Gear recommendations for Spring Sports like Soccer

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

The teams are practicing now for Spring soccer and baseball. Here are some tips for getting those action shots for soccer.

You need the right gear to get those peak action shots. Your camera phone is just not going to cut it.

For a majority of your action shots you will need a lens that will bring that action close to you. I recommend a lens that covers the 300mm to 600mm lens range.

Here is what I use:

Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S

I also use the 1.4 or 2x converter with it.

Sigma TC-1401 1.4x & Sigma TC-2001 2x

This lets me get close to the action.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Now there are less expensive choices for you to use. I would recommend for the Sigma 150-600mm. It comes in two versions a contemporary and sports version. If you are a heavy user you would want the sports version.

You just need to pair these lenses with a good camera body. You can use DSLR and mirrorless cameras to capture the action.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

I like to shoot at a high shutter speed of 1/4000. This lets me freeze the action which makes the photos even sharper. I also like shooting wide open aperture to keep a shallow depth-of-field.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Now when I was buying my lens Nikon had not made the 200-500mm which is selling today for about $1250.

These lenses let you shoot from the end zones. I like to be not far from the net capturing the players faces as they move closer to the goal and defend the goal as well.

Many people try to shoot this action with a 70-200mm lenses, but they are not not long enough for soccer. They work ok as the action gets really close to the goal, but you need to be close to that goal as well.

Let me just say that all of these lenses paired with the latest camera bodies of the major camera manufacturers will give you incredible results.

Here are some features that I would compare with camera bodies.

  1. ISO – I recommend cameras with high ISO of 12,800 or higher
  2. Shutter Speed – you need to be shooting at 1/1000 or faster.
  3. Motor Drive – I would recommend 5+ per second
  4. Buffer – The higher the better. The Nikon D500 and D5 have buffer of 200 shooting RAW.
For shooting sports I believe that the Nikon D5 is in a class all it’s own. If you don’t want to shell out $6,500 then seriously look at the Nikon D500 for $2,000.
While I say all the time it is the photographer and not the gear that determines a good photo–with sports you do need some long glass or you just cannot capture the action.