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8 Best Cameras For Sports Photography in 2022 (Updated)

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Without the best cameras for sports photography, shooting sporting events can be frustrating. If your camera can’t keep up with the action, the athletes are nothing more than blurs. The best camera for sports photography changes everything. You’ll have sharp, action-packed images ready for the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The Canon EOS R7 is the best camera for sports photography. The image resolution is stunning. And the fast Dual Pixel AF and rapid burst speed help you capture every volley, punch, and dunk. Check out our full list if you’re looking for something different.

Canon EOS R7
Canon EOS R7
A powerful mirrorless camera that produces stunning images. It also has serious video features. And the AF system and burst mode meet every demand of sports photography.
Price from $1,499.00
Buy from Amazon

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The Best Cameras for Sports Photography

Finding the best camera for sports photography isn’t easy. No matter what your skill level is, there are certain features you need to look out for.

You want good-looking images, so you need a strong resolution. But you also need a fast and accurate autofocus system. And you might need a fast burst mode to capture the fastest action. Good video features are another positive of a modern sports photography camera.

We’ve taken all this into consideration when compiling our list. We have cameras at different levels and prices. But every camera on this list is fit for sports photography.

Camera Review
Why We Love It
Price
Canon EOS R7
Our Top Choice
  • 30 fps with the electronic shutter
  • 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Fully articulated touch screen
  • Unlimited, oversampled 4K video
  • Animal Eye AF for wildlife and pets
  • Spot Detection for driver head focus
from $1,499.00
Nikon Z50
Best Mirrorless for Beginners
  • A more affordable mirrorless option
  • Nice to handle and use
  • Relatively lightweight and not too bulky
  • Solid 4K video performance
from $1,246.95
Shop 2 Offers
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
Best For Video
  • Smooth 4K video at 60 fps
  • Large and bright electronic viewfinder
  • Durable, weather-sealed body
  • Dual memory card slots
from $1,219.94
Shop 4 Offers
Sony a6600
Best Sony Mirrorless
  • Small, lightweight camera
  • Astonishing autofocus
  • Terrific battery life
  • Silent shooting
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization reduces camera shake
from $1,219.99
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
Best Olympus Mirrorless
  • 50 MP High Res Shot mode
  • 30 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Up to 6.5 stops of in-body stabilization with certain lenses
  • Excellent weather sealing
  • Articulating screen for angled shots
  • Excellent 4K Ultra HD and DCI video
from $899.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
Best Compact Camera
  • Excellent photo quality
  • 5-axis optical image stabilization
  • Nifty “Post Focus” mode can help increase depth of field
  • High-resolution 4K video and photos
  • Incredibly lightweight
from $447.99
Shop 3 Offers
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / 850D
Best DSLR for Beginners
  • Excellent image quality
  • Great ISO range and low-light performance
  • Eye detection AF
  • 4K video at 25 fps, Full HD at 120 fps
from $899.00
Shop 3 Offers
Nikon D500
Best DSLR for Professionals
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • 10 fps RAW burst with 200-image limit
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • 4K video with ports for external sound recording
from $1,599.95
Shop 3 Offers

1. Canon EOS R7

from $1,499.00
Canon EOS R7
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Canon RF
Megapixels 33 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 651
Frame Rate 15 fps
Minimum ISO 100
Maximum ISO 32,000

The Canon EOS R7 has everything you need in a camera for sports photography. It’s a pro-grade full-frame mirrorless camera. The image quality packs a punch. And the features won’t let you fall behind the action on the pitch.

The full-frame sensor gives you a 32.5 MP resolution. The details and the color rendering are outstanding. And the wide dynamic range gives you accurate detail in bright and dark areas. You also get a good ISO range with strong low-light performance. Evening games won’t be an issue with the R7.

The R7 has one of the best autofocus (AF) systems we’ve seen on a Canon camera. It’s a Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. And it uses 651 focus points to lock and track your subject. Fast athletes and speeding cars are no problem. And it has head, face, and eye detection features for capturing athletes in action.

The mechanical shutter gives you a burst rate of 15 fps. That’s fast enough for most sporting situations. But if you need something quicker, switch to the electronic shutter. It gives you 30 fps of continuous shooting. You won’t miss a shot with a frame rate like that.

The video features are just as impressive. The video resolution is 4K. And you get a max frame rate of 60 fps with no cropping. You’ll have supersmooth sports footage with cinematic quality. The 5-axis image stabilization works for stills and video recording. It’s a lifesaver if you’re shooting from hand.

2. Nikon Z50

from $1,246.95
Nikon Z50
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Nikon Z
Megapixels 21 MP
In-body Stabilization No
Autofocus Points 209
Frame Rate 11 fps
Minimum ISO 100
Maximum ISO 51,200

The Nikon Z50 is a fantastic camera for amateur sports photographers. It’s a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera, making it easy to take on away days. The quality of photos and videos is excellent. And it has the features to capture the on-pitch action.

The APS-C sensor gives you a 20.9 MP image resolution. Combined with the fast EXPEED 6 image processor, you’ll have high-quality images with very little processing time. You can snap sports photos quickly without waiting for the camera to buffer.

The Nikon Z50 is great for video too. You can record 4K videos at 30 fps. You’ll have smooth footage with fantastic detail. And you have slow-motion video options in Full HD. There’s no cropping on slow-mo, so it’s perfect for shooting sports.

Sports fans will also love the hybrid autofocus system. It uses 209 on-sensor focus points to find and track your subject. They give you coverage of the full frame, giving you edge-to-edge sharpness. And it doesn’t lose focus if your subject is moving.

The Z50 gives you a continuous shooting speed of 11 fps. That’ll help you snap dynamic sports images when the action is at its fastest. You also get a fully articulating LCD screen. And there are built-in effects and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy image transfers.

3. Panasonic Lumix GH5

from $1,219.94
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
Sensor Format Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount Micro 4/3
Megapixels 20.3 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 225
Frame Rate 12 fps
Minimum ISO 100
Maximum ISO 25,600

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is perfect for anyone interested in sports photography and videography. The Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor gives you a compact mirrorless body. But you also get incredible features for photo and video production. It’s a complete multimedia machine for sports fans.

You can expect knockout image quality from the MFT sensor. It has a resolution of 20.3 MP. And you get fantastic detail with a wide dynamic range. The GH5 also has excellent AF with subject tracking. And the built-in image stabilization keeps your image sharp when the action is hectic.

The 4K video quality looks brilliant. And while you have the standard 30 fps frame rate, you also have a 60 fps option. That gives your footage incredible smoothness. Viewers won’t miss a thing from your sports films.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 has one of the best bursts in the business. It allows you to use still images from 4K video footage. That gives you a continuous shooting speed of 60 fps.

There’s nothing worse than running out of memory halfway through a game. You don’t need to worry about that with the GH5. It has dual memory card slots for extra storage. It’s a thoughtful touch and one sports photographers will appreciate.

4. Sony a6600

from $1,219.99
Sony a6600
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Sony E
Megapixels 24.2 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 425
Frame Rate 11 fps
Minimum ISO 50
Maximum ISO 102,400

Sports fans will love the Sony a6600. It’s affordable and easy to use. It’s simple enough for beginners. But it has the features to please experienced intermediates. The features and functions also make it an excellent mirrorless camera for sports photography.

You’ll have fabulous sports images. The APS-C sensor has a 24.2 MP resolution. And the color, detail, and dynamic range are excellent for an APS-C camera.

The a6600 has one of the best AF systems in its class. It’s a hybrid system using 425 phase detection and 425 contrast detection points. It’s quick to lock on to your subject, even if they’re moving quickly. And it’ll track your subject as they move across the frame.

The 4K video mode comes with extra functions for more creativity. You can shoot in fast and slow-motion in Full HD. And you even get a time-lapse video creator built-in.

The bright LCD screen tilts and rotates. That helps you get tricky shots. And it’s ideal for sports influencers and vlogging. The eye-detection AF mode also helps with this type of media production.

5. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

from $899.99
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
Sensor Format Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount Micro 4/3
Megapixels 20 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 121
Frame Rate 30 fps
Minimum ISO 200
Maximum ISO 25,600

A Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera offers sports photographers a compact option that’s still packed with features. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is the best option for anyone from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.

The 20 MP sensor gives you bright and detailed sports shots. And you also have the High-Res Shot mode if you need more resolution. It gives you 50 MP images, but you do need a tripod or monopod.

Sports photographers will love the 5-axis image stabilization. It reduces the effects of camera shake when shooting from hand. And it gives you more exposure options in low-light conditions. You’ll have sharp sports images every time.

The autofocus can keep up with the fastest sporting action. It has 121 focus points across the frame, giving you broad AF coverage. It’s fast to find focus. And it tracks the athletes as they move across the frame.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a robust mirrorless camera. It’s completely weather sealed. That means you can keep shooting even when the heavens open. It’s ideal for outdoor sporting events.

6. Panasonic Lumix ZS100

from $447.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
Sensor Format 1"
Lens Mount Compact
Megapixels 20 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 49
Frame Rate 10 fps
Minimum ISO 125
Maximum ISO 12,800

The Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is the best compact camera for sports photography. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket. But it has incredible photography and video features. And the advanced features are more than capable of capturing the best sporting action.

The ZS100 has a small 1-inch sensor. But despite its small size, you get an impressive 20.1 MP resolution. That’s a huge jump from smartphone cameras. And you’ll see the difference when viewed on social media or a computer screen. You also get image stabilization for sharper sports images.

It has a fixed zoom lens. The optical quality is excellent, as you’d expect from a Leica lens. And it gives you a 10x zoom range. You’ll be able to capture the action on the pitch from high in the stands.

The ZS100 also gives you 4K video recording. It has a 30 fps frame rate, so you can expect smooth sports footage. And the Lumix 4K Photo mode allows you to select individual frames from video footage. That gives you a rapid burst mode of 30 fps.

It has a 3-inch LCD touchscreen for easy use. It’s Wi-Fi connected, so you can transfer media to other devices. And you can charge the camera using a USB cable.

7. Canon EOS Rebel T8i

from $899.00
Canon EOS Rebel T8i / 850D
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Canon EF/EF-S
Megapixels 24 MP
In-body Stabilization No
Autofocus Points 45
Frame Rate 7.5 fps
Minimum ISO 100
Maximum ISO 25,600

The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is an excellent entry-level DSRL camera. Absolute beginners can pick it up and start shooting. And more experienced photographers will still be impressed with the results. The features are also well-suited to amateur sports photography.

The 24.1 MP APS-C sensor produces images that will encourage new photographers. The details are accurate and intricate. And the colors are well-rendered and true to life.

The AF system has been designed for fast-moving subjects. It uses 45 cross-type focus points that nearly cover the entire frame. You have face detection options if you’re shooting athletes close up. And it also has subject tracking for action shots.

The burst mode gives you 7 fps. While it’s not record-breaking, that’s fast enough for most amateur sports photographers. The video frame rate is 24 fps. It’s not quite as smooth as 30 fps. But you still get 4K video resolution for fantastic sports videos.

There’s a rotating LCD touchscreen for getting those tricky angles. And it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. That makes it easy to share images with other devices.

8. Nikon D500

from $1,599.95
Nikon D500
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Nikon F DX
Megapixels 20.9 MP
In-body Stabilization No
Autofocus Points 153
Frame Rate 10 fps
Minimum ISO 50
Maximum ISO 1,640,000

The Nikon D500 is a powerful DSLR for experienced photographers. It’s a rugged DSLR that produces stunning media. And it meets the needs of serious sports photographers.

The Nikon D500 has an APS-C image sensor. That means you get a more compact DSLR body. But you still get fantastic image quality with a 20.9 MP resolution. You also get a wide ISO range. And the low-light performance is excellent. That’s ideal for late starting times and indoor sports.

It gives you a burst rate of 10 fps. That’s fast for a DSLR camera. And it’ll help you snap those blink-and-you-miss-it moments. You also get 4K video recording at 30 fps. It’s a well-equipped multimedia machine.

The AF system is perfect for fast-moving subjects. The 153 focus points find and lock your subject in a fraction of a second. And once your subject is in focus, the system keeps when in focus as they move.

The LCD screen tilts for more shooting options. And it’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected for easy media transfers.

Basketball player running through opposition players with the ball on a basketball court
© Logan Weaver

Conclusion

Sports photography is difficult without the right camera. You often get blurry images or empty shots because the action moves so fast. But finding the best camera for sports photography is a complete game-changer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a devoted sports mom or a sports reporter, a sports photography camera is a must-have.

The Canon EOS R7 is the best camera for sports photography. The image quality is outstanding. And the AF system, video modes, and advanced features make it perfect for shooting sports.

The Nikon Z50 is the best sports camera if you want something more beginner-friendly. And the other cameras in the list fill every gap between amateur and professional sports photographer.

Canon EOS R7
Canon EOS R7
A powerful mirrorless camera that produces stunning images. It also has serious video features. And the AF system and burst mode meet every demand of sports photography.
Price from $1,499.00
Buy from Amazon
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