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Compare the Best Sports Photography CamerasJuly 2020

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The best cameras for use in capturing sharp, high-quality photos of sports events and fast-moving athletes.
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Rank
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Price
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76

 Compare  Shortlisted
Leica logo

Leica Leica TL

18 Reviews
focus-numerique.fr - RecommendedPhotographyBlog.com - Recommendedphotoreview.com.au - Editor's Choice

$818.00

16.3MP
Info
Depends on lens
339g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Dec 2016

76

 Compare  Shortlisted
Sony logo

Sony α Alpha A7S Mark II

16 Reviews

$1,459.00

12.4MP
Info
Depends on lens
584g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Oct 2015

75

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Nikon logo

Nikon J5

182 Reviews
Digital Versus - 5 StarM3.idg.se - RecommendedPhotographyBlog.com - Highly RecommendedEphotozine - Highly Recommended

$611.38

20.8MP
Info
Depends on lens
231g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Nov 2017

76

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Samsung logo

Samsung NX Mini NXF1

$414.99

20.5MP
Info
Depends on lens
158g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Apr 2014

83

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Fujifilm logo

Fujifilm X‑A2

47 Reviews
photoxels.com - Gold01net.com - 4 StarPhotographyBlog.com - Highly RecommendedEphotozine - Highly Recommended

$60.00

16.3MP
Info
Depends on lens
300g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Feb 2015

72

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Pentax K‑3 II

$1,075.69

24.35MP
Info
Depends on lens
700g
Info
Slr
Info
Info
Jan 2016

76

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Canon EOS M2

$220.00

18MP
Info
Depends on lens
238g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Oct 2016

75

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Nikon D500 100th Anniversary Edition

$2,796.95

20.9MP
Info
Depends on lens
760g
Info
Slr
Info
Info
Sep 2017

79

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Samsung NX1

161 Reviews
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$1,098.00

28.2MP
Info
Depends on lens
550g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Oct 2015

82

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Panasonic Lumix DMC‑GX8

84 Reviews
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$579.00

20.3MP
Info
Depends on lens
435g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Sep 2015

78

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Olympus Stylus 1

87 Reviews
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$499.99

12MP
Info
10.7x
Info
402g
Info
Bridge
Info
Info
May 2015

80

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Samsung NX1000

128 Reviews
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$231.78

20.3MP
Info
Depends on lens
217.7g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Oct 2012

80

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Panasonic Lumix DMC‑GX1

173 Reviews
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$434.99

16MP
Info
Depends on lens
318g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Jun 2013

78

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Sony α Alpha A7 Mark III

51 Reviews

$1,998.00

24.2MP
Info
Depends on lens
650g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Mar 2018

79

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Olympus OM‑D E‑M1 Mark II

21 Reviews

$759.00

20.4MP
Info
Depends on lens
498g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Feb 2020

75

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Sigma SD Quattro H

32 Reviews
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$1,039.00

38.6MP
Info
Depends on lens
635g
Info
Slr
Info
Info
Dec 2016

78

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Pentax K‑1

141 Reviews
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$1,961.56

36MP
Info
Depends on lens
925g
Info
Slr
Info
Info
Feb 2016

79

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Nikon 1 J4

86 Reviews
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$379.99

18.4MP
Info
Depends on lens
192g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Dec 2015

77

 Compare  Shortlisted
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Fujifilm XE3

$350.00

24.3MP
Info
3x
Info
287g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Sep 2017

73

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Fujifilm XH1

$1,299.00

24.3MP
Info
Depends on lens
623g
Info
Mirrorless
Info
Info
Feb 2018

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhat is the difference between an SLR, Mirrorless and Compact cameras?
ASLRs and Mirrorless cameras are both powerful cameras with changable lenses for a large amount of flexibility. Mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller and lighter than SLRs (because they don't have to include a mirror to bounce light onto the sensor) but are not quite as powerful.

Compact cameras are small fixed-lens cameras meant for casual photography and everyday carry. In previous generations compact cameras were significantly less powerful than other types, but modern variants are almost as powerful as SLRs.
QWhat is the difference between optical and digital zoom?
AOptical zoom uses the hardware of the camera to physically move the lenses, enlarging the captured picture. Digital zoom uses software to further enlarge the picture. This means digital zooms can go far beyond the range of optical zooms, but the quality is much worse, and degrades sharply as the image is zoomed in.
QWhat is an 'image stabiliser'?
AAn image stabiliser detects and compensates for small judders and shakes while filming, meaning the resulting images are far smoother and still.
QWhy is a big sensor size important?
AA larger optical sensor produces better quality images, because more light can be brought into the lens at once, This leads to larger, more highly-detailed photos.
QWhat is GPS function on a camera?
AGPS allows the camera to tag each photo with exactly where it was taken.
QWhat is the difference between 'waterproof' and 'water resistant'?
AThere is a small but important difference between waterPROOF and water RESISTANT - waterproof means that the camera can be submerged underwater for an extended amount of time with no adverse effects. Water resistant means that the camera can suffer limited exposure to water without any problems - normally this is limited to heavy rain or liquid splashes, not total immersion.
QWhat are the benefits of instant cameras?
AInstant cameras have been seeing a revival in recent years - modern versions work similar to the classic Polaroid cameras, but use modern thermal-reactive paper. They allow immediate printing of photos when out and about - perfect for parties! However the paper is expensive to buy, and you can easily blast through a pack of 10 shots very quickly.

Sports Photography

Cameras have a long history of being used to document all the dramatic moments, victories and losses of sports matches throughout history. Not all cameras are good for sports photography though, and here we’ve attempted to rank the best ones for you to consider.

One of the most important attributes of a sports photography camera is speed. The players at a game will normally be moving very fast, so you need a camera that will keep up with them and produce clean, unblurry photos. Therefore a fast shutter speed and an image stabiliser will allow you to react fast to sudden events without the end result turning into a blurry mess. Connected to this, a multi burst (or ‘motor drive’) functionality will allow you to take a larger number of photos in a very short space of time - therefore meaning you’ll have a large number of shots to choose from when selecting the perfect photo afterwards. Because you may be taking an awful lot of photos, a good battery life is very important too. Finally, weatherproofing is always a good idea - rain doesn’t always stop play, and you definitely don’t want it to stop your camera!

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How to Choose a Digital Camera That is Good for Sports Photography

Camera Shutter Speed

The minimum time which the camera shutter is open when taking a photo.

'Shutter speed' denotes how long the shutter on the camera is held open, collecting light that is then turned into the resulting photo. A faster shutter speed means that the shutter will be open for less time, meaning there is less chance that motion blur will be introduced to the photo because the subject moved in the split-second the lens was open. This is immensely important in sports photography, since the subjects you'll be shooting will normally be moving fast, and a fast shutter speed will allow for the sharpest photo possible, with no motion blur.

Multi Burst Mode

'Multi burst mode' is a special setting on a digital camera to allow it to take multiple photos in very quick succession at a single button press.

Multi-burst mode, also called motor drive, allows the camera to take a large number of shots in a very short amount of time, one after another. This is essential for sports photography, since it means you can shoot 20-30 photos over the course of a few seconds of high motion action, and pick the best one from the results.

Image Stabiliser

Image stabiliser technology detects and corrects slight camera shakes in order to make the final image sharper. There are 2 types of image stabiliser: optical and digital. Optical stabilisers stabilise the image with a moving lens inside the camera that counteracts the camera shake. Optical stabilisers are traditionally considered the best type. Digital stabilisers use a computer algorithm to remove camera shake from the image.

An image stabilizer works to detect and try and compensate for small judders and movements when taking photos. With sports photography you'll frequently be shooting fast-moving subjects by hand, so there will be a lot of movement from your camera - this system will help to reduce the amount of motion blur from these movements.

Maximum ISO Sensitivity

ISO sensitivity denotes the sensitivity of your camera to available light. Modifying the sensitivity causes the camera to gather more or less light when forming an image. Higher sensitivity gathers more light, which means can lead to a sharper image in low-light conditions. However it may also lead to increased 'noise', meaning the ISO level must be carefully modified to get the best shot.

ISO measures how sensitive your camera is to light. A high ISO means that your camera will require less time to fully capture an image. This means that fast-moving subjects - such as those often shot by sports photographers - will be captured quicker, which means less image blur will be introduced, and the resulting photo will be far crisper and sharper.

Battery Life

The number of shots per battery charge is the number of photos that the camera will typically take on a single charge of the battery.

When shooting a sports game, you'll frequently be taking a very large amount of photos - especially when using a burst or motor drive. Therefore having a bigger battery life means that there isn't a chance your camera will run out of juice mid-game!

Waterproof

Waterproof compacts or tough / rugged compacts allow you to take shots in all sorts of weather conditions and even take your camera snorkelling with you. Make sure to check the depth the camera can be used to if you intend to use it underwater at greater depths of for extended periods of time.

Sports photography means you will frequently be outside, and the weather isn't always kind to football games. Therefore having a waterproof camera means that a sudden downpour won't cause damage to your camera.