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When it comes to sports events, selecting the best video camera for shooting sports can be a little tricky. Even though there are a few factors that are important, the specific type of sport that you want to film will determine which video camera is best.
Thanks to developments in camera technology and the explosion in filmmaking space, there are a lot of video cameras that you can choose from that have different ranges of features.
- Our Top Sports Video Camera Reviews
- Features to Consider in Video Cameras for Shooting Sports
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Sports Video Camera Reviews
Sony Alpha A6600 Mirrorless Camera
The Sony Alpha A6600 is a mirrorless camera that has a UHD 4K optic. It has no time limit for recording, which makes it great to use for long sports events.
As for its battery, it comes with a 2280 mAh battery that is a step up from the battery life of its predecessor. In order to accommodate the larger battery of the Sony Alpha A6600, the thickness of the grip is larger, so it has better ergonomics compared to the Sony Alpha A6400.
The camera is spacious, and it has a custom button placed just beside its menu button. The LCD screen of the camera is touchscreen and you can flip it so you can shoot in any angle.
The body is weather-sealed, and it is easy to shoot with. Even when you attach lenses to it, it is still balanced.. The ISO range is 100 to 32,000 and it can be extended to 102,400, that means that it can perform in low light conditions. It also comes with a stabilization feature.
However, when used in low light conditions, its autofocus system does not lock the movements accurately. Also, it records in 8-bit, which is less compared to the 10-bit that you can record using the Panasonic GH5.
- Great battery life
- No time limit in recording
- Comes with image stabilization for distortion-free videos
- The camera records in 8-bit, which is a bit slow
- The camera’s rolling shutter is not fast.
Sony Alpha A6400 Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A6400 uses a high quality sensor that lets you capture your subjects accurately. It also lets you get incredible image quality and the autofocus feature is quiet and fast, so you can use it on subjects that constantly move around.
When it is in video mode, you can use the real-time focusing feature that will allow you to focus on the subject while filming. It has the same 4K and 1080p frame rates of its predecessors.
The camera can shoot up to 30 frames per second in 4K while it can shoot 120 frames per second in 1080p.
The amazing part is that it does not have the 30-minute 4K recording limit which you will often see in other mirrorless cameras.
However, it does not have an image stabilization system, unlike the Sony RX10 IV. This means your pictures and videos may come off as distorted if you move around too much.
Also, it has a shorter battery life compared to the Sony A6400. You can only get over an hour of continuous video shooting in 4K with Sony A6400’s battery. That is too short for those who want to film hours of their adventure.
- The camera has a great selection of frame rates that is useful for slow-motion footage
- The sensor accurately captures subjects and its autofocus system is quiet and fast
- It has no recording limit for 4K videos
- The camera does not have any built-in stabilization system, which means that the quality will be affected if you do not use a stabilizer
- The battery life is very short, as it only gives you a little over an hour to shoot in 4K
Panasonic LUMIX S5 Mirrorless Camera
The Panasonic Lumix S5 is equipped with the standard design paradigm that is followed by mirrorless cameras. It has a black finish and it is slimmer compared to the Sony Alpha A6600.
Also, the mirrorless camera is light, as it weighs 1.6 pounds, unlike the Panasonic GH5 that weighs 2 pounds. The camera’s controls are pro-grade. It can be accessed through the front and rear sides and its flat command dial allows you to take control over the exposure.
The switches can be toggled so you can activate the focus mode, drive mode, and its autofocus button lets you adjust the focus when you are taking pictures of different subjects.
The LCD can be flipped so you can make it face up, down, or forward. The eye sensor can be switched to your eye level automatically, and you can also close the rear screen for full time use, and you can prevent it from picking up scuffs.
The Panasonic Lumix S5 has a DMW-BLK22 battery. When you are on LCD mode, you can get 440 shots, while if you are on EVF mode then you can get 470 shots. This enables your battery to have a longer life and activate the power-saving functions. You can go up to 1,500 shots per full charge.
Other things that factor into battery life, including Wi-Fi use, video recording, burst capture, and image review. Panasonic has a contrast-detection autofocus system with the Panasonic Lumix S5. It has a great depth from the defocus system that reduces the wobbling effect in the viewfinder.
However, its frames per second has a limit of 6 seconds, which is very short. Also, the library of the l-mount lens does not have a wide range yet.
- The LCD screen can be flipped
- The battery has power-saving functions
- Has Wi-Fi connection, amazing image review and burst capture
- The library of the L-mount lens is still growing
- The tracking focus of the camera’s lens is only 6fps
The Panasonic GH5 is a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera that is the biggest competitor to the Sony A7III. It is a video camera that is filled with impressive features.
The video camera can shoot in 4K up to 6 frames per second and it can shoot up to 1080p at 180 frames per second, which is a lot higher compared to Sony A7III. You can also record the 4K video in 10-bit 4:2:2 internally or externally.
When you are filming outside in the daytime, you can flip its LCD touchscreen so you can use it easily. It stays clear no matter how bright your surroundings are. The screen fully articulates so you can shoot easily no matter what the angle is.
As for its image quality, it is one of the best in the market as its high-resolution frame rates are flexible. It also comes with a lot of customizable buttons and it has dual media card slots so you can record to two different SD cards simultaneously, making one as your backup and extra memory capacity.
However, its low light ability and its autofocus feature is not as fast and accurate as that of the Sony A7III. Its Depths from Defocus or DFD also doesn’t work as well as the other video cameras on the list.
- The buttons are customizable and easy to operate
- The LCD screen can be flipped, giving you more unique angles to shoot with
- It comes with two media card slots for more memory capacity
- The performance in low light conditions is not as good as the other cameras, distortion is visible
- The Depth from Defocus or DFD autofocus system of the camera is not that clear
Sony RX10 IV
The Sony RX10 IV is a superzoom video camera, it is a bridge between a point and shoot camera and a mirrorless camera. The lens of the video camera is built into it and it can’t be changed.
The reason why this video camera is so well received within the photography and videography community is because it has an incredible telephoto lens for recording sports. Its telephoto lens is equivalent to 24-600mm, which is a longer reach compared to the Sony Alpha A6400.
The focal range is flexible and it lets you focus on the subject that you want to get a clear shot of. The range is also wide enough to squeeze in more background. The lens has an Optical SteadyShot feature that is already built-in in its system that lets you create a distortion-free footage especially at longer focal lengths.
The camera has a good 4K quality and it has a massive selection of slow-motion frame rates. With its High Frame Rate mode, you can record at very high frame rates like 250, 500, and 960 frames per second. It is very useful for certain types of sports like golf or baseball if you need to slow down the movements.
However, the camera has a poor battery performance compared to the Sony Alpha A6600 and it has a small sensor. The small sensor can affect the quality of your shots if you are filming in low light conditions.
Since the battery’s life is short, you need to carry multiple batteries with you so you can make it through the match.
- The zoom range of the video camera is flexible so you can easily zoom in and out when you need to
- The 4K quality is great and the slow-motion frame rates are flexible
- The autofocus feature is fast and accurate
- The video camera has a poor battery life
- The sensor is small, it can’t perform in low light areas
- The lens of the video camera is not interchangeable
Sony A7 III
The Sony A7III is a full-frame camera that has a more impressive quality compared to the Sony A6400. Its sensor provides better depth of field, can perform in low lit areas and it has a wider dynamic range.
The camera has an amazing ISO range of 100-51,200 which is the standard range for video cameras used in sports. The phase-detection and the contrast-detection of its autofocus system have been improved to 425/693 points so that it will spread across the camera’s sensor and it can cover a total of 93% of the overall frame. It is better compared to the 84% coverage of the Sony A6600.
The camera is equipped with a 5-axis built-in image stabilization system that lets you capture images and film videos smoothly at long focal lengths.
However, the recording limit is not that long as it only lasts for 30 minutes. This length is great for shooting scenarios, yet it can be difficult to use in a sporting event that lasts for hours.
Also, the camera’s external battery charger is not included in the package, so you still need to purchase it separately.
- Amazing performance in low light conditions
- Great autofocus system
- It has a dual card slot for memory cards so you can have a backup and have an extra memory capacity
- The external battery charger of the camera is not included, it is sold separately
- The recording limit of 30 minutes is too short
Features to Consider in Video Cameras for Shooting Sports
Before you purchase a video camera for shooting sports events, you first need to check if you will be using it indoors or outdoors, as there are certain features that you need to have to be able to shoot in low lit areas.
Also, you need to consider the distance, so you may need a camera that has a reliable zoom feature. To give you a better idea on what to get, we have listed the important features to look for in a video camera for sports.
|Product||Long Battery Life||Low Light Performance||Image Stabilization|
|Sony Alpha A6600||Yes||No||Yes|
|Sony Alpha A6400||No||Yes||No|
|Panasonic LUMIX S5||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sony RX10 IV||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sony A7 III||No||Yes||Yes|
Long Battery Life
When deciding on a video camera for shooting sports events, it is best to review the battery life first.
Most sports events last for 2 to 3 hours, depending on what type of sport you want to shoot. This means that a video camera with a short battery life will result in you missing so many important moments.
The Sony Alpha A6600, Panasonic LUMIX S5 and the Panasonic GH5 have long battery lives and they can continuously shoot for up to 2 hours in 4K as long as the camera is fully charged.
Low Light Performance
Sports events can happen either outdoors or indoors. The thing is, if the event is held indoors, the light in the area may be limited, while if it is held outdoors, there is a possibility that it is held at night. For you to be able to capture clear and crisp images even if there is a lack of proper lighting, it is better to get a video camera that can perform really well in low light conditions.
The video cameras that can perform well in low lit areas are those with wide aperture and big sensors that let enough light in and make sure that the images do not have any distortion or unwanted effects.
The video cameras that can perform really well are the Sony Alpha A6400, Panasonic LUMIX S5, Sony RX10 IV and the Sony A7 III.
Image stabilization is a feature that allows you to film continuously without having to worry about the effects of a shaky video camera. Often, when a camera moves around too much, the video gets all blurry and the shots that you take are distorted. With built-in image stabilization, you can confidently follow the game without having to attach the video camera to a stabilizer or a tripod for support.
The video cameras on the list that have the image stabilization system are the Sony Alpha A6600, Panasonic LUMIX S5, Panasonic GH5, Sony RX10 IV and the Sony A7 III.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Get Started in Sports Photography and Videography?
If you want to be a professional sports photographer and videographer, it is important to understand the basics. You first need to have a clear idea on what you are going to take pictures and videos of. It is best to familiarize yourself with the rules of the sport beforehand and watch videos of them.
In doing so, you can visualize the images that you want to take and you can also plan ahead about how you can get the shot.
You also need to be familiar with how the subject tracking and autofocus works. These two techniques are very important in sports photography and videography. The autofocus feature allows you to get a sharp take of the subject, and the tracking makes sure that you focus on the correct subject.
It is best to set the autofocus feature to continuous to make sure that the subject that you are tracking is always in focus.
You also need to use the correct shutter speed as it is the key to freezing action. If you put the shutter speed too slow, you will end up with a blurry motion. In order to freeze human movements, it is best to adjust the speed to 1/400 seconds at least. You can go as high as 1/1600 for sports if an athlete is in free fall.
Why Do Professional Sports Photographers Use Micro Four Thirds?
Full frame cameras and mirrorless cameras are not the only ones that professional sports photographers use, they also use Micro Four Thirds. The system of this type of camera can assist you in your sports photography..
Micro Four Thirds give twice the crop factor. Sports photographers want to get close to the subject without having to do it physically. This is where the micro four-thirds sensors come in. If your camera lens has a 100-300mm range, the micro four-thirds system of your camera can increase it to 200-600mm easily.
The Micro Four Thirds camera has a fast shutter speed, which is very important in sports photography. Athletes move really fast, so you need to be able to capture every single moment. Most Micro Four Thirds cameras have a shutter speed of 1/8000th per second.
In well-lit areas, you can use the fast shutter speed so you can capture how athletes throw a ball and how they catch them.
Sports photography can be tricky, since it is not the usual type of genre that people go for. Aside from being in a very different condition compared to nature photography, there are a lot of things that you need to consider such as the movements of the players, the lighting of the area and the venue.
The best video camera for shooting sports has all of the features and specifications that you need in order to get the highest quality outcome, no matter what sports you are using it for.