Choosing the best video camera for sports can be as tricky as choosing a camera can get. After all, it’s not just about a great image or video quality, but there are a lot of other factors to consider as well.
And as someone that may not understand all the technical features very well, it can be overwhelming to find a video camera that’s as good at shooting sports videos that you would want it to be.
But we are here to help and will be telling you exactly what features to look for when trying to find the best video camera for sports on the market.
As obvious as it might sound, it’s important to first decide on a budget before hitting the market for a video camera for sports. This is simply because they come in a very broad price range, with some cheap options costing as low as about $100 and some of the high-end ones coming with a price tag of over a couple grand.
Once you decide on your budget, you will be in a much better position to get the best features and functionality you can at that particular price point, instead of settling for anything you come across that’s offered for a cheap price.
When it comes to shooting videos, the video resolution turns out to be one of the most important factors. While the best option you have is a camera that can shoot videos in 4K quality, it’s not available in all cameras, including even some very good ones.
Sure, if you’re willing to spend a lot extra for 4K recording, you wouldn’t have any problem finding it. But you need to ask yourself whether it would be worth it for you.
This is because a good video camera that shoots in 1080P, too, can produce great video content. Just make try to get one that records in 1080/60P quality as against a lower level of 1080P quality.
If you think you need a great autofocus only for taking images, think again. Whenever there are important subjects in a video (there almost always are!), you need a great autofocus system to make sure that the video puts the kind of focus on them that they should get.
This is even more important when shooting sports videos. After all, there can be many subjects and different elements in a sports video, so unless the video camera has a good autofocus to focus on the subject or element that you’re trying to capture in your video, the main subject will kind of get lost among all the other subjects or elements.
A great autofocus system can be hard to come by, but there are many DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that boast an impressive autofocus system. So if your budget allows, you would want to choose one of them with a good autofocus system.
We are surprised how many people looking for a video camera end up overlooking this feature. Even if your camera has an autofocus system, you may have a hard time focusing on the right subjects or elements without a good, responsive LCD touchscreen.
After all, even a good autofocus system might not be spot on for sports videos, and of course, the subjects you would want to focus on would keep changing when shooting sports videos. This calls for a responsive LCD touchscreen that you can use to quickly change the autofocus as the primary subject and element changes.
Shooting in Low Light Conditions
It’s a shame that even some of the fairly expensive video cameras perform disappointingly poorly when shooting in low light conditions. While it might not seem like a big deal, you would be surprised at how much of an impact it makes on the final quality of your videos when shooting sports.
Sure, if you’re only going to shoot sports in bright daylight conditions, then it may not matter a lot. However, if you’re also going to shoot in conditions where the light conditions aren’t as good, then it would turn out to be a crucial factor.
This is especially as you would often shoot sports videos from a considerable distance from where all the action is taking place, so it can be challenging to have enough clarity in your videos if the camera isn’t capable of shooting great videos in low light conditions, since the light conditions where you’re shooting, too, may not be good enough.
Don’t let the term fool you into thinking that this feature is only for taking images. It would turn out to be just as important when shooting videos as well.
This is especially true if you don’t plan to get a tripod, as shooting good sports videos can be very hard without the required stability. And you would have a hard time getting the stability you need to keep issues like distortion and other quality issues at bay.
This is where image stabilization or in-body image stabilization (IBIS) comes into play. It would go a long way in ensuring a great level of stability even when you’re constantly moving your video in the direction of your subjects and elements. Similarly, it would help prevent distortion and loss of detail even when there’s a lot of quick movement, which a camera without good IBIS or image stabilization may not be able to do.
If you’re after the best handheld video camera for shooting sports videos, then the IBIS is definitely going to be one of the most important features to look for.
While this is actually more important for images than videos, things are a little different when it comes to sports videos.
As we mentioned earlier, when shooting sports videos, you would often have to shoot from a considerable distance from the place of shooting. This means that if you want to focus on some important events of the game or when one of the players is performing a great action, then you would need to zoom in to record it well.
It’s easy to tell why the best action video camera needs to come with a much greater zoom level than most other cameras, including the other video cameras.
The zoom would allow you to focus on important events or other significant parts of the game. A good approach here would be to look for a video camera that comes with a great zoom level but doesn’t let the quality get compromised in any way or any distortion to creep into the video even when the user zooms into the video as much as the camera allows.
The Types of Cameras
While we discussed all the features you need to keep in mind when choosing a video camera for sports, you would also want to learn about the different types of cameras. You would then have complete information about choosing the right video camera for shooting sports videos.
We have discussed the different types of cameras that you can buy for shooting sports videos here, so be sure to check it out before deciding on a particular video camera.