

The lens features a special technology called Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that offers quiet, accurate, and fast autofocusing. Moreover, an Optical Stabilizer compensates for hand-held shooting that tends to get shaky.

The body is built with dust and splash-proof design to keep your shooting quality when the weather is inclement. This Sigma’s product is not really a perfect lens but it gives you a quality of the image and the flexibility with a fair price. That would be a satisfaction for photographers.

There are also other types to be used for Canon’s cameras and Sigma’s.


  • It provides a sharp image, even wide open.
  • It is better than other 300-f2.8 lenses.
  • The autofocusing speed seems instant.
  • The design is lovely.


  • It weighs a ton.
  • The control rigs are stiff.
  • You need to buy a USB dock.

6. Best for Portraits: Tamron 70-200mm F2/8

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC G2 for Canon EF Digital SLR Camera (6 Year Tamron Limited Warranty)
80 Reviews
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC G2 for Canon EF Digital SLR Camera (6 Year Tamron Limited Warranty)
  • VC performance is 5 stops (VC mode 3) and offers three modes optimized for different shooting situations
  • MOD reduced to 37.4" (1:6.1 max. mag. Ratio). Angle of view (diagonal): 34°21' - 12°21'(for full-frame format), 22°33' - 7°59'(for APS-C format)
  • Lightweight and easy-to-hold tripod mount is compatible with an Arca-Swiss style quick release plate
  • Compatible with TAMRON TAP-in Console, an optional accessory product; The front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that is water- and oil-repellant
  • Teleconverters (optional) compatible with this new Tamron lens.Aperture Blades:9 (circular diaphragm)

For your dugout portraits, this 70-200mm zoom lens is a great option. Every professional sports photographer should have the gear in his or her bag. It is not used as the main lens but the second lens that is only used for taking portrait shots.

It offers a constant f/2.8 aperture that allows for speedy focus while the coatings in this lens reduce flare and ghosting. That is what makes it work amazingly under stadium lights. The shaky shot will be minimized by the VC image stabilization.

You will also be served with the rounded nine-blade diaphragm technology from Tamron that gives an elegant bokeh quality to your image. This Tamron lens comes with two exclusive teleconverters. It will help you extend the focal length of the lens.

The “Human Touch” design of this lens is durable and user-friendly. It has an ergonomic shape to you grip it easily. It also comes with a 6-year warranty.


  • It has a 6-Year Tamron Limited Warranty.
  • It’s incredibly sharp.
  • It has an excellent color rendition.
  • The body design is simple and attractive.


  • It’s heavy.
  • It has a limited focal range.

7. Best Affordable: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 to 300mm II F4.8-6.7 Zoom Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
123 Reviews
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 to 300mm II F4.8-6.7 Zoom Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
  • Notes on shooting: edges of pictures may be cut off if more than one filter is used or if a thick filter is used. When using a Flash, flash light may be blocked by lens body, lens hood, etc.
  • Excellent imaging performance. Super-telephoto shooting in a compact, lightweight, affordable lens.
  • MSC mechanism for fast, q1uiet auto focusing
  • Closest focusing distance 0.9m (at 75mm of focal length) / 1.5m (except 75mm of focal length)
  • Maximum image magnification 0.18x (35mm equivalent maximum image magnification 0.36x)

This is a zoom lens for Micro four-thirds cameras from Olympus. A compact super-telephoto zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 150-600mm. It comes with the MSC mechanism that provides fast, silent focusing.

It also has ZERO lenses coating which stands from Zuiko Extra-lo Reflection Optical. It controls the excessive flare issues that can happen in backlight environments. This lens is perfect when combined with the OM-D or PEN series camera from Olympus.

This affordable lens is packed with decent features, although the quality of this lens is quite reasonable to its price. Many users think that it’s a great lens for Wildlife Photography. It also works well in sports photography.


  • The price is so cheap.
  • It has a wide zoom range.
  • During the day or in bright light, the picture will look amazing.


  • It doesn’t have a lens hood.
  • The auto-focus can get slow easily.

8. Best Long-Reaching Zoom: Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6

Best Lens for Sports Photography

Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
53 Reviews
Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
  • Focal length : XF100-400mm (152-609mm - 35mm Format Equivalent)
  • 21 elements 14 groups (includes 5 extra low dispersion elements and 1 super extra low dispersion element)
  • Focus range : 1.75m, Max.magnification : 0.19x (Telephoto)
  • 5 -Stop Image Stabilization System.Filter Thread :Front: 77 mm.Angle of view:16.2°- 4.1°
  • Water and dust resistant and can operate in temperatures as low as 14 DegreeF (-10 DegreeC), Removable tripod mount

Fujinon is a lens product from Fujifilm. This super-telephoto zoom lens consists of 21 elements in 14 groups of high-performance optical construction. That includes five ED lenses and one super ED lens for reducing chromatic aberration that telephoto lens often has.

If you are doing handheld a lot with your camera, this lens is the gear you need. It has a linear motor AF to capture a perfect shot on fast-moving subjects. That is the reason this product would be the best lens for sports photography.

If you are using Fujifilm X Mount camera bodies to combine with this lens, you need to update the firmware to get the lens fully compatible. It is packed with the most powerful image stabilization system, the 5.0-stop.

It also features water or dust resistance on its body. Thanks to the fluorine coating on the front lens element. It can easily be cleaned. This Fujinon lens comes with the lens hood with a special lock mechanism.

Get this outstanding lens from Fujifilm on Amazon. You can also get the lens bundled with Teleconverters of your choosing.


  • Even though it’s large, it’s easy to handhold.
  • It is lighter than it looks.
  • Superb image quality
  • The build is weather sealed.


  • The focus ring is a bit stiff.
  • It is still heavy and big.


What is Sports Photography?

A photography genre is about capturing games, sports events, exercise, and other activities. It is, in fact, a broad term. It has a close relationship to with photojournalism and daily life photography. In this area, the photographers work with newspapers, magazines, and wire agencies.

What is a Fast Lens?

To support your sports photography needs, a fast lens might come in handy. It helps you produce decent sports moments. A fast lens is the one that has a low aperture f-number. The faster the lenses are, the more expensive the price is. However, it is so important for sports photography.

What is The Perfect Camera Settings for Sports Photography?

A Telephoto zoom lens is the best gear to get a great shot of sports. The shutter speeds you use according to the quickness of the sports. After that, you can get to the aperture. It needs to be wide enough to give the right-shutter speed settings.

For the ISO, you can use the general low setting to get away with it. It is recommended to shoot in aperture priority mode. You have to make sure the shutter speed stays quick enough.

What Software is Needed to Function in Sports Photography?

To support your work in this field, you need good and capable software that converts raw files with a user-friendly interface. Many people would recommend Photoshop.

If you want more premium quality, you can use software called Raw Shooter Premium and the one named Lightroom.

What kind of lens do I need for sports photography?

The one with weather-resistant feature since most sports are done outdoor.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to sports photography, you need a decent telephoto lens that can capture fast subjects with fast autofocus. Among those eight products, one lens that becomes the best lens for sports photography in our opinion is the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G.

Last update on 2020-04-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API