There are many different ways to capture sports, and there are just as many different types of cameras to do it with. When looking for the best camera for sports video, it's important to consider the type of camera you need, whether it's a mountable action camera to get POV shots of the action or a well-equipped mirrorless camera to capture the action from afar. Look out for good stabilization to keep your camera steady and a good autofocus system to keep your subjects in focus. The more frame rate options, the better, especially if you want to incorporate slow-motion footage.
The kind of lens you use with an interchangeable lens camera can drastically affect its overall performance. Using a telephoto lens with a long maximum focal length can help you capture the action from a distance, but that isn't the only point you should consider. Maximum aperture, autofocus performance, stabilization performance, and image and video quality depend on the lens you use, meaning that camera performance can differ significantly depending on your chosen lens and settings. That said, for the sake of consistency and user-friendliness, we currently test mirrorless and DSLR cameras with their standard kit lenses.
We've tested over 60 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras to buy for sport video. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For more options, see our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras, the best cameras for YouTube, and the best cameras.
The best action camera that we've tested for sport video is the GoPro HERO9 Black. This action camera is incredibly portable and lightweight. As long as you have the appropriate mounting accessories, you can rig it to helmets, chest rigs, goal posts, or even hockey sticks and other equipment to get fast-paced POV videos of whatever sport you want to capture. It also has a front-facing screen if you want to capture footage of yourself in action.
While we don't currently test for this, it's also advertised to be waterproof up to 10m, and its overall build quality feels exceptionally sturdy and well-crafted. It comes with different field of view options, so you can choose to film with a wide-angle fisheye view or a more natural field of view. It also does a remarkable job smoothing out camera shake in both FHD and 4k, whether you're walking or running, although enabling its stabilization feature does incur a noticeable 1.38x crop.
All that said, its video quality is somewhat lacking, especially when shooting in low light, but that's fairly typical of action cameras due to their smaller sensors. On the upside, it offers a ton of frame rate options to capture fast action smoothly. It can shoot in 4k at up to 60 fps or in FHD at up to 240 fps, which is great for generating smooth slow-motion footage. It can also record in 5k at up to 30 fps, but we don't currently test 5k video. All in all, this is the best camera for sports if you're looking for a versatile mountable action camera.
If you don't want to spend as much, check out the DJI Osmo Action. Its video quality is even less impressive than that of the GoPro HERO9 Black, and it only has a single ultra-wide-angle field of view. However, it's notably cheaper and still delivers excellent performance for action video. Like the GoPro, it can record at up to 60 fps in 4k and up to 240 fps in FHD, so you can capture fast action or generate slow-motion video. It also has a front-facing screen for self-recording, and it's advertised to be waterproof, but we don't currently test this. Its stabilization feature does a great overall job of reducing camera shake, although it's not quite as impressive as the stabilization on the GoPro.
Go with the GoPro if you want more field of view options and slightly better video quality and stabilization performance, but if you're looking to save some money, the DJI is a great alternative.
The best camera to video sports handheld is the DJI Pocket 2. This unique pocket-sized camera comes with a built-in three-axis stabilized gimbal for exceptionally smooth camera movement, making it well-suited to filming sports. It feels very well-built, and the gimbal mechanism feels sturdy. That said, its limited physical controls and small screen mean there's a learning curve to using it and adjusting all its various settings.
It has three different gimbal settings for various stabilization effects and a lock function that locks the gimbal to a certain position for steady movement. It also does an amazing job of tracking moving subjects and includes an active tracking autofocus setting that can lock onto a particular subject and follow them automatically. It can shoot at up to 60 fps in either 4k or FHD, and it has an additional 'Slow-Mo' mode in FHD that captures video at either 120 fps or 240 fps for slow-motion playback.
Unfortunately, its video quality is just okay due to its small sensor. It's particularly disappointing when shooting in FHD in brighter lighting conditions. It can also get very hot when you use it for extended periods, especially when recording in 4k. Still, thanks to its built-in gimbal and pocket-sized design, it's a versatile and portable video camera for content creators looking to capture various sports in action.
If you'd prefer a dedicated stills and video camera that's well-suited to filming fast action and sports, the Fujifilm X-T4 is the best camera we've tested to video sports. This flagship crop-sensor mirrorless model feels very well-built and is relatively portable, making it easier to carry around for long shooting days. It has a fully articulated screen to help you shoot from different angles and a full array of inputs and outputs, including a microphone jack in case you want to connect an external mic for better audio.
It offers several frame rate options, as it can record 4k and FHD video at up to 60 fps. It also has a high-speed recording mode in FHD that lets you capture fast action at 120 fps or 240 fps for slow-motion playback. Its internal recording capability is also excellent, so it can output high-quality video files if you want more control over editing. Its overall video quality is impressive, particularly when shooting in brighter lighting conditions. It also has a great autofocus system that's remarkably effective at tracking moving subjects.
Unfortunately, it's not the most comfortable to use, and its controls may take some getting used to if you're not used to having dedicated dials for camera settings. It's also, of course, heavier and bulkier than a portable action camera would be. On the upside, it has in-body image stabilization to smooth out camera shake when shooting without a tripod. All in all, if you're looking for a hybrid stills/video camera that can capture fast action and sports, this is a great mirrorless option.
If you want a mirrorless camera for sports video but aren't willing to spend as much, consider the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. It has a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor, so its noise handling and low light performance aren't as good as the Fujifilm X-T4, but it's cheaper and a bit smaller. While its smaller sensor incurs a 2x crop when shooting video, its overall video quality is great, and you can get more focal reach out of it, which is handy if your subject is farther away. Like the Fujifilm, it has in-body image stabilization to smooth out camera shake. It also has a superb autofocus system that's very effective at keeping moving subjects in focus. That said, its frame rate options are more limited since it can only record 4k video at up to 30 fps, though it's better in FHD, with 1080p at up to 60 fps and a slow-motion mode that records at 120 fps.
Get the Fujifilm if you want more frame rate options and better overall video quality, but if you want to save some money and prefer a smaller camera, the Olympus is a great alternative.
Sep 13, 2021: Reviewed picks for accuracy; no change to recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best sport video cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our camera reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.