Top Camera Picks for Sports, Wildlife, and Action Photography


Whether you’re shooting sports from the sidelines or a wildlife migration in deepest Africa, you’re going to want a camera that’s fast and responsive enough to catch all the action.

Yet, choosing the right tools to suit such conditions comes with many considerations, and the first thing to know is there are always tradeoffs when purchasing gear. While top-of-the-line full-frame cameras offer the fastest continuous shooting speeds, the most discerning autofocus systems, and the largest camera buffers, these perks come at a considerable cost, besides adding size and weight to your bag. If you want the best possible performance in tough situations, a fast and powerful camera packing the latest technology is key. However, a casual enthusiast with affordability and ease of use in mind might consider other camera options with the understanding that certain creative and technical feats could be a stretch.

Another valuable shopping tip from the B&H Live Chat staff is this: “When purchasing a new camera, it’s more practical to stay with the same brand, due to existing familiarity with menu layouts and camera controls, not to mention compatibility between lenses and other accessories.”

Whatever your preference and price point may be, here’s a wide-ranging shortlist of cameras recommended for sports, wildlife, and action subjects to help jumpstart your adventures in 2022.

1. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR

Continuing its tradition of flagship DSLRs for action and sports, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III features a 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a DIGIC X processor to enable continuous shooting up to 20 fps in live view, and 16 fps when working with the viewfinder, plus a buffer that allows raw+JPEG bursts of up to 1,000-frame sequences. The refined EOS iTR AF X autofocus system uses 191 points to acquire focus on subjects quickly and accurately, including 155 cross-type points that excel in varied lighting conditions. When working in live view, Dual Pixel CMOS AF uses 3,869 manually selectable points to provide smooth, natural focusing. Face-tracking and head-detection AF functions use Deep Learning Technology to maintain critical focus on moving subjects, while an expanded sensitivity range of ISO 50-819200 allows for impressive low-light performance. The EOS-1D X Mark III has been designed for the pro shooter, with a durable magnesium alloy body that is weather- and dustproof. For motion footage, the camera supports DCI 4K-resolution video recording at up to 60 fps, with 10-bit 4:2:2 color, as well as raw 5.5K video, plus Full HD 1080p recording up to 120 fps to allow for slow-motion playback. Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS permit seamless wireless connectivity, and a built-in Ethernet port allows for faster wired LAN file transferring.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera

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2. Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Digital Camera

For Canon shooters seeking an affordable transition to mirrorless, the EOS R6 offers a lightweight alternative, featuring a 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor paired with a DIGIC X processor for continuous shooting up to 12 fps with a mechanical shutter, or a silent 20 fps with an electronic shutter. In a first for EOS cameras, the R6 features 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization that can compensate for up to 8 stops of camera shake, to help steady low-light shots at slow shutter speeds, while the camera’s native sensitivity from ISO 100-102400 (expandable to 204800) facilitates work with moving subjects. Dual Pixel CMOS II AF offers quick and accurate focusing using 1,053 selectable points covering the entire field of view, enhanced with Deep Learning Technology for improved subject tracking and precise eye, face, and head detection for people and animals. Autofocus capabilities are further complemented by a Touch AF system, which allows for changing focus by tapping or dragging your finger across the rear LCD. The camera’s 0.5" 3.69m-dot electronic viewfinder has a high 120 fps refresh rate, and a rear 3.0" 1.62m-dot touchscreen LCD offers a vari-angle design to accommodate working from high and low angles, as well as front-facing recording to serve vlogging needs. Beyond stills, the 20MP sensor offers UHD 4K video recording at up to 60 fps, and Full HD at 120 fps for slow-motion playback. On the outside, the camera’s durable, weather-sealed body is built to handle tough working conditions and inclement weather, while dual SD UHS-II memory card slots allow for flexible storage needs, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless sharing and remote camera control.

Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera
Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera

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3. Canon EOS R Mirrorless Digital Camera

The past few years have seen multiple iterations of mirrorless cameras introduced into the marketplace. As the first step in Canon’s mirrorless evolution, the EOS R offers yet another viable option for Canon shooters on a budget who are anxious to make the switch. Featuring a high-resolution 30.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 8 processor, the EOS R offers continuous shooting up to 8 fps for photographing moving subjects and a sensitivity range up to a native ISO 40000 (expandable to 102400). The camera’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF system uses 5655 selectable phase-detection points across a majority of the sensor for quick and accurate focusing down to -6 EV when working in dark conditions. The EOS R supports UHD 4K video recording up to 30 fps at 480 Mb/s, along with Full HD 1080p shooting at 60 fps and HD 720p at 120 fps for slow-motion playback. Audio can be recorded using the onboard stereo microphone or an optional external mic via the 3.5mm mic jack. The camera’s integrated 3.69m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder has 0.71x magnification, offering clear and bright eye-level viewing, while the rear 3.15" 2.1m-dot LCD swivels to suit working from high and low angles and touchscreen functionality for intuitive control over shooting, playback, and menu navigation controls. Also bringing up the rear, a customizable Multi-Function bar can be set to control four camera functions using right, left, slide, and press movements.

Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera
Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

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4. Canon EOS 90D DSLR

Crop sensor cameras can benefit sports and wildlife shooters seeking to get more zoom out of any given lens. This fact, paired with an attractive price point, makes the Canon EOS 90D DSLR a great choice for budget-conscious enthusiasts looking to upgrade from a point-and-shoot or entry level model. Featuring a 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a DIGIC 8 image processor, the 90D offers a continuous shooting rate up to 10 fps with a mechanical shutter and 7 fps in live view. The combination of sensor and processor achieves enhanced image clarity, resolution, and dynamic range, along with adept sensitivity up to ISO 25600 and low noise to support shooting in a variety of situations. Fast action capture relies heavily upon the broad coverage of a 45-point all cross-type phase-detection AF system, ideal for tracking and maintaining focus on moving subjects, and quick and precise focusing in difficult lighting conditions down to -3 EV. For those working across platforms, UHD 4K30p and high-speed Full HD 1080p video is supported at 120 fps, while the 5,481-point Dual Pixel CMOS AF system benefits live-view shooting and movie recording by providing smooth, natural focusing quality. Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity allow you to pair mobile devices with the camera to transfer files wirelessly for sharing your photos and movies online.

Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera
Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera

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5. Nikon D6 DSLR

Another flagship DSLR, the Nikon D6 houses a 20.8MP FX-format CMOS sensor, an EXPEED 6 processor, and the high-density Multi-CAM 37K autofocus system featuring 105 cross-type points and 1.6x greater frame coverage than previous models. When working with moving subjects, 17 custom Group Area AF settings can be used to set and maintain focus on subjects featuring busy backgrounds or fast movement. Photographers wanting to capture sports action or animals running at top speeds will benefit from the 14 fps maximum continuous frame rate for up to 200 consecutive frames. Midnight wildlife feed times and night games won’t be as challenging to shoot with the native sensitivity range of ISO 100-102400 and the expanded range of ISO 50-3280000. Photographers who work in video will be pleased with the D6’s 4K UHD video-recording capabilities at 30, 25, and 24 fps frame rates, as well as Full HD and HD recording support. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work in conjunction with Snapbridge for seamless wireless file transferring and remote camera control from a mobile device, while a built-in wired LAN function enables a seamless transfer of stills and movie files for expediting an entire post-production workflow. For more robust wireless file transferring, the D6 is also compatible with the optional WT-6A Wireless Transmitter.

Nikon D6 DSLR Camera
Nikon D6 DSLR Camera

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6. Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Digital Camera

For blazing speed in a compact mirrorless body, the Nikon Z 9 combines a newly developed 45.7MP FX-format BSI stacked CMOS sensor and an EXPEED 7 image processor to provide a blackout-free “Real-Live” electronic viewfinder and LCD. An electronic-only shutter offers the fastest scanning speeds with dramatically minimized rolling shutter and motion distortion for accurate depiction of rapidly moving subjects, while a deeper buffer enables continuous shooting at 20 fps for up to 1,000 frames in raw, up to 30 fps in jpg, or up to 120 fps at 11MP. The camera’s AF system features an array of 493 phase-detect autofocus points for fast and accurate focusing, with a Starlight mode that permits focusing down to -8.5 EV under low-light conditions to benefit astrophotography and other nighttime shooting applications greatly. As Nikon’s first pro-level mirrorless offering, the Z 9 adopts the popular 3D focus tracking from Nikon DSLRs, while Deep Learning Technology enables automatic subject detection to recognize nine distinct subject types, to lock onto fast and erratically moving subjects parallel and perpendicular to the camera axis. These high-end photo attributes are complemented by impressive video specs, featuring a wide range of resolutions and frame rates up to 8K. Continuous shooting at UHD 8K 30p video can be recorded using full pixel readout for up to 2 hours. Full-frame 4K recording is also available, with up to 120p for slow-motion playback. Using an 8K area, oversampled UHD 4K recording is possible at up to 30p for increased sharpness and detail. Additionally, high-resolution frame grabs can be captured in-camera from 8K and 4K videos, producing 33MP or 11MP stills, respectively. The Z 9’s durable build quality features an ergonomic form factor with a vertical grip along one side to aid in switching between horizontal and vertical orientations. Bringing up the rear, a 3.2" 2.1m-dot four-way tilting touchscreen LCD allows for ease of viewing from a variety of positions, with a user interface that shifts orientation, depending on how the camera is held.

Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Camera
Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Camera

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7. Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless

As the second generation in Nikon’s full frame mirrorless ecosystem, the Nikon Z 6II is a smart move for photographers seeking a late-model mirrorless at an attractive price point. The camera’s high-resolution 24.5MP FX-format BSI CMOS sensor and dual EXPEED 6 image processors allow for continuous shooting at 14 fps with single-point AF (12 fps in other focusing modes) for up to 124 frames, and a deeper buffer (3.5x greater than the Z6) for working with moving subjects. A back-illuminated sensor supports a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 51200 (expandable to 204800) for lush image capture and reduced noise at high ISOs. The Z 6II’s AF system features an array of 273 phase-detect autofocus points with approximately 90% coverage for accurate focusing, while Hybrid AF will further benefit video shooters by automatically switching between phase- and contrast-detect systems to capture all the action with extreme precision. UHD 4K video recording is possible with full pixel readout up to 30p (or 60p after an update to Firmware version 1.10), and Full HD 1080p video recording is also supported at up to 120p for slow-motion playback. The camera’s in-body 5-axis sensor-shift Vibration Reduction compensates for up to 5 stops of camera shake when using Nikon Z-type lenses. And for existing Nikon shooters, this system also enables 3-axis stabilization when using the optional FTZ Adapter with adapted F-mount lenses.

Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless Camera
Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless Camera

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8. Nikon D500 DSLR

For flagship performance in a compact DX-format body, the Nikon D500 DSLR camera remains a proven winner for sports and wildlife shooters on a budget. Featuring a 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS sensor and an EXPEED 5 processor, this camera provides a top continuous shooting rate of 10 fps for up to 200 frames in a single burst, with full-time autofocus and exposure metering. Slower continuous shooting rates, as well as a Quiet Continuous Mode for noise-sensitive areas, are also available. The native sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200 (expandable to 1640000) is able to handle tough lighting situations, while the Multi-CAM 20K AF system offers quick response times to benefit tracking fast and randomly moving subjects. The AF engine features 153 total phase-detection points, including 99 cross-type sensors for improved subject recognition, and 55 selectable points for greater compositional freedom. 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.

Nikon D500 DSLR Camera
Nikon D500 DSLR Camera

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9. Nikon D7500 DSLR

Comfortable ergonomics and a sleek profile distinguish the DX-format Nikon D7500, in addition to an even more affordable price point. Featuring a 20.9MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, this enthusiast-level DSLR delivers a continuous shooting rate of 8 fps for up to 50 raw frames or 100 consecutive JPEGS, a native sensitivity up to ISO 51200 (expandable to ISO 1640000), 4K UHD video recording at 30, 25, and 24 fps frame rates, and Full HD/HD recording at up to 60 fps. In addition to straight movie recording, you can also record time-lapse segments for up to 9,999 consecutive frames generated over one week, with up to 4K UHD/30p output. The D7500’s 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX II autofocus system offers AF detection sensitivity down to -3 EV and is integrated with 15 cross-type points for even greater accuracy with centrally located subjects. The pentaprism optical viewfinder on top is balanced by a tilting 3.2" 922k-dot rear touchscreen to benefit working from high and low shooting angles. Built-in SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity permit wireless transferring of photos and movies and remote control over the camera from linked mobile devices. On the outside, the D7500 is fully weather-sealed to permit working in harsh environmental conditions, and comes with a built-in pop-up flash for extra illumination when working in low light.

Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera
Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera

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10. Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR

Featuring a 25.7MP APS-C BSI CMOS sensor, the Pentax K-3 Mark III has a PRIME V image processor, optimized for full-resolution continuous shooting at up to 12 fps, along with UHD 4K video recording at 30p, and a competitive ISO range of 100-1600000. An updated SAFOX 13 AF system features 101 phase-detection points, including 25 cross-type sensors in the middle of the frame, for quick and accurate focusing performance with apt subject tracking capabilities. An advanced 5-axis SR II Shake Reduction system provides 5.5 stops of image stabilization with select lenses to aid even the most experienced fast-action shooter, especially with longer focal lengths. The SR II mechanism also benefits stills applications by enabling a Pixel Shift Resolution feature for richer image detail and resolution, and an AA Filter Simulator function to help mitigate moiré when rendering fabrics and other high-frequency materials.

Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR Camera
Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR Camera

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11. FUJIFILM X-T4 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-T4, which offers a 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor and an X-Processor 4 image processor, both contributing to its full-resolution shooting rate of 15 fps with a mechanical shutter, 20 fps with an electronic shutter, or 30 fps with an electronic shutter and a 1.25x crop. The expandable ISO range of ISO 160-12800 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. When working in difficult lighting conditions or at slower shutter speeds, the X-T4’s built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization works in conjunction with most X Series lenses to help minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 6.5 stops. Additionally, 4-axis digital image stabilization can be used during video recording to further aid in steadying footage, especially when recording handheld. Integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity allows for instant sharing of photos and videos to your Android or iOS mobile device, as well as remote camera control and monitoring.

FUJIFILM X-T4 Mirrorless Camera
FUJIFILM X-T4 Mirrorless Camera

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12. Sony a1 Mirrorless Digital Camera

The Sony a1 mirrorless is a flagship camera in the truest sense of the word. Its recently developed 50.1MP full-frame Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor and revised BIONZ XR image processor enable high-speed shooting up to 30 fps with an electronic shutter and 10 fps with the mechanical shutter, while a large buffer memory permits recording up to 155 compressed raw frames, or 165 JPEGs, in one single burst at 30 fps. The a1’s Fast Hybrid AF system incorporates 759 phase-detection points along with 425 contrast-detection areas for quick and precise focusing in a variety of lighting conditions with sensitivity down to -6 EV. This focusing system can be used in all recording modes, to benefit stills and video applications. UHD 8K 30p XAVC HS 10-bit 4:2:0 video recording is possible using the full width of the sensor, offering 8.6K oversampling for impressive sharpness and realism. For ease in handling, low bit-rate proxy files with HD resolution can be recorded simultaneously with the high-res recording mode. And for critical shooting without motion blur, the camera’s enhanced 5.5-stop effective 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system compensates for five different types of camera shake, while advanced subject tracking and Real-Time Eye AF capabilities are effective for humans and animals, including a dedicated Bird Mode. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC are available without a complex setup, and support for 2.4 and 5 GHz bands enables wireless tethered shooting support, as well as remote camera control.

Sony a1 Mirrorless Camera
Sony a1 Mirrorless Camera

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13. Sony a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Another top choice for sports and action, yet at a friendlier price, the full-frame Sony a9 II features a 24.2MP Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor and an updated BIONZ X image processor that yields impressively quick and responsive performance. Continuous shooting of up to 20 fps is possible using an electronic shutter, or 10 fps shooting with a mechanical shutter, along with a wide sensitivity range up to an expanded ISO 204800. The a9 II’s fast hybrid AF system incorporates 693 phase-detection points along with 425 contrast-detection areas for precise focusing in a variety of lighting conditions with sensitivity down to -3 EV, while High-Density Tracking AF allows for increased accuracy when following moving subjects across the image frame. An enhanced 5.5-stop effective 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system compensates for five different types of camera shake encountered during handheld shooting. In addition to stills, UHD 4K video recording is supported at up to 30 fps, along with Quick and Slow Motion recording options.

Sony a9 II Mirrorless Camera
Sony a9 II Mirrorless Camera

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14. Sony a6600 Mirrorless Digital Camera

For a sleek, yet fully featured crop sensor mirrorless that’s well-suited to stills and video, look no further than the Sony a6600. Sporting a revised 24.2MP APS-C format Exmor CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X processor, this diminutive, budget-friendly camera can tackle a top continuous shooting rate of 11 fps with full AF and AE, while offering a native sensitivity up to ISO 32000 (expandable to ISO 102400). UHD 4K recording is possible in multiple frame rates up to 30 fps, with no recording time limit, and Full HD 1080p recording is also supported up to 120 fps to benefit slow-motion action footage or to speed up a slow-moving scene. The 4D FOCUS system, which covers 84% of the image area, utilizes 425 phase-detection points along with 425 contrast-detection areas for quick and intuitive performance along with Real-Time Eye AF for both photo and video. The camera’s 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization compensates for five different types of camera shake to minimize blur when shooting in low light and at slow shutter speeds, even when using adapted lenses. A 2.36m-dot XGA Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder features a 120 fps viewing mode for smooth tracking of fast-moving subjects, while the rear 3.0" 921.6k-dot LCD incorporates a touchscreen form factor for intuitive touch-to-focus control, and also allows for articulated movements of 180° upward or 74° downward to accommodate working from high and low angles. Beyond imaging capabilities, the a6600 is sheathed in a dust- and moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body to permit working in harsh environments, while built-in Wi-Fi with NFC aids in wireless remote control from a mobile device and sharing images online.

Sony a6600 Mirrorless Camera
Sony a6600 Mirrorless Camera

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15. Sony DSC-RX10 IV Digital Camera

Bridge cameras can be a practical option for those who want the benefit of a wide range of focal lengths without the trouble of carrying bulky glass and switching out lenses in the field. One popular choice in this category, the Sony DSC-RX10 IV, offers a 20.1 MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor with a 25x Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.4-4 lens. This cost-effective all-in-one camera offers a flexible built-in zoom spanning a 24-600mm equivalent focal length and uses Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to minimize the effects of camera shake by up to 4.5 stops. The BIONZ X processor enables continuous shooting up to 24 fps, as well as UHD 4K/30p or Full HD 1080/120p video recording. Complementing the shooting speed of the sensor and processor combination, this camera also offers a quickened 315-point focal plane phase-detection autofocus system for focus speeds as fast as 0.03 seconds. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity round out the RX10 Mark IV for wireless sharing and remote camera control from a linked smartphone or tablet, while the magnesium-alloy body is weather sealed to permit working in trying environments.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV Digital Camera
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV Digital Camera

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16. Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II Digital Camera

Finally, for an even more economical bridge camera option, the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II combines a large 20.1MP 1" high-sensitivity MOS sensor and Venus Engine processor to enable continuous shooting at up to 12 fps with single-shot AF, 7 fps with continuous AF, 30 fps at 8MP in three different 4K PHOTO modes, and UHD 4K video recording at 30p. The integrated 16x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom offers a 25-400mm equivalent focal-length range and a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4. A 5-axis HYBRID Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for a variety of camera movements for sharper handheld shooting in difficult light, while a unique Level Shot function automatically detects the horizontal line of an image and keeps it level during shooting, regardless of camera tilt, helping to achieve greater stability. The camera's ergonomic design incorporates a 0.39", 0.74x-magnification electronic viewfinder with a 2.36m-dot resolution and a 3.0" 1.24m-dot touchscreen LCD featuring a free-angle design that flips out 180° to the side and tilts 270° to permit working from high, low, and front-facing angles. Connectivity is assisted by built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless image sharing or remote control from a linked smartphone or tablet.

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II Digital Camera
Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II Digital Camera

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Only the Beginning…

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

Do you have a favorite camera for sports or action coverage? Tell us about it in the Comments section, below.

For more sports-related news, tips, and reviews, be sure to check out the Sports Photography section of B&H Explora.


Hi, that's a great article! Thanks! I need help on buying a new camera. I love spotting planes, but now I use my friend's 7D and it is not as great with focus and fps... It let me down several times during an airshow. I'm looking for a camera that has a great balance between AF and high fps shoots. I was told I should get a full frame, but I'm not sure if I should get that instead of buying cropped sensor with better features (like AF and high fps). I also need to buy zoom lenses, at least 300 according to my spotter friend. I thought the Z6 would work (I can only afford used or refurbished cameras, btw, because I need big lenses) but I've read some reviews of how its focus isn't so good and how there's a blackout on the screen with the burst... I'm so confused. I'm leaning towards Nikon because that's the brand we've always used at home, plus I saw two great lenses that I could use at airshows ( one is 18-300). So yeah, there are so many options. I'm miserable. please help!

Thank you for the article, it was informative!

I am interested in a few types of cameras/lenses.  

1. I photography my husband and friends on Pheasant hunts.  I am looking at what would be my best choice of camera for moving birds, distance and good clear shots of dogs and hunters

2. Studio shots of dogs and cats.  indoors, under lights, easy shots of pets.  My best camera/lens for this scenario as well.  while getting and all in one would be great, I get that I will need to spend time and money to get what I want out of the cameras.


Any advice?



forgot to mention, I am currently working with an Iphone and a Sony a200, old, I know but, I will retire soon and my next step in life is to do this full time. 

I sadly had a camera stolen from my car - the Sony Cybershot DS10 (approx $1600).  It was fairly new so I was not fully invested in it as far as understanding it.  

I have a high school sophomore who plays basketball, soccer, and runs track.  I am a newbie when it comes to sports photos but I really enjoy messing around with it.  I love to hike and travel some as well.  I have purchased some on-line photography courses and have an interest in dabbling with photography for fun, however right now sports is my focus and will be for the next few years.  I like taking photos of the team and each player as she's in action.

I don't have my notes in front of me but  a Sony mirrorless camera was recommended.

I am getting an insurance check for about half of the cost of my original camera.  I would like to stay under $2000.

What would you recommend?  I am not married to a brand.  I would say speed, zoom capabilities, autofocus, and room to grow a little with the camera would be my priorities.  Oh, also it can get dusty or rainy at soccer. I try to be careful!

Thank you!!!


I am sorry to hear about the loss/theft of your camera equipment.  That is never a good predicament to be in.  Unfortunately, I am not quite familiar with the Sony DS10 Digital Camera which you mentioned above.  I do know Sony had a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H10, a Cyber-Shot DSC-P10, a Cyber-Shot DSC-T10, and a Cyber-Shot DSC-U10, but I cannot find information on the Sony DS10 you mention above.  All of the above cameras were point-and-shoot cameras with built-in lenses, and with lenses that had a wide range of optical zoom ranges.  


That being said, I do not quite know what features your previous camera had, but as you state that sports is your main focus, and you are looking for a mirrorless camera, I would recommend considering the Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm Lens, B&H # SOA64001650, along with a telephoto lens for sports usage needs, such as either the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary Lens for Sony EB&H # SI100400E, or possibly the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD Lens for Sony EB&H # TA150500S, though that may be slightly pushing your budget (but with the benefit of a very nice zoom range for sports usage needs).  If a more economical lens option is needed, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD Lens for Sony EB&H # TA703004563, would work well for your usage needs.  I think this would be a good setup for a beginning or serious amateur photographer learning photography and interested in sports.


While I would still recommend being careful, both the camera and all three lenses I listed above are environmentally sealed from dust and moisture.  As they are weather-sealed, you can use them outside in the rain and/or snow.  I hope this helps.

Hi, hope all is well. This past year I have decided that I wanted to start a new hobby and that is to take on sports photography and videography. I have read majority of the articles that you all provide on sports photography and they are great and very detailed. You all recommend many great cameras but I’m having a hard time narrowing my search. I’m looking for a camera that I can use for sports portraits, action shoots, and sports videography. I’m not biased towards a camera brand. I will be shooting lots of sports so it must work well with indoor and outdoor lighting. Can you please give 2 camera recommendations? One for someone who has a budget of $1,000 and one who doesn’t have a budget. Hope to hear from you soon and please continue to post more articles on sports photography, I really enjoyed reading them!

As there are few cameras under $1,000.00 that would include a telephoto lens for sports photography, I will list one camera which is a point-and-shoot camera with a built-in lens, but the other two cameras may be slightly over the $1,000.00 threshold.  For a point-and-shoot camera, the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II Digital Camera, B&H # PADCFZ1000M2, would be a good option for sports photography and video recording needs.  The Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera with 55-210mm Lens Kit, B&H # SOA6400B55LK, would be a great camera kit for sports stills and video usage needs, but it is currently out of stock.  The Panasonic Lumix G7 Mirrorless Camera with 14-42mm and 45-150mm Lenses Kit (Black)B&H # PADMCG7KBK, would be an alternative that would also work, though I personally still prefer the Sony camera.


If you are looking for a camera recommendation without a price limit, the Sony a9 II Mirrorless Camera, B&H # SOA92, and the Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera, B&H # CAER3, would be great cameras for sports photography and video usage needs.


Hi, I'm a beginner enthusiast looking to upgrade to a new camera body well-suited for shooting competitive swimming, usually indoors (often low/poor light conditions). I have an old Canon EOS 60D and enjoy using with my Canon EF 70-200 1:2.8 L lens. Can you recommend what DSLR would be a great upgrade to continue to use the lens? Or do you recommend going mirorless and upgrading both body and lense? Total budget up to $5k. Appreciate any advice you can share.

I am Really Happy to see your Post!! Usually, I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. Your topic is amazing. You’re doing a great job Man, I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information

Keep it up:


Hi, I have a Canon 6D Mark II and would like to switch it to mirrorless camera any recommendations? I mostly do food Photography and some portrait & videos.

A great way into the Canon mirrorless line-up is with their EOS R body, BH # CAERB, which would be just fine for shooting portraits, food and videos.

Plan on Sticking with DSLR CAMERAS  A LITTLE longer  Already have a Canon 760D  and 1200D/ T5 !  Leaning towards  a Canon 90 and Canon 5Dsr  as next purchase  do A little of Everything Photography  wise but Really Enjoy Wildlife photography and landscape ? ( Sunsets and Sunrise) as well as Old Buildings  would These Two models Be A good Choice  for this? And have Several lenses as well 

It’s a shame that a micro4/3 camera didn’t make this list. Many professional sports and wildlife photographers use the Olympus (now OM System)  EM1 MK3 and the EM1-X.   The EM1 series cameras are fast, have great resolution and you can pickup a 300mm (600mm equivalent) for 1/4 the price of a 600mm Nikon, Canon, or Sony.   Kinda sucks that all of you so called experts always leave micro 4/3 cameras off every list. Wonderful images can be made with these cameras at very reasonable prices, and if that’s not worth a mention then you have a clear agenda which isn’t do a service to your customers. 

I agree. My Panasonic G9 is great for this. Unfortunate that it also wasn't mentioned. 

Hi Dave, thanks for your comment about adding the Panasonic G9 to our list. As noted at the end of our story, the cameras included here is far from an exhaustive list, so we'll definitely consider adding the G9 into the mix the next time this story gets an update. Happy shooting and thanks for reading Explora!

Hi, I'm looking for a camera with good autofocus and low light capabilities mostly for shooting small, moving subjects underwater like fish. I am thinking of the Fujifilm xt3 and the Sony A6500. What are your thoughts and would you recommend those or another camera altogether? Thank you!

Both cameras you list above are good options, but I would personally prefer the Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera over the Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera.  While it is simply personal preference, I do feel the Fujifilm X-T3 is the better overall option, is newer compared to the a6500, has improved autofocus performance, and has better video performance.  The main benefits of the Sony Alpha a6500 would be its smaller, lighter size and its built-in Image Stabilization in the camera body.  While those are good benefits, I believe the focusing performance and feature set and better battery life of the Fujifilm X-T3 would be more beneficial for your stated underwater usage needs.

Hello! I currently have a Nikon D40. I take photos of my two sons lacrosse games. All is great during the daytime games. Terrible at night. I need to take the next step and purchase a better camera for nighttime sports photo. Suggestion? 

To stay within the smaller form factor, but have a faster continuous shooting rate and better low light performance, the Nikon Z 50 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only), BH # NIZ50 would be something to consider. It can accept Nikon Z mount lenses or Nikon F mount lenses with the Nikon FTZ adapter, BH # NIFTZ.

Hello, my son is a Dirt Bike racer so we are out in the dust, mud, sun, sometimes foggy and cloudy outside weather. I am starting a photography side "hope to be business" of these races and racers in action including jumps corners and so forth. Currently have a older Nikon D3200 and it takes "ok" pictures. Looking now to purchase a new camera to up the game in the photo dept. while at these races. What is the best combo camera and lens for my next camera purchase?

Thank you!!

Being that you have a Nikon camera already, it would be more practical to stay within the same brand for the sake of the control layout. In this case, the Nikon Z 6 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) would be a lightweight option in their mirrorless camera line up with a 12 FPS continuous shooting rate and fast autofocus.


As for lenses, any current Nikon F mount lenses you might have now would fit this camera along with the Nikon FTZ adapter. BH # NIFTZ.



Hi.  I take pictures for high school football games, portraits, etc.  What's the best Canon camera for both sports and family photography, mix of everything?

Hi Barb - 

Consider the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV Digital Camera B&H # SODSCRX10M4  

Key Features:

  • 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.4-4 Zoom Lens
  • 24-600mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED Tru-Finder EVF
  • 3.0" 1.44m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 4K30 Video, Full HD 1080p at 960 fps
  • Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Points
  • ISO 12800 and 24 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Canon 77D would be excellent for your purposes.  It's a DSLR, not mirrorless, and it is excellent for outdoor AND indoor sports...featuring fast auto focus and anti-flicker capability which handles arena, gym and ice rink lighting in a way few other cameras can.

I have become the unofficial phtog for my daughter's horse show team.

I have a Cannon EOS T7. It came with a EFS 18-55 mm and 74-300 lens.

I am enjoying the way the photos are coming out in Sports mode and surprisingly the colors are better in food mode with almost the same response time when taking the photo.  However, when I am taking sports pictures from a distance (80-120'), the pictures seem so light and grainy, and no way to change the exposure in either mode. In other modes, I can not get the action shot and most want a flash, which I can't do because it scares the horses.

I am really loving this new hobby and am jealous of the quality of online photos from the professionals I see there... what would be a good upgrade to get the quality I am looking for, but less than $3k?

To stay below $3000, the Canon EOS R would be a great option in terms of size, autofocus speed, low light performance and higher resolution.

I have a 16 year old daughter that participates in tennis and cross country and does sideline photos for cross country and high school and youth football.  What is a good start-up camera for her?  She has always been a photographer; got her her first digital camera for kids at 5 years old.

A great option to consider would be the Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 55-210mm Lens Kit, BH # SOA6400B55LK which has fast/accurate autofocus and a fast continuous rate to keep up with sports such as tennis or cross country.

I’ve been a coach for over 35 years, but I’m putting my whistle away  to watch my son play. I want to stay involved and take candid and action shots at football and baseball games. The thought is to download the photos and make them available to all of the players and families. I have no photography experience, but I will have field access. Do I want photo and video? Not afraid to spend some money, but don’t want to buy more than I need. But let’s be real, those big zoom lenses are cool. Would love to hear you advise. Thanks in advance. 

These days, most camera have both photo and video functions so it's a bit difficult to avoid the video aspect. In your case, I feel that the Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens, BH # CAE90D18135 would be a good way to start with sports photography as well as video.  In terms of a longer lens you can use from a greater distance from the action, the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF, BH # SI100400C would be a lightweight option to consider.

Hello, Which camera, lens & flash would you recommend for photography indoors Volleyball!  

Beach Volleyball which lens? 

1. Photos 

2. Videos 


In terms of a camera that can handle both photos and videos of indoor/outdoor volleyball games, the Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only), BH # NIZ62 would be one to consider.

If you were working in close proximity to the action, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Lens, BH # NIZ7020028 would be suitable.


Lastly, the right flash would depend on whether it would be placed on the camera or off the camera. We invite you to contact us via Live Chat before 8PM ET or by phone today until 7PM ET so we can go over those options in greater detail. 


Hey there--I work at a college athletics department and we are looking to purchase a camera and accessories to help us take indoor (ie hockey, basketball) and outdoor (ie field hockey, football) action shots while also taking good still portrait photos. We are working on a bit of a budget--any suggestions on what camera and accessories would work best?

Hi. I shoot a lot of rugby in NZ with a Canon 7dii and 70-200 2.8. Also an old 6d with Tamron 24-70 2.8 for crowd shots. Love the full frame of the 6d but very limited camera. Would like to upgrade to more modern full frame that could handle low light indoor sports (basketball,netball) and would like a recommendation. Also toying with a longer lense to get to 400 mm and wondered what the best options were. I am only a hobby photographer but do get into print media and get to some high level game but can’t spend top dollar. Any advice appreciated.

I would recommend staying with Canon being that the menu system would be familiar. The Canon EOS R would be the best option for a low-priced full frame camera that could easily handle sports photography. You can pair that with the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Canon EF and the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R for a lower cost lens option with range beyond 400mm.…


I know this isn't supposed to be an exhaustive list, but I would have thought that the Canon R5, with its 20fps electronic (12fps mechanical) shutter would be a good choice, especially when paired with either their new RF 100mm-500mm or inexpensive RF 600mm or 800mm lenses.

Hi Robert, thanks so much for bringing up the Canon R5 (BH #CAER5) for consideration on this list. This full-frame mirrorless option is a great choice for sports, action and wildlife shooters. It was definitely on my shortlist to include, but since the story was limited to only 10 cameras, I opted to include the EOS 90D as a slightly older, more economical APS-C option instead, for photographers on a budget. Additionally, as one of my colleagues pointed out in a comment below, another great mirrorless option from Canon (at a slightly lower price point than the R5) is the Canon EOS R6 (BH # CAER6). Thanks again for the helpful comment, and also for reading the Explora blog!

Great info here, quick question, as someone that shoots events and competitions like dance and other indoor sports as well as some nature photography I generally have problems with auto focusing as well as camera shake for randomly moving people.

My current camera is Nikon D750. Would you say that going mirrorless to something like Z7 II would be worth the trouble and good future proofing? Or switch to a different brand?


Sticking with a Nikon mirrorless camera would make for an easier transition from your D750, mainly due to the menu layout being about the same. Going with the Z7 II specifically would give you more autofocus points at your disposal and a higher continuous shooting rate, both which can be helpful for dance and indoor sports photos. 

Curious, would the z6 II also be a good option? And would it handle the Nikkor 300mm PF plus a 1.4 teleconverter for BIF? Autofocus speed is most important for my bird photography.

Yes Nikon Z6 II can also work since it has a faster continuous shooting rate, but it has less resolution. Using it along with the FTZ adapter and a Nikkor 300mm PF would be excellent.

Thanks for the info. I'm looking for a camera that shoots continuously but the Canon 7D I've tried to shoot video on cuts out at around 10-12 minutes, same with Sony A5100 . I need to find a camera that can shoot yoga video lessons so the continuous recording needs to be for a much longer time. I'm in the UK and I've read that the cameras are set-up differently here due to import tax. Are there any cameras that can do what I'm looking for? Thanks for your advice.

The Sony Alpha a7S III Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only),  BH # SOA7S3 would allow up 60 mins of internal video recording, which can be extended with the use of a external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V 5" 4K Recording Monitor with 500GB Angelbird AtomX SSDmini Kit, BH # ATNINJAVAX5K.


Thanks for this informative article. I’m looking to upgrade from a Nikon D5000 to a DSLR or mirrorless camera you recommend for high school football action shots. I run the social media page for my sons football team and currently video each play with my iPhone in my left hand and instantly update it to Instagram stories and take regular photos with my Nikon at the same time with my right hand. So it needs to me somewhat lightweight so I can carry it around my neck and run from one end of the field to the next. I’d like it to have high fps so I don’t miss a good action shot and I need to be able to zoom in close enough from the sideline to have good clarity of the ball and player. Most shots will be under Friday night lights and with limited time for focus adjustments, a good autofocus option would be great! Basically, I’m asking for great action photos with very little photography talent or skill. 😂  It might be too much to ask for, but I’d love any recommendations you have. 

I would stick with Nikon, so that the menu system will be familiar. The Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with FTZ Adapter Kit, BH # NIZ62LAK would be an ideal option for a lightweight camera with fast autofocus, great low light performance and a continuous shooting rate up to 14 FPS.  The included adapter would allow for Nikon AF-S type lenses to work on the Z6 II.


I've reviewed responses to other queries. I'm photographing birds, much as described by other commenters:  documentation, identification, posting on-line. My old Canon Digital Rebel (~15 yrs old) with a 300 mm lens isn't fast enough or enough magnification for this application. Would you recommend staying with the Canon brand for familiarity of controls? What camera body would suffice to meet my needs? Are there other camera bodies with capabilities that might be desirable, though not necessary? Same question for lenses. I generally photograph from 100 to 150' away, though sometimes farther (across a lake yesterday). Are lens multipliers an option? And of course, not too heavy! I don't have a need for video, if this is something that's possible to avoid. I haven't set a price range, hence the good-better-best model scenario. Thanks!

Hi Elisabeth,

I would stick with Canon for the familiarity of control. A great option that is lightweight, offers very fast autofocus and a continuous shooting rate of 12 FPS is the Canon EOS R6, BH # CAER6.  This can be paired up with the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM Lens,  BH # CA60011RF for greater telephoto range.

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