Best Cameras for Sports, Wildlife, and Action Photography.

Best Cameras for Sports, Wildlife, and Action Photography.
Best Cameras for Sports, Wildlife, and Action Photography.

There are lot’s of good reasons to choose a cameras over a consumer camcorder for shooting video, including larger sensors, which tend to deliver better tonal range and enhanced depth-of-field flexibility, and better photo quality.

And an interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) — a dSLR, fixed mirror (Sony’s SLT series), or mirrorless model — imparts huge creative and logistical benefits over a typical point-and-shoot design.

Whether it’s football, athletics, cricket, tennis, rugby, motor racing, family fun at the local park or something else, there’s always some sort of sport to shoot.

What to look for:

Cameras : The most important things to look for in a camera body are: fast autofocus, high ISO capability, fast burst speed and a large buffer, waterproofing and compatibility with telephoto lenses.

A fast autofocus is dependent on a few things like the detection system, the number of autofocus points, and of course the quality of lens you are using. Fast autofocus is essential to capture moving animals — and to keep them in focus across several frames. Most newer cameras have pretty high ISO capabilities. The bigger the sensor and the more expensive cameras tend to have lower noise in the higher ISO settings. High ISO allows you to use faster shutter speeds and to work in situations with low light.

Burst speeds come into play with quick-moving animals. Your reflexes may not be fast enough to capture that perfect moment, so taking several shots in a second gives you a better chance of capturing the moment you want. The buffer is the limit to the number of shots you can take in a row.

waterproofing is important when working in the field. You will likely have to deal with dirt, sand, rain, humidity, extreme temperatures and wind. These things all wreak havoc on electronics. More expensive models will have a better build quality to defend against the elements. Lastly, your camera body is only as good as the lens you use put on it. Make sure that you can buy or rent telephoto lenses that are long enough to reach the subjects you want to be shooting.

Crop sensor

Full-frame sensors are typically part of the more expensive professional level DSLRs. This means that the sensor is about 24 x 36 mm. Because they are smaller, crop sensors magnify the image (1.5x for Nikon, 1.6x for Canon) when using the same focal length as their full frame counterparts. This means that a 200 mm lens on a full frame sensor is 300 mm or more on a crop sensor. While the crop sensors typically aren’t as high quality as the full frame, they can reach a little further for those on a budget.

Wildlife photography of deer
Wildlife photography

Professional level ( cameras )

The Nikon D4s is a 16 megapixel, full-frame camera. It has a 51 point autofocus and shoots photos at 11 frames per second. It is an excellent camera for wildlife photography. Similar, Canon’s full frame, top of the line 1DX is an excellent camera at 18 megapixels, 65 point AF, and 12 frames per second. If you can sacrifice the speed you can save a lot of cash by getting either the full-frame Nikon D810 with 36 megapixels, the same 51 point AF, and 5 frames per second of burst or the full-frame Canon 5D MkIII with 22 megapixels, 65 point AF and 6 frames per second.

Pros on a tight budget may opt for the full-frame Nikon D610 with 24 megapixels, 7 point AF and 6 frames per second or the Canon 6D with 20 megapixels, 11 point AF and 10 frames per second.


Photographers that can’t quite justify spending on a pro level camera can get very good cameras for wildlife photography. High-end crop sensor cameras have all the features you would need, like the Nikon D7100 at 24 megapixels, 51 point AF and 7 frames per second. Also, the Canon 7D MkII at 20 megapixels, 65 point AF and 10 frames per second makes a worthy competitor.


In you are interested in giving wildlife photography a try without draining your bank account, try these entry level DSLRs: Nikon D3200 with 24 Megapixels, 11 point AF and 4 frames per second or the Canon T5i with 18 megapixels, 9 point AF and 5 frames per second. These are very powerful cameras for the price. Sony also makes capable DSLRs with comparable specs, like the Alpha a77II and Alpha a58, although you will have fewer choices in lenses.

Compared with compact cameras and compact system cameras (CSCs), the optical viewfinder of a DSLR gives you a real-time, unadulterated view of the sporting action right through the lens. There’s no flickering electronic viewfinder with a finite refresh rate, so panning with a DSLR (to enhance movement) is smooth.

Unlike the vast majority of compact cameras, the manual zoom rings of DSLR lenses make it much faster and easier to set exactly the focal length you want. Under the bonnet, the phase-detection autofocus systems of DSLRs tend to be faster and more accurate than a compact camera’s or CSC’s contrast-detection system.
Whatever your preference may be—below is a list of ten cameras recommended for sports, wildlife, and action photography for your adventures.

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

The Nikon D5 is the company’s flagship action-oriented DSLR, sporting a 20.8MP full-frame sensor, 153-point autofocus system and a full-size, double-grip chassis that is both tough as nails and exceedingly comfortable to use. Though the core build of this camera remains very similar to the D4S, the sensor and autofocus system are entirely new and – as we’d expect – designed with speed and reliability in mind.

Nikon D5 Key Specifications

All new Nikon-designed 20.8MP full-frame image sensor

Expeed 5 processor

All new 153-point phase detection autofocus system with 99 cross-sensors

Automated autofocus fine tune

Native ISO range now stretches from 100-102,400

12fps continuous shooting with full autofocus and autoexposure

4K video recording

Offered in dual CF and dual XQD memory card configurations

Touchscreen functionality during both stills and video shooting

CIPA rating of 3,780 shots per charge using the same EN-EL18a battery as D4S

Nikon D5 DSLR
Nikon D5 DSLR

Nikon D500 DSLR

The Nikon D500 is a 21MP APS-C DSLR capable of shooting at up to 10 frames per second and featuring an autofocus system derived from the one in the D5. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of high-end DX format body that appeared to have become extinct with the D300S.

The six-and-a-half years that have passed since the D300S’ launch have seen the camera market move on considerably but the D500 does much to reclaim the position as one of the preeminent APS-C camera on the market.

As you might expect, much of the improved capability of the camera centers around sports and high-speed shooting, with significant upgrades to the shooting rate and autofocus system, but there are also major upgrades to the viewfinder, video capabilities and connectivity options which expand its utility beyond one particular niche.

Key Features

20.7MP APS-C (DX-format) sensor

153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points

180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition

AF point joystick

10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)

4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor

100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification

2.36M-dot tilting touchscreen display

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with NFC for setup

Mic and headphone socket

USB 3.0 connector

Anti-flicker option for working under artificial lighting

Nikon D500 DSLR
Nikon D500 DSLR

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.

Nikon 1 V3 key features

18.4MP 1″-type CMOS sensor, no AA filter

Hybrid AF with 171 contrast-detect and 105 phase-detect points

20 fps with continuous AF and subject tracking

Raw file capture

3″ tilting touchscreen with 1.04M dots

1080/60p video capture

Wi-Fi connectivity with remote control via app

Nikon 1 V3
Nikon 1 V3

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.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II key specifications:

20MP Dual-Pixel AF CMOS Sensor

10 fps continuous shooting with autofocus

65 all cross-type autofocus sensor

150,000 RGB + IR pixel metering sensor

Dual Digic 6 processors

Enhanced environmental sealing

Compact Flash (UDMA) and SD (UHS-I) slots

USB 3.0

Built-in GPS

Larger-capacity LP-E6N battery

Shutter speeds up to 1/8000th seconds

Shutter rated to 200,000 cycles (vs 150,000 on 7D)

Canon 7D Mark II DSLR
Canon 7D Mark II DSLR

Pentax K-3 II DSLR

The Pentax K-3 II is a new semi-professional DSLR camera with several new eye-catching technologies. Key features of the K-3 II include a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor with an anti-aliasing simulator rather than an optical anti-aliasing filter, Pixel Shift Resolution technology which delivers super-high-resolution images with more accurate colour reproduction, finer detail and less noise, Diffraction Correction, built-in GPS system and electronic compass, improved shake-reduction system, 27-point Safox XI AF module that remains operational down to -3EV, faster focusing speed with newer lenses, improved autofocus tracking accuracy in the AF.C mode, 86,000 pixel RGB light-metering sensor, ISO range of 100-51,200, Full HD 1080p video at 60fps, 8.3fps continuous shooting, High Dynamic Range mode, and a range of in-built digital filter effects. The K-3 II offers a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, a shutter designed for 200,000 releases, top shutter speed of 1/8000th second, an optical viewfinder with the largest and brightness subject image in its class, a 3.2-inch LCD monitor with 920k dots, built-in dust removal, Dual SD card slots and a USB 3.0 port. The Pentax K-3 II is available in black, body only for £769.99 / $1099, or £1149 with the 16-85mm WR lens.

Main Features

24MP – APS-C CMOS Sensor

No Anti-aliasing (AA) filter

ISO 100 – 51200

Sensor-shift Image Stabilization

3.2″ Fixed Type Screen

Optical (pentaprism) viewfinder

8.3 fps continuous shooting

1920 x 1080 video resolution

No Optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter

Built-in GPS

800g. 131 x 100 x 77 mm

Weather Sealed Body

Replaced Pentax K-3

Pentax K-3 II DSLR
Pentax K-3 II DSLR

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..

Fujifilm X-T1 key features

16MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor

EXR Processor II

Weather-resistant body

ISO 200-6400, plus 100 – 51200 expanded (JPEG only)

2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.77x (equiv.) magnification

‘Dual view’ in EVF shows regular view and focus peaking/digital split image at the same time

Top-plate ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, drive mode and metering controls

Six programmable function buttons

3.0″ 1.04M dot 3:2 tilting LCD

8 fps continuous shooting with continuous AF (3 fps with live view)

Built-in Wi-Fi including remote control from a smart phone or tablet

Full HD movie recording (1080/60p, 36Mbps bitrate), with built-in stereo microphone

Clip-on external flash (included)

Optional battery grip

Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II Digital Camera

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II Digital Camera Pop Up Flash View Front View Front Right View Front Left Bottom Right-Side View

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Product Highlights

20.2MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor

BIONZ X Image Processor

Internal UHD 4K Video & S-Log2 Gamma

Carl Zeiss 24-200mm f/2.8 Lens (35mm Eq)

Slow Motion Video at 960 fps

3.0″ 1228K-Dot Tilting Xtra Fine TFT LCD

XGA OLED Electronic Viewfinder

Built-In Wireless and NFC Connectivity

Low-Light Sensitivity to ISO 12800

Super Sonicwave Motor for Fast Autofocus

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

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Sony has introduced the long-awaited update to its popular a6000 mirrorless camera: the a6300. Featuring a newly developed 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor and a completely revamped ‘4D’ AF system with 425 phase-detection AF points, the a6300 sits at the top of Sony’s APS-C mirrorless lineup. As a step forward from the a6000 and to further rival the DSLR experience, it will offer a live feed of the action in between frames, with minimal blackout, at a respectable 8 fps shooting rate, with AF.

Key Features:

24MP CMOS APS-C sensor with copper wiring

425-point on-sensor phase-detection AF system

11 fps continuous shooting (8 fps continuous live view)

2.4m dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder with 120 fps refresh rate

Silent shooting in continuous drive (3 fps with AF/AE)

Max ISO of 51200

4K video capture up to 100 Mbps

Phase-detect AF compatible with A-mount lenses via LA-EA3 adapter

Magnesium alloy design with upgraded dust and moisture resistance

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Sony a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera
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