10 Recommended Cameras for Sports, Wildlife, and Action Photography

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Whether you’re shooting a basketball game from the sidelines or the great wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara, you’re going to want a camera with a lens that’s fast enough to catch all of the action. While some prefer the flexibility of an interchangeable-lens system with a large sensor, others dislike the bulk and weight of the gear involved. Fortunately for us all, technology is catching up to those of us who want a small camera with a large sensor and the ability to change lenses. Whatever your preference may be—below is a list of ten cameras recommended for sports, wildlife, and action photography for your adventures in 2016.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR

For the absolute latest flagship release, the new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II features a 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 6+ processors, and a 61-Point High Density Reticular Auto Focus II with 41 cross-type points and a center point sensitive to -3 EV. This durable magnesium-alloy body has been designed for the pro shooter, delivering 16 frames per second when working in live view, and 14 fps when working with the viewfinder, not to mention the ability to record up to 170 raw files in a single burst when using a CFast 2.0 memory card. An expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50-409600 allows for greater low-light performance. Furthermore, the weather- and dust-proof EOS-1D X Mark II supports DCI 4K-resolution video recording at up to 60 fps, along with Full HD 1080p shooting at 120 fps for slow-motion playback. A built-in GPS module allows for in-camera geo-tagging and auto time sync while Wi-Fi sharing and wireless remote control is supported when using the optional WFT-E8A Wireless File Transmitter.

Nikon D5 DSLR

Another recent release, the Nikon D5 houses a 20.8MP FX-format CMOS sensor, an EXPEED 5 processor, and 153-point Multi-CAM 20K phase-detect auto focusing. Photographers wanting to capture a fast-paced sports game or animals in the wilderness running at top speeds will be delighted by the 14 fps maximum continuous frame rate with fixed focus and mirror lock-up. For those desiring full auto exposure and focusing, a slight drop to 12 fps is sure to capture the perfect action-packed moment with precise focusing. Nighttime wildlife feed times and night games won’t be as challenging to shoot with the native sensitivity range from ISO 100-102400 and the expanded range of ISO 50-3280000. Photographers who also work in video will be pleased with the D5’s 4K UHD video-recording capabilities. Wi-Fi connectivity is possible with the optional WT-6A transmitter.


Nikon D500 DSLR

For flagship performance in a compact DX-format body, the Nikon D500 DSLR Camera is another recent release to the market. Featuring a 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor, it houses the same EXPEED 5 processor and 153-point Multi-CAM 20K phase-detect autofocusing as the D5 for significantly less of an investment. Sports and wildlife shooters alike will readily take advantage of the 10 fps continuous shooting rate for up to 200 frames in a single burst. The native sensitivity range from ISO 100-51200 with an expanded ISO 50-1640000 is able to handle tough lighting situations. The D500 also offers up to 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps. Multiple sharing options like the built-in SnapBridge Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, and Near Field Communication (NFC) are all supported to provide quick methods for connecting to your mobile device.

Canon 7D Mark II DSLR

Another APS-C offering, this time from Canon, is the Canon 7D Mark II, which features a 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor with dual DIGIC 6 image processors and a continuous shooting rate of 10 fps. This fast action capture relies heavily upon the 65-point all cross type phase-detection AF system that makes it a great choice for sports and wildlife photographers. The combination of dual image processors and CMOS sensor contribute to the native ISO range of 100-16000, which can be expanded to ISO 51200. For those working across platforms, Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at up to 60 fps and benefits from Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast focusing during video and live view. 

Nikon 1 V3 Mirrorless Digital Camera

For a lot of speed in a compact mirrorless body, the Nikon 1 V3, available here with the 10-30mm kit lens, combines an 18.4MP 1" CMOS sensor and an EXPEED 4A image processor to achieve 20 frames per second with full-time autofocus capabilities. Once the focus position is fixed after the first frame is recorded, continuous shooting captures up to 60 fps—perfect when you’re close to the action. The intuitive Hybrid AF system combines both phase- and contrast-detection focusing methods to capture all of the action with extreme precision. In addition to the high-resolution still photographs, Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at 60 frames per second with a sensitivity of 12800 and full-time focusing for constant sharpness. While many photographers still wrinkle their noses at a tilting screen, it affords easier visibility from a variety of angles that would be otherwise impossible with a traditional viewfinder. For the traditionalist, an auxiliary electronic viewfinder is included. The camera’s built-in Wi-Fi enables you to quickly share photos immediately after recording them. For existing Nikon shooters looking for a compact camera solution, slip the FT-1 Mount Adapter onto the Nikon 1 V3 so you can work with all your favorite F-mount glass.  

Pentax K-3 II DSLR

Featuring a 24.35MP APS-C CMOS sensor, the Pentax K-3 II has a PRIME III image processor, optimized for high-speed shooting at 8.3 frames per second, and a competitive ISO range of 100-51200. Twenty-seven distinct phase-detection points include 25 cross-type for quickly and accurately pinpointing focus. Image quality and overall versatility is improved upon with a selectable anti-aliasing filter to gain higher resolution and sharpness or to protect against moiré. The sensor-shift design compensates for up to 4.5 stops of camera shake, aiding even the most experienced fast-action shooter, especially with longer focal lengths. Full HD 1080p video recording is supported in multiple frame rates along with time-lapse capture with the interval timer. 

Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Digital Camera

For those wanting to take advantage of Fujifilm’s history in traditional film-based photography, several Film Simulation modes mimic some of the classic film types in the compact Fujifilm X-T1, which offers a 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and an EXR Processor II, both contributing to its top continuous shooting rate of 8 frames per second. The expandable ISO range, from ISO 100-51200 is equally competitive, as is its proprietary X-Trans sensor, which takes advantage of a randomized pixel array instead of the more commonly used resolution-reducing optical low-pass filter. Digital Split Image and Focus Highlight Peaking enable fast and efficient manual focusing. Built-in wireless connectivity allows for instant sharing of photos and videos to your Android or iOS mobile device, as well as remote camera control and monitoring.

Sony a77II DSLR

The Sony a77II features a 24.3MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor that work together to produce continuous shooting at up to 12 fps for as many as 26 RAW frames. Translucent Mirror Technology enables the 79-point AF system with 15 cross-type points to work seamlessly while photographing in continuous shooting mode or while recording video and it enables full use of live view and the electronic viewfinder during shooting. Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at both 60 and 24 fps. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC are both available without a complex setup.

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera
 

For a smaller and more compact Sony body, the 14.25 ounce Sony a6300 is an advanced mirrorless option featuring a redeveloped 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor that work simultaneously to produce continuous shooting up to 11 fps. A 425-point phase-detection system with a 169-area contrast detection system allows for High-density Tracking AF for increased accuracy when following moving subjects across the image frame. Due to the on-sensor design of the AF system, it also works when shooting UHD 4K video, which is possible at a high 100 Mbps for maximum quality. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC are also supported in the a6300 for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites.

Sony RX10 Mark II

For those wanting everything (or as close to everything as technology will allow) in one package, the Sony RX10 Mark II offers a 20.2MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor with a Carl Zeiss 24-200mm f/2.8 lens. This all-in-one camera offers a flexible built-in zoom that eliminates the need to carry additional lenses. Its constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 and sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800 provides excellent low-light capabilities. The BIONZ X processor enables continuous shooting up to 14 fps and contributes to the camera’s precise and speedy autofocus, as well as UHD 4K video recording. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC round out the RX10 Mark II for direct sharing, as does its moisture- and dust-resistant construction, a built-in pop-up flash, and the Sony Multi-interface shoe for connecting flashes, microphones, lights, monitors, and other accessories.

Only the Beginning…

While far from exhaustive, this list is meant to be a springboard into the pool of advanced, fast cameras 2016 has to offer for all of you sports and wildlife enthusiasts. As every photographer knows, cameras are only going to get smaller, faster, and more technologically advanced as the year goes on. 

258 Comments

Thanks for the article! Very interesting. I would greatly appreciate if you could further help me, as I am an absolute beginner... 

I would need a camera for shooting moving people indoors, with not much light unfortunately, in particular: (1) dancers (up close), and (2) gymnasts from a medium distance. I don't think I need a powerful zoom: the most important thing is that it is able to capture the movement in still images. With my current old Sony Alpha 350 I only get very blurred images, typically with invisible heads or legs...

My budget is limited, so the cheapest options which can help me have good results and is very simple to use (basically point and shoot or something very simple) would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks again for all your kind advice!

I have four point-and-shoot cameras  I would recommend for your stated usage needs, listed in the order in which I recommend them (in terms of low light performance), depending on your budget:

1:  Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # CAPSG7X2BK

2:  Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Digital Camera with Accessories Kit (Black), B&H # PADMCLX100BK

3:  Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit (Black), B&H # CAPSG9X2BBK

4:  Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Digital Camera with Accessory Kit, B&H # SODSCRX100BA

I need a light weight body and lens for basketball and baseball.  I have a Nikon d200 now with a sigma 70-300. I'm not wanting to put much money in body but lens 700-800. If that's possible. What do you suggest?

Unfortunately, there are very few telephoto zoom lenses that zoom out to 700-800mm, and the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG APO IF HSM Autofocus Lens for Nikon AF-D, B&H # SI300800DGNA, which is the only zoom lens we have in this range, is not lightweight. It is a 12.91 lb (5.86 kg) lens that is 21.3 inches (54.10 cm) long and costs $7,999.00. The next options I would recommend would be either the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Nikon, B&H # TA1506005N, which is 4.30 lbs (1.95 kg) and 10.15 inches (25.78 cm) long, or the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Nikon F, B&H # SI100400N, which is 2.55 lbs (1.16 kg) and 7.18 inches (18.23 cm) long.

For indoor sports, all of these options may require you to use a higher ISO, which may result in noisy images with the older Nikon D200 DSLR camera. Due to its age, the technology in the Nikon D200 DSLR camera is over 13 years old.  While they may be lower in Nikon’s current lineup compared to the mid-level position of the Nikon D200 on its release, I would actually recommend both the Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black), B&H # NID34001855B, or the Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID5600B, over your current camera for your planned usage.  All three of the above cameras have the same continuous burst rate speed, which is 5 frames per second, but the two newer cameras can shoot up to 100 JPEG images at that speed before slowing down to write images to the memory card, while the Nikon D200 can only sustatin that speed for up to 31 JPEG images.  The two newer cameras also have higer image resolution at 24.2 megapixels, and more importantly, they have better dynamic range, color depth, and low-light performance with less noise at higher ISO settings for overall better image quality compared to the Nikon D200 DSLR camera.  They also have better battery performance for over 2.5x the number of images captured per charge.  Also, they are both smaller and lighter in weight compared to the Nikon D200 DSLR camera. 

If you really need the amount of zoom you list and you want a smaller camera, while it would not be a DSLR camera and would have a smaller sensor, I would recommend considering the Nikon COOLPIX P1000 Digital Camera, B&H # NICPP1000, for your usage needs.  It has a burst rate of 7 frames per second, and has a built-in lens with an optical zoom range of 24-3000mm f/2.8-8, has 16 megapixels, and built-in image stabilization.

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I am currently in the market for a camera but have no idea where to start on purchasing the right one. I live on a farm and enjoy photographing my animals. This can be difficult at times as they are ALWAYS moving and sometimes at fast speeds . At times, it is hard to get as close as I need to be to get a shot that comes out clear.  I need something that is light weight and can do numerous frames per second.  I am a beginner photographer but find myself taking pictures daily , so its time to invest. The ole iphone just is not producing what I am looking for.  What cameras would you suggest? 

If you are looking for a small camera with which you plan to photograph fast-moving animals, I would recommend the Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera, or the previous model, the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera.  Both cameras are small and lightweight, and have some of the fastest autofocusing on the market.  Both cameras shoot at up to 11 frames per second in burst mode, and they have decent low-light and higher ISO performance for an APS-C sensor camera, which will allow you to use a higher ISO setting, which will allow you to shoot at a faster shutter speed to assist in freezing movement.  The Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-135mm Lens, B&H # SOA6500KB, or the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm and 55-210mm Lenses Kit (Black), B&H # SOA6300BK55K, would be good options for your planned usage needs.  Both cameras are similar, but the main difference between the two cameras is the a6500 is the newer of the two cameras and it has in-camera image stabilization, so all lenses used on the camera would benefit from in-camera stabilization when hand-holding the camera.  It also has a LCD touchscreen, has Bluetooth so the wireless connectivity is easy between your camera and smartphone/tablet, and the camera has a larger buffer so when you are shooting burst images, you can shoot longer before the camera slows down to write images from the camera to your memory card.

Hi,

Thank you for the detailed review. I am beginner in terms of DSLR. Currently I have a sony point and shoot and the main problems I face while shooting fast moving objects are slow shooting speed (I get blurred images of objects that are moving even at a medium pace) and a very slow shot-to-shot time (or cycle time). My current point and shoot takes almost 3-4 seconds to be ready for the next shot! I was thinking of upgrading to a entry-level DSLR (that is easy to learn for beginner) or mid-range DSLR - with primary focus on shooting fast moving objects (including kids). Note that I am not thinking of a professional high-end DSLR at this point as it might take a lot of time to learn! 

Can you please suggest

1) A entry/mid-range DSLR that is good for capturing fast moving objects and has a low shot-to-shot time

2) A lens that can capture beautiful bokeh shot 

3) And a general all purpose lens?

Thanks a lot in advance.

Regards,

Ritam

If you are looking for a mid-level DSLR camera for your stated usage needs, I would recommend either the Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera with 18-140mm Lens, B&H # NID7500K, or the Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens, B&H # CAE80D1855, as good options for your usage needs.  Between the two cameras listed above, the Nikon D7500 DSLR camera has 51 focus points and has a continuous burst shooting speed of 8 frames per second, while the Canon EOS 80D DSLR camera has 45 focus points and has a continuous burst shooting speed of 7 frames per second.

If you need a more economical option and you are looking for an entry-level DSLR camera, I would recommend either the Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 70-300mm Lenses, B&H # NID56002LK, or the Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 55-250mm Lenses Kit, B&H # CAEDRT6I185L, as more economical options for your usage needs.  The Nikon D5600 DSLR camera has 39 focus points and a continuous burst shooting speed of 5 frames per second.  The Canon EOS Digital Rebel T6i DSLR camera also has a continuous burst shooting speed of 5 frames per second, but has 19 focusing points.  All of the above cameras would be good options for your planned usage needs, and would be recommended in the order in which I listed them above.

If you are looking for a lens with a large aperture for smoother bokeh and depth-of-field, I would recommend the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Lens, B&H # NI8518G, and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens, B&H # CA8518EF, for this usage.  For an all-in-one lens for flexibility, either the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR Lens, B&H # NI1830035VR, or the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, B&H # CA1820035, would also work for your usage needs.

Thank you so much for the valuable feedback. :)

Hi, I currently have a Nikon D60 which came with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens. I been trying to take indoor sports shots of a basketball game but they come out blur. Can't use flash because it distracts players. I tried upping the ISO and adjusting shutter speed and exposure. It is either me or I need to upgrade camera. Any recommendations or tips are appreciated because I don't know if I should stick with a Nikon or switch over to Canon. 

Indoor sports photography is difficult, regardless of the brand camera you use.  Everyone faces the same challenges in low lighting.  There are three issues you have control over with regards to indoor sports photography (when you cannot use flash);  ISO, shutter speed, and lens aperture.  Regardless of the camera brand, you most often want to use the largest aperture possible to let the most light into your camera, while using the fastest shutter speed to assist in freezing action, and hoping to use a low ISO setting to reduce image noise (though this is not always possible as you may need a higher ISO setting to get the faster shutter speed).  To a lesser extent, the type of sensor used by your camera and the sensor size can also affect low-light image quality.  The Nikon D60 that you currently own was originally released back in 2008, and has a top native ISO of ISO 1600.  Early DSLR cameras did not have good low-light performance, and the Nikon D60 used a CCD sensor, which also impacts its low-light performance.  Low-light image performance first made a dramatic improvement with the Nikon D3s, released in 2009, one year later, though it took time to trickle down to entry-level cameras.  However, current DSLR cameras have FAR better low-light performance compared to the Nikon D60.

All that being said, the cameras I would recommend for your usage needs would be the Nikon D610 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID610, the Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID7500, or the  Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID5600B.  For a lens that would be compatible for use with all of the above cameras, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens for Nikon AF, B&H # TA7020028MN, would be my recommendation for an economical option for your usage needs.  The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens is four (4) times brighter than the 55-200mm lens you have, and unlike your 55-200mm lens, its constant f/2.8 aperture lets the same amount of light into the camera, regardless of the zoom setting.  Even if you switched to a different brand, the recommendation would be similar.  A similar option from Canon would be the Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # CAE80D, and the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens for Canon EOS DSLR Cameras, B&H # TA7020028MC, but I would still recommend the options I listed above from Nikon for your usage needs.

Hi there, 

I am a total beginner and am looking for some help with a setup for my specific intentions. I will be using the camera (75% +) to film surfing and occasionally for stills. I am looking for something entry level and user friendly all things considered. Something I can hand off to to a friend with little experience and get quality footage. Auto-focus lens is probably a must, the surfer will be anywhere from 30-200+yards away. Any tips would be greatly appreciated

I would recommend the Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens, B&H # NID56001855, for your stated usage needs. While it is one of Nikon's entry-level DSLR cameras, it still has good performance for sports photography and can shoot up to 5 frames per second in continuous burst mode. The kit listed above comes with the standard 18-55mm zoom lens, which is a decent lens option for everyday photography usage needs, but to zoom out to long distance subjects such as surfers, you would need a telephoto zoom lens. Due to the distance surfers are from the camera, I would recommend a longer-than-normal telephoto zoom lens. Options like the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Nikon F, B&H # SI100400N, or the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Nikon F, B&H # SI1506005CN, as good autofocus telephoto lenses. However, if you are on a budget and you need a more economically-priced option, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens, B&H # NI55300GAF, would work for your usage needs.

Hi, I’m having problems on finding the right camera I like taking pictures of cars and nature, but don’t know what one is right for both. 

The Nikon D500 would be a well rounded camera for shooting cars (either at slower or faster speeds) as well as nature.  This camera would provide a continuous shooting rate of 10 FPS and a very ISO range for shooting in situations with very low light. https://bhpho.to/2fH5kHY

Hi, I’m looking to buy a camera for tennis shots as well as family adventures. Your site recommends the Canon EOS 7D, is this the best option and does it come with everything so I can just take it out the box and start taking beautiful pictures?

While I do personally own the original Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera, the original Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase.  It has been replaced with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera, which I would say is an excellent camera for your usage needs.  In its price range (and among other similar cameras), the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera has one of the fastest continuous drive modes for burst shooting, with the capacity to shoot up to 10 frames per second when shooting still photography.  It also has one of the more advanced autofocus systems with 65 focus points.  It is a good option for tracking subjects such as tennis players, and as it does have a Scene Intelligent Auto Mode and a Program Automatic Exposure mode, you can use the camera for ease-of-use with recreational and family usage.  It would be a great option for your usage needs.  If you need a more economical option, the Canon 80D DSLR camera would be a good option for your usage needs.

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # CAE7D2, would be the first camera I listed above.  The camera comes with everything but a lens, which is required to be purchased separately.  If you are looking for lens options, I would recommend either the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens for Canon DSLRs with APS-C Sensors, B&H # SI175028CA, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens, B&H # CA18135ISUSM, or the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens, B&H # CA185545STM, listed in order of recommendation.  The Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens, B&H # CAE80D1855, and the Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens, B&H # CAE80D18135, would be camera kits that would include the camera, lens, and other accessories that would allow you to start shooting out-of-the-box.

Hello, I currently have the Cannon Rebel T6i. I am looking to do more sports photography, but still of course portraits as well. It's for more personal use, so I do not need to spend copious amounts of money at it. Looking for budget of $1,500 or less. Should I keep the body I have and looking at better lenses, or looking at a whole upgrade of a body and lens? Thank you!

Hi. I need a camera for my Photography A-Level, and I also want to use it for personal use too. I am into taking lots of busy/action photos so I need a camera with a high fps. The only problem I face is that my budget for the camera is 300 and as I have discovered that's quiet cheap for the type of camera I am searching for. I don't know much about cameras, so a point and shoot may be the best thing for me, but I also want to get a really good range of photos in my portfolio, so are interchangeable lenses a good idea?? Please give me some suggestions. Thanks.

An interchangeable lens camera would be a great option since it gives you more control over the angle of view in your image and in most cases, you would have much shutter lag to be concerned with.   Also, interchangeable lens cameras tend to offer larger sensors, so you would get better image quality and better depth of field control. Within your budget, a point and shoot camera is really the best solution, particular a super zoom bridge camera like the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80, B&H # PADCFZ80B. With this model, you do have smaller sensor, but you have a continuous shooting rate up to 10 FPS, a fast f/2.8 lens and a very long zoom range.   https://bhpho.to/2o2uUIF

Hi. I'm a beginner photographer. My husband and I are going to Africa on a safari. I need a camera that is good in low light, (dusk and dawn when the animals tend to move around), zoom, action shots and video. But I also want to use it for family functions. I'm not worried about price. I really don't think I want to change the lenses, exceptally in Africa cause of all the dust. Please give me some suggestion.

If you are looking for a point-and-shoot camera with a built-in zoom lens with decent low-light performance and enough zoom for safari usage needs, the cameras I would recommend for your usage needs would be the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # PADMCFZ250BK, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # SODSCRX102X, or the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # CAPSG1X2K, listed in order of recommendation.  If you want a more compact camera and do not require that much zoom, then I would instead recommend the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # SODSCRX1005K, or the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # SODSCRX1005K, for your usage needs. 

Hi, I am so glad I found this article but I still can't decide which camera to get for my intended purpose so I would appreciate some help here. I have had a Nikon D40X for many years but definitely consider myself still a beginner, LOL. I have both a 50mm f1.4 lens and a 18-200 f3.5-5.6 VR lens but I mostly used the 18-200mm for taking family and travel pictures. I have gotten many beautiful pictures from this camera/lens combo, but I do not like the 3 fixed (and limited) focus points and generally find it difficult to take good action photos or good photos in poorly lit space. (The fact that I haven't spent a lot of time studying digital photography definitely has something to do with that! :)) Now that my interest also include taking pictures for horse jumping events, sometimes in poorly lit indoor arenas, I am looking for a change. I am open to cameras that are compatible with the lenses I already have, and I am also open to mirrorless cameras. What would you recommend? Thanks!

If you wish to use the lenses you currently own, I would recommend staying with a Nikon DSLR camera.  At this time, Nikon does not have any mirrorless cameras that natively accept Nikon lenses, and while you may use lens adapters to connect Nikon F-mount lenses onto mirrorless cameras, you would lose autofocus capability.  As such, the Nikon DSLR cameras I would recommend for your planned usage would be either the Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID5600B, or the Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera (Body Only), B&H # NID7500.  The Nikon D40x you currently own was originally released back in 2007, and over the last decade, there has been massive improvements in digital camera design.  The Nikon D5600 DSLR camera is the current replacement of the D40x (the eighth update since the D40x).  In particular to your inquiry, the three main updates I would indicate would be the increased resolution (the D5600 is 24 megapixels compared to 10 megapixels of the D40x), the camera has 39 autofocus points, 9 of which are cross-type points (the D40x had 3 focus point, and only the center point was a cross-type point), and the D5600 has a burst rate of 5 frames per second (compared to 3 frames per second on the D40x).  The D5600 also has much higher image quality, color depth, dynamic range, low-light performance, has a larger tilt-swivel LCD touchscreen with higher image resolution, almost twice the battery life with 970 images per charge, has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to wirelessly transfer images from the camera to your smartphone or tablet, shoots 1080p HD video at 60 fps, has an external microphone jack, and has a much larger buffer when shooting burst shots.

The Nikon D7500 does not have a tilt-swivel screen, and has lower resolution at 20.9 megapixels, but it does have even more AF points, 51 points, 15 of which are cross-type, has a faster 8 frame per second burst rate, even better low-light performance, shoots 4K UHD video, and has a brighter viewfinder with more magnification.  It also has a top deck display for viewing camera settings and adds a headphone jack if you wish to monitor audio when recording video.  While you may not need all of the newer features of the cameras, both options have higher resolution, improved image quality (especially low-light quality for shooting sports at higher ISO settings), faster burst speeds, and more focus points.  I would happily recommend either of these two cameras for your planned usage needs.  Both above cameras would be fully compatible with all current lenses and flashes you currently own.

Thank you, Manzell, for your recommendations. I really like the D5600's light weight, fully articulated screen and price point. Sometimes I will need to take horse jumping pictures in a covered arena that has either overhead lights or just natural light coming from the open sides. Will D5600 struggle in those conditions? Also how is the AF tracking on D5600? That seems to be a strong point for D7500. Obviously D7500 is a better camera all around, but D5600 has its advantages as well so it's a hard call. LOL

I am also considering a bridge-type camera like the Sony RX10 Mark II. It is similar in price to the Nikon D7500. Assuming I don't get new lenses, which do you consider a better end result, the Sony RX10 Mark II or Nikon D7500 plus my current 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens? And are the newer version of the Sony RX 10 Mark (III and IV) so much better for a casual user like me?

Thanks again for your advice! Please bare with me with all these questions. Sometimes I miss the good old days of having few options. :)

Action images in low lighting is tough for any camera, including professional cameras.  That is why it is also best to use the brightest lens you have available to allow the most amount of light to enter the camera.  That being said, for a camera using the smaller APS-C sensor, the Nikon D5600 DSLR camera has pretty good low-light performance, and is only slightly behind the Nikon D7500 DSLR camera in terms of low-light image quality.  Compared to the Nikon D40x, it is no contest.  According to the sensor rating from DxOMark, the Nikon D40x had a low-light rating of 516 with an ISO range of ISO 100-3200.  The Nikon D5600 DSLR camera has a low-light rating of 1306 with a much wider range of ISO 100-25,600, while the Nikon D7500 has a low-light rating of 1483 and an ISO range of 100-1,640,000.  Where the Nikon D40x’s top ISO was 3200, and was extremely noisy at that setting, you could easily use either the D5600 or D7500 at ISO 3200 which would allow you to shoot in lower light, and would have either similar or less noise than the Nikon D40x set to/near ISO 800.  Using a higher ISO setting with lower noise and using a brighter lens will allow you to get much better images in low lighting compared to your current camera.  For a good quality telephoto lens with bright optics, an economical option much better compared to Nikon’s kit telephoto lenses would be the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens for Nikon AF, B&H # TA7020028MN.  You would have decent autofocus tracking with the Nikon D5600 DSLR camera.  If you are looking for an all-in-one point-and-shoot camera with a long zoom range, then the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II Digital Camera may work for your usage needs.  It’s low-light range is just slightly better than the Nikon D40x DSLR camera as it uses a smaller sensor, but it does have a wider ISO range of ISO 64-25,600.  It may not be as good as the Nikon cameras for low-light usage needs, but it would be a decent contender to the D40x as well as having a longer zoom range compared to your current camera, as well as having higher image resolution at 20 megapixels and has a much faster burst rate of 14 frames per second.

Great information. Thank you!

I'm looking for a good camera to take photos of farm machinery. Usually outside with a wide variety of lighting conditions, usually somewhat bright and harsh. The equipment would typically be in motion (4-10 mph) but also still at times. I would also use it for some stills and come close ups of specific parts and such. Sometimes against black dirt, sometimes against a golden, freshly harvested crop. Given the nature of the subjects it would also be somewhat prone to dust and dirt exposure. What would you recommend?

Hi Ben,

A great camera to consider for your needs is the Nikon D500 DSLR Camera with 16-80mm Lens B&H # NID5001680, which is great in various light conditions and is environmentally sealed against moisture, dust or dirt.  https://bhpho.to/2fH5kHY

 

Hey Kirk, my wife and I are needing something to take quality pictures of her and the dog at shows. The venue is usually indoors with poor lighting. I like the idea of sticking with a mirrorless and especially am drawn to the Sony A6300. My only experience is with an Olympus EPL1 and results have been poor. I'm open to suggestions of anything but would like to stay below $1000. Below $800 would be ideal.

Thanks!

From my own experience with it, the Sony A6300 would be an excellent choice for your application, based on its low light performance, fast continuous shooting rate and fast autofocus. However, once you add on a zoom lens, that will bring you beyond your budget of $800.  One such kit is the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-70mm Lens Kit B&H # SOA6300BQ. The next step down from this is the A6000, which has an ISO range that is lower than that of the A6300, but it more affordable.  That comes in a basic kit with the E 16-50mm lens, B&H # SOA6000BK.  https://bhpho.to/2aME5cr  https://bhpho.to/2nvqdKU

 

I am looking for a camera to start taking family pictures and action shots as my family drag races and attends classic car events I was looking at the Nikon d5600 camera kit with the 18-140mm &70-300mm lens but I have no idea if that is what would be best for me would like to stay around 1000-1500 if I can thanks

For your needs, I feel the Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera (Body Only) B&H # NID7200 is going to be a better option for a few reasons. One reason is the better autofocus system while another is the larger buffer.  Also, you would have a larger range of lenses to use with it.  You can purchase the Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Lens  and the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens along with this body with a special bundle offer which is valid until June 2, 2018.  You can find the lenses under “Build Bundle” on the item page for the D7200.  https://bhpho.to/2b1plpT

I need a family camera that can give me the best fast action continuous sports shots, indoors, for fencing action shots and footage. Most of what I see seem to be in the $1000/£800 + UK price bracket where as my limited budget is less than half that. I am desperate to take some quality shots (or at least the best I can) for my competitive family but there seems to be so much out there and its all very confusing for someone like me. I keep thinking Ive narrowed it down (seen Panasonic Lumix/Sony DSCRX100/Nikon D3200) but then the market seems to change again.  Would really appreciate some help in the best I can get in my budget. Thank you! 

 You may want to consider a bridge type point and shoot camera, since it would give you plenty of zoom in a smaller form factor.  The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 Digital Camera B&H # PADCFZ80B is one option that will give you those attributes as well as a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a continuous shooting rate up to 10 FPS.  https://bhpho.to/2o2uUIF

Hello!  Please help me with the best 4k dslr for shooting basketball video.  Thank you!  

When shooting Video for a fast moving sport like basketball solid Auto Focus will be the the most important feature you need.  The Sony A6500 with 18-105mm PZ lens is the perfect choice for this.  You'll have a versatile lens with a great range and power zoom, along with what many consider the best Video Auto Focus performance for a DSLR/Mirrorless camera.

https://bhpho.to/2HgUgAF

Thanks!

I have used a Canon 70D for the past few years and really enjoyed it. I have used it for real estate photography and studio apparel/retail photography, and it really is a great camera for the money. Now I am looking to buy a camera for myself, and I'm thinking about getting the 80D but also wondering if I should make the jump to full-frame. I don't want to spend a lot, and I'm not sure if I really NEED a full-frame camera or if I just want one :) I was convinced to get the 80D, but then I did a backstage shoot at a theatre rehearsal (just for fun) with the 70D and really felt the lack of quality in lower light scenarios. I'm also open to upgrading to a full-frame somewhere down the line, if I don't really need it yet, and keeping whatever I buy now as a backup camera.

I need to take pet photos, both outside and in-studio (though probably more often in studio). I may do some product photography, and I also want to create good-quality videos from time to time. I would really appreciate some recommendations on a good lens setup to start out with as well. I have used Canon's 50mm and 85mm for studio stuff before, and love them, but my home studio is much smaller so perhaps a zoom or a 35mm might be more versatile?

I will answer the question concerning full-frame versus APS-C sensor first (though I will give you options for both).  If you plan to shoot a lot more of the backstage theater rehearsal images and/or you need much better low-light performance, then I would recommend moving up to a full-frame sensor.  One of the main benefits in the larger sensor is the better low-light performance (and, depending on the camera, sometimes also an improvement in dynamic range).  The Canon EOS 6D Mark II would have much better low light performance compared to both the Canon EOS 70D and EOS 80D, though the 80D does surprisingly have about 1.2 stops better dynamic range performance.  For low-light usage, I would definitely recommend the full-frame Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR camera.  It would have less noise at higher ISO settings and a wider ISO range.  That being said, the Canon EOS 80D does offer a slight improvement in low-light performance compared to the 70D, just not nearly as much as a full-frame option.  However, a full-frame camera would require you to purchase all new lenses for your real estate photography usage needs, especially if you are using wide angle lenses now and EF-S lenses, which would not be compatible on the full-frame camera.

Now, do you NEED a full-frame camera, as you asked in your inquiry?  It is not a necessity, even if you really want one.  While I do often recommend it for people who are either shooting in low lighting, who need wide dynamic range (such as landscape photographers), or those who are printing larger-than-poster size images (such as some wedding, portrait, and studio photographers), APS-C cameras have come a long way in terms of image quality, and with both better sensors and better RAW converters, and with proper (or decent) exposure, most image files contain enough information to allow you to interpolate the files if you do need to print the occasional large poster image.  However, if you are consistently printing 12x18” or 16x20” images or smaller, or you only post online or use images in a digital format, a full-frame camera may not be a necessity.  Pet photos, indoor and outdoor studio images, product photography, and good quality videos can be taken with a smaller sensor camera (also note that, with the exception of the very top-end options, most professional video camcorders use sensors and image resolutions much smaller than those used in DSLR or mirrorless digital cameras).

If you have really enjoyed your Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera, then I think the Canon EOS 80D would be a good improvement for you.  You will have a nice jump in dynamic range and a slight increase in low-light image quality, along with the performance increases, such as 45 autofocus points, all which are cross-type (compared to 19 on the 70D), an increase in overall image resolution, and a larger RAW buffer when shooting burst images (which may be convenient for your pet photos).  For video recording usage, the 80D also includes a headphone jack so you may monitor the incoming audio.  As the sensor size remains the same, your 50mm and 85mm lenses will operate the same as they did on your 70D.  If you are in a smaller space and you want a zoom lens for use with your camera, I would recommend the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon, B&H # SI183518DCC, or the more economical Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens for Canon DSLRs with APS-C Sensors, B&H # SI175028CA, for your usage needs.  For wide angle interior photos for real estate or for large indoor groups, I would recommend the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens For Canon Cameras, B&H # SI102035C, for your usage needs.

If you decided to go with a full-frame camera, as long as the 50mm and 85mm lenses you list are designed for the Canon EF lens mount, they would be compatible for use with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR camera.  Just note their angle of view will be slightly wider than you may currently be used to on your 70D (which would be good in a smaller space).  However, if you still want a wider zoom lens for the full-frame camera, I would recommend either the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, B&H # CA247028LII, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Lens for Canon Cameras, B&H # TA247028C, or the Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS, B&H # TA287528CAF.  For a wide-angle zoom lens, I would recommend either the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens, B&H # CA163528LEF3, or the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX Lens for Canon, B&H # TO162828FXC.  All lenses are listed in the order in which I recommend them in their respected focal length ranges.

I do a lot of horse pictures so need a camera that can shoot in coninuous mode. My issue is that after shooting in the burst mode some of the cameras I've tried take too long to process the burst and stop me from shooting more photos until that burst is uploaded to the cameras storage.  Is there a camera you would suggest that will let me keep shooting in continuous burst mode but then not take so long to process so I can keep shooting photos?  Thank you!

HI Heather,

What I would recommend for your needs is the Nikon D500, B&H # NID500, which has a large buffer for writing the data and the ability to shoot up to 10 FPS. https://bhpho.to/2bstdib

Hello

I shoot a lot of videos for youtube of my rc cars they reach speeds between 20mph and 50 mph, I have used every gopro up too hero 4 and sony hdr asv  cams, I also edit a lot of slow motion of these vehicles in action.

The problems I am having with the gopro and sony action cams are... the vehicle being blurry as it passes by, I've read that even tho a gopro states 60 fps, 120 fps and so on that not every frame is being shot clear, maybe only 10 out of 60 fps will come thru clear and maybe less than that... as these action cams are really only good for objects like my rcs t g at are with in 20 feet beyond that they are just a black object.

I am searching for a camera dslr?  mirrorless?  Or camcorder that can keep focus on my rc out too 80 feet, and keep that focus as it comes to with in 2 feet at the speeds in which these rcs can travel, has 4k capabiity, can do do frame rates required for slow motion, and can capture more clear fps for those frame rates than what the gopro are doing, my price range is $1,000 too $1,600 would also like motion tracking with auto focus that can keep the vehicle in focus... and lens suggestions, positive wide angle lens if possible... thank you pls. Help with suggestions

For your stated usage needs, I would recommend the Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Free Accessory Kit, B&H # SOA6500BACK, as a camera with fast autofocus and good tracking.  For lens recommendations, I would recommend either the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Sony E-mount Cameras (Black), B&H # SI1928DNSEB, or the Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Lens, B&H # SO2028Q.  If you would like a wider lens, while it may not be in your current listed budget, the Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Lens, B&H # SO10184, would be a great option for your usage needs.  The GoPro cameras tend  th have a wide angle of view around 118-122 degrees on the wide end and 64 degrees on the narrow end (depending on the framing; 4x3 W/M/N or 16x9 W/M/N).  The two fixed lenses I listed have an angle of view of around 70-73 degrees, while the Sony zoom lens has an angle of view around 109 degrees.  If you do prefer the wider lens, but need a more economical camera, the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Accessory Kit, B&H # SOA6300BBK, would be my recommendation.  The camera is similar to the a6500 except it does not have the in-camera stabilization or the LCD touchscreen with the larger buffer and built-in Bluetooth.  Otherwise, the focusing and tracking would be similar with both cameras.

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Hello -  

I am currently using a Canon Rebel T3i with a Tamron 18-270mm lens.  It has been a great multi-use camera over the 7-8 years I have had it.  However, I am starting to be disappointed with my action shots.  My daughters compete in horseback riding and I often shoot in action mode - the photos have become less and less sharp over time, the shutter speed just doesn't seem to be fast enough, and it seems to be working too hard at times to focus properly.  The camera body has gone back to Canon and mirrors were replaced.  What can you recommend for my next step?  Do I need to be looking for a new camera body or would a new lens help instead?...or both?  I like the ease of use of the Tamron lens - wide range without having to changes lenses.  Video & Wifi features are not important.  Thanks in advance for your help! 

What you may want to consider is using the Canon 7D Mark II, B&H # CAE7D2, since it offers the ability to shoot up to 10 FPS in continuous mode and offers very fast autofocus. You may pair this with the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens for Canon EF B&H # TA18400C as a great all around zoom lens. https://bhpho.to/2tZVuG0   https://bhpho.to/2bbWSMt

Hi 

I want a camera which can shoot my speech and upload in to youtube,  facebook, WhatsApp etc., Apart from taking good photo shots. It could be cost effective. Can anyone suggest the good one please? 

A great camera to consider for your needs is the Sony A6300, B&H # SOA6300BK for its image quality, video features and fast autofocus.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1222773-REG/sony_soa6300bk_alpha_a6300_mirrorless_digital.html

Hi.  Thanks for the info.  Not sure if these cameras are a bit overboard for my needs or not.  I would like to purchase a digital camera that has decent zoom and action shot capability, to record pics and videos of my son’s college lacrosse games.  I would also like it to be simple to upload these photos and videos to the team web site, YouTube, Facebook, etc.  (This would also serve as a general use camera for family photos, videos.)  Looking to upgrade from my iPhone SE camera, which is no longer sufficient for my needs, but I don’t want to break the bank, either.  I’m not a pro, so I don’t want anything TOO complicated.  Any suggestions?  Thanks!

Three cameras I would recommend for your planned usage needs would be the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 Digital Camera with Free Accessory Kit (Black), B&H # PADCZS70BBK, which has a 30x optical zoom, 10 continuous frames per second in burst shooting mode, and built-in optical stabilization, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 Digital Camera with Accessory Kit, B&H # SODSCHX80BK, which also has 30x optical zoom, 10 continuous frames per second in burst shooting mode, and built-in optical stabilization, or the slightly larger Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera (Black), B&H # NICPB500B, which has more zoom with its 40x optical zoom, still has optical stabilization, but is slightly slower at 7.4 frames per second in continuous burst mode (still more than fast enough for use with sports photography). All three options have good zoom range, are easy-to-use point-and-shoot digital cameras, and all have built-in Wi-Fi for easy transfer and upload of your images to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. While the above are all near the same price range and are good options, if you nee a more economical option, the Nikon COOLPIX A900 Digital Camera (Silver, Refurbished), B&H # NICPA900SR, would be the most economical option I would recommend for your usage needs.

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