2017 Buying Guide: Best cameras for sports and action

Written by Gina Stephens

Concluding updated: November 21, 2017

Are you a speed freak? Hungry to photograph anything that goes zoom? Or perhaps you just want to get Sports Illustrated floor shots of your child’s soccer game.

Fortunately, there are a ton of cameras on the market that will help you get the shot. In fact, all of the cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or encompassed in this buying guide could be used to successfully photograph sports or action. Our main recommendations can be found below, but read through this purchasing guide for a complete overview of your current options.

Our pick: Nikon D5

When it comes to sports shooting, the D5 is virtually peerless. First and primary, it offers class-leading autofocus and subject tracking performance, even at its max burst of 12 fps. Oh, and the buffer is nearly unlimited—seriously, it just keeps slip and shooting, maintaining focus the entire time.

Of all the cameras in this guide, only the Canon 1D X Mark II can match the D5’s insanely robust build dignity and weather-sealing. The same goes for ergonomics: only these two cameras offer built-in vertical grips and secondary shutter releases. This united grip also offers the advantage of making room for a substantially higher capacity battery. The D5 is also one of the most customizable cameras we’ve ever check up oned.

If you are a sports shooter who sticks to JPEG for maximum card space and/or edit/transfer time, you’re covered: JPEG color and quality are quite great, and the same is true of Raw files (though their dynamic range is a tad limited compared to other full-frame Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoÉ´]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational DSLRs). Finally, the camera can be revenged shoot decent-looking 4K video, albeit with a crop factor.

READ  Review: Nikon D7500, speed and capability

Also consider: Nikon D500

The Nikon D500 is essentially a mini D5 with a measlier sensor and no built-in vertical grip.

Instead of a full-frame sensor, the D500 uses a 20.9MP APS-C sensor with excellent JPEG and Raw picture quality. The AF system and subject tracking capabilities are ripped right from the D5 and as you might have guessed, they’re class-leading. The burst shooting act maxes out at 10 fps, which is still fast enough for just about any subject. It can also shoot decent-looking 4K video.

The D500’s build property, while not D5-level, is still very good. The camera is weather-sealed and built to withstand hard use in tough conditions. The D500 is the best APS-C camera we’ve on any occasion tested and very much worthy of your consideration.

We considered all of the cameras below when picking our winner, and even though we think the Nikon D5 and D500 are the conquer choices for sports and action, all of the cameras on our shortlist are also worthy contenders. If you’re not convinced by our recommendations, take a look at the following cameras for a detailed distillation of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Our pick: Nikon D5
  • Also consider: Nikon D500
  • Canon EOS 1D X Mark II
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Nikon D7500
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
  • Panasonic Lumix G9
  • Sony Alpha a7R III
  • Sony Alpha a9
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

Leave a Comment