From foot­ball and bas­ket­ball to ten­nis and syn­chro­nized swim­ming, any sport requires speed and clar­i­ty from the cam­era, which means a cer­tain set of func­tions.

First, a good cam­era for sports pho­tog­ra­phy is one with fast aut­o­fo­cus. Also impor­tant is a fast shut­ter speed — faster than 1/1000 — as well as a high frame rate, such as 10 frames per sec­ond. These basic para­me­ters work in tan­dem.

Low light per­for­mance as well as high image res­o­lu­tion (suit­able for fram­ing and print­ing) are added ben­e­fits of any cam­era, includ­ing sports pho­tog­ra­phy.

Mirrorless digital camera Sony Alpha a9 II (body)

The Sony Alpha A9 II has long been known among sports cam­eras. With a 24.2 megapix­el sen­sor, this cam­era boasts impres­sive speeds of up to 20 frames per sec­ond when shoot­ing with­out dim­ming the screen or viewfind­er.

It also fea­tures a high-speed 1/32000 sec­ond anti-dis­tor­tion shut­ter to ensure every shot is crys­tal clear. In addi­tion, this cam­era boasts an ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ty of up to 51,200, not to men­tion excel­lent aut­o­fo­cus with AFAE up to 60 times per sec­ond.

Key fea­tures:

— One of the most pop­u­lar cam­eras for sports shoot­ing;
— ISO up to 51200;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 24.2 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/32000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 20 frames per sec­ond.

Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body)

The Canon EOS R5 mir­ror­less dig­i­tal cam­era has every­thing you need for sports pho­tog­ra­phy. Its mas­sive 45-megapix­el sen­sor gives you great shots, while shoot­ing speeds of up to 12 fps (mechan­i­cal) and 20 fps (elec­tron­ic) ensure you nev­er miss a moment.

In addi­tion, with the EOS R5, the brand has added aut­o­fo­cus fea­tures with 1,053 aut­o­fo­cus areas, as well as eye-detec­tion aut­o­fo­cus.

Key fea­tures:

- Aut­o­fo­cus with eye detec­tion;
- 1053 AF areas;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 45 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/8000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 20 frames per sec­ond.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Digital SLR Camera (Body)

The EOS 5D Mark IV con­tin­ues the Canon action cam­era tra­di­tion. This ver­sa­tile cam­era fea­tures a 30.4‑megapixel full-frame sen­sor, a reli­able 61-point AF sys­tem with Canon’s Dual Pix­el CMOS AF tech­nol­o­gy, a sen­sor-assist­ed aut­o­fo­cus (AF) sys­tem with phase detec­tion that has been designed to pro­vide smooth and fast focus tran­si­tions — and con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at up to 7 frames per sec­ond.

In addi­tion, the cam­er­a’s intu­itive touch-screen LCD makes it easy to adjust set­tings and nav­i­gate between shots. A ver­sa­tile ISO range of 100 to 32,000 also ensures this cam­era will get the job done both on and off the field.

Key fea­tures:

— Touch LCD screen;
- Aut­o­fo­cus with smooth and fast focus shift tech­nol­o­gy;
- Uni­ver­sal ISO range from 100 to 32,000 units;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 30.4 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/8000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 7 frames per sec­ond.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 mirrorless camera (body)

The Pana­son­ic Lumix DC-GH5 mir­ror­less cam­era is anoth­er great cam­era for sports pho­tog­ra­phy. Cap­ture win­ter sports, raft­ing and even team sports with the cam­er­a’s ver­sa­tile fea­ture set.

The design of the cam­era is designed for any con­di­tions. It is light­weight and splash and dust resis­tant.

The Lumix DC-GH5 also takes fast shots up to 1/16000. And the 20.3‑megapixel sen­sor allows you to take great pho­tos with high detail, which are ide­al for print­ing.

Key fea­tures:

— Pro­tect­ed from splash­es and dust;
- High detail;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 20.3 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/16000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 12 frames per sec­ond.

Olympus OM‑D E‑M1 Mark III Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body)

Anoth­er cam­era that will suit sports pho­tog­ra­phers is the Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M1 Mark III. This high-qual­i­ty, light­weight cam­era fea­tures a high-res­o­lu­tion 20-megapix­el MOS sen­sor and built-in 5‑axis image sta­bi­liza­tion to ensure every shot is clear.

Dust-proof, frost-resis­tant and shock-resis­tant design is ide­al for shoot­ing out­door sports such as snow­board­ing or ski­ing.

Key fea­tures:

- Five-axis image sta­bi­liza­tion;
- Pro­tect­ed from dust and frost, shock­proof;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 20 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/32000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 15 frames per sec­ond.

Mirrorless digital camera Sony Alpha 1

The Sony Alpha 1 is anoth­er work­horse with a whop­ping 50.1‑megapixel Exmor RS full-frame mul­ti-lay­er image sen­sor that deliv­ers up to 30 frames per sec­ond in con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing.

This cam­era per­forms up to 120 AF/AE oper­a­tions per sec­ond, ulti­mate­ly ensur­ing your shots are in sharp focus.

And when sports pho­tog­ra­phers need to alter­nate between stills and video, they can rest assured that the Sony Alpha 1 is ready for both tasks with video res­o­lu­tions up to 8k at 30p.

Key fea­tures:

- Colos­sal sen­sor 50.1 MP;
- High qual­i­ty video record­ing;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/32000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 30 frames per sec­ond.

Nikon Z 9 mirrorless digital camera (body)

With a 45.7‑megapixel sen­sor and Nikon’s Expeed 7 proces­sor, the Nikon Z9 mir­ror­less cam­era is undoubt­ed­ly one of the best cam­eras for sports pho­tog­ra­phy.

This cam­era pro­vides con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at up to 20 frames per sec­ond, and the elec­tron­ic shut­ter pro­vides a read­out speed of 1/270. Add to that the Z9’s 1/32,000 sec­ond shut­ter speed and the cam­er­a’s abil­i­ty to cap­ture rough­ly 11MP shots at 120fps, and it’s clear why even the most high-end sports pho­tog­ra­phers rely on Nikon’s Z9.

Key fea­tures:

- Super fast — con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing 120 frames per sec­ond;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 45.7 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/32000.

Nikon D6 FX-format digital SLR camera (body)

Anoth­er great Nikon cam­era for sports pho­tog­ra­phers is the Nikon D6. This fast cam­era with 20.8 megapix­el sen­sor and EXPEED 6 image proces­sor deliv­ers excel­lent images with high sen­si­tiv­i­ty.

The cam­era pro­vides con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at 14 frames per sec­ond and allows you to take up to 200 con­tin­u­ous shots. And just as impor­tant for sports pho­tog­ra­phers, it fea­tures the Mul­ti-CAM 37K aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, Nikon’s most pow­er­ful aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem. The D6 is just as good for pho­tos as it is for video, with 4K record­ing at 30, 25 and 24 fps.

Key fea­tures:

- Nikon’s most pow­er­ful focus­ing sys­tem;
— Video film­ing in 4K for­mat;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 20.8 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/8000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 14 frames per sec­ond.

Olympus OM‑D E‑M1X Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body)

Fast, accu­rate and reli­able, the Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M1X mir­ror­less dig­i­tal cam­era offers every­thing a sports pho­tog­ra­ph­er dreams of. First, the 20.4 megapix­el sen­sor guar­an­tees high qual­i­ty images and print readi­ness. Mean­while, con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at up to 60 frames per sec­ond promis­es pho­tog­ra­phers to cap­ture every sec­ond of the game. An ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ty range of 25,600 allows cre­ators to cap­ture the action regard­less of set­tings. And the cam­er­a’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary image sta­bi­liza­tion promis­es crisp, blur-free shots.

Key fea­tures:

— The most bal­anced para­me­ters;
- Rev­o­lu­tion­ary image sta­bi­liza­tion;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 20.4 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: up to 1/32000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: 60 frames per sec­ond.

Mirrorless digital camera Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H (body)

Few cam­eras offer as much pow­er, sta­mi­na and pre­ci­sion as the Pana­son­ic Lumix DC-S1H, anoth­er ulti­mate sports cam­era.

This cam­era is equipped with many top-notch video fea­tures such as 4K time-lapse and 6K full-frame shoot­ing. But it’s a cam­era for both a sports pho­tog­ra­ph­er and a video­g­ra­ph­er — take its 24-megapix­el res­o­lu­tion, ISO range up to 51,200, and 1/8000 shut­ter as proof.

Key fea­tures:

— Video shoot­ing: time-lapse in 4K and full-frame shoot­ing in 6K;
- Res­o­lu­tion: 24 MP;
- Shut­ter speed: 1/8000;
- Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing: up to 9 frames per sec­ond.

What to look for when choosing a camera for sports photography?

Any cam­era will work for you if you know how to work with the set­tings. How­ev­er, when choos­ing a tool, it is impor­tant to pay atten­tion to a few key fea­tures.

Continuous shooting mode

Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode, also called con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode, is a set­ting that pho­tog­ra­phers use to cap­ture a large num­ber of shots in a short amount of time. When using con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode, if you press and hold the shut­ter but­ton, you will take not one image, but sev­er­al — that is, a series.

Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing cam­eras are espe­cial­ly use­ful in sports pho­tog­ra­phy — you are much more like­ly to cap­ture that moment.

Burst or con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is a must for sports shoot­ing.

ISO sensitivity range

These are the max­i­mum and min­i­mum ISO val­ues ​​avail­able to you. Gen­er­al­ly, you want a range of 100 to 25,000, but it’s also impor­tant to check the qual­i­ty of images tak­en at the high­er end of the ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ty range. Some cam­eras can shoot at very high ISOs, but the pho­tos are so noisy that they can’t even be used.

Why is ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ty impor­tant for sports pho­tog­ra­phy? You will need to cap­ture the action no mat­ter what light you have. And you also need to keep your shut­ter speed fast so that the action is clear. The ISO range gives you some wig­gle room so you can shoot and let in more light — even in dim gyms or night games.

Image Processor

Your cam­er­a’s image proces­sor is one of the most impor­tant com­po­nents, but we often take it for grant­ed. When you press the shut­ter but­ton, the image proces­sor eval­u­ates the scene, cap­tur­ing every­thing in it. The proces­sor then con­verts the image into a dig­i­tal code for stor­age on a mem­o­ry card.

With every image tak­en, your cam­era is work­ing hard. If you shoot in con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode, it makes it work even hard­er. If your cam­era records images at 20+ MP and you take 12 pho­tos per sec­ond in burst mode, you are ask­ing the image proces­sor to record a large amount of data in a short amount of time.

Weak image proces­sors will be slow and your cam­era won’t let you shoot any fur­ther until pro­cess­ing is com­plete. That’s why a fast proces­sor is vital for sports pho­tog­ra­phy.

Image stabilization

When you shoot in low light, image sta­bi­liza­tion can help you take a clear pic­ture. Most in-cam­era image sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems give you an extra 2–3 stops of light. This means that the shut­ter speed can be 2–3 stops longer than usu­al, but the pho­to will still turn out clear.

If you’re lucky enough to find a cam­era with some seri­ous image sta­bi­liza­tion and it’s with­in your bud­get, you’re on the right track to tak­ing great action pho­tog­ra­phy.

Eye AF

Eye AF ensures that the eyes remain in focus regard­less of sub­ject move­ment. This tech­nol­o­gy is espe­cial­ly use­ful in cer­tain types of sports pho­tog­ra­phy where you care most about keep­ing the sub­jec­t’s face in focus.

Oth­er sophis­ti­cat­ed aut­o­fo­cus sys­tems allow you to shoot a sub­ject in con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing or pan­ning mode, while main­tain­ing sharp­ness through­out the entire range of motion.

If you’ve ever tried to focus on a sub­ject and missed the moment because the cam­er­a’s aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem did­n’t catch the moment, then you’ll under­stand exact­ly why the right aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem is vital to sports pho­tog­ra­phy.


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