Nikon sport lens: Sports & Action Photography Lenses

6 Best Nikon Lenses For Sports Photography In 2023

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The Nikon range of cameras has been praised for generations for their insane photography capabilities and professionals were quick to adopt them.

Lenses play a major role in all this, and if you are looking to buy a Nikon lens for sports photography, I want to make damn sure you find the best one.

If you’re a professional sports photographer, you already know how things work but, in case you’re just starting off, you do need to know a few things.

Let me list them out for you:

  • Firstly you’ll need a good Telephoto lens with a nice focal range. The focal range is measured in millimeters.
  • The higher the max range is the further you can zoom in.
  • Having a lens with a wide aperture also helps, as you can maintain fast shutter speeds that help you capture moving subjects better.
  • If the lens has stabilization built-in, it’ll handle zoomed-in shots better. This can be useful while your subject is far away. If it isn’t in fact, stabilized, you can put the camera on a Tripod.
  • If you are shooting handheld, you need to make sure that the total weight of the camera and the lens isn’t too heavy for you. Otherwise, it can affect stability and result in undesirable photos.

Now you need to keep many factors in mind to make sure that you don’t end up getting a lens that won’t help your cause at all.

However, that can be super-confusing and time-consuming.

That’s why I’ve sorted out the best ones available and listed them here.

  • Best Nikon Lenses for Sports in 2023
    • 1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED VR
    • 2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
    • 3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
    • 4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
    • 5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
    • 6. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • What kind of lens do I need for Sports photography?
    • Are Nikon cameras reliable for doing good Sports Photography?
    • Can I use third-party lenses instead?
    • How much range do I need to capture good sports photos?
  • Verdict

Best Nikon Lenses for Sports in 2023

For the selection process, I’ve taken all the qualifying sports lenses from Nikon and evaluated them for a while.

After going through every possible pointer required for sports photography, I’ve finally landed on a total of six lenses that do the best possible job while also covering a wide price range.

So, your budget should be covered.

1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4. 5-5.6G ED VR

  • Focal Range: 80-400 mm
  • Aperture: f/4.5-f/5.6
  • Weight: 3.46 lbs

If you want the no-compromise flagship lens, and budget is not a limitation, the NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED VR is going to be an excellent option for you.

It has a ton of professional-grade features and lets you capture objects extremely far away while also working as a medium-telephoto lens when retracted.

Design & Build

The NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6 is built like a tank and weighs around 3.46 lbs.

That is a bit on the heavier side.

It uses the Nikon F-Bayonet mount making it compatible with Nikon’s ever-expanding line-up of cameras.

However, although you can technically mount it to an APS-C camera, this one is made for Full-frame.

Focusing Mechanism

Nikon has implemented their M/A focus shift mechanism which allows the lens to quickly switch from Autofocus to Manual Focus by turning the focus ring.

It even comes with a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) to ensure fast autofocusing speeds.

These will help out with quick-moving subjects which is a key requirement.

Highlighting Features

The lens comes with four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and one Super ED element.

While the ED elements deal with correcting chromatic aberrations, the Super ED elements can eliminate secondary spectrum as well.

These come together to eliminate the rainbow effect around light sources.

For Zoom, the 5X number might not sound like much, but thanks to the wide range, it can zoom in pretty far.

While zoomed in, stabilization can become a concern, and thanks to a very well-built OIS, that isn’t a huge issue here.

It also has Vibration Reduction (VR) to compensate for shaky hands.

This makes handheld photography more convenient and, although this is a common feature for Nikon lenses, the mechanism built-in here is more advanced than your typical upper mid-range offerings.


The NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED VR is a premium & feature-rich lens that has some excellent capabilities making this one of the best lenses for shooting sports.

So, if you have the extra budget, you surely won’t be disappointed with this lens. However, it is recommended to be used with a Full-frame camera.


  • Four ED elements & one Super ED element
  • Fast autofocusing mechanism
  • Excellent range


  • Super expensive
  • On the heavier side

2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

  • Focal Range: 200-500 mm
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs

The NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens comes with a fixed aperture, a variable range, and it kinda weighs a lot.

It is mainly targeted towards wildlife photography but it does an amazing job when it comes to sports photography.

Design & Build

As you might have guessed, the build quality is excellent, the mount is an F-Bayonet type, and it is actually one of those Telescope-looking lenses, so it’ll be taking some extra space in your camera bag.

The weight is around 5.07 lbs which can be a bit much for shooting handheld.

But, your mileage on that may vary.

Focusing Mechanism

Just like its more expensive sibling, the NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 has the same Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and M/A focusing technologies.

That means you can indeed change the focus from Auto to Manual, just by turning the focus ring, and if the camera sensor is also capable, it can grab onto subjects really fast.

Highlighting Features

Where you do get a significant compromise though, is in the ED department.

There is no Super ED element which means, secondary spectrum elimination is happening.

Also, you only get three ED elements instead of four which means the rainbow effect is less contained.

However, in real life, it’s still really good.

There is a 2.5x zoom which means you don’t get as many levels of flexibility, as it starts at a whopping 200mm.

However, the entire mechanism moves inside the outer shell, so it won’t expand when you zoom in.

There is no OIS, but the company did include Vibration Reduction (VR), to compensate for handshakes.


If you don’t have an issue with the extra weight, not having OIS and in case you can really make sense of the price tag, the NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is a really good lens for sports photography.


  • Works well with both FX & DX format cameras
  • Excellent range
  • Fixed aperture


  • 200 mm is a bit high starting range
  • A bit too heavy

3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

  • Focal Range: 70-200 mm
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • Weight: 1.87 lbs

If you want something lighter and you don’t necessarily require a super-long range, then the NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR might just be the perfect Nikon sports lens for you.

It still has a lot of premium features, is easier to shoot handheld, and costs ever so slightly less.

Design & Build

This is still a premium lens, so of course, it is built really well.

However, at around 1.87 lbs, this one isn’t as heavy as the other premium options here.

That means shooting handheld is comparatively easier on this one.

It is using old-school switches but, you still don’t miss out on the M/A focus-switching mechanism.

Focusing Mechanism

You still get SWM for quick & quiet autofocusing, VR for reducing camera shake while shooting handheld photos, and 4-stop image stabilization.

This is also one of the lenses where the optical elements move internally to achieve different zoom ranges, so the lens housing doesn’t change in size.

Highlighting Features

It comes with three ED elements that help to correct chromatic aberrations.

That’s the rainbow effect that originates around bright light sources.

There is no Super-ED element though, so this one won’t really eliminate any secondary spectrums.

However, the ED elements do a pretty impressive job on their own.

There is a 2.9x zoom, expanded between a range of 70-200mm.

This is just enough zoom range to take some medium-distance close-ups.

But, if you’re shooting from further distances, it would be better for you to shoot with something with a longer range.

Of course, the aperture is fixed at f-4.0.


The NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR is a premium lens for sports photography by Nikon that comes with some of the top-end features and a fixed aperture.

If you’re fine with the zoom range, require that handheld stabilization, and don’t have an issue with the price tag, you should definitely consider this lens.


  • Good range
  • Fixed aperture
  • Three ED elements


  • Price to performance ratio isn’t ideal
  • Looks are kinda ordinary

4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

  • Focal Range: 28-300 mm
  • Aperture: f/3. 5-5.6
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs

If you have one of the Nikon Full-frame (FX) cameras, and you are looking for a good sports lens under that $1000 price point, the NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is going to be one of the best lenses you can buy.

Design & Build

The build quality is actually really good with a solid & sturdy one-hand feel.

It has a weight of around 1.76 lbs which is still a bit on the heavier side but, not by a lot.

Although it’s not a super-premium lens, Nikon hasn’t cut any significant corners here.

Focusing Mechanism

Even most of the premium features are still here.

For example, you still get Vibration Reduction (VR) that compensates for camera shakes and M/A focus shifting where you can switch between Auto & Manual focus just by rotating the focus ring.

Features like SWM are also present and they do help with Autofocus.

Highlighting Features

Where you will get a significant compromise though is in the ED elements. Unlike its more expensive siblings that come with three or even four ED elements, this one only comes with two.

That means it doesn’t do as impressive a job with chromatic aberrations.

It’s still pretty good but, definitely toned down a little.

As far as Optical Zoom levels go, this lens can do up to 10.7 times, thanks to a range spread-out between 20-300mm.

That means you do get to shoot pretty up close and expand to a further range when the subject moves away from you.

Nikon has also included Aspherical elements to reduce bending at the edges.


The  NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G is an excellent lens for the money and if you can make use of the features, I have no problem recommending this to you.

optimized for Full-frame cameras and although it can fit onto an APS-C type camera, I won’t recommend using it that way.


  • Good range
  • M/A focus switch
  • Good value for money


  • Only two ED elements

5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR

  • Focal Range: 18-300 mm 
  • Aperture: f/3.5-6.3
  • Weight: 1.21 lbs

Now in case, you’re using an APS-C (DX) camera instead, and you need a good Nikon sports lens that provides all the important features while keeping the price in check, the NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR needs to be on top of your consideration list.

Design & Build

Nikon has been providing really great build quality in their upper mid-range segment and this one is no exception.

Yes, the build quality ain’t gonna compete against the super-premium players but, for the price, it has great build quality.

The device weighs around 1.21 lbs, so handheld shooting shouldn’t be an issue.

Focusing Mechanism

As mentioned earlier, all the important stuff is still here including SWM, Vibration Reduction (VR), and even Auto-Manual focus shifting using the focus ring.

That means the lens can help with faster autofocus times, compensate for camera shake & change its mode of focus when you rotate the focus ring.

Highlighting Features

Surprisingly enough, it has a total of three ED elements to deal with the rainbowing effect that originates from bright objects.

That puts it in the same line with premium lenses that cost twice or even more.

Of course, there is no Super ED element at this price point.

Thanks to the wide-spread range, the Optical Zoom range goes up to a whopping 16.7x.

At around 18mm, it does have a wide-angle perspective to it, but Nikon did include three aspherical elements to eliminate any bending at the edges.

The closer range also makes it one of the best Nikon lenses for indoor sports photography.


Needless to say, the NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR is an excellent lens for Nikon DX-format cameras.

It doesn’t compromise on important features and although it’s an upper mid-range device, it has a surprisingly great value.


  • Great value for money
  • Three ED elements
  • Good range


  • Aperture at max range is a bit too clogged

6. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

  • Focal Range: 70-300 mm
  • Aperture: f/4.5-6.3
  • Weight: 0.91 lbs

If you’re on tighter budget and looking for a cheap Nikon lens to do sports photography on your DX-format camera, the NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR is one of the best value-oriented lenses that come in less than $400.

However, you’ll have to give up on a handful of features.

Design & Build

The build quality is good for the price but, it’s nothing special either.

It doesn’t feel cheaply made or look that way and unless you’ve used premium or upper mid-range lenses before, you won’t be able to tell a difference.

It weighs around 0.91 lbs, so it’s significantly easier to handle while shooting handheld.

Focusing Mechanism

It does have VR to stabilize camera shake while shooting handheld and automatic switching of Auto-Manual focus modes using the focus ring.

However, you do not get the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) as it has the Pulse Motor technology.

It isn’t as fast or as quiet as the SWM.

Highlighting Features

Unlike all the other Nikon sports lenses on the list, this one only comes with a single PD element.

That means, although it’s better than having no PD elements at all, the reduction of chromatic aberrations isn’t as effective as the others.

As a result, rainbow-ish shimmers are more prominent.

The 4.3x zoom under the 70-300 mm does a fine job capturing the subjects from various distances.

At 300 mm the aperture closes up to f-6.2 which isn’t ideal for night and as there aren’t many stability mechanisms in place, it’s going to shake significantly while zoomed in, so maybe consider a tripod for those situations.


As far as having a wide variety of features & flexibility go, the NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR isn’t bringing a lot to the table.

But, for the cheaper price, this is definitely one of the better Nikon lenses out there that do well in sports photography.

So, if you don’t mind the compromises, definitely get this one.


  • Decent value for money
  • Good range
  • Weighs less than 1 lbs


  • Only one PD element
  • No Silent Wave Motor (SWM)

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of lens do I need for Sports photography?

Sports Photography requires a good Telephoto lens.

For Nikon cameras, you can look for the company’s F-mount lenses that have good zooming range, at least a decently wide aperture, some kind of inbuilt stabilization, and a good focusing mechanism.

Are Nikon cameras reliable for doing good Sports Photography?

Nikon cameras are great for shooting sports.

However, the faster premium models definitely do a way better job compared to the baseline stuff.

Even a lot of Sports Photographers use Nikon cameras for their shoots.

Can I use third-party lenses instead?

Of course, you can use third-party lenses.

If you don’t want to use Nikon’s own lenses for sports photography, companies like Sigma, Tamron, Tokino, Yongnuo, and more are making some great Nikon-compatible lenses.

How much range do I need to capture good sports photos?

For regular sports photos, 70-200 mm is the basic standard.

However, your workflow requires a lot of zooming in, you can get lenses that max out at anywhere from 300 mm to 600 mm.


Nikon cameras have been used by amateurs, intermediates & professionals to do photography in various fields and of course, sports photography is one of the major ones.

So, if you are looking for a great sports lens to complement your setup you’ve definitely made the right choice.

Considering the fact that you have made it till the end, you probably have a personal favourite by now.

But, in case you want to double-check or you’re still a bit confused, let me make the selection process a bit simpler for you.

  • If you own a Full-frame (FX format) camera and budget is not an issue, get the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED VR.
  • If your budget is under $1000 get the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for your FX format camera.
  • In case you own an APS-C (DX-format) camera instead, get the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR.
  • If you’re looking for something under $500 for your DX format camera, get the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR.
  • In case you want a high-end lens that works well with both FX & DX format cameras, get the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR.
  • If you want something similar but for a more general-scale sports photography, get the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR.

I hope that cleared out any doubt you had.

In case you want to check some cameras from Nikon or other brands, there are a ton of articles on the website, exploring the same.

So, maybe consider checking those out next.

Table of Contents

  • Best Nikon Lenses for Sports in 2023
    • 1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G ED VR
    • 2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
    • 3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
    • 4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
    • 5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
    • 6. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • What kind of lens do I need for Sports photography?
    • Are Nikon cameras reliable for doing good Sports Photography?
    • Can I use third-party lenses instead?
    • How much range do I need to capture good sports photos?
  • Verdict
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10 Best Nikon Lenses for Sports Photography in 2023

Picking up the best Nikon lenses for sports photography can help you to capture wonderful unparalleled photos. Sports photography is one of the most challenging photography genres of them all. 

Subjects are constantly moving, doing different actions, and you have to keep up the pace to capture the perfect shot. As a professional sports photographer, you don’t want to run around trying to shoot the best angle and later find out that the images came out blurry.

So in sports photography, you can capture stunning images if you use powerful cameras and lenses. Powerful lenses offer unique features with significant motion capturing ability. 

In this guide, you will know what Nikon lens is best for action shots and how you can pick one for you. 


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Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G

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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm

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What kind of lens do I need for Sports photography?

You know you will not sit there and shoot before buying a perfect Nikon lens for action shots. Most of the sports events contain 95% percent of fast-paced moving subjects. To capture every shot perfectly, you will need,

  • A good Telephoto lens with an excellent focal range.
  • Higher the max range to be able to zoom further.
  • A wide aperture gives fast shutter speeds.
  • Stabilization built-in to handle zoomed-in shots better

There are three major areas of a lens that we must look out for while buying a Nikon lens for sports photography. These are,

Motor Speed

In sports, as a photographer, you have to shoot while your subject is in motion. So the lens you want to use should have fast autofocus, and lenses with Silent Wave Motor provide that. 

Telephoto Lens

The requirements of this feature depend on the type of sports photography you do. For indoor sports photography, you might not require high standards telephotos lenses. On the other hand, for outdoor sports photography, a powerful telephoto lens is best when the subject is far away.


To capture the subject with a fast motion lens with f/2. 8 or lower aperture is the perfect one. So if you are looking for the best lens for soccer photography, this would be the configuration of an ideal lens. Though these lenses are expensive, they will give you value for money.  

10 Best Nikon Lenses for Sports Photography

So we have enough education on what kind of lens is the best fit for sports, and now I think you will be able to choose the best Nikon lenses for sports photography. I have listed the zoom lenses and prime lenses separately to choose from according to your requirements and budget.

5 Best Nikon Zoom Lenses for Sports Photography

The major selling point of a zoom lens is it has zoom rings that allow you to zoom in & out without moving your positions. Though the fixed aperture and image quality compared to prime lenses would definitely go for a challenging debate. Keeping them aside, let’s know about our top picks for the best Nikon zoom lenses for sports photography.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED

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Buyers of this lens claim it as one of the best balanced Nikon lenses for Outdoor sports photography in terms of pricing. With the fantastic build quality and accurate focusing, it is an all-around performer for long-distance sports photography.

Why it Stands Out

It stands out to us because it has HRI and ED elements that enhance its zooming capabilities. As we are talking about sports photography, it is important to shoot from a distance. With Nikon AF-s dx Nikkor 55-300mm lens, you get professional VR and image stabilization features to capture noiseless and sharp images. 

Who Will Use The Lense

One reason is adequate to buy this lens, and it can capture blur-free images and the budget-friendly price tag it offers. For people looking for a cheap Nikon lens for sports photography, it’s the perfect one for them. You can even shoot wildlife portrait photos with it as well. 

Bottom Line

If you have a D3200 camera by any chance, then you can bang for your buck with it. It can work as the best Nikon lens for sports videography as well. 


  • Great Value
  • Useable Focal Length
  • Mid Range Light Speed
  • Decent Build


  • Telescoping Body
  • Loss in Sharpness

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G DX AF-P ED

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Sometimes you require zooming in and getting some extra reach to cover your subject. But you always get pulled back by the thought of getting noisy shots. Nikon 70-300mm lens can be the solution for your extra reach. It can zoom in to your subject smoothly, and the amazing image stabilization feature lets you shoot with minimum wrist movements.

Why it Stands Out

This telephoto zoom lens has ED elements embedded in it, and it helps photographers keep the chromatic aberration at shorter lengths minimum. Another stand-out feature of the Nikon 70-300mm zoom lens is its weight. The item weighs at 1.05 pounds only, and the shutter also provides images with almost zero blurriness in them.

Who Will Use The Lense

Photographers who shoot in fast-moving sports such as football, soccer, baseball, etc., looking for a Nikon lens for action shots can capture perfect moments. The shutter speed of this lens is blazing fast and ensures that you don’t miss a bit while shooting. Photographers who have a D3100 can use this lens and get the maximum potential output from their camera.

Bottom Line

If you ask me to mention a list of the best Nikon lens for outdoor sports photography, I would definitely keep this one in it. It provides value money experience, and so if you are an amateur photographer, you can try this one for sure.


  • Has great zoom
  • Blazing fast shutter speed
  • Can long-distance zoom subjects smoothly
  • Amazing image stabilization


  • Autofocus is occasionally a little slow

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 80-200mm f/2.


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With proper lighting, most lenses perform outstanding, but when you have low light scenarios, these lenses struggle to get quality images. With this lens, you can shoot stunning photos even in low lights. You will get blazing fast autofocus to shoot premium quality photos at lightning-fast speed.

Why it Stands Out

The outstanding design, premium quality of materials in the building, and the ability to capture stunning images make this lens stand out. You get perfect colors as it has ED elements and SIC glass built-in for color accuracy. This telephoto lens offers you the powerful photographing experience that you dream of.

Who Will Use The Lens

As the lens has a wide aperture and huge zoom lengths, photographers of soccer action photography or any fast-moving sports photography can use it. Photographers who are looking for the best lens for baseball events will love this lens for sure. Other than this, individuals covering events and shooting portraits for weddings or birthdays can also carry this lens.

Bottom Line

With this lens’s stunning image capturing ability, you will get a value for money photography experience. It’s a fast telephoto lens that can shoot incredible photos in low light.


  • Strong build quality
  • Can capture a high-quality image
  • Smoothly separate the subject from the background


  • It does not come with a lens hood

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED

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For photographers who love to shoot with their bare hands, this Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm lens will be worth a try. In this lens, you get improvements in several areas, such as improved image quality, autofocus, speed, VR image stabilization, and many more.

Why it Stands Out

It stands out because of its ability to bring balance between size, zoom power, and vibration reduction. These abilities allow photographers to shoot great handheld photos and videos of sports, action, concerts, weddings, wildlife, and more. With this lens, you can shoot on the go from nearly any distance.

Who Will Use The Lens

Indoor and outdoor sports photographers will use this lens because of its ability to provide crisp and clear photos while using it with bare hands. So photographers who cover events were moving with a tripod gives extra pain can use this lens.

Bottom Line

It’s a great addition to the latest generations of Fx and DX cameras, as you can get peak performance with the lens. Because of its versatility, photographers can capture every portrait and close-up shot perfectly.


  • Have significant distortion at the extreme edges
  • Focuses much faster than the older AF-S lens
  • Lighter than the AF-S lens
  • Zoom is smooth to use


  • The focus is a bit soft

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.

8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens

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This lens is famous for its amazing focusing ability in low light with speed and accuracy. It’s a bit heavier than usual ones, and because of that, it’s more durable than any other lenses out there. Using this lens, photographers will get a standard telephoto zoom range with image stabilization.

Why it Stands Out

The inclusion of the Vibration Reduction for better image stabilization and 7 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements helps this lens stand out in the crowd. The Nano Crystal Coat reduces ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity. The Super Integrated Coating (SIC) helps light transmission and offers superior color consistency.

Who Will Use The Lens

This lens is beneficial for not only fast-paced sports photographers but also event and wildlife photographers as well. Though it’s slightly expensive, you can consider it one of the best Nikon zoom lenses for sports photography. Professional photographers with years of experience use this lens the most.

Bottom Line

This is the last zoom lens on this list, but it’s not the weakest for sure. It doesn’t matter if your subject is moving or still. With this lens, you will be able to capture the perfect crispy shot you were always planning.


  • Sharpest lens among its competitor
  • Autofocus is ultra-fast and ultra-quiet
  • Colors are pleasing, realistic, and brilliant
  • Contrast is profound


  • The Lens hood is plastic

5 Best Nikon Prime Lenses for Sports Photography

The focal length of the prime lens is fixed, and it remains between 12mm and 5200mm. Prime lenses offer much wider apertures than zoom lenses. It helps these lenses to let more light into the camera sensor and shoot stunning images in low light. Below I have listed some of the best prime lenses for indoor/low light sports photography.

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens

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It’s a great action-capture performance lens for sports photographers. According to some professional photographers, it’s the sharpest and clearest lens. You can shoot any kind of portrait or commercial project with this lens. The bokeh of this lens is very smooth and can be achieved almost effortlessly.

Why it Stands Out

The primary two points that make this lens stand out are the low light abilities and background blur perfectionism. Because of the sharp background blur ability, you can capture images with a creamy bokeh effect. In low light scenarios, you can capture a relatively better image with this lens. 

Who Will Use The Lens

Photographers who work on events with lowlights are prime users of this prime lens. If you want to capture the best images for indoor sports events, then you surely should use this one. Portrait photographers also use this one because the background detection of this lens is excellent. 

Bottom Line

Prime lenses are remarkable for their low light abilities, background blur, and the ability to “see” the shot before you take it as the distance is set. Because it’s lightweight and short, it’s easy to take anywhere.


  • Provide the best performance in low light conditions
  • Lightweight and handy
  • Provide stunning bokeh effect
  • Has the ability to point and shoot


  • Plastic build quality

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens

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If you are starting your sports photography career, then this lens can be a game-changer for you. It offers a very sharp and super quick photographing experience, and in sports photography, you need both of them. The bokeh images that the lens renders are creamy. It can smoothly separate the subject from the background, and so the bokeh effect looks stunning.

Why it Stands Out

According to many amateur photographers, it’s a multi-use lens, and to me, it is the stand-out feature for this lens. You can take out and shoot immediately without worrying about the ISO, contrast, and lighting in the low light scenario with this lens. 

Who Will Use The Lense

Photographers who are starting their career and looking to buy a value for money lens will love this lens. They can just point and shoot the subject, and the images will come out almost perfect. 

Bottom Line

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens is one of the best Nikon lenses for indoor sports photography in the market right now. Indoor sports and events often lack lights, and because this lens has a wide aperture, it can contain more lights than any zoom lens.


  • Very sharp and super quick.
  • Produce flawless “Bokeh” effect
  • Great for low light scenario


  • Nobody stabilization or VR

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED

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With the 8.38 lbs weight and 14.09 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches dimensions, this expensive lens can be the ultimate choice for sports photography. If you ask me to pick the best Nikon lens for sports photography, I will go for Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED.

Why it Stands Out

The phenomenal image quality is this lens’s number one stand-out ability, and as a photographer, you don’t ask for more. The very fast and accurate AF, Pro-grade dust- and moisture-sealing, and impressive build quality are some of the features that make it appealing to photographers.

Who Will Use The Lens

Being more Lighter and more rugged than its predecessor, this lens is for fast-moving photographers. So sports photographers and wildlife photographers who do a lot of hiking can easily carry this lens. Photographers who shoot in events that have low light can purchase this lens without any doubt.

Bottom Line

With this lens, you can capture the thrill of sports, action, and wildlife with staggering clarity and precision. Even when you are shooting handheld with challenging lighting conditions, it will provide you with stunning photos.


  • Offers sharp images
  • Immediate autofocus
  • It offers a gorgeous bokeh effect
  • Allows to take great shots of wildlife and sports in motion 


  • It’s not a budget-friendly option

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm F/5.


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Nikon introduced the super-telephoto ability to their smallest, lightest full-frame 500mm prime lens. Its length and widths are 9.2 inches and 3.2 pounds. It’s a powerhouse that allows you to shoot wildlife, sports, and action with unmatched agility. Photographers call it Nikon’s most sensible and thoughtful 500mm super-telephoto to date. It is substantially lighter and more compact than its predecessor.

Why it Stands Out

The size and weight of this lens would be a great selling point and stand-out feature as well. The sharpness and properly balanced colored images it offers will definitely stand out as well. It’s fast to focus and light to hold place it on the top of some expensive lenses also.

Who Will Use The Lense

Professional sports photographers would definitely use it, and other than them, professional wildlife photographers would also love this lens. As it’s a compact and easy-to-carry item, photographers who travel a lot would definitely want to keep it in their collection.

Bottom Line

Prime lenses are always great for indoor sports photography as they produce bright and sharp images even in low light. Being a lightweight and easy-to-carry premium lens, every photographer should experience this beast for once.


  • Great for low-light photography
  • Lightweight
  • Can shoot the fast-moving object
  • Can produce sharp and crisp


  • It might get faulty or scratchy products out of the box due to rough handling.

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED

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It’s our last but not the least member of the best Nikon prime lenses for sports photography. It is dust and moisture resistant which helps photographers to use it roughly. The maximum focal length is 200 millimeters and weighs 6.46 pounds. The dimension of this product is 8.03 x 4.88 x 4.88 inches.

Why it Stands Out

Nikon’s VR is always great. This lens’s Vibration Reduction (VR) is one of the top stand-out features for sports photographers. It has excellent control over the motion blur that helps to capture amazing portraits with a bokeh effect. With its  f/2 aperture, It offers excellent exposure to its photos.

Who Will Use The Lense

Sports photographers are the number one user of this lens. On top of that, wildlife photographers, wedding photographers, landscape shooters can also use this lens and capture masterpieces.

Bottom Line

It’s an expensive one for sure, so if you are a beginner, you might skip it, but if you can afford it, I suggest you take the experience for once. With this lens, you can take your photography to the next level.


  • Produce Sharp and crisp photos.
  • Can capture eye-popping detail
  • Great subject separation for the bokeh effect


  • It was a bit expensive

What is the best Nikon lens for sports photography?

From the above segment, we got the chance to know about some of the best Nikon zoom and prime lenses for indoor and outdoor photography. The lenses from the list are handpicked and reviewed based on personal experience. 

In my opinion and some expert photographers, the winner for the best Nikon lens for indoor and outdoor sports photography is the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens.

Though it’s a bit expensive, it’s still worth buying because, with this lens, you can point and shoot immediately. The images will come out clean, crisp, and sharp with proper lighting, even if you have less light to work with.

How To Choose the Best Lenses for Sports photography?

Choosing the best lenses for sports photography isn’t an easy task. One wrong move and you will end up buying your worst nightmare ever. Check out the below points before buying a lens for any sports photography. I hope the following buying guide will help you to choose the best one for you.

Autofocus and its Responsiveness

As we are talking about sports photography, the lens we need to choose must have faster autofocus. The quicker your lens can focus it can shoot the more speedy object and capture a clear image. Choose a lens with a faster shutter speed and autofocus. 

If your object is a fast-moving athlete, then the responsiveness of your lens will save your day. You can choose any lens from the list above according to your budget.

Maximum Aperture

Aperture decides how much light your image will have, so lenses with a wider aperture, preferably f/2. 8 or more, will be the perfect pick for you. The wider aperture allows you to shoot in poorly lit or dim environments. So if you are covering any indoor sports event or any lowlights events, choose the lens with maximum aperture.

Focal Length

As a sports photographer, you might need to shoot from far distances from the subject you are shooting. So you should pick a lens with maximum focal length so that you can shoot subjects from a distance as well. To choose the focal length, you must know how far you are going to shoot. Know which aspects you are going to shoot, and after deciding on these two points choose the lens that fits your requirements.

Lens Ergonomics

Last but important is how the lens feels in your hand. If you feel uncomfortable holding the camera after installing the lens, your shooting won’t be a smooth experience. See whether the lens you are going to purchase has a tripod collar or where the focus ring is placed. Also, notice whether the lens has an AF-on and lock button or not.

Build Quality

Build quality is also another deciding factor for lenses. It should have a robust build quality and be lightweight so that you can use it roughly as long as you want. Lenses with Weak build quality might offer all of the above, but they certainly will not give you long-term service.