Best Camera Settings for Sports Photography

When it comes to sports photography, capturing the right moment within a fast paced action is the key ...

So how do we get such ... easier now than before due to faster and continuous AF (Auto Focus).

During daylight, what would be the best settings:

- Setting shutter priority/or aperture priority: Normally, sports signifies fast action and as a result one needs to compensate with faster shutter to freeze the moment; to isolate the moving subject, a wider aperture is needed. However, if one needs to show speed with some optical motion blur the a slower shutter may be needed, not that/setting for shooting dark skies of course but slower than what one would want to achieve a frozen stance.

Football goalman

Out in Front

Cycling competition

- Setting with different focal lengths: With standard focal length a shutter of 1/200 to 1/800 may be good enough whereas using a telephoto lens those values might not be enough and therefore achieving at least a non blurry shot would require a minimum of 1/focal length value. So if you have a 500mm focal length the minimum shutter speed would be 1/500 and that be mounted on a tripod; for freezing the shot with that focal length a 1/1500 to 1/2000 would be best.

Several photographic lenses lie on a bright blue background. Spa

- Working with ISO: for daylight shots an ISO of 100 to 400 would work flawlessly and the more it starts to dim out a higher ISO would be a needed. Do note that ISO varies between camera sensors, so do always see their respective ISO sensitivity reach and act upon that. A full frame sensor FX usually is less prone to inaccurate colors; yet a new/current crop sensor DX can also do the job well.

ISO and exposure compensation control dial on SLR camera

- Setting AF: I'd use continuous Auto Focus since my subject(s) is always moving and I need to keep track. Setting AF to continuous renders focus more accurate so the photographer can work the composition out with less effort at capturing a correctly focused subject ... here though lens widest lens aperture play an important role; wider aperture results in faster more accurate AF ... along with product build in technology, the lens is always ahead at attaining the best out of the shot within the frame.

Hope the info above helps a bit.

Happy shooting :)

Photo credits: Mykhailo Polenok, Ryzhov Sergey, Stefanschurr226, Cheryl Quigley, Yuran-78.

Your article must be written in English

June 28, 2019


Reading through your words, I couldn't find any useful piece of information. I wish you can give some advice regarding the topic instead. Thank you. 

June 28, 2019


Who writes this garbage? Blahblahblah meaningless numbers blahblah run-on sentence blah. On a tripod?? Really?? You can NOT shoot sports on a tripod.  A 100% blurry photo is a mistake, not an indication of speed. The best way to shoot sports photography is to go out and shoot sports photography. And even then, not all sports are created equal. Beach volleyball and championship boxing do not have the same settings. Shoot fast, shoot constantly, perfect your tracking technique, and remember that the shot will happen long before you are ready to take it. Just like the athlete, it's practice, practice, practice.

June 28, 2019


Great article and tips. Settings for sports and wildlife are often quite the same. Both are usually in lower light conditions or full sun. Once the settings are down, experience handling the camera is the next hurdle. A great way to practice for wildlife is to practice shooting sports. Thanks for writing! William

June 20, 2019


Nice blog, thanks for sharing. Interesting and useful

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