dslr camera for sports action shots

You need the best Dslr Camera For Sports Action Shots capable of capturing athletes’ emotions, energy and movement during the competition or training if you’re a photographer who wants to shoot sporting events. What characteristics should such a camera have? Most importantly, it should come with a super-fast telephoto lens that can capture all the action without a loss of quality. I’ve prepared this article to help you find the best camera for sports that will help you enjoy every moment of taking photos during sport or action events.

dslr camera for sports action shots

6. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

  • 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor
  • Autofocus Points Phase Detection: 121 & Contrast Detection: 121
  • 60 frames per second S AF, 18 frames per second C-AF (silent electronic shutter)
  • 15 frames per second S AF, 10 frames per second C AF (mechanical shutter)
  • 121 Point Dual Fast AF with Phase Detection focusing

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

This is one camera you might overlook when it comes to sports and action photography. But you shouldn’t. This is a very capable camera, even with a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Any lens you use with this beast has a double focal length. This means getting close without actually getting close.

Right off the bat, let’s look at the 60 frames a second. What?! The most the other cameras on this list can reach is ten, making this 6x faster. For a slower burst rate, you can still capture 18 with autofocus tracking. Did I mention this is Raw, not jpeg?

This immediately screams sports and action photography. It also has a place in photojournalism due to its size and 20.4-Megapixel sensor size. No DSLR can touch this camera for its ability.

The second thing that makes this camera perfect for action photography are the focal points. There are both phase and contrast detection, 121 points for each. Your images will be pin-sharp – all 60 of them.

5. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor and ISO 100-16000
  • High-speed continuous shooting up to 10 fps
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system
  • Stunning Full HD video with Custom Movie Servo AF 
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF 

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

I bought the first edition of this camera over eight years ago, and have used it ever since. The Mark II version came out in 2014 and is still a great camera to use, even for sports and action photography.

This camera has all the settings that you would need to capture action photography shots. It is a crop sensor camera, but don’t let that put you off.

A full-frame lens on this camera gets you 1.6x closer to the subject, perfect for both sports and wildlife alike.

20.9 megapixels is more than enough for a great resolution and detail in every shot. This allows you to crop your image for a more pleasing frame without losing quality.

Here, you’ll find 65 points of autofocus across the frame, allowing more than enough versatility. The thing that sets this camera apart, making it perfect for action photography is the burst rate. You have 10 fps, depending on the memory card you choose.

The reputable Dual-Pixel system makes it easier and faster to focus on your subject and keep it in focus. With the help of the Digic 6, buffering burst images is not an issue.Our Rating: ★★★★★SEE PRICE ON AMAZONPrice Range:$$$

4. Sony A7 r Mark II

  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization 
  • 42.4MP full-frame
  • 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ZEISS T* coating
  • Shutter vibration suppression, curtain shutter, silent shutter
  • Fast Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

The Sony A7r Mark II is top of the list, but it doesn’t mean we should forget about the big brother. This is still a great camera to use for all action photography, animals and people alike.

First of all, it boasts a 42-megapixel sensor, which kills the DSLRs on this list. Getting great resolution and detail in your images is not an issue with this mirrorless.

Secondly, the image processor is the BIONZ X, meaning you can grab five frames-a-second. That might not sound like much, but the files are huge! It might be slow, but it excels in a more important area – focusing.

You will find 399 points of phase detection focus. This is more than any DSLR on our list, and in some cases, almost triple. It is accurate and fast, so when you absolutely can’t miss the shot, take the Mark II.

Weather sealed and reaches an expanded ISO of 25,600 meaning its great for all sports and wildlife situations. What you will love is the 5-axis of image stabilization. Perfect for when a tripod isn’t practical.Our Rating: ★★★★★SEE PRICE ON AMAZONPrice Range:$$$

3. Nikon D500 

  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • 153 Point AF System
  • Native ISO 51200, Extend to ISO 1640000
  • 10 fps Shooting for Up to 200 Frames

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

There is no other camera that is built better for action and sports photography. Not only is it a very versatile machine, but it has all the things you would expect from a reliable, fast shooter.

The 20.9-megapixel sensor has the same resolution and image detail depth as the 7D Mark II cousin. It also has a comparative 10 fps burst speed, making it the competitor if you prefer Nikon. The burst speed can reach up to 200 frames before buffering, but depending on your memory card.

What you’ll notice are the differences. Here, you get a tilting touchscreen and 153 points of autofocus. That’s more than double, allowing you to be way more precise when it comes to keeping the subject in focus.

It even works better in low light, mixed with the extended ISO means that indoor sports at nighttime are no issue. Built-in WiFi is something that press photographers will get a kick out of.

This is said to have one of the best autofocus features in modern DSLRs. Alongside the dual memory cards, makes this a winner for enthusiasts and semi-professional photographers.Our Rating: ★★★★★SEE PRICE ON AMAZONPrice Range:$$$

2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

  • 30.4 MegaPixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting
  • Up to 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed
  • 61 point AF system with 41 cross-points for expanded vertical coverage
  • ISO range 100-32,000 with 50-102,400 expansion

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

We all know how great the 5D range of cameras is. The Mark IV is the leader of the pack, and the latest to hit the photography market. It has many features that don’t make this necessarily a sports photographer’s first choice, but there are reasons why it should be on your list.

Firstly, it is full-frame. This means that the quality you get will surpass any crop sensors out there. You don’t have to know mathematics to understand the real focal length you’re getting from your lens choice.

A 30.4-megapixel sensor gives you amazing quality, allowing you to crop the image when the framing exactly perfect. This way, you can spend more time concentrating on the focus.

The seven frames-a-second burst rate is good enough. But perhaps when you really can’t miss that shot of your nephew scoring the winning goal, you might need something faster.

In true Canon style, you get the Dual-Pixel autofocus system, making it a sinch to keep your subjects in focus. Mixed with the 61 points of autofocus, you get one hell of a machine.

What this camera really excels in is its ISO. It has a native range that reaches 32,000, but expandable to 102,400. This means, if the sports are indoors, the lack of light poses no issues in the quality of your images.

WiFi comes as standard, making this a great camera for press photographers who are on assignment. Dual memory slots allow you to shoot thousands of images with the right cards.Our Rating: ★★★★★SEE PRICE ON AMAZONPrice Range:$$$

1. Sony A7 III

  • Advanced 24.2MP BSI Full-frame
  • 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW
  • ISO 50 to 204,800
  • Up to 10fps Silent or Mechanical Shutter with AE/AF tracking
  • 693 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93% image coverage

SEE PRICE ON AMAZON

The number one spot on our list is the Sony A7 III, the entry-level full-frame camera that beats the competition hands down.

We are looking at a sensor size of 24-megapixels, which is more than enough for printing large images to show off your sports photography talent.

10 frames a second is more than enough to capture whatever you turn your eye to. Be it wildlife, sports or photojournalism, this camera covers them all. The shutter is silent and can easily track the subjects you focus on.

What you will definitely get a kick out of are the almost 700 points of autofocus. Those are only the phase-detection points, as there are another 425 of contrast-detection points.

Not only is it fast, but it is also incredibly accurate, meaning you get your shot and everyone is happy.

5-axis image stabilization allows you to work without a tripod if need by. You no longer need to worry about your shutter speed. It even works well in low light, meaning that this is the camera you need for any situation, at any time, anywhere.

Dual card slots, great battery life and it’s even weather-protected! At least one of these should be in your camera bag.

Where to Buy Cameras

Most cities will have their own independent camera stores, and I’m all for supporting your local shops. However, it’s an unfortunate truth that in 2021, independent stores have a hard time competing with the chain stores and online shops, especially in the photography industry.

While I was living in the UK before I turned pro, the best place to buy cameras for me was a well-established department store called John Lewis. They offered price matching, free extended warranties, and the best customer service of any UK camera retailer.

However, their range of camera gear wasn’t great, and mostly focused on amateur gear. In addition, their price match guarantee didn’t extend to most online retailers… and it was these online camera shops who seemed to be offering the best prices on camera gear.

So the question of where to buy cameras led me to search for online retailers, and soon I came across what’s known as ‘grey-market‘ retailers.

Grey-market camera shops usually offer camera gear at much cheaper prices than other stores. It’s usually a bit unclear why their products are so much cheaper, but I’d recommend that you exercise caution when researching.

Usually grey-market camera shops are based out of Hong Kong, and the camera gear you will receive will have foreign documentation; sometimes even foreign plugs.

I’ve bought numerous items from grey market online camera stores in the past, lured in by their bargain prices, but I’ve stopped doing so ever since I bought a faulty camera. Being located in Hong Kong made the return of the item a huge hassle, and made me wish I’d bought from another reputable retailer.

So back to the question of where to buy cameras – for me, there’s really only 1 option… and it’s called Amazon.CHECK CURRENT PRICE

Why is Amazon the Best Place to Buy Cameras in 2021?

See More Reviews

After interviewing a handful of photographer friends who live in Europe and the US, I can completely understand why they feel that Amazon is the best place to buy cameras (especially disposable cameras).

Remember that not all these points will relate to us unfortunate ones who live in countries not yet supported by Amazon, but most of them are still relevant for you to consider before your next big camera purchase.

All the Amazon links in this review will take you direct to the camera/photography related page on the site.

1. Return Policy

This is a strange point to start on when discussing where to buy cameras, but the store’s return policy is very important in my opinion, especially when you’re buying camera gear online.

As of August 2017, Amazon’s terms of service states:

“You may return new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon.com within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. Items should be returned in their original product packaging. We’ll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error. Just visit our online Returns Center, and we will guide you through the process and even supply you with a return mailing label you can print out.”

In practice, Amazon seems to be totally happy with customers returning items, as long as they are in perfect condition.

Obviously I’m not advocating buy items with the intent of returning them, but it certainly takes the worry out of buying expensive products online. Being able to try any product out for free for 30 days is really incredible, and no other high street store can offer such a service.

2. Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a paid service that gives Amazon customers certain advantages, including savings on certain products, unlimited movie/music streaming, expedited postage and much more.

It’s the express postage that’s most relevant here, making Amazon by far the best place to buy cameras if you want your new gear as fast as possible!

Amazon Prime gives you free 2-day shipping to eligible addresses and even the occasional free same-day delivery service.

Imagine seeing a camera, lens or even a photography backpack you like in the morning, then having it on your doorstep by the afternoon! There’s no need for us to leave our houses to shop anymore…!

3. Reviews

In researching where to buy cameras, it’s important to consider huge retailers like Amazon who have amassed thousands of user reviews.

It’s so easy for online store owners to write ‘fake reviews’ for product purchases, but with Amazon, reviews can only be written by people who’ve actually purchased the respective product. It’s the closest to an honest feedback loop that you’ll ever see for an online retailer.

Being able to check reviews before making any camera purchase is incredibly useful. Even though you can find lots of reviews of camera gear online, being able to read the reviews of actual owners of a product is invaluable.

Unless a product has numerous 5 star reviews, I’ll rarely consider purchasing it. I always read the negative reviews too, just to get a well-rounded opinion of the item, and encourage you to do the same thing.

4. Prices

For most of us, our search for where to buy cameras usually revolves around the best price. Aside from the aforementioned grey-market online retailers, Amazon often offers some of the best prices on camera gear.

Most of their products are discounted in some way, and with free Prime shipping, or low-cost standard shipping, Amazon really is hard to beat.

As I mentioned before, ordering to Australia from the US or UK Amazon is usually even cheaper for me to buy locally here in Australia, even from online stores.

5. Refurbished Products

Not many people know that Amazon stocks what’s known as ‘refurbished products’, and it’s here where some massive cost savings can be made.

Refurbished goods are also called ‘Amazon Renewed’:

“Products on Amazon Renewed are tested and certified by qualified suppliers to work and look like new and come with a minimum 90-day supplier warranty.”

I imagine that most of the refurbished products consist of items returned by customers that may not be brand new, but are as good as new. You can definitely find a good bargain on photography gear if you have time to browse, so I recommend bookmarking this photography gear page of Amazon Renewed, and having a look each week to see what new is on special offer.

6. Customer Service

I’ve heard stories from friends who exceeded the 30-day return period, only to have their items still refunded by a helpful Amazon customer service agent.

I wouldn’t recommend you test this, but regardless of the case, it seems that Amazon’s customer service really is second to none. For an online retailer, it’s also very easy to get replies from their email service, and it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re dealing with a ginormous retailer.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.https://da360a56a245c0803c5da779cd8113ff.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’

Digital-Camera-Accessories

Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.https://da360a56a245c0803c5da779cd8113ff.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

Leave a Comment