Are you a sports photographer looking to upgrade your gear? Are you on a tight budget but still want to get the best quality lens possible? If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ve done the research and have rounded up the best budget lenses for sports photography. Read on to find out which one is right for your needs!
What’s the Best Lens for Sports Photography?
Canon’s EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is considered the best lens for sports photography, as it is ideal for closer sports photography. For those on a budget, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great option. For ultimate low light sports photography, the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Lens is an excellent choice. Fast prime lenses such as the 85mm f/1.8 are also useful for sports photography. For wildlife and action photography, Sigma’s 150-600mm F/5-6.3 is a great lens.
Features of the Best Lens for Sports Photography
The best lenses for sports photography tend to have extreme focal lengths with low apertures, as they allow for faster shutter speeds and a greater depth of field. The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM is currently one of the best sports photography lenses on the market for Canon users, and the 70-200 f/2.8L III IS Lens is one of the most popular choices for professional photographers. Other lenses to consider include the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR, Fujifilm XF100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM III, Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 G Master and Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG. All of these lenses offer excellent features and performance, making them great choices for sports photography.
For sports and action photography, a telephoto lens is essential. The Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is a budget-friendly option that offers excellent telephoto capabilities. Other options include the Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, both of which can be great for photographing wider scenes.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great budget lens for sports photography. It offers great value for money, with its compact design and powerful focal length, making it an ideal lens for press, sports, and nature photography. This lens also has a built-in extender that increases the focal length of Canon L-series telephoto lenses. It is one of the best budget lenses available from Canon and is perfect for capturing those action shots.
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is a high-performance telezoom lens with a compact design and incredibly sharp optics, making it one of the best value lenses available. It is ideal for those shooting sports, action and wildlife photography, offering a 4-stop Image Stabilizer, minimum focusing distance and excellent image quality. Its rugged construction makes it suitable for professional photographers to use with full-frame cameras and its advanced image stabilization technologies provide a superb combination of cutting-edge performance. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is an excellent budget lens for sports photography.
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC USD G2
The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is an excellent and versatile budget lens for sports photography, having a wide focal range of 150-600mm and weighing only 1135g. It comes with Tamron’s FLEX ZOOM LOCK mechanism, allowing you to lock the zoom position at any point. Furthermore, it has great support and one of the industry’s best warranties, making it an ideal choice for any photographer looking for a budget lens for sports photography.
Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
The Sigma 50-100mm F/1.8 DC HSM Art is an excellent budget lens for sports and portrait photography. It offers a fast, constant aperture of F/1.8 throughout and is designed specifically for DSLRs with APS-C format. With an MSRP of $799, it is one of the most affordable pro-grade lenses on the market, making it a great choice for those looking for a high-performance lens without breaking the bank. Furthermore, the lens has been highly praised for its image quality, setting the gold standard among its peers.
Nikon AF Nikkor 70–200mm F/2.8G ED VR II
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR II lens is a professional telephoto zoom lens with a 2.9x zoom range and low distortion levels, making it ideal for sports and wildlife photography. It features 21 elements in 15 groups and is compatible with Nikon F-Bayonet mount type cameras. It is also a budget-friendly lens, making it an excellent choice for novice sports photographers.
Tokina ATX 11–20mm F2.8 Pro DX II
The Tokina ATX 11–20mm F2.8 Pro DX II is the best budget lens for sports photography. It features a wide angle of view, making it suitable for capturing landscapes and interiors, as well as sports events. With a Canon and Nikon mount, this lens delivers very good center sharpness even when shot wide open, and improves when stopped down. It also offers excellent flare control and good resistance to chromatic aberrations. Lightweight and compact at 5.35-5.35” (136-136 mm), the Tokina ATX 11–20mm F2.8 Pro DX II is an excellent budget lens for capturing the action in sports photography.
Tamron SP 24–70mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2
The Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a great budget lens for sports photography. It is the world’s first image-stabilized standard zoom lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon cameras and offers fast AF performance and superior image quality. Other features include a focal length range of 24-70mm, a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and an angle of view of 84°04′ – 34°21′ (for full-frame format). Tamron also offers the SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, which is popular among wildlife, sports and portrait photographers. The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD is another excellent lens that offers great optical performance.
Sigma 18–35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens
The Sigma 18–35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens is a great budget option for sports photographers. It has a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range, giving you the ability to produce outstanding image quality and is compatible with Canon EF and Nikon F mount cameras. It also has 27-52.5mm (35mm Equivalent) and will beat almost all-DX, FX and both zoom and fixed focus cameras in terms of picture quality. With a price point of under $1000, the Sigma 18–35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens is a great deal for photographers.
Nikon AF‑S DX NIKKOR 10–24MM F3.5‑4.5G
The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens ($1,080 direct) is the best budget lens for sports photography, providing a 2.4x ultra wide-angle zoom with a diagonal angle of view of 109°-61°, capturing intricate and quality images. It is the widest angle of any zoom lens for Nikon’s APS-C D-SLR cameras and also features fast silent internal focusing with full time manual override.
Which lens is best for sports photography?
For the best results in sports photography, professional photographers often opt for prime lenses with longer focal lengths and f/2.8 apertures, such as the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. Cheaper alternatives include the Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Telephoto Zoom and Canon 55-250mm lens, both designed specifically to work with APS-C cameras. For a lower budget option, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 with a telephoto lens offering an f/2.8 aperture is a great choice. The Nikon P950 is also an excellent choice for those on a budget, and offers 8.38 lbs weight and 14.09 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches dimensions for convenience when shooting sports.