If you want to capture the exciting action of your favorite sport, you will need a video camera that has the necessary capabilities.

At A Glance: Our Top 3 Picks for Sports Video Cameras

panasonic lumix g85To make your videos stunning and stand out, you need the right kind of camera to capture all the action with the minutest of details.

In today’s article, we covered 6 best video cameras for filming sports. But first, let’s see what type of sports require certain features:

Types of Sports

Many video cameras can be used to film different types of sports.

For instance, you can use a DSLR to film practically anything including extreme sports.

However, DSLR cameras can only film for 30 minutes at a single stretch, after which you need to press the record button again.

Here is a list of some of the sports and cameras ideal for these sports:

  • Baseball: Filming baseball action is the least stressful, as you are likely to be stationary most of the time and require to zoom in and out a bit. Any good quality camera with a good zoom along with a tripod will be ideal.
  • Outdoor, Extreme, Winter Sports: To film sports like skiing, snowboarding skateboarding, etc., the type of camera depends on whether you will be filming from far away or filming yourself. A high-quality DSLR with stationary filming options would be a good bet.
  • Basketball: Since the sport has a lot of movement and action, it is best to use a good DSLR with good AF.
  • Football: You can either film in the stationary mode by using a DSLR or use a camcorder if you’re filming from the sidelines or you’re in the stands.
  • Volleyball: If the game is indoors, then you can use the same camera as you would use for basketball; however, if you need an outdoor camera, then you can use the same as you would use for baseball.
  • Hockey: Since the puck used in hockey is very small, the choice of a camera will really depend on the distance at which you will be filming. You can get a mirrorless or DSLR camera on a tripod or a camcorder with a good AF since hockey is a fast-paced game.
  • Golf: It is ideal to get a lightweight camera fixed on a tripod, as you will be carrying it with you from one hole to another. Choose a camera with a good zoom and detail that is ideal for stationary filming. A mirrorless camera would be ideal for capturing the small details you want.
  • Track and Field: Since most track and field events are held outdoors and sensitivity to sunlight is the major factor here, it’s a good idea to get a DSLR. And the athletes will be running extremely fast, the camera should have a good AF and going mirrorless is ideal.
  • Tennis: Since most of the filming is stationary, it is a good idea to get a solid DSLR or a good mirrorless camera. While you won’t really be moving the camera much, you may want to zoom in at times and also film the ball in action.
  • Water Sports: For water sports like swimming, water polo, etc., although you may not be in the water, it may be a good idea to get a waterproof camera with a good AF, as locating individual athletes in the water may be difficult.

 

Top 6 Video Cameras for Recording Sports

These are not professional cameras, but rather consumer cameras, all priced under $1000.

ImageCamera ModelSpecsPrice
GoPro Hero 5GoPro Hero 5
UNDER $250
Action Camera
4K/30 fps | 1080p/120 fps
Check Price
Olyumpus OM-D E-M10Olyumpus OM-D E-M10
GREAT MIRRORLESS
Mirrorless
1080/30 fps
Check Price
Panasonic Lumix G85Panasonic Lumix G85
BEST 4K
Mirrorless
4K/30 fps
Check Price
Sony Alpha a6000Sony Alpha a6000
LIGHTWEIGHT
Mirrorless
1080/60p
Check Price
Canon VIXIA HF R800Canon VIXIA HF R800
BEST CHEAP CAMCORDER
Camcorder
1080p Full HD
Check Price
Canon PowerShot SX720 HSCanon PowerShot SX720 HS
POINT AND SHOOT
Point and Shoot
1080/60p
Check Price
   UNDER $250   

GoPro Hero 5: Best Video Camera for Action Sports

GoPro HERO5

Quality

83%

Affordability

98%

Why I Like It

  • Very simple to operate.
  • Rugged, waterproof and durable.
  • Lightweight, compact and portable.
  • The QuikStories feature allows you to get excellent edited videos of your footage.
  • Stabilized video and crystal-clear audio.
  • Voice control allows the hands-free use of the camera with simple voice commands.
  • The camera lets you to preview your shots, play them back, modify your settings and trim your footage.
  • Inexpensive.
  • The best option to film yourself playing sports

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you’re looking for a compact, sleek, reliable camera or to film yourself playing sports, then you need to consider the GoPro Hero 5.

Let the size of the camera not fool you, it has impressive features and allows you to shoot and share your videos practically from anywhere at all, whether on the mountain, at the beach or simply in your garden.

Camera quality is going to be better than any vlogging camera for $300, but it doesn’t really work for general vlogging, just action (which can also be used to film music videos).

  • Video Quality: With the GoPro Hero 5, you can shoot both stunning 4K videos and 12-megapixel photos in several modes such as single, time-lapse and burst modes.
  • Transfer Files: The camera has a QuikStories feature that allows you to send the video footage to your smartphone, where the app transforms it into a beautifully edited video and you can upload it to the cloud or your social media.
  • Durable: The GoPro Hero 5 has a rugged design and is waterproof up to 10 meters or 33 feet.
  • Touchscreen: The 2-inch touchscreen display of the camera allows you to preview, playback, modify your settings, trim the footage, etc.
  • Voice Control: The camera has voice control and you can use voice commands to control the camera hands-free.
  • Image Stabilization: The video stabilization feature allows you to get smooth videos whether you are shooting with the camera mounted or in the handheld mode.
Video Test

Features

  • Camera Type: Action Camera
  • 12 MPS photos and 4K videos in single, time-lapse and burst modes
  • Time-Lapse Intervals: 0.6 to 60 seconds
  • Waterproof up to 10 meters (33 feet) without an external case
  • 2-inch touchscreen display
  • QuikStories enabled
  • Voice control, hands-free operation
  • One-button control
  • Charger not included along with the camera

Drawbacks

  • Battery life is not very great.
  • Charger not included.
  • Touchscreen display not very vibrant.

The Verdict

Overall, the GoPro Hero 5 is a solid performer and offers a great combination of features, performance and convenience. It is the best camera by far to film yourself playing sports. If you want a great camera that is compact and is also not very pricey, then the GoPro Hero 5 is indeed a great sports action camera.

   GREAT MIRRORLESS   

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Olypmus OM-D E-M10

Quality

88%

Affordability

94%

Why I Like It

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Small size but extremely comfortable to handle.
  • Easy to focus and shoot.
  • Image quality is very good.
  • Inbuilt WiFi is very convenient.

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you’re looking for a video camera to shoot some fast-paced sporting action, then the Olympus E-M10 is a great camera to consider.

Not only is the camera very good looking, the EM-10 also has some excellent features.

The camera is equipped with the TruePic VII processor, inbuilt flash, a large electronic viewfinder, WiFi, etc.:

  • Lens: The camera features the professional-grade M Zuiko lens that offers excellent image quality and resolution.
  • Sensor: The 16-megapixels Live MOS sensor offers vibrant colors and fantastic resolution.
  • Image Stabilization: The 3-axis image stabilization helps you to get sharp video and images.
  • Build: The EM-10 has a compact design and the elegant body is made of metal. The camera is so sleek and portable that you can carry it conveniently wherever you go.
  • Extra: The inbuilt WiFi allows you to share the images conveniently and the camera has an inbuilt flash, several creative tools (12 art filters and 9 art effects) and a touchscreen LCD monitor that can be tilted.
  • Fast Shooting Images: The camera delivers high-speed sequential shooting and the high-speed AF technology enables you to capture all the high-speed action without missing a single shot.
Video Test

Features

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless for Videography
  • 16-megapixels Live MOS sensor
  • TruePic VII processor
  • 3-axis image stabilization
  • Inbuilt flash
  • High-speed continuous shooting at 8 fps
  • ISO 200 – 25600
  • 3” tiltable LCD touchscreen
  • Electronic viewfinder having 100% coverage
  • Shooting in RAW and JPEG+RAW formats
  • Color Creator
  • Features 9 art effects and 12 art filters
  • Photo Story with zoom in and out theme
  • Movie and photo capture
  • Inbuilt WiFi
  • SD, SDXC, SDHC card slot

Drawbacks

  • The camera is not waterproof.
  • Lacks mic input and accessory port.
  • Does not have 60fps video support.

The Verdict

The Olympus EM-10 is indeed an excellent blend of functionality and design and is a great investment that is sure to last you several years.

   4K RESOLUTION   

Panasonic Lumix G85

panasonic lumix g85

Quality

97%

Affordability

85%

Why I Like It

  • The camera has an excellent build quality and makes for easy handling.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Rugged and suitable for use in any type of environment, thanks to the camera’s weather-sealed design.
  • Fast and accurate AF.

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you’re looking for a video camera that offers advanced features to shoot some serious sporting action, then the Panasonic Lumix G85 is an excellent choice.

The G85 is a mirrorless design that makes the camera extremely compact and lightweight and the traditional DSLR-style layout of the camera offers excellent handling. 

  • Image Stabilization: The camera is equipped with a dual image stabilizer that enables you to get sharp and clear images even if the subjects are moving very fast.
  • Body Quality: The camera has a weather-sealed, dust- and splash-proof body that makes it ideal for use in any type of environment and the grip has an ergonomic design that allows you to shoot with one hand.
  • Video Quality: The 5-axis gyro sensor increases the stability of the camera. The Lumix 4K Photo feature allows you to shoot video sequences up to 30 fps.
  • The Post Focus: Feature of the G85 lets you review an image and sharpen any specific area you wish and the New Focus Stacking allows you to choose many focal points in a single image.
  • The Light Speed AF: Along with Depth From Defocus (DFD) AF technology delivers accurate and fast AF performance.
  • Image Quality: The live viewfinder allows you to frame the shot and shoot anything in your shot and the 16 MPS MOS Sensor lets you capture sharper images. The IS system makes the G85 ideal for handheld shooting.
Video Test

Features

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 9 fps
  • 3” touchscreen LCD display
  • 4K video recording (30p or 24p)
  • Dual image stabilizer
  • Weather-sealed design (dust-proof and splash-proof)
  • Depth From Defocus (DFD) AF technology
  • Inbuilt WiFi

Drawbacks

  • Battery life is quite poor.
  • The ISO range of the camera is limited.

The Verdict

Overall, the Panasonic Lumix G85 offers a range of features, durable design and excellent performance all at a bargain price making it the best “all-round” mirrorless video camera.

   LIGHTWEIGHT MIRRORLESS   

Sony Alpha a6000

sony alpha a6000

Quality

91%

Affordability

88%

Why I Like It

  • Rugged and durable design.
  • Inexpensive price.
  • Delivers high-resolution images.
  • Lightweight and super-compact construction.
  • Hybrid AF which delivers excellent image quality.

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you’re looking for a top-quality video camera to shoot some fast-paced sporting action that is also inexpensive, then you can definitely consider buying the Sony Alpha a6000 DSLR camera.

The mirrorless camera offers an ultra-fast speed of recording of 11 fps.

The autofocus tracking, along with the speed allows you to get excellent videos and photos even if the subject is moving very fast.

The Sony Alpha a6000 is extremely compact, portable and very easy to use.

The camera is equipped with the 24.3MP APS-C image sensor and BIONZ X image processing, which delivers excellent enlargements and details.

PlayMemories Camera app allows you to control your camera via your smartphone or tablet. You can also directly edit your images on your mobile device and upload them.

The Exmos CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor of the camera allow you to get more detail even in low light conditions in the ISO range 100-25,000.

Although the a6000 is compact and small in size, you can have full control of the camera and access all the functions and features very easily.

The control wheel and the 2 dials that are located on the top let you select the shooting modes and camera settings very easily.

The OLED viewfinder of the camera offers a wide viewing angle and 100% frame coverage thereby improving visibility significantly.

With the a6000, you can shoot videos in full HD in 1080p, 24p or 60p or 60i frames.

The camera has a 3” LCD display that allows you to shoot from various angles and the WhiteMagic technology increases the visibility of the images in bright daylight dramatically.

Video Test

Features

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Mirrorless DSLR camera
  • Recording Speed: 11 fps
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • 24.3MP APS-C image sensor
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 3-inch Xtrafine LCD display
  • WhiteMagic technology
  • Inbuilt WiFi and NFC
  • OLED electronic viewfinder with 14 million dots and 100% coverage /su_list]

Drawbacks

  • The camera can become overheated when used continuously for around 1-2 hours.

The Verdict

The Alpha a6000 camera is compact, sleek and lightweight and is almost half the size and weight of a regular DSLR and the interchangeable lenses of the a6000 makes it quite versatile. This mirrorless camera with its excellent autofocus, vibrant colors, picture clarity and enhanced detail is one of the best cameras to capture some scintillating, fast-paced sports action.

   UNDER $300   

Canon VIXIA HF R800: Best Cheap Camcorder for Sports

Canon VIXIA HF R800

Quality

98%

Affordability

89%

Why I Like It

  • Excellent quality, steady videos.
  • The Zoom Framing Assist feature of the camcorder keeps the moving objects which are far away in focus.
  • 3” touchscreen LCD panel has a new interface that offers simple video viewing and easy navigation.

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you love outdoor sports and especially enjoy filming all the live action, then the Canon VIXIA R800 is among the best, it can shoot all the fast-paced action, especially from a distance.

The camcorder is great for zooming in and out of the action and if you need to go back and forth very quickly. 

  • Zoom: The 57x Advanced Zoom allows you to shoot the subjects from a long-range even if you’re sitting very far away from all the sporting action and the camera offers full 1080p HD quality video.
  • The High Priority Mode: Gives your videos the vibrant colors that you can see the minutest details of.
  • Stabilization: The SuperRange Image Stabilizer corrects any shake in the image and delivers sharp images.
  • Video Quality: The VIXIA R800 features a 3.28 MPS full-HD CMOS Image Sensor that allows you to shoot in 1920×1080 resolution and delivers HD video even in low-light conditions.
  • Image Quality: The DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor allows you to shoot brighter and noise-free images and you can record full-HD videos directly to the SD card, which is removable.
  • LCD: The camera has a clear LCD screen that is bright both indoors, as well as outside and the interface has simple and large icons and a very easy-to-navigate layout.
  • Slow Motion: The slow and fast motion features of the camera allow you to record the sporting action in slow motion, which can be great to check out your tennis swing or you can record in fast speed as well if you need to.
  • Extra: The camera also offers 5 cinematic-look filters that allow you to add some drama to your shots. The camera also has an Audio Scene Select that lets you choose between 5 audio modes while recording.
  • Battery: The VIXIA R800 is powered by a lithium-ion battery which can be recharged and allows you to shoot for long periods of time.
Video Test

Features

  • Camera Type: Camcorder
  • 57x Advanced Zoom
  • SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
  • 3.28 MPS Full-HD CMOS Image Sensor
  • Zoom Framing Assist
  • DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor (1920×1080 resolution images)
  • Record directly to SD memory card (removable)
  • 3” touchscreen LCD panel

Drawbacks

  • Does not have inbuilt WiFi.
  • Camcorder not sleek and design is quite outdated compared to the sleeker models.

The Verdict

Overall, the VIXIA R800 is a great camcorder with excellent features and is budget-friendly too.

   CHEAP POINT AND SHOOT   

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS

Canon PowerShot SX720

Quality

75%

Affordability

96%

Why I Like It

  • Sleek and compact camera that can fit into your pocket comfortably.
  • Impressive zoom of 40x.
  • Good AF speeds.
  • LCD screen is bright and sharp.

 

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Review

If you want a compact camera that is powerful too, then the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS is a great option to consider.

The camera has a 40x zoom lens, which is quite impressive and allows you to shoot sports action happening at a distance.

The camera is quite compact, which makes it a great travel companion and it’s quite slim, enough that it can fit into your pocket easily.

The Canon PowerShot has a DIGIC 6 image processor helps to boost the quality of both videos and photographs and it has a 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor which delivers excellent performance and allows continuous shooting of 5.9 fps and 1080 or 60p, 30p or 24p video shooting.

The Story Highlights feature of the SX720 HS compiles all your videos and images into a highlight reel along with special effects and music.

The camera is equipped with Intelligent Dynamic IS, which along with the 5-axis stabilization corrects any shakes and gives you shake-free and sharp images.

The 3” LCD screen has a high resolution that allows you to frame and review your shots carefully and the images can be viewed from a wide angle too.

Apart from downloading your videos and photos to your PC via the Canon Image Gateway, you can download them to your smartphone too, which makes it easier to view and share.

The Creative Shot mode of the camera lets you create artistic images with the use of creative filters and effects.

The inbuilt WiFi and NFC connectivity let you share all your shots with your friends and family via your social media.

Video Test

Features

  • Camera Type: Point and Shoot
  • 20.3 MPS CMOS Sensor
  • 40x optical zoom
  • DIGIC 6 image processor
  • Inbuilt WiFi and NFC
  • Intelligent Dynamic IS
  • 3” LCD touchscreen
  • Comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Drawbacks

  • The image quality of the camera may not be very good if you are shooting in low light.
  • Price is slightly higher compared to other point-and-shoot-style cameras.
  • Buttons of the camera are too small in size and may not be comfortable to use.

The Verdict

The compact size, the features and the price tag of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS makes it a good buy for sports enthusiasts.

Best Video Camera for Filming Yourself Playing Sports

If you are looking to film yourself playing sports, either from a third-person or first-person POV, then you must consider the logistics and additional equipment to set up your camera to do so.

gopro hockey

For example, if you are playing hockey and you want to film yourself from a third-person POV, you will first need to figure out where you should place the camera.

You could place the camera on a tripod outside the hockey rink but think of the equipment you would need to carry with you to the game. Not to mention the risk of it being stolen.

Another option is to have someone film you from the stands, but if you are alone, how comfortable would you be in asking and trusting a stranger to film?

A great solution would be to use a GoPro camera and suction it to the outside of the rink glass using accessories. This is something you cannot do with a DSLR or mirrorless. go pro suction cup

If filming yourself playing sports is a must-have, you really only have one option: GoPro.

Make sure to get the necessary mounting accessories to allow the camera to be mounted where necessary.

Sports Video Camera Buying Guide

When you’re buying a video camera to film sports, you should consider:

Video Resolution

The camera must definitely have a 1080p resolution, although these days, 4K ultra resolution is becoming more popular and affordable too.

To get high-quality visuals, it is not recommended that you go any lower in terms of the resolution.

Types of Camera

DSLR

A DSLR camera is among the most popular cameras and irrespective of the sport you’re planning to film, getting a DSLR is a great idea.

DSLRs are the most versatile video cameras for filming sports and they are great for taking photographs too. The biggest advantage of DSLRs is that you can change lenses as required.

However, if you need to move the camera a lot, you may find a DSLR cumbersome and they also allow only 30 minutes of filming at a time.

Mirrorless Camera

These cameras are becoming quite popular, especially since the technology is becoming more affordable.

Mirrorless cameras are great when you want to capture finer details of the game such as small balls and other objects.

Mirrorless cameras also record only for 30 minutes at a time and you need to be around to press the record button again.

Camcorders

These are much easier to hold and handle compared to DSLRs; however, in the last few years camcorders have become less popular.

  • Professional Grade Camcorders: These can be carried over your shoulder or placed on a tripod. These cameras deliver excellent cinematic quality videos; however, they are quite pricey,
  • Point and Shoot: They are like regular digital cameras and are not very common. Not many of these point and shoot cameras can shoot video and if they do, they do not shoot 1080p.

Action Cams

Action cameras like GoPro and other types of POV cameras have become extremely popular in the recent years and are fantastic for filming stunning point-of-view videos for many different kinds of sports.

Accessories

Apart from the video camera itself, you will require some accessories when you’re filming sports.

If you plan to use a tripod or leave it on the field to film the entire game or practice session, then you will need a rugged and durable tripod.

And, if you travel a lot, you will need a sturdy carry case for both your camera and your tripod.

You will need other accessories such as lenses for your mirrorless and DSLR cameras, external microphones if you want to capture the audio as well, mounts for your action cams, etc.

And, finally, you will need video editing software to organize and put together the various clips and videos that you have shot.

Budget

This is probably the most important factor when buying your camera, considering that it is a long-term investment.

Video cameras are available in all kinds and there is a wide range of options that you can choose from. There are high-end expensive models if you want to go big that will give you unparalleled visuals. But, if you’re tight on your budget, there are still many viable options that you can choose from.

Conclusion

Filming stunning action-packed sports videos is not very difficult if you have a high-quality video camera to shoot all the action.

Since buying a video camera is a long-term investment decision and an expensive one too, it is a good idea for you to do your homework and evaluate the various options available before making your final decision of which camera to buy.

Zach

Zach

Hi there, I'm Zach and I am main writer and editor here at Looxcie. I put in lots of hours researching YouTube as a platform, from how to start your channel to how to grow it to millions of subscribers. Now I want to share all my knowledge to content creators, vloggers and YouTubers.

One Comment

  • Avatar anais says:

    It is really a great and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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