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Scott Kelby on Which Lenses to Use for Shooting Sports

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In this excerpt from The Digital Photography Book, Part 1, Scott Kelby shows you how to go light with only two lenses for shooting sporting events.
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TROY BREIDENBACH

When you're shooting sports, carrying a load of lenses and a big camera bag (even a camera backpack) will strain your back and just add to your frustration. Instead, go light with just two lenses:

  1. A wide-angle zoom lens (something that goes at least 24mm wide, like a 24–70mm). You’ll need these wide angles to capture full stadium shots, full court shots, close-up group shots, etc.
  2. A 300mm or 400mm telephoto lens (or a 200–400mm zoom). At the very least, you’ll need a 200mm lens, but plan on doing a lot of running because if the players aren’t right in front of you, they’ll be too far away to make pro-quality shots.

You're not going to want to change lenses, so ideally you'd put one lens on one camera body, and one lens on the other (more on this coming up). The only other thing you'll need to carry (besides extra memory cards and a backup battery) is a 1.4x teleconverter to get you even closer to the action (these magnify the amount of zoom, turning a 300mm telephoto into a 450mm). Note: Some pros advise against 2x teleconverters because they feel 2x photos are not as sharp and you lose up to two f-stops of light (it turns your f/2.8 into an f/5.6), making it harder to get the fast shutter speeds you need indoors. To move all this stuff around with the greatest of ease, try a Manfrotto Pro Photo Vest or a Think Tank Photo belt system, which is very popular with pro sports shooters.

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