6 Great Cameras for Fantastic Football and Sports Photography

You’ll have no problem mastering sports photography with these ridiculously fast cameras.

The season is beginning to change, and soon the leaves will fall. This can mean only one thing – Football season is upon us once more. If you’ve been wanting to try sports photography, or need to upgrade the camera you currently use, you’re going to want to check out this roundup. Here you’ll find some of the best performing cameras (outside of the professional Canon and Nikon models) that can easily handle the demands on game day and beyond. Join us after the break to see which cameras will be right at home along the sidelines this season.

The cameras we have chosen for this roundup can be bashed and abused while on the sidelines. These cameras offer excellent weather sealing, super-fast burst modes, excellent tracking capabilities, and they are significantly less expensive than cameras like the Nikon D5 and the Canon 1Dx MK II. Are they as robust as those guys? No, of course not. However, they will serve you well when it comes to capturing images of your kids playing ball, or if you want to get into sports photography more seriously. These cameras can do both easily. Check out our picks for sports photography cameras below.


Canon EOS 7D Mk II


canon aps-c cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • Excellent autofocus system
  • Big, beautiful viewfinder
  • Dual card slots enable you to shoot with some images transferring over Wifi if you use an EyeFi Card
  • Fast FPS shooting at 10 frames a second
  • Better ETTL transmission with Canon products
  • Versatile RAW files
  • Weather sealing
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Tracking focusing is excellent
  • Pretty decent high ISO results


  • Autofocus with Sigma glass can be messy and inaccurate
  • Atrocious TTL transmission with Phottix products
  • Not much of a step up beyond the original Canon 7D

Buy now ($1,399): Adorama


Nikon D500


sports photography cameras d500

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • Fast, accurate autofocus
  • A dedicated thumb joystick on the back for changing AF points
  • The new touchscreen is an interesting and welcome addition
  • Integration of Wifi is welcome
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Battery life that refuses to die
  • Such a good camera that we honestly think it’s overkill for a lot of people


  • Pretty big and tough to get into some messenger bags

Buy now ($1,496.95): Adorama


Pro Tip: Sports photography is incredibly fun. Being able to capture the exact moment the winning pass is thrown and caught, or capturing the celebration of the players when they score the winning goal is exhilarating. But don’t be fooled: sports photography is difficult to master. Fortunately, there are guides out from some of the very best in the business that can help you prepare for the thrill of sports photography. This one from Corey Rich will teach you all you need to know to capture the action with ease.


Fujifilm X-T3


sports photography cameras x-t3

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • Brand new 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor
  • Brand new X-Processor 4 Image Processor
  • Excellent weather sealing
  • Very solid build quality
  • Excellent image quality
  • In body RAW processing with built-in film simulation profiles
  • Versatile RAW files
  • Amazing video capabilities
  • Dual SD card slots (if your workflow requires it)


  • Battery life can use some improvement
  • Lacks in-body image stabilization
  • Low light performance is improved over the previous generation X-T2, but hit rates during high-speed, low light situations leave much to be desired.

Buy now ($1,499): Adorama


Sony a7 III


sports photography cameras a7iii

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • The best battery life of any Sony or mirrorless camera we’ve ever tested
  • A fair amount of resolution and versatility in the RAW files that can be realized with Capture One
  • Nice feel to it
  • Consistency with all the other cameras in terms of the menu system
  • Autofocus can acquire a target in near darkness
  • Essentially feels like a scaled-down Sony a9 and Sony a7r III
  • Not a bad price point


  • Mount and certain lenses may allow for dust to get in onto the sensor. It isn’t as tight as the a7r III’s

Buy now($1,998): Adorama


Pro Tip: The cameras in this roundup feature crazy fast burst modes of at least 10 frames per second. That means one thing: you’re going to fill up SD cards in a hot-fire hurry. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have taken enough SD cards with you. When you feel you have enough, add two more. Stick them in your pockets just in case. These days, SD cards are so cheap it makes sense to buy and carry extras.


Olympus OM-D E-M1X


Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • Very fast autofocus
  • Autofocus is fast for tracking, but still isn’t what Sony does in the a9
  • Very well weather sealed
  • Lightweight
  • A joy to carry and hold
  • We love that there is no automatic mode of any sort
  • The viewfinder is very nice
  • C-lock switch is awesome
  • One of the best weather-sealed mirrorless cameras we’ve ever tested
  • Damned good image stabilization


  • Face detection isn’t as good as Sony’s and Fujifilm’s
  • This system needs more long zooms/primes with an f2 or f2.8 aperture
  • Needs a star rating system for the images
  • We had a battery issue and the camera overheated
  • Interesting choices for what Olympus should hone in on for autofocus tracking
  • The RAW files aren’t super versatile at higher ISO settings

Buy now ($2,999): Adorama


Sony a9


sports photography cameras a9

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:


  • Fantastic build quality
  • Overall very good image quality
  • The best autofocus of any mirrorless camera out there
  • Dual card slots are nice
  • 20fps is pretty insane
  • Added dials and ergonomics controls are very welcome
  • Weather resistance
  • Significantly improved battery life
  • No blackout of the viewfinder is nice


  • Skin tones can come out sort of weird
  • Odd metering in relation to Sunny 16 rules
  • AF point being highlighted when moved around manually with the joystick would be very nice
  • Not sure how to use the Ethernet port
  • Touchscreen navigation of the menu would be great

Buy no ($3,498): Adorama

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.