8 Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500: (2024 Guide & Reviews)

Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by Sharon Advik

I’ve always found action photography exciting because such shots capture moments of high energy, movement, and drama.

They freeze time so that every professional can appreciate the intensity of such activities.

Such scenes also evoke emotions and create a sense of excitement and anticipation.

There isn’t any event or activity where I had a chance to shoot such scenes but many.

For example, basketball, a punch in boxing, a dunk in volleyball, a gymnastics jump, or a skateboarding trick.

These activities showcase the skill, grace, and power of the performer.

All this and much more comes under action photography.

But how will you do that on a budget?

Don’t worry! I know the best camera for action shots under $500.

Want to know which ones are my faves? Read below!

Which is the Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500?

Here are my recommended top 8 Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500:-

GoPro Hero11 Black: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

Once, I was a part of a sporting event as their official photographer for the day.

After bagging this gig, the next I did was to hunt the best camera for action shots under $500.

After some digging and watching famous vloggers using the GoPro Hero11 Black, I made up my mind.

Luckily, it was the best decision I ever made, as my videos and stills both came out amazing.


  • Model: GoPro Hero 11 Black
  • Effective Megapixel: 20MP
  • ISO range: 100-6400
  • Image sensor: 35.6 x 23.8 mm (BSI CMOS )
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8 to 30 Sec
  • Storage: microSD card
  • Dimension: 2.64 x 1.34 x 1.85 inches
  • Weight: 159g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The Hero 11 Black can be set to an ISO range of 100 to 1600.

As it was an outdoor sporting event with plenty of children’s races and other activities, an ISO 200 was perfect.

However, a higher ISO value can be helpful in low-light conditions.

Additionally, it offers a range of shutter speeds from 1/4000th of a second to 30 seconds.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

I never liked adjusting the aperture every time I got hold of a camera.

This gadget has fixed this issue, as it doesn’t have an adjustable aperture and works at f/2.8.

For action shots, this aperture may not be suitable for low light; however, finding something within $500 isn’t a bad deal!

White Balance / Frame Rate:

It records 4K video at 60 fps using the HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization method and a 360-degree Horizon Lock.

They provide an unparalleled video for fast-action photos when filmmaking when paired.

Why is this camera the best?

If your action camera doesn’t produce smooth footage, then what’s the point?

This thought landed me investing in this camera by GoPro.

The camera has a variety of shooting modes and settings, including “HyperSmooth” video stabilization, to assist you in capturing high-quality action footage.

This is the best feature of this camera, apart from its compact design.


No matter what situation you put this camera into, it will bounce back better every time with perfect final results.

My experience with this camera wasn’t limited to a small sporting event.

It has been my travel companion as well.

It has been the top performer amongst all my cameras because of its video and picture capabilities within a budget.

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  • Great-looking 5.3K60 video
  • 4K120 and 2.7K240 slow-motion
  • 10-bit color sampling
  • Numerous time-lapse modes
  • Waterproof to 33 feet
  • Solid touch interface and voice command support
  • Subscription service with useful features
  • One battery won’t get you through the day

Olympus OM-D E-M10 III: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

As a young and adventurous photographer, I’ve loved searching for quick, exciting moments to capture the finest shots.

That, too, is using the best camera for action shots under $500.

I put my new camera AKA Olympus OM-D E-M10 III, to the test.

Hence, I took it to multiple remote destinations during a Europe tour.

From lively street scenes to hiking to the summit of the mountains, I’ve captured it all using this camera.

That’s how I realized that capturing fast-action shots like crystal-clear waterfalls, running animals, or quirky street scenes isn’t possible without a camera made solely for this purpose.


  • Model: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
  • Effective Megapixel: 20.4 MP
  • Image sensor: 17.4 x 13 mm (Live MOS Sensor)
  • ISO range: 200-25600 (expands to 64-25600)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8000 sec
  • Storage: Dual SD, SDHC, and SDXC slots
  • LCD: 3-inch, fully articulated LCD
  • Dimension: 134 x 91 x 69 mm
  • Weight: 580 g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The ISO sensitivity of this camera allowed me to set it manually or automatically.

I maintained ISO to 400.

It benefited me in capturing images with ideal lighting.

For shutter speed, 1/30 sec worked well and produced crisp visuals.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

Olympus has kept every model’s maximum aperture the same, i.e., f/2.8.

I’ve shot both daytime and night, and this camera has my heart!

Once, I encountered some street skateboarders in Brooklyn Bans, NY, at night.

With an aperture of f/4, the camera did justice to the shots.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

The manual setting of WB isn’t my cup of tea, so the auto-white balance mode was an excellent option.

I chose a frame rate of 30 for smooth video shoots.

This frame rate produces the crispest and smoothest photos when paired with the right ISO and shutter speed.

Why is this camera the best?

The camera stands out for one feature – the Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Its 16-MP high range is the reason why professionals love it so much.

It produces clear and detailed images with a wide dynamic range.

The camera also features a 5-axis image stabilization mechanism, which reduces camera shake, making nighttime pictures unforgettable.


Overall, this camera is a good option if you’re on a tight budget.

The combination of features and performance makes it a versatile camera for anybody who wishes to opt for photography as a career.

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  • Compact, solid design.
  • Built-in EVF and flash.
  • Tilting touch LCD.
  • 8.8fps burst shooting.
  • In-body stabilization.
  • Raw and JPG capture.
  • In-camera art filters.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • 4K video is not easily accessible.
  • No Bluetooth or NFC.

DJI Osmo Action: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

Having a best friend with the same passion as you is an amazing feeling.

I am following my photography passion along with my best friend.

Together, we came up with an idea to start a YouTube channel where we started posting vlogs related to every sporting event we went to.

Osmo Action has been our third best friend, from horse races to bike riding to NBA games!

Want to know why?

Keep reading below


  • Model: DJI Osmo Action
  • Effective Megapixel: 20.4 MP
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • ISO range: 100-3200
  • Shutter speeds: 120-1/8000s
  • Storage: microSDXC or microSDHC
  • LCD: 1.4 inches, 300 ppi
  • Dimension: 65×42×35 mm
  • Weight: 124 g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The ISO range of the Osmo Action camera is 100-3200, which provides flexibility in adjusting the camera’s sensitivity to light and capturing clear images and videos in various lighting conditions.

I like that it has a shutter speed range of 1/8000s to 120s, providing versatility in capturing fast-moving action.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

The camera has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which provides good low-light performance and removes problems like now having a shallow depth of field – which is common in most cameras.

Whether it was a closed arena or an outdoor event, the aperture can adjust accordingly.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

The frame rate affects the smoothness of motion in videos.

The camera can record video at 4K/60fps, providing smooth, high-quality footage.

It also supports recording at lower frame rates, such as 1080p/240fps, allowing for slow-motion footage with finesse.

Why is this camera the best?

The DJI Osmo Action is a popular action camera known for its high-quality video and image capture capabilities.

It has a durable, water-resistant design, making it well-suited for outdoor and action-oriented activities.

It has dual screens, a front-facing vlogging screen, and a rear touch screen for easy control and navigation.

The camera has a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor, capable of capturing 4K/60fps video and 12 MP still photos.


After using this camera for over a year, I can safely say it is the best camera for action shots under $500.

It’s handy and versatile and captures super-fine shots without blurring them.

All in all, I highly recommend this camera if you are looking to capture some high-paced action.

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  • Rugged, waterproof build.
  • Stabilized 4K footage at up to 60fps.
  • 1080p slow-motion at up to 240fps.
  • Easily swappable filters.
  • Supports HDR and flat profiles.
  • Front and rear color displays.
  • Filters included.
  • Battery life could be better.
  • HDR video isn’t stabilized.
  • No tripod socket.

GoPro Hero10 Black: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

I didn’t want to mess up watching and filming the NBA finals in the stadium.

Hence, I borrowed the GoPro Hero10 Black from a friend to see its hype.

To my surprise, this camera is more than what it looks like.

It’s sturdy and functions well during fast-paced actions.

He used to call it the best camera for action shots under $500, and now I call it too!

Want to know why? Keep reading below!


  • Model: GoPro Hero10 Black
  • Effective Megapixel: 23 MP
  • ISO range: 100 to 6400
  • Image sensor: CMOS
  • Shutter speeds: 1/2000 to 1/30 sec
  • Storage: MicroSD/microSDHC/microSDXC
  • LCD: 1.4″ LCD Live-View Monitor
  • Dimension: 71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6 mm
  • Weight: 158g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

Watching my favorite sport – the NBA surrounded by thousands of fans – gave me an adrenaline rush.

While everyone was rooting for their team to win, I ensured I captured it all.

Like several other action cameras, this camera has ISO and shutter speed adjustments.

As a result, I increased the ISO while keeping the shutter at 1/125th sec to minimize motion blur.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

With electronic image stabilization, the camera boasts a constant aperture of f/2.8, preventing my images from seeming dull.

Filming the exuberant scenes during the NBA game was fantastic after correctly establishing other settings.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

I captured video footage of the players and the crowd in the stand for my Insta Reels.

Their quality was terrific, proved by the thousands of views I got on those sporting posts.

Its video capability ranges from 1080p at 240fps to 5.3K at 60fps.

This strong action camera performed admirably in the Auto white balance mode.

Why is this camera the best?

Apart from its classy black color and compact design, its best feature is its HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization.

This technology gave me gimbal-like stabilization for my videos, helping me achieve smooth, professional-looking videos even when I was on the move.

Another feature that sets the Hero10 Black apart is its waterproof design.


This camera is designed for use in challenging environments such as fast-paced action activities.

I shot plenty of videos during the game, and they turned out great because of the picture stabilization.

Its touch-screen, Bluetooth, and WiFi compatibility allowed me to share my work on different devices and platforms.

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  • 5.3K capture at up to 60fps
  • 120fps 4K for slow motion
  • Class-leading video stabilization
  • Front-facing color screen
  • Waterproof without an add-on case
  • Media Mod support
  • Extended-run Enduro battery available as an add-on
  • Wi-Fi and USB transfer for phones and tablets
  • Included battery drains quickly

Canon EOS Rebel T7: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

In photography school, I had the assignment to shoot a commercial for a sports brand.

It meant having a series of action shots; I needed a camera without breaking the bank.

That’s how I started my hunt for the best camera for action shots under $500 and came across the Canon EOS Rebel T7.


  • Model: Canon EOS Rebel T7
  • Effective Megapixel: 24 MP
  • Image sensor: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) CMOS
  • ISO range: 100-6400 (expandable to 12800)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/4000 sec
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC card
  • LCD: 3-inch, fixed articulated LCD
  • Dimension: 129 x 101 x 78 mm
  • Weight: 475g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

The camera has a native ISO range of 100-6400, which can rise to 12800 in certain shooting modes.

The camera’s ISO sensitivity will help you attain clear images in low light conditions, but higher ISO values will make your pictures grainy, so don’t go for it.

The T7 also offers a range of shutter speed options, from 30 seconds to 1/4000th of a second.

The higher range of this camera is fast enough for most general photography, including fast action shots.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

It has a standard kit lens, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 at 18mm and f/5.6 at its 55mm focal length.

I think there are other options for lenses as it has a small aperture that may not produce too bright pictures.

You can also use a neutral density filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

The camera has a frame rate of 3 fps, which is okay for action shots.

For me, it worked as my documentary wasn’t a high-end one.

For random videography and photography, it works well.

However, for high-action, you can also play around with other settings.

Why is this camera the best?

This camera uses a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor to produce high-quality images with good detail and color accuracy.

Also, the Dual Pixel CMOS was why I had smooth shots.

It helps to improve the speed and accuracy of the camera’s autofocus system, making it easier to capture sharp shots of moving subjects.


The T7 is a budget-friendly option for those just starting in action photography who don’t want to invest immediately in a more expensive camera.

Additionally, it is easy to carry around, making it a good choice for outdoor action photography.

There were a few more instances where I needed to move quickly.

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  • 24MP image sensor.
  • On-screen shooting guide.
  • Raw support.
  • Sharp LCD.
  • Wi-Fi-enabled.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Fixed rear LCD without touch input.
  • Slow 3fps burst rate.

Olympus Tough TG-6: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

Once, I got to attend steeplechasing – a kind of horse racing.

Since this activity was nowhere near calm and serene, I needed a camera to manage the shots accordingly.

Such challenging places need a sturdy camera.

I had none in my mind but Tough TG-6 by Olympus.

Thankfully, it did justice to the race and the horses running with the speed of the wind.


  • Model: Olympus Tough TG-6
  • Effective Megapixel: 12 MP
  • Image sensor: 6.17 x 4.55 mm BSI-CMOS
  • ISO range: 100 to 12800
  • Shutter speeds: 1/2 to 1/2000 sec
  • Storage: D/SDHC/SDXC card
  • LCD: 3.0-inch colour LCD
  • Dimension: 113 x 66 x 32 mm
  • Weight: 253 g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

It offers a broad range of ISO settings, making it suited for photographing underwater in various lighting circumstances.

The ISO range for the camera is common, ranging from 100 to 12800.

The maximum shutter speed of the TG-6 is 1/2,000th of a second, allowing you to freeze fast-moving action easily.

This can be especially useful when shooting outdoor activities like one of the horse races I attended.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

After shooting in cloudy conditions, I was blown away by how effectively its aperture worked.

It has a maximum aperture of f/2.0.

I obtained a shallow DoF with this setting, which was terrific.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

It has a continuous shooting mode that helped me take multiple photos in quick succession, which was helpful when capturing fast-moving subjects.

The camera has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 20 fps at full resolution.

Why is this camera the best?

It is a tough point-and-shoot camera that can resist harsh environments.

I even dropped the camera in a puddle; it turns out it is waterproof.

It has a 12-megapixel sensor, a quick f/2.0 lens, and built-in WiFi to share photographs and movies easily.

All of this adds together to make it the ideal camera for action shots.


The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a great camera for action photos without breaking the budget.

This camera is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, designed for rugged outdoor use, making it ideal for capturing action shots in challenging environments.

The TG-6 features a fast f/2.0 lens, which is great for low-light conditions, and the 12-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor provides excellent image quality.

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  • Tough, waterproof build.
  • Add-on lenses and macro lights are available.
  • Sharp rear LCD.
  • Wide aperture lens.
  • 4K video.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • Not a touch screen.
  • LCD can pick up scuffs and scratches.

Panasonic Lumix GX85: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

Once I took part in a photography contest in college.

Surprisingly, the Panasonic Lumix GX85 helped win the first prize in the action photography category.

Since then, I’ve termed it the best camera for action shots under $500.

My subjects were the racing participants in the ongoing championship in the college in those days.

Such movements are very speedy and require much precision if you capture them.

The Lumix GX85 was the perfect gadget for it!


  • Model: Panasonic Lumix GX85
  • Effective Megapixel: 16 MP
  • Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 100- 25,600
  • Shutter speeds: 1/16,000 – 1
  • Storage: SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
  • Dimension: 122 x 70.6 x 43.9 mm
  • Weight: 426g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

Its maximum ISO sensitivity of 25600 captures bright and clear images at night.

While the fast shutter speeds of up to 1/16000 sec enable you to freeze fast-moving action.

These features and the camera’s image stabilization technology make it an excellent option for shooting sports.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

The camera is equipped with a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, which gives you access to a wide range of interchangeable lenses.

These lenses offer varying aperture options.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

If you’re a videographer, you’ll love using this camera.

It features a 4K video recording at up to 30 frames per second, allowing you to capture stunning video footage with crisp detail and vivid colors.

The camera also includes features such as in-body image stabilization, which reduces camera shake.

Why is this camera the best?

It features a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds image sensor and Panasonic’s Venus Engine image processor, enabling fast autofocus and high-quality image capture.

The camera also has a built-in image stabilization system that helps reduce blur in photos and videos, making it easier to get sharp shots in low light or while shooting handheld.


The GX85 has various creative features, including manual controls and creative filters, making it a good choice for hobbyists and amateur photographers looking for a portable yet capable camera.

Additionally, the Lumix GX85 has a range of interchangeable lenses available, allowing users to expand their creative options further.

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  • Compact.
  • Built-in EVF and flash.
  • Tilting touch screen.
  • Quick autofocus.
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting with a large buffer.
  • 30fps 4K Photo mode.
  • 5-axis image stabilization.
  • 4K video capture.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • 4K video is slightly cropped.
  • No weather sealing.
  • No mic input.

Nikon D5300: (Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500)

Action shots aren’t limited to outdoors only.

I had a chance to witness an MMA match with a friend.

As it was my first experience, I wished to capture it to cherish later memories.

I had no other option in mind except the Nikon D5300.

I’ve made it my companion for almost every event or trip; now it was time to test it for action shots.

Luckily it did well, and I can call it the best camera for action shots under $500.


  • Model: Nikon D5300
  • Effective Megapixel: 16 MP
  • Image sensor: 23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS
  • ISO range: 100-12,800 standard (expanded up to 25,600)
  • Shutter speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec
  • Storage: SD and UHS-I compliant, SDHC and SDXC cards
  • LCD: 3.2-inch, vari-angle LCD
  • Dimension: 125 × 98 × 76 mm
  • Weight: 480g

ISO / Shutter Speed:

Its original ISO range is 100-12800, which may be expanded to 100-25600.

It signifies that the camera can record photographs in low light; however, the image may have some noise at higher ISOs.

In daylight photography, I always used an ISO of 400, whereas, in a closed arena and low light, an ISO of 800 with a moderate shutter speed worked well.

Aperture / Depth of Field:

The camera has a kit lens with an aperture from f/3.5 to f/5.6.

For a dimly-lit arena of the MMA, the aperture range was perfect, which I set using the aperture priority mode.

White Balance / Frame Rate:

It has a frame rate of about 5 frames per second in continuous shooting mode.

The camera’s white balance is also adjustable to fit the light levels in the environment.

Why is this camera the best?

The D5300 has a large 3.2-inch LCD screen, which is excellent for composing shots and reviewing your images.

This isn’t the only feature I loved, as its image sensor and stabilization is commendable too.

Overall, the D5300 is a budget-friendly camera that offers excellent performance and features for action shots.


It is a great budget camera for action shots, as it offers a high-speed continuous shooting mode and a fast autofocus system.

The D5300 has a 24.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, which provides excellent image quality, and the EXPEED 4 image processing engine enables fast and accurate image processing.

The camera also features a 39-point autofocus system, which is quick and responsive.

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  • 24-megapixel sensor with no optical low-pass filter.
  • Sharp vari-angle display.
  • Excellent JPG detail at high ISO.
  • 4.7fps continuous shooting.
  • 39-point autofocus system.
  • Quick startup.
  • 1080p60 video capture.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi and GPS.
  • Standard mic input.
  • Pentamirror viewfinder.
  • Self-timer deactivates after use.


Alright, guys, that concludes all the cameras we will discuss today in this article.

Do you guys have any experience with these cameras? What are your thoughts on them?

Which is your Best Camera for Action Shots Under $500?

Is there a camera I didn’t mention in this article that you love using for Action Shots?

Would you please leave your thoughts and comments below?

Related post:

Best Camera for Action Shots:

Best Camera for Sports Photography:

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