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Looking for a the Best Lens for Sports Photography? June 29, 2016

Looking for the Best Lens for Sports Photography?

Look no further than the Nikon  Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens.

I have been taking Sports Photography pictures for several years. I like to spend my weekends in the middle of the racetrack taking pictures of automobile racing. Photographing dragsters or off road racing combines my two interests into one activity and allows me to make some money doing both. I have been slowly putting every penny made back into the purchase of new camera gear. I have been on the search for the perfect lens to pair with my new Nikon D750 to capture razor sharp pictures of vehicles going up to 100mph on the dirt track while still keeping myself at a safe distance.

Nikon Lens best camera for Sports Photography

I started using the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens because the combination of the D750 and this lens gave me some amazing pictures. I had been renting the lens off and on for about a year for big events but was finally getting enough work to justify the cost of adding one to my kit. It is my go to lens for all events over the last year. While I thought I was done trying long zoom lenses the restrictions on photographer access continued to change and we are being kept further away from the action than ever before. We used to be able to get within a few yards of the track but now we were being kept back to 25-50yds further. I was looking for a lens with more reach that would maintain the fast focusing, performance and flexibility of the 70-200mm F2.8.

I came across the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR on the B&H Photo site and it seemed like the perfect choice to solve all of the problems I was having. The lens has a huge zoom range of 80-400mm which allows me to take driver portraits when walking through the pits as well as high speed racing photos which require a fast telephoto zoom.

The lens came and it is a monster. It is longer than the 70-200mm and seems to be a bit wider but still accepts the same 77mm filter size. It is a heavy lens weighing in at 3.45lbs over twice the weight of my D750 camera body 1.65lbs. The 5.1lb combination is a lot to carry and always ends up in the backpack between heats instead of left hanging around my neck.

This lens is durable and seems to be built to last like the 70-200mm. This is advertised to cover the broadest focal length of any NIKKOR lens and this is what made it the most appealing to me.

I was able to capture pictures of vehicles right in front of me on one side of the track but still have the length required to turn and take pictures of action on the other  side of the track as well. I had heard that previous versions of this lens did not have the VR and I could not imagine getting by without it.

I was able to move freely about the track without tripod or monopod limiting my mobility. Other than the weight I am not sure I have any complaints with this lens.

I have included several pictures below showing how the fast autofocus combination of the D750 and the 80-400mm allows me to capture the pictures of competitors racing at the event.

Sean - Image in Flight

Sean Lyons is a sports photographer who has been photographing sports for as long as he can remember. You can find more info about Sean at  eventimagesphoto.com

Heather Emerson-Smith

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