Today, we jump into the wild world of action photography and videography. If this is your bag, you might be looking for the best camera for action shots.
As a filmmaker, one of the most challenging aspects of filmmaking is capturing action.
There’s something about fast movements of subjects like athletes and animals that, if not done right, can look really off and be distracting rather than exciting.
In order to capture fast movement, you’ll need adequate tools. After all, a filmmaker’s skill can only take them so far if they’re working with inferior equipment.
Shooting action with inadequate tools is like running the latest high-end video editor on a Windows 95. It just doesn’t work.
So you may find yourself wondering, “Well what camera do I need to use to shoot action?”
Well, the specs of a camera no matter how impressive can’t help you if it isn’t optimized for this type of videography.
Even if you have a 48MP full-frame sensor it may not be enough to get the job done. So we decided to compile a guide on the best cameras for action shots.
We’re going to talk about the things that qualify a camera for action photography. We’ll also list a few of our favorite action cameras to help you start on the right path. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Best Camera For Action Shots
With all of this in mind, let’s hop to the fun part where we get to talk about our favorite cameras for action shots. Starting with:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard of the GoPro before. They’re the leading company in mountable compact action cameras.
While these cameras were initially built for getting a first-person view of extreme sports performances, they are much more than that now. Take, for instance, the GoPro Hero Black.
Weighing at mind-blowing 126 grams, this versatile camera can shoot video at 720p or full HD at up to 240 fps and at 4K up to 60fps.
This makes it an easy camera to carry around and to track action in resolutions that rival professional cameras.
This GoPro features first-class digital stabilization. The results of using this feature were so impressive, you’d believe a gimbal was used. GoPro also offers some presets for easy capturing that are bound to help beginners get started.
The Hero 8 is also a rugged and durable camera thanks to its waterproof feature. Also, it is compatible with GoPro’s Mods accessories, which makes it versatile as you can mount any accessories to it.
Finally, we’d like to mention that it’s reasonably priced.
Are there any downsides to the Hero 8? Well, we don’t really recommend you rely on it for situations with reduced light.
The camera simply isn’t built for that, so stay outdoors and in daylight or at a well-lit location for the best results. Also, there’s no front display sadly.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a compact and light camera that has all the features you’d expect from a camera built for action shooting.
You’ll have the expected fast shutter speed and advanced autofocusing.
Additionally, the Mark III offers high-resolution images thanks to its 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor.
It can also shoot in 4K mode, making it a more than adequate camera for anyone looking for an action camera.
The Mark III also has a feature we discussed earlier and that is image stabilization.
The in-body stabilization is 5-axis which makes it advanced compared to other cameras. You’ll be sure that there won’t be any unwanted movement.
Finally, the Mark two has Dual SD card slots which are great because 4K footage demands a lot of storage space.
The Mark III can switch to the secondary SD card mid-shooting which is handy since it won’t interrupt your shooting session.
Overall, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a solid camera for all your action needs.
Thanks to its 4K capabilities, advanced AF system, and dual SD card slots you’ll have no problems using this one.
At first glance, the FZ2500 sounds like a punishment to your wallet. However, when you realize that the camera boasts a fixed lens with a 24-480mm focal length, it starts swaying you in its direction.
The camera is built with a 20.1 Megapixel sensor and f/2.8-4.5 aperture. So, in terms of performance, you’ll never need another camera to capture action.
The aperture is wide enough to shoot adequately in low-light situations. The 480mm focal length is perfect for action.
Investing in this camera will save you from having to invest in lenses. The camera can also shoot in 4K which is always a plus.
Does the FZ2500 have any drawbacks? Well, for one we found the weight to be a little on the heavy side.
Additionally, the battery life wasn’t the most impressive. However, a 488mm focal length and wide aperture make this a worthy camera for action shooting.
Canon is bringing some heavy artillery with the Mark IV. They equipped this model with a whopping 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor. This helps the Mark IV produce some amazing-looking pictures.
It can also shoot video in 4K and with a full-frame sensor, you’ll get a lot more coverage, more detail, and a sharper image. This is helped by a dual-pixel 61 point autofocus system which keeps your subject squarely in focus.
Another area where the Mark IV impresses is the ISO. Thanks to a range of 32,000 and 102,400. This helps with indoor photography. So you won’t have to worry about low light performance.
The Mark IV has built-in Wi-Fi which helps with fast file transfers. To store these files Canon offers Dual SD card slots. This enables you to store large 4K files without worry.
Overall, the Mark IV offers some of the best image quality and highest resolutions on any camera.
Add to this the plethora of features Canon added in and you have yourself a winner in this category.
The Nikon D5 is a top-of-the-line DSLR with a plethora of features bound to impress anyone who takes the time to explore it.
The most noteworthy of these is the phase-detection autofocus system which is perhaps the most advanced on a DSLR on the market.
Nikon is headlining the 153-point multi-mode autofocus system as their number 1 feature. It’s easy to see why.
The system is accurate and very fast compared to other cameras. You can also experiment with the options menu to modify the autofocus system to your liking.
The Nikon D5 can also shoot video at full HD which we’ve found to be slightly more stable and clearer than what some competition offers.
Additionally, you can shoot ultra 4K, albeit in cropped mode.
Overall, the camera offers a lot for its asking price. We’re convinced that Nikon has built a strong contender for the best DSLR for action.
As long as you have no issue with the cropped mode 4K, the D5 is perfect for your needs.
Best Camera For Action Shots – Purchase Decisions
Now let’s take a moment to look at some of the buying considerations you might have when thinking about purchasing a camera for capturing action shots.
AF stands for autofocus and this system is instrumental to the quality of your footage. Videographers looking for a professional camera will always eye the AF tracking system.
This is because it impacts how well the camera keeps track of the subject and maintains its focus without blurring out to refocus again.
Always be on the lookout for a camera with a fast and reliable AF system. It really does break or make the experience.
Chances are if you’re shooting action, you’ll be a good distance away from it. While having good focus is important, the camera can’t do everything on its own.
Therefore, we recommend you mount some lenses to help you get close to the action. The ideal lens for this task would be a telephoto lens.
We’ve said before that the lens makes the camera. So you should have an interchangeable lens camera. Canon has some impressive telephoto lens for their models that fit all price ranges.
You’ll have to move the camera for dynamic shots. While recording, sudden movement and shakiness can take you out of the moment.
That’s why you’ll want your camera to have image stabilization software. What it does is use an algorithm to compensate for the movement and stabilize each axis to keep the footage smooth.
If you find a camera that you really like but it doesn’t support image stabilization, we recommend you invest in a Gimbal. Trust us, it’s worth the investment to keep that footage smooth and professional.
Best Camera For Action Shots – Wrapping Up
That concludes our guide on the best cameras for action shots.
The quality of action cameras as we saw, isn’t about their specs or their megapixel counts but rather, by the strength of their AF system, availability of image stabilization, and the ability to mount telephoto lenses on them.
These are the bare minimum things a camera requires in order to be considered a good action camera. Every other feature other than that, be it 4K or slow motion, are just there for your pleasure.
Hopefully, by now you already know what you want and that our recommendations will get you on the right path. Remember that the most important thing is to always enjoy what you’re doing. Best of luck!
We hope you’ve found this article on the best camera for action shots helpful in making your purchase decision. Let us know how you got on in the comments below!