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What Lens to Use for HS Wrestling Photos - EOS R7



I am very much a newbie to photography. I have an EOS R7 that came with the RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. I got a camera solely to take photos of high school wrestlers (my husband is the coach). 

When taking photos of fast action wrestlers in a gym, I'm finding out with this lens the aperture is not low enough to keep my photos bright. I have to increase my ISO to a very high level, which is obviously not ideal for noise. I've tried the auto settings just to see what the photos come out at, and while the photo looks better, the shutter speed is too slow to capture the action, those or similar settings wouldn't work for what I'm doing.

What type of lens would be best for keeping my aperture low (I don't think this lens gets as low as I need), so I don't need to increase my ISO, while maintaining fast shutter speeds? I need the light.  🙂  

I have friends with DSLRs that shoot wrestling photos that have f/2.8 70-200 lenses, however the lens world is confusing to me, I am not confident I understand what the lens details mean. Some are older, some newer. I know they make mount converters but it seems a mirrorless lens would lend to better quality when using a mirrorless camera?  

I know nothing about photoshop or other similar software, I'm not opposed to this, but when I take hundreds of photos at a tournament, I don't have time to edit this many photos if it's for lighting. Is it too lofty to think I just want the photos to come out decent right out of the camera? 🙂  

Again, please excuse my newness and naivety. I just need help and I live in a rural area where there little to no photography resources around  -stores, courses, etc., (at least in the sense of a live person to ask questions to). 

Thank you,







Hell Jhatfield welcome to the forums. If your looking for lenses for your camera. Make sure they have the pre-fix RF or RF-S these lenses will natively mount to your camera. If you want to use older EF or EF-S lenses you will need the EF/EF-S to RF Mount adapter. One thing to note is that all 70-200mm lenses are designed for Full Frame cameras. When the lens is used on an APS-C camera the lens would have an Angle of View of 112-320mm when compared to Full Frame. You'll need the RF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM lens. Since your new to photography I recommend that you learn the exposure triangle. You can Click Here for your camera manual. I also recommend that you watch Canon's EOS 101 series of videos on YouTube. As for settings I recommend that you use Av Mode with the aperture set to F/2.8, drive mode set to continuous high, with Auto ISO set with upper and lower limits. Also one thing to keep in mind is that Flash Photography IS Prohibited during sporting events.


EF 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM, EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II USM, EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM (Retired), EF 50 F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM & EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS III USM

EOS 40D (Retired) & 5D Mark IV

430EX III-RT, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT


Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 16-35mm F/2.8L USM, EF 24-70mm F/2.8L USM, EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS III USM, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

Thank you, this is very helpful. With that angle of view due to the APS-C, how far back does that mean I need to be from the action? I usually sit on the edge of the mat. I don't think with my current lens my aperture will go that low in the Av Mode, I will definitely try these settings, thank you!


If you need to use higher shutter speeds and keep ISO as low as possible, there are only two things you can do.

First is to add lighting.  This may not be possible (i.e. not allowed).

Second is to use lenses with wider apertures.  e.g. an RF 50mm f/1.2 would let in at least 8 times the amount of light as the 18-150 mm (potentially over 20 times the light if at the 150mm range since the minimum aperture closes down at that end of things).   This would translate to between 3 and almost 5 stops better light gathering.  Thus, ISO could be reduced.  A 3-stop reduction would say reduce from ISO 12800 down to ISO 1600.

There are cons though in using such a wide aperture:

  • The widest apertures are available on prime lenses, so you won't be able to zoom at all.   Not a problem though if you're finding that you keep your zoom lens around the same zoom setting all the time.
  • The depth of field will be quite narrow.   So if you're trying to get multiple subjects in focus, that's typically not possible.  Though if you're at a decent distance away from your subjects, the depth of field will not be too narrow.

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Thank you so much. Why are they called "prime" lenses? I don't think I have a good grasp on how close or far 50mm looks like with my inexperience. I appreciate you telling me the cons of wide aperture, I was wondering this. It may require me to sit further away, but with a zoom that is not an issue, and my photos will be brighter with less noise. I suppose a steady hand will be important in that case. 


Hi Jody,

Welcome.  There is a great deal to cover.  You do have a bit of research and reading a head of you.

Since you have a mirrorless body, lets start there.  There are body's with 2 types of sensors.  Full frame and APS-C.  A full frame sensor is larger (in diameter) than a APS-C sensor.  Each has its strengths depending on the use case.  

Lenses.  While many standards exist, the lenses designed specifically for your R7 (APS-C) body are RF-S and RF.  The RF designation is a lens mount standard (full frame) larger sensor format.  RF-S has the same lens mount designation but is designed specifically for the smaller diameter sensor in your APS-C body.  It has a smaller image circle.  Its possible to use RF-S lenses on a full frame, but it might not be as desirable since the image format it presents to the sensor is smaller and will not utilize the full size of the sensor (edge to edge).  An RF-S lens is designed specifically for the smaller diameter sensor in an APS-C body and presents a full size image to the smaller diameter image sensor.   

On the other hand an RF lens for a full frame body presents an image to the sensor's full width and height. This is also why you can use a RF (full frame) lens on a APS-C body.  What's different.  Although a larger image is being presented to the (APS-C) sensor, it has a smaller diameter and thus the (FOV) field of view is more narrow in appearance.  Think of it like this.  You are projecting an image on your 10ft x10ft screen, but the image displays outside of the screens edges.    This is what's known as crop.  The full frame lens is presenting an image much bigger than the size of the sensor.  The (FL) focal length of the lens does not change.  So 50mm is 50mm, but the (FOV) field of view on a body with a full frame sensor will be wider than using the same lens on a APS-C (smaller sensor) body.  When you mount a full frame RF lens on a APS-C body, the FOV changes.  So you multiply the (FL) focal length by 1.6x.

Example, a full frame 50mm lens on your APS-C camera will yield the equivalent FOV (50x1.6) = of 80mm.  So the image that is captured depends on the lens design and size of the image sensor.

35mm, 50mm, 70~200mm is referred to as (FL) focal length.  Lenses with a single number are called primes (fixed focal length).  Lenses that have a range are called zooms.  Each has different uses.  You might have to move closer or farther from your subject with a fixed focal length lens.  Walk closer, step backwards.

A zoom allows you to be stationary and change the focal length simply by zooming the lens in or out.  The second designation is aperture (expressed as) f/x.x.   Your RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3.   Is a wide angle zoom.  Its designed specifically for the smaller APS-C sensor in your R7.  It has an adjustable FL of 18~150mm and a variable aperture f/3.5~6.3.  Lets look at aperture.  Prime lens example.  50mm f/1.8.  Aperture is f/1.8 when the lens is "wide open".  Variable aperture example (your lens) 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3.  At 18mm the lens aperture is f/3.5 (wide open).  As you zoom the minimum aperture starts to vary or decrease.  At 150mm the largest aperture the lens is capable of is f/6.3.  This affects the (exposure) amount of light that will be presented to the sensor when the image is captured.  Shutter speed is the amount of time light is allowed to hit the sensor.  This is part of the exposure triangle.  Shutter speed, ISO and aperture. (mentioned above)

This is the beginning of your journey. 

You have 2 options from a "best lens" for HS wrestling standpoint.  Since every gym is different, lighting and distance to your subjects is going to vary.  You might have a little more freedom being the coach's wife. Since you will be shooting indoors 99% of the time, I would recommend a lens with a constant F/2.8 or lower minimum aperture.  If you are always able to be "close" a prime could work.  I however prefer a zoom so I can bring the action to me "in or out" without having to move.   A tripod wouldn't be a bad idea either.  Ultimately your budget will also need to be considered.  

Renting a lens or 2 before purchase is a great way to ensure the lens or lenses you chose will work best for your shooting situations.  lensrentals dot com is great for this.  Be sure to check out Canon's new and refurbished lens options.  Refurbished lenses purchased directly from Canon come with the same 1 yr warranty as new gear and you can save a bundle.  Please do not buy gear or kits from Amazon or non Canon authorized dealers.  Stick with Canon, B&H, Adorama, lens rentals, etc.  If in doubt, just ask.  All of the users here are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  Canon has a great sales team who are happy to answer questions as well.  The best way to learn is practice.  Keep a little notepad handy.  Its helpful to refer back to when reviewing your photos.  The R7 is a nice little camera.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Others here will have great advice for you also.  

Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10, 430EX III-RT ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw/MF656Cdw ~Pixel 8
~CarePaks Are Worth It

Thank you, I really appreciate the information. That's a lot to take in, but I'm slowly learning! I have no idea why they started making two different cameras (full and crop) but that's a question for another day - and then to make separate lenses that are interchangeable but do different things on each - that's why it's so confusing to figure out what's best for me!  🙂  I appreciate now knowing that the RF-S is designed for the cropped camera, I did not know that. I'm all about buying native lenses, just a little nervous that there isn't as much to choose from yet compared to the cameras that have been around longer. Without trialing it myself, I'm agreeing with your statement about the zoom over the fixed, although getting down to the lower aperture on a fixed lens is an appealing thought. I suppose I could trial not zooming during matches and seeing what I think of that. They move around so much on the mat, sometimes it's been nice to zoom in to try to capture the face expression better, though.  I hadn't thought much of the tripod because I don't see many photographers there with them, but I can see how that could really save your arms by the end of the day. Thank you for the information about lens rental. I may look into that, especially for state wrestling if I take photos there. And nice to know that information about refurbished lenses through canon - I hadn't realized that about the warranty, so that is good to know. One thing you mentioned that I hadn't even thought of was when zooming, the aperture was wide open at the 18mm and goes up from there - I noticed that I couldn't lower my aperture at times even though my lens offered that, but hadn't yet figured out the correlation. I know I can probably google all these things, but when I'm out at an event taking photos, I get caught up in what's going on right then, and don't think of those inquiries later on when I have time to look into them. Thank you so much for the info!

Rising Star
Rising Star

I also just started shooting HS wresting for my son's events.  Others have given great suggestions but before you buy a new lens, try shooting in Tv mode with it set to 1/250.  For fast movements like wresting, auto or AV mode won't have fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action.  1/250 in Tv mode has worked for me (albeit with R5 and 70-200/2.8 lens) but you can try slightly slower as well (like 1/160).  In Tv mode, your aperture and ISO should be set to auto so they adjust accordingly.  Your camera will shoot as wide as possible so the only real variable that will change frequently is the ISO.  That said, newer cameras like the R7 does provide relatively clean images at higher ISOs compared to older cameras.  To compensate for noise, you can increase the high ISO noise reduction to HIGH.  Since you are the coach's wife, you may also try to stay closer to the mat so you stay at the wider range of the lens (and lower aperture) vs the long end (with higher aperture) so the ISO doesn't go too high.




Rebel XT, 7D, 5Dm3, 5DmIV (current), EOS R, EOS R5 (current)

Thank you so much for the information. Ok, I may be naive, but I don't think I have a TV mode setting. Maybe I do and just don't know which one it is, but I don't see the same icon that others have for TV mode. The other girl that takes photos with me does have this on her Canon, which is a different model than mine. I do find that with the lower shutter speeds I catch a lot of blur (they move so fast!). I appreciate your comments on increasing the ISO noise reduction to high - I am going to look into this. I hadn't realized that how much I was zooming lowered my aperture - I just mentioned this in the post up above. That is very helpful information and may explain why so many others have the larger zooms during meets than what my lens offers. Thank you!

Canon : Product Manual : EOS R7 : Tv: Shutter-Priority AE (




Rebel XT, 7D, 5Dm3, 5DmIV (current), EOS R, EOS R5 (current)