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Best Canon Camera For Sports Photography

by Beth Storhoff
(Lanesboro, MN USA)

My new action sports camera<br>Canon R6 Mark II

My new action sports camera
Canon R6 Mark II



UPDATED: November 19, 2023 WRITTEN BY: Bruce Lovelace


Hi Bruce

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and time. I am wondering if there is a Canon camera that is best for sports photography. This would be partly in gymnasiums (basketball
Beth Storhoff


Hi Beth,

Thanks for your question about a good Canon camera for shooting sports. Canon makes several cameras that will work great for you as a sports/action camera, although so do other camera makers too. It's an easy answer for me to give because I have a new updated favorite Canon that I personally use for sports and wildlife.

My new recommendation for a great sports, action, and wildlife photography is my Canon R6 Mark II. Look for my upcoming R6 Mark II Review.

But first, I recently updated an article on my other photography blog that I think you'll find very helpful to read on Sports Photography Cameras.

I'll limit my answer to Canon cameras because that's what I know best and you mentioned some of the cameras you've looked at already.

List of Canon Sports Cameras

1. 7D Mark II. Although it was a very popular camera amongst Canon shooters, the 7D Mark II is not the first on my list for shooting sports, but it would be close. It was released in 2014, which is ancient in digital technology terms, but its 10 frames per second is great for sports. You can still find new ones for around $1600 the last time I checked.

2. EOS-1D X MARK III. The EOS-1D X Mark III is definitely too pricey for you. It IS an outstanding camera for sports-20 frames per second is crazy fast-but the price is over the top for everyone but the pro sports shooters. The price tags on these is still well over $6,000.

Canon 1DX Mark III
Ultimate Pricey Canon Sports Camera

They are also very big and heavy to tote around, especially for shooting outdoor sports where you'll be using a longer, heavier lens.

3. EOS 5D MARK IV. Although the 5D M4 is an outstanding prosumer camera, I don't think it's the best choice for a sports camera for you either. It's great for shooting portraits and landscapes (my two passions), but for only 7 frames per second, you don't need to spend $2500 on a 5D M4 camera body.

4. CANON R5. Sorry for repeating myself, but this is too high of a price tag to pay for your needs. Again, a great choice in terms of performance with fast focusing and fast frame rate, but you don't need a full frame sensor, duel memory card slots, 45 MP, or 8k video. If you got plenty of cash, go for it. You'll like the size. I'd rather see you save money on the camera body and invest in 2 or 3 quality lenses, at least one of which will be great for sports.

5. CANON 90D.This is the camera I recommend to you at this time. I love how it performs shooting sports and wildlife as well as the more reasonable price tag. It has a very capable 32 megapixel APS-C crop sensor, shoots at 10 frames per second, and has the most recent updated focusing system. Costing around $1,200, you're getting a lot of camera for not a lot of price. Here's my article on the Canon 90D.

6. Canon R7. This is an update to this list of Canon camera bodies that are good for shooting sports and action photos. The focus tracking on these cameras is remarkable and it's rated at 15 frames per second. It's a great value for such a sophisticated camera.

Also, congrats on being a passionate mom who likes to get involved with her kids sports.
Beth, for basketball photos, the key thing to do is to get a fast (large maximum aperture) lens to go along with your camera. Whatever you choose for your sports capable camera, please let me know why you decided on the camera you get.

All the best,
Bruce

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Canon 7D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon Mirrorless R5
Canon 90D


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by: Em

Hi! I'm looking to add a 70-200mm to my inventory for also shooting indoor college basketball. I currently have the 7D Mark II. Do you think have a full frame Canon would give a big boost in picture quality or is that not a necessary additional investment?

Em, The Canon 7D Mark II equipped with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 will be a great combination for indoor sports photography. The 7D Mark II has a great burst rate of 10 frames per second and the 70-200mm is fast with it's f/2.8 maximum aperture for shooting indoors. - Thanks, Bruce

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Thank You! - Canon Sports Camera Recommendation
by: Beth Storhoff

Thank you so much for your time and insight Bruce! If you think the R5 can capture basketball pics as well as the 90D, I might be tempted to invest in a mirrorless. I just wasn't sure the mirrorless cameras were up to par for basketball pics yet. My next question would be, how do I know if a lens is "fast" for sports? What makes a lens a great lens for sports?

I thank you again!
Beth Storhoff

Beth, been busy with holiday photos, but I'll be writing a new post on the topic of best Canon RF Lens For Sports Photography. In the meantime, here's more information you would benefit from by diving into that I've published elsewhere:

Very short video on Maximum Aperture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEDqzRcP7Ng

Detailed video on understanding lenses: https://youtu.be/B9sjQbIaC2k

Detailed written post on understanding everything about lenses: https://www.better-digital-photo-tips.com/camera-lens-basics.html.

As for the Canon R5 as a good sports camera, without a doubt, yes. Sports specs: Frame rate of 12 fps (20 with electronic shutter), Fast focusing, Built-in viewfinder, Fast 1/8000 second shutter speed, Good high ISO performance. Possible drawback: somewhat limited selection of prime lenses on the telephoto end of the spectrum. There are great shorter sports lenses.

Thanks,
Bruce



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Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the tribe of followers on YouTube. Bruce also runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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