Every parent keeps a handful of their favorite photos of their kids playing sports. Capturing the excitement and enthusiasm of youth sporting events can create lasting memories for players, parents, and coaches alike.
Most parents simply use their smartphones. But you can take your youth sports organization’s photos to the next level and create even more timeless keepsakes by opting for a higher-quality camera.
Best cameras for sports photography
Capturing photos and videos of kids playing sports is a fun way to share their progress with friends and family. It’s also handy to have professional photos when pitching companies that sponsor youth sports and building out your sports website.
But you need the right camera for the job. To help you find the best one, we’ve put together the seven best cameras for youth sports photos and videos.
1. Sony a6400
The best sports camera for resolution.
Source: B & H
The Sony a6400 is a top tier option for shooting sports memories. It’s a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with 4K video capture and add-on accessories to assist with video capture, like a handgrip. It's also got a built-in viewfinder and 180-flip touch screen to face subjects.
With the camera's APS-C sensor, you get excellent image resolution and enough detail to print large or crop, which is essential for sports photography. It’s also got a fast and reliable autofocus system, so you never miss play! It’s also a good option for live streaming youth sports because of its autofocus system and clean HDMI output.
For youth sports photography, the Sony a6400 is an excellent choice, especially for those who prefer a lightweight and compact system without sacrificing performance.
- Compact size and lightweight
- Decent battery life
- 4K video recording
- WiFi and NFC capabilities for image and video sharing
2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
A versatile choice for sports photography.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a versatile and user-friendly mirrorless camera that offers several features beneficial for youth sports photography. It's small, which is a major plus, especially when shooting long sporting events. It’s easy to handle and carry, making it ideal for moving around different positions on the field.
The M10 Mark IV has a decent autofocus system, which is useful for tracking moving subjects, but it might not perform as well as some more advanced systems in low light or fast-paced situations.
- WiFi and Bluetooth sharing.
- Decent battery life (bring spares)
- High speed burst mode
- Good image quality
3. Canon EOS 90D
Great DSLR camera for capturing sports moments.
The Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera is a great option and perfect for beginners. The functionality is easy to use for both professionals and youth sports enthusiasts. The 90D has a weather-sealed body, which is great for outdoor sports events where you might encounter dust or a bit of rain.
This popular Canon camera is user-friendly, with well-placed controls and a comfortable grip, making it easy to handle during long sports events.
For youth sports photography, the Canon EOS 90D offers a solid blend of speed, image quality, and usability. Its autofocus system and high burst rate are standout features for capturing fast-paced action.
- Live view autofocus system
- 32.5 Megapixels
- 4K video recording
- High-speed continuous shooting
4. Fujifilm X-S20
Excellent video capabilities for sports videography.
The Fujifilm X-S20 Mirrorless Camera works as both a digital camera and a video camera. This high-end compact camera has a high-capacity battery, ensuring you have the battery life for a full youth sports game—and more.
It’s equipped with a 26 Megapixel APS-C sensor which can provide high-resolution images essential for capturing detailed sports shots. The company design is perfect for moving around a lot at games and capturing fast-moving subjects.
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization system
- Subject detection AF system
- Compact design
5. Nikon Z9
The best all-around camera for professional sports photography.
Source: B & H
The Nikon Z9 Mirrorless Camera is a full frame, professional-grade camera that’s great for outdoor photography, especially youth sports. The camera allows you to take high quality images and videos easily. You’ll be able to capture all of the emotion of your team’s biggest games.
Tough, durable construction makes it perfect for traveling to sporting events. It’s also super easy to connect to different devices so you can upload your photos or videos to your laptop, social media, and more.
This option is for youth sports teams with a big budget and a professional photographer on deck.
- Fastest still image frame rate at 120 FPS (frames per second)
- Vertical and horizontal tilting screen
- 8K video resolution
- Internal recording
6. GoPro HERO11 Black
Action camera for immersive sports video recording.
The GoPro HERO11 Black Camera is the cheapest option on our list, but GoPro comes with a solid reputation of capturing high-quality video. You can upload your content to the cloud using WiFi, but you’ll still need a MicroSD memory card to hold it.
The GoPro Hero11 has a responsive LCD touch screen on the camera body, so you can operate easily. It’s also very user-friendly, giving beginners access to advanced performance for a low price.
The GoPro is also fun because it has TimeWarp and Slow-Mo modes. You can take creative shots and get a detailed analysis of fast-paced action.
- HyperSmooth 5.0 image stabilization features
- Extra accessories for on-the-go videoing
- Waterproof for filming on rainy days
7. Panasonic HC-V785
A budget-friendly option with good zoom for sports videography.
The Panasonic HC-V785 camcorder is another budget-friendly option. It’s perfect for capturing full HD images and videos from your youth sports games. The HC-V785’s optical zoom lens is great for sports photography since you can get close-up shots from a distance. You can easily run along the sidelines or sit still and capture stunning footage.
- Up to 20x optical zoom
- Slow-motion video
- Twin camera for picture-in-picture smartphone shooting
- Tilt correction
Factors to consider in a youth sports camera
So how do you decide which type of camera to buy? Other than ensuring it’s in your sports team budget, of course, there are a few specs that photographing youth sports requires a good camera to have.
- You want your pictures to turn out—especially when there’s movement involved. Pay attention to the camera’s resolution, dynamic range, and low-light performance to determine potential image quality.
- You’re looking to capture fast-paced sports action, right? This means you need autofocus speed and accuracy to make sure you’re able to see the action in a still frame.
- When the kids are running around, burst mode and continuous shooting speed enable you to capture multiple frames at a time.
- When photographing indoor sports with low light conditions, make sure you get a camera with high ISO range to keep your photos high-quality.
- Get a camera with a large lens selection and compatibility for versatile sports photography.
- You may also want to make sure your camera also offers video capabilities and features for capturing sports events live.
Tips for capturing youth sports moments
Want to capture the best moments as a beginner youth sports photographer? Keep these top tips in mind when using your new camera for sports photos and videos.
- Understand the sport: Familiarize yourself with the rules and key moments to anticipate action.
- Choose the right settings: Adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for optimal results in different environments.
- Use burst mode: Capture multiple frames to increase the chances of getting the perfect shot.
- Focus on the subjects: Use continuous autofocus or single focus points to keep the main subjects sharp.
- Consider composition: Position yourself for a clear view of the action and consider framing techniques.
- Anticipate moments: Predict and anticipate action to capture the most compelling shots.
- Experiment with angles: Vary your perspective to add depth and visual interest to the photographs.
- Edit and enhance: Use photo editing software to enhance the captured images and videos.
Find the best camera for your youth sports photos
One of the benefits of youth sports is that it keeps kids active and friendly. The best way to capture these moments is with a good sports camera.