Many photographers will argue a top end prime lens has better image quality than a top end zoom lens and I cannot dispute this. Whilst there is not much in it, a high end prime lens does indeed have better image quality than a high end zoom lens. Despite this, and despite the fact I am “all about the image quality” I still believe a zoom lens is better than a prime lens for motor sports photography.
Okay, there are times when you need the longest lens available, i.e. the most mm focal length possible for motorsports photography but there are also times and situations when you don’t need a lens with a long reach. If you can get trackside or a media pass you won’t need a 400mm lens. In fact, you may even find a 40mm lens too much to get the entire car or motorcycle in the frame.
With a zoom lens you can change the framing and composition without moving from the spot. Some people may think this is lazy but there are times when it isn’t possible to move closer to, or further away from the action and you have to remain in your allocated seat. It is in these situations the zoom lens comes in to its own as being able to zoom in and out means you can get a variety of shots where if you had a fixed focal length prime lens you’d only be able to capture one type of shot. Okay, you’d get several different vehicles but they would all be framed in the same way.
The bottom line is a zoom lens is better than a prime lens for motor sports photography because of the ability to quickly change focal lengths.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.