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Best Action Cameras

Choosing the Best Action Cameras can be tricky. Hundreds of action cams are available, ranging from crammed 4K action cameras to cheap budget options. So what is The Best action camera for you – and what features do you need?  The longer answer, however, is that the right option depends on what you want to use it for. If you are a dedicated filmmaker, you are looking for a 4K action camera. If you are an extreme sports enthusiast who wants to include a part of a ski slope, a bike ride, or a kayak race, functions such as loop-record and hands-free voice activation are useful.

Some action cameras are waterproof up to 30 meters straight out of the box, others have waterproof housings, others are not even splash-proof. Pricier models add datasets from a fleet of sensors, from GPS and acceleration to temperature and pressure, while others only offer Full HD video. An important difference to watch out for is the frames per second (fps) for 4K: in simple terms, the more frames, the smoother the results. But just as important as the smartphone app that comes with the most action cameras. These can vary from simple to the latest in automated editing and sharing.

Best Action Cameras List

The Best Action Cameras are different than other cameras. They are designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars, and other objects, and they are small, tough, and easy to operate, with a lens that captures the world in high-definition video. Their small size and dramatic POV (“point of view”) images have made them popular among extreme sports participants, who capture their adventures by attaching cameras to themselves or their equipment.

GoPro Hero8 Black

The ultimate action camera is now even better

Best Action Cameras

  • Weight: 126g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 240fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: : 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate

The 2020 edition of the GoPro dynasty is undoubtedly the best action camera specialist ever and the best action camera you can get, as long as your budget runs out. An important difference with its predecessors is that there are folding feet, which means you have a camera bracket built-in. And then you can expand the Hero8 Black even further with a new range of beautifully designed optional extras called Mods – we especially like the Display Mod, which adds a second monitor that’s perfect for vloggers. These add-ons cost you more – but you don’t buy the Hero8 Black if you are looking for a budget camera – you buy it because it offers the best video footage, and the best image stabilization system we have used so far.

Pros:

  • Super image stabilization
  • Crisp, smooth 4K video
  • Built-in accessory mounts

Cons:

  • The screen is smaller than DJI

GoPro Hero7 Black

The Hero8 Black is the new flagship, but the Hero7 Black is still great

  • Weight: 118g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 240fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: : 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate

For anyone who thought the Hero6 Black could not be improved, GoPro Hero7 gives you HyperSmooth, a brand new in-camera video stabilization system that is so good that it creates new creative possibilities. It even works up to 4K 60 fps. Those using a gimbal on their GoPro can do this because HyperSmooth even gives a handheld video a silky look. It also brings a new possibility to life; handheld TimeLapse video. Calling TimeWarp, the new 2GB memory of the Hero7 Black makes it possible to apply HyperSmooth to handheld frame-by-frame time-lapse recordings. In addition to this super-stabilized hyper-lapse, the Hero7 Black offers an extended dynamic range, SuperPhoto, and 12 separate voice commands. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.

Pros:

  • HyperSmooth feature is a revelation
  • Crisp, smooth 4K video

Cons:

  • The screen can be unresponsive
  • Voice commands need work
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

DJI Osmo Action

Best Action Cameras

DJI’s entry into the action camera market brings with it a forward-facing selfie-screen

  • Weight: 134g
  • Waterproof: 11m
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 240fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-2.25hrs (est)

DJI is best known for its camera drones (and to a lesser extent for its handheld gimbal camera stabilizers) – but with the advent of the Osmo Action has shifted its attention to the action camera market. It looks like it was made to be a direct competitor of the GoPro Hero7 Black – and does a really good job of giving the GoPro a run for its money. We especially love the addition of a full-color front LCD display – making it one of the best action cameras for selfie sequences or vlogging.

Pros:

  • The front color LCD monitor is great for vlogging
  • Excellent image stabilization

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have all the accessory options of the GoPro range
  • The app needs some work

Sony RX0 Mark II

The RX0 Mark II gets the much needed internal 4K recording

  • Weight: 110g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 4K video: 30p
  • 1080: up to 1000fps
  • 720: up to 1000fps
  • Stills resolution: 15.3MP
  • Battery life: 60 mins

The Sony RX0 II is expensive but comes with features that make it worth considering. The ability to make short movies at speeds of up to 1,000 fps is one of them – you certainly can’t do that with a GoPro. And while the RX0 was able to produce 4K UHD footage only on an external recorder, the RX0 Mark II was able to record 4K internally (and it was about time). The 1-inch sensor produces beautiful images, whether photos or videos, expand the camera with low light output, and offers a beautiful dynamic range.

It is an expensive proposal to be sure, but if you need beautiful slow-motion images there is nothing better and you are looking for ultimate image quality, this is one of the best action cameras to get now. The Sony RX0 II also gets a flip-action front-facing screen, which makes it much more effective as a premium-quality vlogging and content creation tool. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras on the market.

Pros:

  • Large Exmor 1-inch sensor
  • Super-slow motion available
  • Front-facing selfie/vlogging screen

Cons:

  • Very expensive
$698.00
in stock
October 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

GoPro HERO6 Black

GoPro’s older flagship model is still a great buy

  • Weight: 118g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 240fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-3hrs (est)

What is not nice about the genre-defining GoPro HERO6 Black? Yes, it is pricey, but the 4K video recording of the action camera at 60 fps video is hard to beat. This is partly due to the low-light performance that has improved over the previous HERO5 Black and excellent image stabilization to suppress camera shake, although there is much more to see here than video quality. Voice activation is useful when you have your hands full, and the native drop-proof, waterproof design – up to 10 m without an extra housing – makes it incredibly useful. This also applies to the excellent Quik app for smartphones, which comes with a QuikStories function that automatically transfers and edits video for you. With many functions, the GoPro HERO6 Black is one of the best action cameras in the area.

Pros:

  • Natively waterproof
  • 4K HDR video

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Fiddly touchscreen
$289.95 $349.95
in stock
October 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

Sony FDR-X3000

4K meets ever image stabilization in this Sony action camera

Best Action Cameras

  • Weight: 114g
  • Waterproof: 60m
  • 4K video: up to 30fps
  • 1080: up to 120fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 2-3hrs

The highlight of Sony’s latest attempt at creating an action camera should be the Live-View Remote – a wireless, handheld touchscreen that lets you control the FDR-X3000 and watch a live feed from the ZEISS Tessar lens. In practice, that accessory is unreliable, but the FDR-X300 has much more to offer. The 4K 30fps video is of excellent quality, with its impressive balanced Optical SteadyShot which turns out to be the highlight; in one way or another, even the unsustainable shots in the hand smooth out, Sony’s camera shock compensation tech is unrivaled. As a bonus, the MPK-UWH1 waterproof case from Sony is in the box, making the FDR-X3000 waterproof up to 60 meters. This is one of the best action cameras you can get.

Pros:

  • Balanced Optical Steady Shot
  • Waterproof housing included

Cons:

  • Low-resolution stills
  • Live-View Remote is unreliable
$368.00 $398.00
in stock
October 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

TomTom Bandit

Auto-editing makes this bullet-cam stand out

  • Weight: 190g
  • Waterproof: no
  • 4K video: up to 15fps
  • 1080: up to 60fps
  • 720: up to 120fps
  • Stills resolution: 16MP
  • Battery life: up to 3hrs

The TomTom Bandit has all the core functions, but they are offered here in ‘lite’. For example, there is no water resistance, but a supplied splash-proof lens cap is sufficient for most users (and a lens cap of 40 m is available). Idem the resolutions; 4K at 15 fps is not great, and effective slow-motion can only be performed in less than HD resolution, but that also applies to deal-breakers. The TomTom Bandit, however, has GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope and pressure sensors and these are used by the ‘Create a Story’ section of the smartphone app to automatically select the highlights from your recordings. In fact, the only thing you need is a shake to make a compilation video that is easy to upload and share. The battery life is also an impressive three hours. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras to buy right now.

Pros:

  • Easy editing features
  • 16MP photos

Cons:

  • 4K restricted to 15fps
  • The waterproof lens is optional
$249.95
in stock
October 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

Olympus Tough TG-Tracker

A data-hungry and exceptionally tough action camera for extreme climates

Best Action Cameras

  • Weight: 180g
  • Waterproof: 30m
  • 4K video: up to 30fps
  • 1080: up to 60fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 8MP
  • Battery life: 90 mins

Designed to cope with the difficult things, the 4K-capable Tough TG-Tracker is watertight up to 30 meters without housing and can perform up to -10ºC. Not only that, but it is drop-resistant from 2 meters and even resistant to 100 kg. A fold-out 3.8-inch screen makes it easy to see what is being filmed, while a LED headlamp allows night shots. In addition, the Action Track Sensors suite (for GPS, compass, accelerometer, barometric pressure, temperature, and water) adds data to video. A must-have action camera for adventurers in extreme climates, this data-hungry, pocket-sized shooter’s only real weakness is the low-resolution photos. But still, it is one of the best action cameras on the market.

Pros:

  • Action Track Sensors
  • Waterproof, drop-proof and freeze-proof

Cons:

  • Sensors drain battery
  • Basic smartphone app
$232.50 $349.00
in stock
October 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

SJCAM SJ7 Star

A great-value 4K action camera, though it excels with Full HD

  • Weight: 74g
  • Waterproof: 30m
  • 4K video: up to 30fps
  • 1080: up to 120fps
  • 720: up to 200fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 2hrs

At first glance, the SJ7 Star action camera corresponds to a GoPro, where it matters. The 4K video is detailed and colorful and there is a 2-inch touchscreen and even still images impress (it shoots in 12 MP, but interpolates to 16 MP). The simple, compact design is another plus and a supplied waterproof case achieves up to 30 m, while an optional SJ Remote clicks on a watch strap. Dig deeper, however, and the SJ7 Star lacks a few professional qualities. For example, image stabilization is not possible when recording in 4K and you can not take pictures in RAW format. There is also no GPS or voice control – or a decent smartphone app – and that touchscreen is not pleasant to use. For users of a smooth, reliable Full HD video, however, the SJ7 Star remains one of the best action cameras to buy.

Pros:

  • Rear touchscreen
  • Raw shooting

Cons:

  • No image stabilization in 4K
  • Basic smartphone app
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

GoPro HERO5 Black

It may have been surpassed, but this classic action camera still impresses

Best Action Cameras

  • Weight: 118g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 4K video: up to 30fps
  • 1080: up to 120fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-3hrs (est)

The most important drop-down function when you defrost the latest HERO6 Black in favor of the HERO5 Black is that the latter reduces the video quality from 4K at 60 fps to 4K at 30 fps, but whether this is important or not is your call. Other than that, it weighs the same and is also waterproof up to 10 m, and has both voice control commands and GPS. Oh, and the brilliant editing apps that really help GoPro stand out from the crowd. There are, however, a few disadvantages. The image stabilization is not as sophisticated as with the newer version and the touch screen can be difficult to use, especially when it is wet. Apart from that, the GoPro HERO5 Black remains one of the best action cameras that has more value now than it has been replaced.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality 4K video
  • Voice Control Commands

Cons:

  • Expensive accessories
  • Poor touchscreen
Last update was on: October 20, 2020 12:31 pm

Best Mirrorless Cameras

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