Best Cameras For Formula 1

Getting that perfect action shot is personally satisfying and can become a lucrative revenue source. It all depends on getting the perfect shot at precisely the right moment with the perfect light conditions. Having skills in post-production editing is also useful.

Whether you are looking to take informal snaps to remember a great day watching Formula One at the track, or you are a serious enthusiast trying to get the best action shot, there is a range of cameras at different price points that will suit your whatever your goal is.

Before researching the camera, you want to buy, it is important to decide what level of involvement you want to commit to. It’s a great idea always to get professional instruction because the final quality of images depends more on the photographer’s skill than the quality of the camera.

If you’re looking for some F1 merchandise, check out the awesome stuff at the official F1 store here.

When you are looking for a camera to capture high-speed sporting activities, you need to make a few decisions.


Which Camera System Is Most Suitable

There are three primary systems of cameras.

  • Smart Phone Camera
  • Mirrorless Camera
  • Point And Shoot

Smart Phone Camera

Many photography enthusiasts will dismiss smartphone cameras when offered as a sports photography

 tool.

A practiced photographer can achieve some amazing shots with a cell phone. The capabilities and quality of smartphones will continue to improve with each generation. While they will never have the full capabilities of a well-equipped DSLR camera, they are beginning to match them in more areas.

The advantages and disadvantages of a smartphone camera are listed below.

Advantages Of A Smart Phone Camera

The advantages of a smart camera for Formula One photography are.

  • They are compact and easy to carry around.
  • They are lightweight and easy to manipulate.
  • The pixel count is much higher than in early digital cameras.
  • The setting is easy to change with menu options.
  • Switching between modes (photograph, slow motion, video, portrait) is easy.
  • Autofocus systems are effective.
  • Many smartphone cameras allow for shooting in RAW mode.
  • Most smartphone cameras have a “burst” setting.
  • Some cameras have more than one lens with different optical zoom settings.
  • Many phones have multiple lenses with different aperture settings.
  • Because they are part of a cell phone contract, they are essentially free.
  • Some third-party camera apps (Camera+2 for iPhone) give control over shutter speed.
  • Third-party apps are continually being made available, which improves functionality.
  • Because they are always in someone’s pocket, desk, or car, the lenses can become scratched.
  • In-camera editing is very intuitive.

The Disadvantages Of A Smart Phone Camera

The disadvantages of a smartphone camera are.

  • The viewing screen is affected by ambient light, which can be hard to view when the sun is behind.
  • They don’t have the range of aperture and lens controls a DSLR and Mirrorless systems have.
  • They lack the long-range capability of a DSLR with accessory lenses.
  • Current lenses don’t have the same quality as most specialized DSLR, and mirrorless systems offer.

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR)

DSLR cameras still offer the best combination of benefits when it comes to photographing Formula One.

The Advantages Of DSLR Cameras

The advantages of a DSLR system are.

  • Being a mature technology DSLR means it enjoys the widest range of accessories and lenses.
  • They offer the greatest range of settings, including aperture, exposure, shutter speed, iso, white balance, auto or manual focus, and depth of field.
  • A wide range of magnification (either fixed or adjustable) is available.
  • More easily adjusted for low or difficult, light conditions.
  • The image through the viewfinder is not affected by the sun shining on the instrument.
  • Lenses are interchangeable, meaning the camera can be optimized for different shots.
  • The view is through the lens, meaning what the photographer sees is what is recorded.
  • Images can be recorded in RAW, or a format such as JPG, making the subsequent editing capability very extensive.
  • Lenses are carried in protective bags, meaning there is less chance of scratches and cracks.
  • Multiple shooting modes are available from fully manual, aperture priority, and shutter speed priority to fully automatic.
  • Within these modes, the exposure control remains fully manual (unless it is also set to automatic.

The Disadvantages Of DSLR Cameras

The disadvantages of DSLR cameras are.

  • Minimal in-camera editing facilities.
  • Equipment is heavy and bulky, which is very tiring to lug around for a full day at a Formula One Race.
  • The full kit, which will offer the best range of shots, would include, Camera, Tripod (Long distance magnified shots, 50mm, 200mm, and 400mm lenses (these could be combined into two zoom lenses).
  • The cost of high-quality equipment is expensive.
  • Due to the high cost, it should be insured, which adds to the monthly cost.
  • Some venues do not allow a photographer with a DSLT system in.

Mirrorless Camera

The advantages and disadvantages of a mirrorless camera are.

The Advantages Of A Mirrorless Camera

  • Mirrorless cameras weigh less than DSLR cameras.
  • Mirrorless cameras offer the ability to preview exposure and contrast on the screen.
  • Mirrorless cameras have even faster shutter speeds than DSLRs
  • Mirrorless cameras have better stabilization control than DSLRs
  • Mirrorless cameras can shoot at higher iso with less graining (noise).

The Disadvantages Of A Mirrorless Camera

  • The photographer does not view the subject through the lens, and in close-up shots, the composition may not be what was aimed for.
  • It is the most expensive camera system
  • Mirrorlesses have shorter battery life.
  • Because they are a newer technology, there may be fewer accessories available.
  • The autofocus system on a mirrorless camera is not as accurate as the equivalent DSLR.
  • While they weigh less than DSLRs, they still weigh more than smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras.

Point And Shoot Camera

The pros and cons of a point-and-shoot camera.

The Pros Of A Point And Shoot Camera

  • They are lightweight.
  • They don’t need many accessories, making them easy to carry around.
  • They are simple to use and work well in fully automatic mode.
  • They cost less than the DLSRs and Mirrorless camera systems.

The Cons Of A Point And Shoot Camera

The disadvantages of a point-and-shoot camera

  • Most have less functionality than a smartphone camera.
  • The photographer has minimal control over settings.
  • If you have a smartphone, there is little point in using one.

Because smartphone cameras have overtaken point-and-shoot cameras, there is no recommendation regarding the best to buy.


The Best Smart Phone Cameras For Formula One

The following section discusses the features of the top cell phone camera systems and how these relate to Formula One photography.

The iPhone 13 Pro Is The Best For Formula One

iPhone’s camera system has advanced significantly since the camera in the first iPhone 4.

With a maximum storage capacity of 64 gigs and a five megapixels image definition, it was a far cry from the latest iPhone 13.

The new iPhone 13Pro has three lenses with three aperture settings.

  • 12MP f/1.5 with focal lengths for the 26mm (equivalent DSLR) standard lens.
  • 12MP f/1.8 ultrawide with 0.5 * 13mm (equivalent DSLR) ultra-wide optic.
  • 12MP f/2.8 telephoto with 4x 78mm (equivalent DSLR) optical zoom lens.

The 120Hz screen refresh rate ensures the images are stable and flicker-free.

The iPhone 13 Pro only weighs 204 g and measures 146.7mm (5.77 Inches) in height x 71.5mm (2.82 inches) width x 7.7mm (0,3 inches) thickness.

Available media storage sizes are.

  • 128 GB
  • 256 GB
  • 512 GB
  • 1 TB

Images can be captured in RAW mode; the video capability is excellent.

Shutter Speed, Exposure Control, and correction are all automatic; however, there are apps available that give the user control.

Check it out on Amazon below.

$904.97
$959.94
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The iPhone 13 Pro Max Is Our Second Placed Pick

If you don’t mind the additional weight (240g compared to 204g) and the larger, slightly more inconvenient size, the iPhone 13 Pro Max provides a bigger screen which makes framing and setting up the shot a little easier and more accurate.

The camera performance on both models is identical.

Like the 13 Pro, the iPhone 13Pro Max has three lenses with three aperture settings.

  1. 12mp f/1.5 with focal lengths for the 26mm (equivalent DSLR) standard lens.
  2. 12mp f/1.8 ultrawide with 0.5 * 13mm (equivalent DSLR) ultra-wide optic.
  3. 12mp f/2.8 telephoto with 4x 78mm (equivalent DSLR) optical zoom lens.

The image captured by the iPhone 13 Pro is crisp and high-quality with great definition. It has good low-light capabilities.

The zoom lens digitally increases the focal length to 312 mm. (Remember, as soon as the zoom is digitally manipulated, the definition drops)

The iPhone 13 Pro weighs in at 240g and measures 160.8mm (6.33 inches) length x 78.1mm (3.07 inches) width x 7.65mm (0.30 inches) thickness.

Available media storage sizes are.

  • 128 GB
  • 256 GB
  • 512 GB
  • 1 TB

Images can be captured in RAW mode; the video capability is excellent.

Shutter Speed, Exposure Control, and correction are all automatic; however, there are apps available that give the user control.

Check it out on Amazon below.

$1,179.99
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Is Third On The List

The Samsung, released in February 2022, is an exceptional device for Formula One photography.

An incredible 108mp main capture lens has the best capture for close quarters definition.

It uses a four-lens image system as follows.

  • 26mm (equivalent DSLR) focal length lens with a 108MP sensor. This lens has an f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, and an 85-degree field of view.
  • 13 mm (equivalent DSLR) focal length lens, 12mp ultra-wide camera lens features an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view.
  • 52 mm (equivalent DSLR) focal length lens, 10mp telephoto with an equivalent three times zoom (f/2.4)
  • 70 mm (equivalent DSLR) focal length telephoto, a 10mp with a 10 times zoom (f/4.9).

Theoretically, the camera has a digital zoom capability of 700mm; however, this is a digital zoom which is significantly less defined than an optical zoom. At this level, the 10mp definition is also lower than the iPhone’s 12mp across all three lenses.

Despite having an image stabilizer, when the lenses are zoomed out to the full focal length, the picture is quickly blurred, and having an aperture of F4.9 means longer exposure times are required.

As most Formula One photography is carried out at long distances, the lower aperture of the iPhone results in greater image definition, and the faster shutter speeds of the iPhone camera put that into first and second place.

While the Samsung has a more powerful zoom rate (10* Samsung and 4* iPhone) added to the iPhone’s better aperture setting, the higher quality iPhone is the marginal winner.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra weighs in at 228g and measures 163.3mm (6.43 inches) length x 77.9 mm (3.06 inches) width x 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) thickness.

Available media storage sizes are.

  1. 128 GB
  2. 256 GB
  3. 512 GB
  4. 1 TB

The Samsung allows the user to control Shutter Speed, Exposure Control, and correction.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 has one of the best-balanced camera systems.

The camera can capture 50mp images; however, the system automatically scales them down to 10mp unless the user changes the setting. The system captures JPEG and RAW images.

As with the iPhone and Samsung systems, it uses three lenses on the back of the camera.

  • 23mm (equivalent DSLR) wide-angle lens with 12mp sensor.
  • 46 mm (equivalent DSLR) normal focal length with 12mp sensor and 2* zoom.
  • 125 mm (equivalent DSLR) telephoto lens with 12mp sensor.
  • 18 mm (equivalent DSLR) super wide-angle lens with 12mp sensor.

The Huawei P40 allows the user to control Shutter Speed, Exposure Control, and correction.

Check it out on Amazon below.

Summary Of Smartphone Cameras

SpecificationiPhone 13 ProiPhone 13 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S22 UltraHuawei P40 Pro
Max Optical Zoom78mm78mm70mm125 mm
Max Digital Zoom312mm312mm700mmN/A
Max Zoom Sensor Size12mp12mp10mp12mp
Max Normal Sensor Size12mp12mp108mp12mp
Image type savedJPEG, RAWJPEG, RAWJPEG, RAWJPEG, RAW
Exposure ControlAuto (Apps AvailableAuto (Apps AvailableAuto, Time Shift, MAuto, ISO/Time Shift, M
Shutter speed, Exposure correctionAuto (Apps AvailableAuto (Apps Availableauto, man: 1/12000-30 s, ±2 f-stopsauto, man: 1/4000-30 s, ±4 f-stops

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR)

DSLR cameras have been the backbone of photographers since the demise of 35mm systems. It seemed their position was unassailable; however, the threats from smartphone cameras and mirrorless camera systems are real, and the manufacturers must adapt.

Despite this, the DSLR is still the optimal choice for the serious photographer who wants to control all the settings and use a wide range of accessories.

The best DSLR cameras for Formula 1 in 2022 are.

Best Top End Nikon D6S

The top-end Nikon bodies use cutting-edge technology and offer some of the best specifications.

The specifications of the Nikon D6S are:

  • A resolution of 20.8 effective megapixels
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 60fps.
  • Image Sensor size FX, CMOS, 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm
  • Expeed 6 image processor.
  • Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 s
  • A battery that will last for 3,850 images.
  • Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus
  • ISO range 50 to 409,600
  • Video resolution of 5.5K RAW (60p), 4K DCI (60p), 4K UHD (60p), Full-HD (120p)
  • ISO sensitivity from ISO 100 to ISO 102400
  • Image formats in NEF (RAW), TIFF (RGB), JPEG
  • Video Format MOV, MP4
  • RJ-45 connector
  • A guaranteed shutter life of 400,000 actions.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wired LAN supports 1000 BASE-T standard
  • It only weighs 1350g

Check it out on Amazon below.

$6,296.95
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Runner Up Canon EOS 1D X Mark III Professional Camera

The Canon EOS 1D X Mark III is renowned as one of the best DSLR cameras in 2022.

The specifications are a professional photographer’s dream list and include

  • A resolution of 20.1mp.
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 20fps.
  • CMOS Full frame (36 x 24 mm).
  • Built-In GPS.
  • A battery that will last for 2,850 images.
  • A Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor.
  • Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 s
  • Video resolution of 5.5K RAW (60p), 4K DCI (60p), 4K UHD (60p), Full-HD (120p)
  • ISO sensitivity from ISO 100 to ISO 102,400 (H: ISO 819,200)
  • Image formats in CR3 (RAW), JPEG, HEIF
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in/WFT-E9 connectivity
  • A guaranteed shutter life of 500,000 actions.
  • It only weighs 1440g

Check it out on Amazon below.

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Best Prosumer DSLR – Nikon D780

The Nikon prosumer range sits below the professional camera range and offers similar specifications installed within a slightly less strong body.

The specifications of the are cameral are.

  • A resolution of 24.5 effective megapixels
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 30fps.
  • Image Sensor size FX, CMOS, 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm
  • Expeed 6 image processor.
  • Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 900s
  • A battery that will last for 2,260 images.
  • Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus
  • ISO range from 50 to 409,600
  • Video resolution of 5.5K HD (120p), 4K DX (60p), 4K UHD (30p)
  • ISO sensitivity from ISO 100 to ISO 51200
  • Image formats in JPEGs, RAW (NEF)
  • Video Format MOV, MP4
  • RJ-45 connector
  • A guaranteed shutter life of 200,000 actions.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi WT-7 Wireless Transmitter
  • It only weighs 840g

Check it out on Amazon below.

$2,499.95
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Best Entry Level DSLR – Canon EOS 250D

This feature-rich SLR camera offers the new photographer fully automated modes through to more complex manual settings they become more familiar with.

The specifications of this camera are:

  • A resolution of 24.1 effective megapixels
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 29fps.
  • Image Sensor size FX, CMOS, 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm
  • Shutter Speed 30-1/4000.
  • A battery that will last for 1,070 images.
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • DIGIC 8 image processor.
  • ISO range 100-25600
  • Video resolution of 5.5K HD (120p), 4K DX (60p), 4K UHD (30p)
  • ISO sensitivity from 100-25,600
  • Image formats in JPEGs, RAW
  • Video Format MOV, MP4
  • RJ-45 connector
  • A guaranteed shutter life of 100,000 actions.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (2.4GHz)
  • It only weighs 451g

Check it out on Amazon below.

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Summary Of DSLR Cameras

SpecNikon D6SCanon EOS 1D X Mark IIINikon D780Canon EOS 250D
TypeDSLRDSLRDLSRDSLR
Resolution20.8mp20.1mp24.524.1
Continuous60fps20fs30fps29fps
SensorFX CMOS 35.9mmx23.9 mmCMOS 36x24mmFX CMOS 35.9mmx 23.9mmAPS-C 22.3×14.9 mm
Shutter Speed1/8000 to 30s1/8000 to 30s1/8000 to 900s1/4000 to 30s
Battery Life3,580 images2,850 images2,260 images1,070 images
ISO range50 -409,600100-102,400100-51200100-25,600
Weight1,350g1,450g840g451g

Mirrorless Cameras

The new kid on the block has better image capture quality, is lighter, offers preview exposure and contrast on the screen, and has faster shutter speeds. better stabilization control and higher range of iso’s

Best Top End – Nikon Z9 Mirrorless

Nikon was a little slow in launching the ZP; however, it has been worth the wait and now wins first place as the best action Mirrorless camera in Formula One in 2022.

The specifications are.

  • A resolution of 45.7 effective megapixels
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 120 fps.
  • 25 fps burst capability of 1000 full-resolution images in one high-speed burst
  • Built-In GPS
  • Image Sensor size FX, CMOS, 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm
  • Expeed 6 image processor.
  • Shutter Speed 1/32000
  • A battery that will last for 3,850 images.
  • Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus
  • ISO range 50 to 409,600
  • Video resolution of 5.5K RAW (60p), 4K DCI (60p), 4K UHD (30p), Full-HD (120p)
  • ISO sensitivity from ISO 100 to ISO 102400
  • Image formats in NEF (RAW), TIFF (RGB), JPEG
  • Video Format NEV, MOV, MP4
  • RJ-45 connector
  • Infinite shutter life.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wired LAN supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/a/ac
  • It only weighs 1340g

Check it out on Amazon below.

$2,996.95
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Best Enthusiast Mirrorless – Fujifilm X-T4 Camera

Mirrorless cameras have one distinct disadvantage: they are generally more expensive than DSLRs.

The Fujifilm X-T4 Camera is priced between the end professional models and the entry-level

models.

  • A resolution of 26 effective megapixels.
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 60 fps.
  • 15 fps burst capability.
  • Image sensor, 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 4.
  • X-Processor 4 Image Processor.
  • Shutter Speed 1/32000sec.
  • Battery Life 600 frames (Economy Mode), approx. Five hundred frames (Normal Mode) When XF35mmF1.4 R is set.
  • Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase-detection AF).
  • ISO range from 160 to 51,200.
  • Video resolution of 5.5K RAW (60p), 4K DCI (60p), 4K UHD (30p), Full-HD (60p)
  • Image formats in RAW, JPEG
  • Video Format MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265, MP4
  • Infinite shutter life.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi IEEE802.11b/g/n
  • It weighs 607g

Check it out on Amazon below.

Best Entry-Level Mirrorless – Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

The Olympus manages to provide the best balance of features and price.

The specifications are:

  • A resolution of 26 effective megapixels.
  • A maximum continuous shooting speed of up to 8 fps
  • 15 fps burst capability.
  • Image sensor 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V) Live MOS Sensor.
  • Image Processor – X-Processor 4/3
  • Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec.
  • Battery Life 320 shots and 750 shots (when shot in Quick Sleep Mode)
  • ISO range 200‐25600.
  • Video resolution of HD (60p), Full-HD (30p), AVI (30p)
  • Image formats in RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPO (3D still)
  • Video Format JPEG, MOV
  • Infinite shutter life.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi IEEE802.11b/g/n
  • It weighs 399g

Check it out on Amazon below.

Summary Of Mirrorless Cameras

SpecNikon Z9Fujifilm X-T4 CameraOlympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
TypeMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorless
Resolution45.7mp2616
Continuous15fps15fps8fps
SensorFX CMOS 35.9mm x23.9mm(APS-C) X-Trans CMOS4 23.5mm x 15.6mm17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V) Live MOS Sensor
Shutter Speed1/32000 to 30s1/32000s1/4000s
Battery Life3,850 images600 images32-750
ISO range100-102400160-51,200200‐25600
Weight1,340g607g399g

Conclusion

You will be surprised at the quality that the Formula One action shots that one of the winning smartphone cameras can capture. These, virtually free from cameras, are becoming more capable with each generation.

On the other side are the expensive professional units, which give the photographer a helping hand in producing amazing Formula One shots.


References

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