Best Budget Lens for Sports Photography Canon: Top Picks for High-Quality Shots on a Budget

Updated on April 24, 2024

Sports photography requires specialized lenses to capture quick, detailed images. While these lenses can be costly, there exist budget-friendly options that deliver great results. Canon, a popular choice among photographers, offers such lenses. When choosing a lens, consider its focal length and aperture as they determine the distance coverage and light intake respectively. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best budget sports photography lenses for Canon cameras, based on performance, features, and price. This guide caters to all photographers, regardless of their level of experience.

Best Budget Lens for Sports Photography Canon

As photography enthusiasts, we understand that capturing the perfect shot can be a challenge, especially when it comes to sports photography. The right lens can make all the difference in achieving sharp focus, capturing motion blur, and creating stunning images. However, finding the best budget lens for sports photography Canon can be overwhelming with so many options available in the market.

To help you make an informed decision, we have researched and tested various lenses and compiled a list of the best budget lenses for sports photography Canon. These lenses offer excellent image quality, fast autofocus, and are affordable for photographers on a budget. Check out our top picks below.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras, 6473A003 (Renewed)

If you are looking for an affordable telephoto zoom lens for your Canon SLR camera, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens might be a great option for you.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it easy to carry around
  • Quick and quiet autofocus thanks to the micro USM
  • 4.9-foot minimum focus distance allows you to capture close-up shots
Cons:
  • Aperture range is limited, which may affect the quality of photos in low light conditions
  • Not suitable for capturing fast-moving subjects due to the slow autofocus
  • Image quality may not be as sharp as more expensive lenses
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We were impressed with the lightweight and slim design of this lens, making it easy to carry around for outdoor sports photography. The autofocus was quick and quiet, allowing us to capture shots without disturbing the athletes. However, we did notice that the aperture range was limited, which affected the quality of photos in low light conditions.

The 4.9-foot minimum focus distance allowed us to capture close-up shots of athletes on the field, but we found that the slow autofocus made it difficult to capture fast-moving subjects. While the image quality was not as sharp as more expensive lenses, we still found it to be a great budget option for amateur sports photographers.

Overall, if you are looking for an affordable telephoto zoom lens for your Canon SLR camera, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens is worth considering.

BENOISON 85mm f1.8 Portrait Lens

85mm f1.8 Portrait Lens - EF Lens for Canon, Medium Telephoto Lenses Manual Camera for Canon EOS Rebel T8i T7i T7 T6 T6s T6i SL3 SL2 90D 80D 77D 4000D EOS-1D X Mark III/II, 5D Mark IV, 6D Mark II etc

If you're looking for a budget-friendly portrait lens for your Canon DSLR camera, the BENOISON 85mm f1.8 Portrait Lens is a solid choice.

Pros:
  • The large f1.8 aperture delivers beautiful bokeh and allows for great low-light performance.
  • The 85mm focal length is perfect for portrait photography and can also be used for street photography.
  • The lens is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around.
Cons:
  • The lens is fully manual, which means it doesn't have electronic contacts and your camera won't detect it when mounted. This can be a downside for beginners who aren't used to shooting with manual lenses.
  • The lens doesn't display the aperture value in the camera, so shutter speed and ISO need to be adjusted manually.
  • The lens is only compatible with Canon EF and EF-S mount cameras, so it's not suitable for Canon M and R series mirrorless cameras.
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We recently had the chance to test out this lens and were impressed with its performance. The large f1.8 aperture allowed us to capture stunning portraits with beautiful bokeh, even in low-light conditions. The 85mm focal length was perfect for capturing half- and full-body shots, as well as close-ups of faces.

However, we did find that the fully manual nature of the lens took some getting used to. We had to adjust the focus manually by rotating the focus ring, and we had to adjust the shutter speed and ISO manually as well. This can be a downside for beginners who are used to shooting with autofocus lenses.

Overall, the BENOISON 85mm f1.8 Portrait Lens is a great budget-friendly option for portrait photographers who are looking for a lens with a large aperture and versatile focal length. Just be aware that it’s a fully manual lens and may take some getting used to.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

If you're looking for a budget-friendly lens for sports photography, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great option to consider.

Pros:
  • Versatile focal range for capturing a variety of subjects
  • Affordable price point
  • Close-focusing distance of 4.9 feet
Cons:
  • No image stabilization, so a tripod may be necessary for sharper shots
  • Autofocus can be slow and noisy
  • Build quality feels a bit cheap
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We’ve had the chance to test out this lens and found it to be a solid choice for those on a budget. The focal range is versatile enough to capture a variety of subjects, from sports to wildlife. Plus, the affordable price point makes it accessible to those who may not be ready to invest in a more expensive lens.

One thing to keep in mind is that the lens does not have image stabilization, so it may be necessary to use a tripod to get sharper shots, especially at longer focal lengths. Additionally, the autofocus can be a bit slow and noisy, which may be a concern for some users.

Despite these drawbacks, we found that the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great option for those looking to get into sports photography without breaking the bank. The close-focusing distance of 4.9 feet is also a nice feature that allows you to get up close and personal with your subject.

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly lens for sports photography, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens is definitely worth considering.

Lightdow 85mm F1.8 Medium Telephoto Manual Focus Full Frame Portrait Lens for Canon EOS Rebel T8i T7i T7 T6 T3i T2i 4000D 2000D 1300D 850D 800D 600D 550D 90D 80D 77D 70D 50D 6D 5D etc For Canon Dslr

Lightdow 85mm F1.8 Medium Telephoto Manual Focus Full Frame Portrait Lens for Canon EOS Rebel T8i T7i T7 T6 T3i T2i 4000D 2000D 1300D 850D 800D 600D 550D 90D 80D 77D 70D 50D 6D 5D etc

If you're looking for an affordable lens for sports photography, the Lightdow 85mm F1.8 Medium Telephoto Manual Focus Full Frame Portrait Lens for Canon EOS Rebel is worth considering.

Pros:
  • The large aperture creates a pleasing bokeh effect, enhancing the shallow depth of field in your images.
  • The eight pieces of circular aperture and smooth, large focus rings make it easy to adjust your focus and create sharp, clear images.
  • The lens is compatible with a wide range of Canon EOS Rebel cameras, making it a versatile addition to your photography gear.
Cons:
  • The lens requires complete manual focus operation, which may not be suitable for SLR beginners. It's recommended for photographers with excellent experience in equipment.
  • There are no electronic contacts, so your camera won't detect the lens when mounted. You'll need to switch to MF mode to use the lens correctly.
  • The lens cap is made of plastic, which may not be as durable as other materials.
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Overall, we recommend the Lightdow 85mm F1.8 Medium Telephoto Manual Focus Full Frame Portrait Lens for Canon EOS Rebel for budget-conscious sports photographers. It’s an affordable option that produces sharp, clear images with a pleasing bokeh effect. However, keep in mind that it may not be the best choice for SLR beginners, as it requires complete manual focus operation.

If you’re experienced with manual focus lenses and looking for an affordable option for your Canon EOS Rebel camera, this lens is definitely worth considering. Its compatibility with a wide range of cameras makes it a versatile addition to your photography gear.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 is STM Lens Only

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 is STM

If you're looking for a budget-friendly lens for sports photography with your Canon camera, the Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 is STM Lens Only is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The lens is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around and use for extended periods.
  • The image stabilization feature of the lens is impressive, providing up to 3.5 equivalent stops of shake correction.
  • The lens captures sharp images of far away objects, even when handheld, thanks to Canon's amazing STM stepping motor and improved AF algorithm.
Cons:
  • The maximum aperture of the lens is 1:4-5.6, which is not ideal for low light conditions.
  • The lens is not compatible with full-frame Canon cameras, limiting its versatility.
  • The lens does not come with a lens hood, which can be an additional expense.
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We’ve used this lens for sports photography and have been impressed with its performance. The image stabilization feature is a game-changer, allowing us to capture sharp images even when shooting handheld. The lens is also easy to use, with a simple zoom and focus mechanism.

However, the maximum aperture of the lens is not ideal for low light conditions, and we’ve found that we need to bump up the ISO to get good results in dimly lit environments. Additionally, the lens is not compatible with full-frame Canon cameras, so if you plan on upgrading to a full-frame camera in the future, you’ll need to invest in a new lens.

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly lens for sports photography with your Canon camera, the Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 is STM Lens Only is a solid choice. While it has its limitations, it performs well in most situations and is a great option for amateur photographers looking to get into sports photography without breaking the bank.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

If you're looking for an affordable lens for sports photography, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is a great option.

Pros:
  • The wide f/1.8 aperture lets in more than 8x the amount of light compared to the standard zoom lens, resulting in sharper images with less motion blur and reduced need to use flash in dimly lit conditions.
  • The 50mm focal length allows you to fill the frame with your subject from a comfortable distance, making it a great lens for portraits and action photography.
  • The near-silent STM (Stepping Motor) technology focuses extremely quickly when shooting photos, so you can react suddenly to capture fleeting moments.
Cons:
  • The lens does not have image stabilization, which may make it difficult to capture sharp photos in low light conditions without a tripod or steady hand.
  • The fixed focal length may limit your ability to zoom in or out, requiring you to physically move closer or further away from your subject.
  • The lens may not be suitable for capturing fast-moving subjects in low light conditions, as the wide aperture may result in shallow depth of field and difficulty in keeping the subject in focus.
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In our experience, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is a reliable and affordable option for sports photography. The wide aperture allows for great low light performance, and the focal length is versatile enough to capture both portraits and action shots. However, the lack of image stabilization and fixed focal length may be limiting factors for some photographers. Overall, we recommend this lens for those on a budget who want to capture high-quality sports photos.

JINTU 500mm/1000mm f/8 Manual Telephoto Lens

JINTU 500mm/1000mm f/8 Manual Telephoto Lenses EF Lens for Canon EOS Rebel T8i T7i T7 T6 T3i T2i 4000D 2000D 1200D 1300D 850D 800D 600D 550D 60D 90D 80D 77D 70D 50D 6D 5D

If you are looking for a budget telephoto lens for Canon cameras, the JINTU 500mm/1000mm f/8 Manual Telephoto Lens could be a good option for you.

Pros:
  • The 500mm focal length combined with the 2X teleconverter doubles the power of the lens to 1000mm, making it suitable for long-distance sports photography.
  • The lens is compatible with a wide range of Canon EOS cameras, including the Rebel T8i, T7, T6, 80D, 77D, 70D, and more.
  • The lens is lightweight and easy to carry around, making it a good choice for outdoor photography.
Cons:
  • The lens is fully manual, so you need to set the camera on M(MF) mode and then enable the "Release W/O Lens" option in the camera menu to use it.
  • The lens does not display the aperture value in the camera, so you need to adjust the shutter speed and ISO to take good photos.
  • Some users reported difficulty in setting up the lens and getting sharp photos, especially in low light conditions.
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Overall, the JINTU 500mm/1000mm f/8 Manual Telephoto Lens is a good budget option for sports photography if you are willing to work with a fully manual lens. However, if you need more advanced features and autofocus capabilities, you may want to consider other options.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

If you are looking for a budget lens for sports photography, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens may be a good option for you.

Pros:
  • The lens has a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6, which makes it easy to capture far-off action or close-in portraits.
  • Its Image Stabilizer modes help to eliminate blurs and ensure high picture quality at all focal lengths.
  • The lens is equipped with fluorite and Super UD-glass elements that largely eliminate secondary spectrum.
Cons:
  • The lens is quite heavy at 3.1 pounds, which may make it difficult to carry for extended periods of time.
  • Its focus adjustment system is rear focusing with USM, which may not be as fast as other autofocus systems.
  • The lens is quite expensive compared to other budget lenses.
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We recently had the opportunity to use the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for sports photography and were impressed with its performance. The lens is well-built and feels sturdy in the hand. It is also weather-sealed, which is a nice feature for outdoor photography.

The lens has a focal length of 100-400mm, which makes it versatile for a variety of sports photography situations. We found that the lens was able to capture fast-paced action with ease and produced sharp, clear images.

One of the standout features of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens is its Image Stabilizer modes. The modes help to eliminate blurs and ensure high picture quality at all focal lengths. We found that the modes worked well in a variety of lighting situations and produced sharp, clear images.

The lens is equipped with fluorite and Super UD-glass elements that largely eliminate secondary spectrum. This feature helped to produce sharp, clear images with accurate colors.

Overall, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens is a good option for those looking for a budget lens for sports photography. While it is quite heavy and expensive compared to other budget lenses, its performance and features make it a worthwhile investment for serious photographers.

JINTU 420-800mm f/ 8.3 Manual Telephoto Zoom Lens + T-Mount for Canon EOS Rebel SL2 SL1 T3 T3i T4i T5 T5i T6 T6i T6s T7 T7i 4000D 6D 7D 60D 70D 77D 80D 5D II/III/IV 550D 650D SLR Camera Lenses

JINTU 420-800mm f/ 8.3 Manual Telephoto Zoom Lens + T-Mount for Canon EOS Rebel SL2 SL1 T3 T3i T4i T5 T5i T6 T6i T6s T7 T7i 4000D 6D 7D 60D 70D 77D 80D 5D II/III/IV 550D 650D SLR Camera Lenses

If you're looking for a budget lens for sports photography on your Canon camera, the JINTU 420-800mm f/8.3 Manual Telephoto Zoom Lens may be a good option.

Pros:
  • The lens is solidly constructed with a full metal body, making it durable and long-lasting.
  • It is small and lightweight, weighing only 700g, which makes it easy to carry around.
  • The lens produces ultra-high definition image quality from Japan with multi-coated low-dispersion glass, ensuring clear and crisp images.
Cons:
  • The lens is manual focus only, so it may take some practice to get the hang of using it effectively.
  • There is no auto focus, so your camera may show "lens not attach" if you don't switch to MF MODE.
  • The quality of the lens could be better, and some users report difficulty getting the focus right.
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In our experience, the JINTU 420-800mm f/8.3 Manual Telephoto Zoom Lens is a great choice for small or distant subjects like birds and wildlife, as well as sports and even the moon. It’s also a great option for those looking for a budget lens or a gift for a boyfriend or husband who loves photography.

Overall, if you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to use a manual focus lens, the JINTU 420-800mm f/8.3 Manual Telephoto Zoom Lens could be a good investment for your Canon camera.

JINTU 135mm f/2.8 Camera Lens MF Telephoto Compatible with Canon EOS EF/EF-S 4000D 200D 250D 5D IV 90D 60D 70D 77D 80D 850D 650D 750D 550D 450D 7D T7i T7s T7 T6s T6i T6 T5i T5 SL2 SL1 Camera 135mm for Canon DSLR

JINTU 135mm f/2.8 Camera Lens MF Telephoto Compatible with Canon EOS EF/EF-S 4000D 200D 250D 5D IV 90D 60D 70D 77D 80D 850D 650D 750D 550D 450D 7D T7i T7s T7 T6s T6i T6 T5i T5 SL2 SL1 Camera

If you're looking for an affordable telephoto lens for your Canon camera, the JINTU 135mm f/2.8 Camera Lens is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The lens is lightweight and easy to handle, making it a great option for outdoor sports photography.
  • The 12 aperture blades provide great control over depth of field, allowing you to create stunning portraits with background blur.
  • The lens is compatible with a wide range of Canon cameras, including both APS-C and full-frame sensors.
Cons:
  • The lens is manual focus only, which may take some getting used to if you're used to autofocus lenses.
  • The build quality of the lens is not as sturdy as some higher-end options.
  • The lens may not perform as well in low-light situations as some other telephoto lenses.
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Overall, we were impressed with the JINTU 135mm f/2.8 Camera Lens. While it may not be the highest quality lens on the market, it’s a great budget option for amateur sports photographers who want to experiment with telephoto lenses. The lens is easy to use and produces great results in good lighting conditions. However, if you’re looking for a lens that can perform well in low-light situations or that has more advanced autofocus capabilities, you may want to consider other options.

In terms of performance, we found that the lens produced sharp images with good color fidelity, especially when used with a tripod or monopod for added stability. The 12 aperture blades also allowed us to create stunning portraits with beautiful background blur. However, the manual focus took some getting used to, and we found that the lens struggled in low-light situations.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable telephoto lens for your Canon camera, the JINTU 135mm f/2.8 Camera Lens is definitely worth considering. While it may not be the highest quality lens on the market, it’s a great option for amateur sports photographers who want to experiment with telephoto lenses.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best budget lens for sports photography, there are a few key features to consider. Here are some factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

Focal Length

The focal length of a lens is an important consideration when it comes to sports photography. A longer focal length allows you to zoom in closer to your subject, which is particularly useful for capturing action from a distance. However, longer focal lengths can also be heavier and more expensive. It’s important to find a balance between the focal length you need and the other factors that are important to you.

Aperture

The aperture of a lens determines how much light it can let in. In sports photography, a wider aperture is generally better, as it allows you to capture fast-moving action with a faster shutter speed. However, wider apertures can also be more expensive. It’s important to find a lens with an aperture that is wide enough for your needs, but also fits within your budget.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization can be a useful feature for sports photography, particularly if you’re shooting in low light conditions or using a longer focal length. Image stabilization helps to reduce camera shake, which can lead to blurry photos. However, lenses with image stabilization tend to be more expensive.

Autofocus Speed

In sports photography, you need a lens with fast autofocus speed to keep up with fast-moving action. Look for a lens with a fast and accurate autofocus system, as this will help you capture the action at the right moment.

Build Quality

Sports photography can be tough on equipment, so it’s important to choose a lens that is well-built and durable. Look for a lens with weather sealing and a sturdy construction, as this will help protect your equipment from the elements and the wear and tear of regular use.

By considering these factors, you can find the best budget lens for sports photography that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.

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