Tip of the Day – Choose the right lens⠀

Tip of the Day – Choose the right lens⠀

5 of 10 in the series 10 Tips for Taking Better Action Photos of Dogs

5. Choose the right lens

Dogs in action are usually easiest to follow from a distance, using a long lens, preferably a zoom. My favourite lens to use when shooting action is a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom. Cheaper zoom lenses with large ranges (i.e. 50-300mm) are handy for general photography, but often don’t cut it when it comes to capturing dogs in action. They struggle to keep up with the fast movements, and variable maximum apertures can cause exposure inconsistencies.

Shooting action with prime (fixed focal length) lenses is definitely possible, though it can make life a bit harder not being able to zoom when the subject is rapidly changing distance from you.

Getting amongst the action and using a wide angle lens can be fun too. A technique to try is “shooting blind”, which means shooting without looking through the camera’s viewfinder, holding the camera down low. Using a wide angle lens, hold the camera down close to the action and aim as best you can. Increasing the depth of field can help if your focus isn’t great to start with. The more you practice this technique, the better your aiming accuracy becomes and the more in-focus shots you’ll end up with.⠀

Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ 200mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250 sec, f/2.8

Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ 175mm, ISO 800, 1/1600 sec, f/3.2

Wide angle shooting blind: Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II @ 24mm, ISO 500, 1/1600 sec, f/2.8

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  • Claudia Reaga

    Thursday, 29 June 2017 at 7:08 am Reply

    Charlotte, thank you so much for all those tips! I am very excited!! I have a question, I have a Canon lens 75-300 mm and f/4 -5.6, what do you think? Does it work? I think the f is not enough, but I am not sure.
    Thanks in advance!!

    • Charlotte Reeves

      Monday, 3 July 2017 at 11:15 am Reply

      No worries, happy to help! Your 70-300mm lens isn’t ideal for action photos unfortunately, they do tend to be a bit slower focusing than the higher quality lenses. Also the variable maximum aperture can be an issue if you’re shooting wide open using manual exposure. Say you’re zoomed out to 70mm and you set the f-stop to f4, then you zoom in to 300mm and the f-stop will change to f5.6 and the image will be underexposed. Not so much of an issue if you are shooting in an automatic exposure mode, but it will still change the exposure and may end up decreasing the shutter speed on you!

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