10 Cameras for Sports Events Shooting to Buy in 2023

By Tati Taylor 15 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

Is it difficult to choose a camera for sports that is good for shooting athletes movements?

top 3 cameras for sports

You need the best camera for sports capable of capturing athletes’ emotions, energy and movement during the competition or training if you’re a photographer who wants to shoot sporting events. What characteristics should such a camera have?

Most importantly, it should come with a super-fast telephoto lens that can capture all the action without a loss of quality. I’ve prepared this article to help you find the best camera for sports that will help you enjoy every moment of taking photos during sport or action events.

Top 10 Cameras for Sports List

  1. Canon EOS 90D - The best camera for sports
  2. Nikon Z9 - Advanced manual settings
  3. Canon EOS Rebel T7 - With advanced AF options
  4. Nikon D7500 - For shooting sports in unfavorable weather conditions
  5. Sony a7R Mark II - For non-action sports photography
  6. Sony a9 - The best mirrorless camera for sports
  7. Canon 5D Mark IV - Universal for photo and video recording
  8. Sony A7 III - With good ISO options
  9. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III - Powerful camera
  10. Fujifilm X-T3 - Good variant for beginners

Some photographers give preference to universal cameras that have interchangeable lenses and large image sensors, while others don’t want to deal with such bulky and heavy equipment. Thankfully, the recent advances in technology allow you to find a relatively compact camera that has an impressive sensor and is compatible with different lenses. If you need a reliable and waterproof sports shot camera that will satisfy all of your needs, browse through this list.

1. Canon EOS 90D – Our Choice

The best camera for sports
сanon eos 90d camera for sports
  • ✚ Smart AI focusing
  • ✚ AI Servo
  • ✚ Nice ergonomic shape
  • ✚ Burst shooting mode with up to 10fps
  • ✚ Highly customizable
  • Non-articulating display without touchscreen controls
  • Lacks Wi-Fi support
  • No image preview function

This is the best camera for sports that has a continuous shooting mode with up to 10fps with absolutely automatic focusing and exposure. There’s minimal noise when shooting within standard ISO range, but you can increase the sensitivity for poor lighting conditions when you don’t have to view or print photos at a large size. If you’re taking images at JPEG at ISO 51,200, they’ll have quite a bit of noise and can have green or magenta tones.

If you reduce sensitivity to 25,600, you’ll get noticeably better results. There will still be quite a bit of noise, but the colors will be more accurate. If you set the ISO to its max standard setting of 16,000, the images will be of really high quality without any significant flaws.

Overall, I can recommend the 90D as the best DSLR for sports photographers who know how important it is to capture every moment. Photos are taken with minimal delays, so you never risk missing a single second of the competition.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM

This lens is good at taking dynamic photos thanks to the integrated focusing ring that uses a USM mechanism, which works quickly, accurately and silently. If you want even more control over the shooting process, you can focus the lens manually.

photo by canon eos 7d mark2

Photo by Canon EOS 90D

2. Nikon Z9

Advanced manual settings
nikon z9 camera for sport
  • ✚ 120fps shooting
  • ✚ High-quality images
  • ✚ Rugged body
  • ✚ Supports USB charging
  • Bulky and heavy body
  • CFexpress or XQD card cost extra

The Nikon Z9 is a 45.7MP full-frame sports camera for professional photographers. It supports high shooting speed and allows you to take photos in 8K, which makes it one of the best options on the market.

Until Nikon released this model, only two brands managed to create professional mirrorless cameras featuring a stacked CMOS sensor supporting fast readout. This camera can easily beat its competitors. These days, experienced photographers prefer using mirrorless models, which makes this camera an excellent option to consider.

The Z9 is the first model of this type that comes without a mechanical shutter. Besides, it’s the best Nikon camera for shooting videos released so far.

Recommended lens:

Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 S

This lens allows you to take high-clarity photos thanks to impressive sharpness from edge to edge. In addition, it minimizes distortions. You can take photos using a wide-open f/4 max aperture. Thanks to the newest stepping motor, it has a noiseless focusing system.

sport photo taken with nikon z9

Photo by Nikon Z9

3. Canon EOS Rebel T7

With advanced AF options
canon eos rebel t7 camera for sports
  • ✚ 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ✚ Photos of remarkable quality
  • ✚ Full HD video recording at 30p
  • ✚ 9 point AF
  • Cross-type AF points are limited to only one
  • No 4K shooting

If you are looking for a top-notch sports camera for amateurs, have a closer look at this device. Being user-friendly, it provides all the needed features for documenting sports events. Photographers specializing in this genre often opt for this camera because of its fantastic autofocusing mechanism. There is a 9-point focusing system that includes one cross-type center AF point.

Thanks to such a number of AF focusing points, tracking a fast-moving object is a breeze. This is a huge advantage as sports photography is a subtype of high-speed photography. Though you need to capture motion, the camera perfectly copes with the task, providing you with detailed and sharp images.

Recommended lens:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

You can use this lens for many types of shooting including sports. It has a fast f/1.8 max aperture which will come in handy when taking pictures in low light conditions. Also, it handles the shallow depth of field well. What's more, you get near-silent AF thanks to the ultra-sonic autofocus motor. You can also benefit from polarizing and special filter effects since the front lens group does not move.

sports photo sample

4. Nikon D7500

For shooting sports in unfavorable weather conditions
nikon d7500 camera for sports
  • ✚ Fast AF
  • ✚ Great navigation
  • ✚ Viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • ✚ 4K supports
  • Screen tilting angle isn’t enough
  • Autofocus acts erratically in video
  • Just one card slot

If you frequently photograph in challenging weather conditions and need a camera that can withstand them, make sure to try Nikon D7500. This Nikon camera for video and photo has a durable case, which reliably protects the mechanism from moisture.

As it is a waterproof camera, you can use it for underwater photography. Another argument in favor of this camera is long battery life, so you can forget about constant recharging.

4K footage looks fantastic and can be output uncompressed over HDMI similar to the way it is done in other cameras in this price range. So, Nikon D7500 can become a good GoPro alternative.

The menu is rather flexible allowing for manual adjustments. Moreover, all buttons are conveniently located and there is a large ergonomic handle, so even if you work on gloves, controlling the device will be easy. All in all, this is one of the reliable video cameras for sports you can find this year.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor

This model is among Nikon standard lenses. It allows you to take hand-held photographs with maximum sharpness at a shutter speed that is five stops lower than normal. Its optics include 20 components in 14 groups, including 3 ED glass parts and a single HRI component.

photo by nikon d7500

Photo by Nikon D7500

5. Sony a7R Mark II

For non-action sports photography
sony a7r mark2 camera for sports
  • ✚ Amazing resolution
  • ✚ Impressive performance at high ISO values
  • ✚ Reliable optical image stabilization
  • Lacks built-in flash
  • Mediocre battery life

I consider this Sony camera to be the best one for sports action shots due to the picture quality it offers. The available sensitivity range of 50 to 102,400 is very impressive. If you’ll look at the RAW files produced by the a7R, you can see the amount of photo processing it performs by default. However, RAWs tend to have more noise at all ISO settings compared to JPEGs.

If you use the default settings, the 42 MP photos will look a bit too soft. That’s why I recommend adding sharpness using the camera’s settings and Photoshop or Lightroom. Photographs taken in dark conditions look amazing when using max shutter speed (30sec.) and the Bulb mode opens up a lot of space for night images. This camera for sports has a Dynamic Range Optimizer feature that allows you to capture more details from shadowed and highlighted areas without creating artifacts or noise.

It puts together two pictures taken at different exposures and creates a single photo with a broader dynamic range. Sadly, it works only with JPEG images and static objects, so that you can embody any creative fitness photoshoot poses. Besides, Sony’s improved and tested Sweep Panorama is also a fantastic feature that you can try.

photo by sony a7r mark2

Photo by Sony a7R Mark II

6. Sony a9 II

Compact body
sony a9 ii camera for sports
  • ✚ Excellent performance
  • ✚ Speedy, high-precision AF
  • ✚ Impressive customization options
  • ✚ High-resolution viewfinder
  • Some issues with weather protection
  • No XQD card slots

The Alpha 9 II is one of the recent sports cameras released by Sony that is sold in a higher price bracket. It allows you to take 24MP pictures at up to 20 frames per second in a soundless mode. The previous camera in this lineup had similar capabilities, however, this model has more advanced features. Besides, it is not bulky, which makes it perfect for experienced photographers who take sports and action shots.

Another thing that makes the Alpha 9 II different from the previous model is that it is fitted with an upgraded mechanical shutter which allows taking photos in burst mode at 10 fps. This will come in handy to those who often need to take photos without using the electronic shutter. The previous version supported burst shooting at up to 5 fps, which is insufficient for a camera used by professional sports and action photographers.

Using this camera, you can count on a decent burst rate in different settings, while the previous model was more suitable for brightly-lit outdoor locations.

photo by sony a9 camera for sports

Photo by Sony a9 II

7. Canon 5D Mark IV

Universal for photo and video recording
canon 5d mark4 camera for sports
  • ✚ Full-frame sensor
  • ✚ Built-in Wi-Fi
  • ✚ Useful touchscreen
  • ✚ Great 4K video recording
  • Optimizing AF settings requires practice
  • The frame rate isn’t high enough
  • Bulky

This is one of the best cameras for sports that allows for taking sharp photos with well-saturated but still cool colors. Shooters can take noise-free pictures through the whole ISO range. You can also rely on this model while practicing football photography, soccer photography, and the like.

Personally, I’ve never used the highest point of ISO settings, but if you do, then don’t expect to get blurred photos. Even while shooting in all-purpose metering mode, exposures, which are weighted to the active AF point, are quite good.

Moreover, taking photos in very high-contrast conditions is not a problem for this Canon camera for sports. Tracking focus is also acceptable. You can only choose the given model for shooting moving subjects at 7fps, but it is still a good selection for such photography.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

A circular aperture and the high-speed AF will help get brilliant shots with an accent on the subject and blurred background. The floating optical system neutralizes aberrations and provides brilliant imaging performance.

photo by canon 5d mark4

Photo by Canon 5D Mark IV

8. Sony A7 III

With good ISO options
sony a7 3 camera for sports
  • ✚ 10fps burst shooting
  • ✚ 15-stop dynamic range
  • ✚ Uncropped 4K video
  • ✚ 5-axis image stabilization
  • ✚ Reliable and compact design
  • Narrow touchscreen control
  • Only one SD slot supports UHS-II cards
  • Slightly 'tears' in EVF
  • Weak weather-sealing round accessory ports

This camera brand representative can be used for sports action shots and it will impress you with good RAW detail capture and brilliant speed for sports. The 24 MP sensor allows taking photos with plenty of color stitching on the white-on-black texts. You can expect very clean and noiseless pictures even at basic ISO. As for JPEG colors, prepare to capture the scene in warm tones, including greens when switching to auto white balance and low light. You can make these tones even warmer if you use the additional automatic white balance setting.

Context-sensitive noise reduction from the Sony A7 III is impressive and makes the camera the best on the market, especially in terms of RAW photo quality. This full frame camera allows taking photos without any indications of haloing on edges due to large-radius sharpening. The parts with small details are accentuated well.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS

This compact telephoto lens is an excellent choice for a sports camera due to the combination of small weight and impressive optical quality. It also features a constant F4 maximum aperture all over the zoom range and fast, accurate AF.

photo by sony a7 3

Photo by Sony A7 III

9. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Powerful camera
canon eos 1d x mark iii camera for sports
  • ✚ Outstanding Smart Controller
  • ✚ Features an impressive deep learning AF
  • ✚ Great HDR stills and videos
  • ✚ 4K videos without cropping
  • Expensive
  • Lacks image stabilization

This Canon camera stands out for its lightning speed, outstanding performance, and incredibly durable body. Its exterior design is similar to the EOS-1D series made 20 years ago. On the other hand, the internal components have been significantly upgraded. Although this double-grip camera is rather bulky, it acts as a powerful mirrorless camera in Live View mode. However, keep in mind that you will need strong hands to hold it for hours on end.

The EOS-1D X Mark III delivers output images beyond 8-bit JPEGs. The camera also includes an AF subject recognition feature. This option is based on machine learning in both live view shooting and OVF mode. Moreover, it has an internal RAW video option and some other handy video capabilities.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L DO IS II USM

The model can easily be called user-friendly as it has very simple switches and buttons. This is possible thanks to a new security slot for wire-type security locks. This lens will work well in any environment due to the dust- and water-proof design.

photo by canon 1dx mark2

10. Fujifilm X-T3

Good variant for beginners
fujifilm xt3 camera for sports
  • ✚ Excellent autofocus
  • ✚ Brilliant 4K video recording
  • ✚ Swift continuous shooting for photographing action
  • ✚ User-friendly design with nice handling
  • ✚ Highly customizable
  • Lack of image stabilization
  • Second-rate battery life
  • The screen without full articulation

This Fujifilm camera has lots of impressive features that allow for taking detailed shots. Personally, I choose this camera for action shots for running competitions or something like tennis photography. Its great autofocus and an updated option for face detection play into my hands when I need to shoot speeding cars or running people in between taking portraits.

You also shouldn’t worry about noise as it is controlled well and remains acceptable at higher settings. Of course, a professional shooter will notice a small amount of texture at low ISO, but it is not very visible, so that it is a decent camera for beginners. RAW files are also well detailed at ISO 12,800 but have little noise.

Recommended camera lens:

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

This telephoto zoom lens helps decrease chromatic aberrations thanks to its optical construction. It has 21 elements in 14 groups, which include 5 ED lenses and 1 Super ED lens.

photo by fujifilm xt3

Photo by Fujifilm X-T3

10 Best Cameras for Sports

canon eos 7d mark2 camera for sports
Canon EOS 90D
  • 20.2 MP
  • CMOS
nikon z9 camera
Nikon Z9
  • 45.7 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos rebel t7 camera for sports
Canon EOS Rebel T7
  • 24.1 MP
  • CMOS
nikon d7500 camera for sports
Nikon D7500
  • 20.9 MP
  • CMOS
sony a7r mark2 camera for sports
Sony a7R Mark II
  • 42.4 MP
  • CMOS
sony a9 ii camera
Sony a9 II
  • 24.2MP
  • Exmore RS CMOS sensor
canon 5d mark4 camera for sports
Canon 5D Mark IV
  • 30.4 MP
  • CMOS
sony a7 3 camera for sports
Sony A7 III
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 1d x mark iii body image
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
fujifilm xt3 camera for sports
Fujifilm X-T3
  • 26.1 MP
  • CMOS

How to Choose the Best Camera for Sports?

Do you know that DSLRs are the best cameras for action and sports photography? It is due to continuous and tracking autofocus modes, which are very reliable. Of course, you can take photos of sport using any camera. But if you want to get a perfect shot, then pay attention to some important features the best camera for sports should have.

Sensor. Take the sensor into consideration when choosing a good sports camera. The smaller sizes of the APS and Micro Four Thirds sensors are significant points when considering sports photography. Keep in mind that an APS sensor is smaller than a full-frame sensor. So, an APS camera with full-frame lenses presents a crop factor that results in a field of view that is like a longer lens. That’s why most sports shooters will take photos with a Micro Four Thirds or APS body infrequently even if they are full-frame.

High Shutter Speed. Most cameras have a pleasant shutter speed of 1/1000 per second. It is quite enough for taking a photo of a moving subject. However, it can be too little to catch a necessary moment. So, shooters should pay attention to the best camera for sports in order to freeze the action perfectly, as it is required for sports photography. A fast model, for instance, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, has a max shutter speed of 1/8000 sec that is more than ordinary digital models offer.

Focal Length. A good camera for sports must have a suitable focal length. Shooters may take into consideration a 70-200mm lens with an aperture of ƒ/2.8 and start working without hesitation. It presents a soft background defocus. However, the 24-70mm focal length is definitely a better choice. As for 24 mm, it’s wide enough to get a good field of view but long enough to decrease distortion. Finally, choose a 70mm lens if you want to capture athletes far away.

Fast Autofocus System. The best DSLR camera for sports may have either contrast detection or phase detection autofocus. Let’s look at them closer:

  • Phase detection AF. An SLR viewfinder that features phase detection. Its task is to analyze the difference between different wavelengths of light. It also immediately indicates the direction to move the lens and the distance to place the optics to get the sharpest focus. As my practice shows, Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF uses phase detection in Live View and it means you will be able to enjoy high quality, fast focusing.
  • Contrast detection AF. Contrast detection AF is another method. It analyzes pixels on the device’s sensor and follows the rule that the subject is in focus when contrast is the highest. AF needs to push the focusing point of the lens back and forth to discover that point. This AF is slower than phase detection AF. But keep in mind that it has a more precise focus on still subjects.
  • Large Apertures. If you want to get brilliant shots with a great subject and background, then a minimum aperture of ƒ/5.6 won’t suit you. It is quite enough for simple sports pictures but won’t let you take fantastic photos. I’d better give you an example. Imagine a stadium with lots of fans. They will be noticeable on the pictures because of your position “down on the field.” As a result, they will distract viewers’ attention from the action. That’s why it is better to choose the best DSLR for sports with a wide-open aperture in order to blur the background nicely.