Being a sport photographer is one of the hardest jobs in the photography industry! Having one of the best mirrorless sports photography cameras can help make your job easier!
With the need to constantly shoot high volumes of photos, track fast moving subjects and still produce razor sharp, high quality images, it can be a real struggle finding the best equipment for the job.
Obviously, given the huge range of brands out there, there are plenty of suitable cameras but only a few are good enough to really make the sports photography cut if you’re considering purchasing something new.
Considerations such as good autofocus, image stabilisation and video capabilities are a must for this niche, but even within this bracket there are multiple products with a range of prices.
- Sony A1 – Best overall sports photography camera
- Nikon Z7 II – Best Nikon sports photography mirrorless camera
- Canon EOS R5 – Best mirrorless sports camera for Canon lovers
- Sony a9 II – Best mirrorless camera for professional sport photographers
- Fuji X-T4 – Best mirrorless sports photography camera for enthusiasts
What is certain is that whether you’re a photographer looking to turn your passion for sports into a full time gig, or have been shooting action packed events for years, there’s a mirrorless camera out there that will be exactly what you’re searching for.
And if you’re looking for some sports photography inspiration check out my win in the Carve Magazine Surf Photography Competition.
Sony A1 – Best overall mirrorless sports photography camera
The Sony A1 has become known as a camera that is great for pretty much any situation. It has a ridiculously huge 50MP sensor, 8K video and an updated autofocus system that can detect both humans and animals.
Give the hefty price tag, it is no surprise that Sony has put everything but the kitchen sink into this one – you won’t find a camera with better handling, image quality and customisation possibilities.
The viewfinder is also electronic and very high quality, and the touchscreen is instantly responsive meaning you won’t waste time fiddling.
The Sony A1 also comes with all the expected card slots, connectivity and wireless capabilities you’d expect from big name brands.
There are a couple of tiny downsides, namely that the LCD screen is slightly lower resolution than it should be, and the previously mentioned animal detection autofocus needs to actually be set to human or animal by you.
Reportedly, the battery life is also very average on the Sony A1 which is not entirely unexpected due to the huge amount of processing required by the camera for both photo and video.
Lastly, the cost is an important factor – this is not something to be invested in on a whim and would suit a professional action and sport photographer looking to up their game or update their current kit with something that will last a long time to come.
- Extremely high image quality, 50MP sensor
- Both 8K and 4k video capabilities
- Super-fast autofocus and silent shutter
- Fairly light at 730g
- Also makes the list of best Sony mirrorless cameras!
- Very expensive
- Average to poor battery life
Nikon Z7 II – Best Nikon sports photography mirrorless camera
The Nikon Z7 II is the brand’s round two, if you like, of its original best-selling mirrorless camera.
Although in many regards the Z7 II is fairly similar to its predecessor, Nikon has made a few tweaks that might convince you it’s a worthy purchase if you’re in the market.
The Z7 II camera retains its impressive 45.7MP sensor, which produces impossibly crisp images, as well as 4K video and in-body image stabilisation.
A couple of the new features include a dual processor and dual SD card slots, upgrading it to an excellent choice camera for professionals.
There is also brand new autofocus modes, which include wide area AF and face detection. The new battery for the Nikon Z7 II has a superior battery life to its predecessor, which is always good news, but if you still need more it works with a vertical grip so you can use two batteries.
On this note, if you’re sick of constantly charging and replacing batteries, the Z7 II can be charged via its USB-C port which is a very handy bonus.
The only downsides to speak of here are that the autofocus could still be improved when compared to similar quality cameras, while the dual card slots are unfortunately different formats, requiring you to shell out on multiple purchases to use the feature.
- Very high image quality, 45.7MP sensor
- Effective IBIS (in-body image stabilisation)
- USB-C charging
- Dual card slots
- Also makes the list of best Nikon mirrorless cameras!
- Price tag
- Card slots require purchasing multiple formats
- Battery life could be improved
Canon EOS R5 – Best mirrorless sports camera for Canon lovers
Arguably the best mirrorless sports photography camera Canon has ever released, the Canon R5 is already becoming a cult favourite with both amateur and seasoned sports photographers, despite its more professionally-suited price tag.
The Canon R5 has a 45MP dual frame sensor, can shoot high quality 8K sports video and has an unrivalled autofocus system. It comes with Canon’s standard IBIS as well as dual card slots and in-camera USB charging.
The R5 camera is designed to be a true one-stop shop for whatever you’re shooting, from sports to wildlife, street photography to portraits.
The Canon EOS R5 is also the perfect camera for those who use their kit to shoot sports video regularly, however there is a known issue which means that there are limitations on video shooting due to the camera overheating.
This would be expected for a Canon camera shooting such high quality video but is still something to consider when there are other brands out there without the issue.
Another small but nevertheless annoying feature is automatic noise reduction which is applied when shooting in RAW, as most photographers do, which can lead to unintentionally lower quality images.
Some sports require flash photography. If you’re looking to compliment your Canon camera with a flash here are the best flashes for Canon!
- Unbeatable image quality and 45MP sensor
- 8K and 4K video
- Dual card slots and USB charging option
- Also makes the list of best Canon mirrorless cameras!
- Video causes overheating
- Automatic noise reduction in RAW
Sony a9 II – Best mirrorless camera for professional sport photographers
The Sony a9 is a sports photographers camera through and through.
At 24MP, the Sont a9 II shoots silently yet high quality images, with just shy of 100% autofocus coverage an 20fps continuous shooting – an essential for a photographer capturing fast paced sports or action events.
Like the previously mentioned Nikon, this is a camera with a very similar predecessor although the newer version comes with a few key benefits.
Namely, a mechanical shutter allowing up to 10fps bursts, and did we mention you can add voice memos to these?
If you’re doing this regularly the double card slot means write times are much speedier. Many sports photographers will likely want to shoot video at some point, and the Sony a9 II has great quality 4K just for this purpose.
The autofocus on the Sony a9 II is also almost unrivalled, a given when shooting constantly moving subjects. For professionals, connectivity is a significant factor, but you’ll be pleased to know that the a9 has superfast Wi-Fi, USB-C connection for file transfers and again, the somewhat niche voice memo capabilities.
All good things must have some disadvantages however, and Sony’s a9 II is still lacking higher quality video features that are already seen in its rivals.
Although image output is high quality, the resolution should be far better for the price, which is on par with Canon’s R5.
- Top of the market autofocus
- 10fps burst mode and 20fps continuous shooting
- Excellent battery life and general connectivity features
- Great range of Sony mirrorles lenses to compliment the camera!
- Low resolution compared to competitors
- Very high price tag
- Underwhelming video quality and features
Fuji X-T4 – Best mirrorless sports photography camera for enthusiasts
Fuji’s latest mirrorless camera to be released, the X-T4 is an impeccable sports camera with a mid-range price tag but top-end features.
The Fuji X-T4 has a very reasonable 26MP sensor, IBIS, 20fps shooting and 4K video. Essentially, everything you could need in a top quality sport photography camera without the price tag of the previously mentioned Sony a9 II.
One of the best features on the Fuji X-T4 is also a brand new battery, with one charge providing up to 500 shots. It’s a genuinely great option for both enthusiastic newbies and old-timers looking for something that won’t break the bank.
Although the 4K video has some excellent tricks, such as peaking and zebra patterns and a separate video menu, there is sadly no autofocus tracking in video mode, which is often a necessary prerequisite for a photographer shooting sports action, plus recording time has limitations.
For stills, autofocus is also slightly hit and miss and can be improved or worsened depending on the lens you pair it with, as well as poor-quality facial detection. Check this post out for more Fuji lens discussion!
On balance though, the price is affordable for those serious about sports photography looking for something that will definitely get the job done.
- 20fps shooting with IBIS
- 4K Video
- Long lasting battery life
- Mid-range affordable
- Also makes the list of best Fuji mirrorless cameras!
- Limited video recording time
- Autofocus is poor compared with similarly priced competitors
Though these are but a few of the excellent mirrorless sports photography cameras out there, they are generally seen to be the best!
The Sony A1 would take some serious argument to convince anyone to purchase, but if you’re a photographer making a full time living from sports or action photography then such an investment may pay off exponentially.
For a more novice sport or action photographer, the Fuji X-T4 has a price tag that, while not an impulse purchase, is still reasonable enough that you’ll get a high quality camera that will see you through a good few years of shooting.
On the mid to high price range spectrum of mirrorless sports photography cameras, we’re left with Sony’s a9 II and Canon’s R5 which are almost so similar that it comes down to who your favourite brand is and if you’re intent on shooting video.
Finally, the Nikon Z7 II is arguably the best all-rounder (if including price as a factor) of the lot, with a slightly expensive but not eye-watering price tag, all the features and resolution you’d expect in a newly released mirrorless sports camera and a couple of unique, handy features!
Don’t miss the action, and get your hands on one of these cameras now!
If you’re a water sports action photographer then check out these top underwater and waterproof cameras!
DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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