Action Sports Photography Tip Number 5....Fast lenses sports photography tip
Tip #5) You Need Fast Lenses for sports photography.... When you talk about fast lenses that can mean 2 different things. One it could mean fast because it has a large max aperture like f/1.2 or f/1.4 or f/2.8 so it allows lot's of light in the camera allowing you to have a fast shutter speed. For Sports photography, you need big lenses to zoom into the action, and so most of them big and more expensive lenses have max apertures of f/2.8 or f/4 or f/5.6. They allow lot's of light into the lens so you can have fast shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second or higher.
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Two it can mean the lens focuses fast, and most fast focusing lenses today have a focusing motor built into the lens to make focusing much faster. Canon calls their built in motor technology USM for Ultrasonic Motor. Nikon calls theirs SWM or Silent Wave Motor. For sports photography, you want your lens to focus fast, have superior accuracy, quiet operation and be able to keep focus on fast moving quick sports action, or all your photos will be blurry.
The faster the lens is, the more expensive it is also. This is because lenses with larger max apertures have more advanced designs, need more precision in manufacturing them, the glass quality is better, and the glass usually has special coatings on it to improve performance.
The fastest lenses in terms of allowing the most light, are usually just your standard 50mm lens, which can have max apertures of f/1.2 or f/1.4, but for sports photography a 50mm lens has limited use, except for taking some up close basketball photos or something similar, because you can't get close enough to the action. Your best bet is to get a 200mm or 300mm or 400mm lens with a max aperture of f/2.8 or f/4.