Top 10 Best Action Cameras In The World

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 series, 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 is the smartphone app that comes with the most action cameras. These can vary from simple to the latest in automated editing and sharing.

Let’s have a look at the best action cameras in our comparison table and then we’ll discuss them one-by-one.

Best Action Cameras Comparison Table

Action Cameras
Camera NameWaterproof4K Video Capability
GoPro Hero7 Blackup to 10mup to 60fps
GoPro Hero6 Blackup to 10mup to 60fps
Yi 4K+Noup to 60fps
Sony FDR-X3000up to 60mup to 30fps
Olfi One.Fiveup to 30mup to 24fps
TomTom BanditNoup to 15fps
Olympus Tough TG-Trackerup to 30mup to 30fps
SJCAM SJ7 Starup to 30mup to 30fps
GoPro HERO5 Blackup to 10mup to 30fps
Garmin VIRB XEup to 50mNo

Here are the Top 10 Best Action Cameras

GoPro Hero7 Black

The ultimate action camera is here

  • 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 extensive dynamic range, SuperPhoto, and 12 separate voice commands.

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Pros:

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

Cons:

  • The screen can be unresponsive
  • Voice commands need work

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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

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Yi 4K+

Top specs for less, but no waterproofing

  • Weight: 93g
  • Waterproof: no
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 120fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 1-2hrs

Those who want an action camera with the best quality usually do the latest GoPro model. There is only one problem: a high price tag. This much more affordable action camera from Yi Technology gives you almost as much value for money. For example, it has a slightly larger touch screen than a GoPro HERO6 Black and corresponds to its rival when recording 4K footage with 60 fps. The results are detailed, smooth and colorful and the user interface is both super fast and super simple. It does not contain a waterproof housing, nor does it have GPS functionality, but apart from that, the Yi 4K+ is a fantastic and one of the best action cameras.

Pros:

  • So easy to use
  • Detailed 4K/60fps video

Cons:

  • Doesn’t GPS tag video
  • Accessories not included

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Sony FDR-X3000

4K meets best-ever image stabilization in this Sony action camera

  • 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

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Olfi One.Five

A good-value action camera for cyclists that doubles as a dash-cam

  • Weight: 55g
  • Waterproof: 30m
  • 4K video: up to 24fps
  • 1080: up to 60fps
  • 720: up to 120fps
  • Stills resolution: 16MP
  • Battery life: 1-2hrs

Here is a small action camera with a large number of functions. The One.Five is a small device that presses into a Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor. Features include motion detection, time-lapse and loop record. The latter continuously overwrites the oldest files, so that you can choose when you want to save the last few minutes. That works well for action sports, and just as well as a dash cam. The claim with 4K video, however, comes with marginal notes; not only will those after 4K video probably spot the 24fps of the Olfi One.Five – GoPro and Yi now go up to 60 fps – but worse, the 4K video is actually interpolated from a 2.8K sensor, so it’s is all a bit of a fudge. The smartphone app is also not much, and the battery life is short. However, the Olfi One.Five is essential – and especially with the optional 30 m-waterproof plastic housing – a camera with a good price-quality ratio for cyclists and even drivers.

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Pros:

  • Good image stabilization
  • 16MP still images

Cons:

  • Very short battery life
  • Basic smartphone app

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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

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Olympus Tough TG-Tracker

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

  • 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

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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

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GoPro HERO5 Black

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

  • 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 that it has been replaced.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality 4K video
  • Voice Control Commands

Cons:

  • Expensive accessories
  • Poor touchscreen

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Garmin VIRB XE

Unbeatable waterproofing and a suite of sensors

  • Weight: 151g
  • Waterproof: 50m
  • 4K video: no
  • 1080: up to 60fps
  • 720: up to 120fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 2hrs

Can you buy an action camera that only works in Full HD resolution? The Garmin VIRB XE provides a compelling reason why you should do this. It is water resistant to 50 m without housing and can withstand temperatures down to -10 ° C, but this action camera is not only made of sturdy material. The Virb XE is also smart, with a range of G-Metrix sensors that can measure GPS, compass direction, temperature, and even speed, adding an exciting layer of data to video. It can even retrieve data from compatible ANT + devices, such as heart rate devices and smartwatches. As a bonus, for those who think audio is as important as video, a Bluetooth microphone can be paired with it.

Pros:

  • Waterproof to 50m
  • Bluetooth audio options

Cons:

  • Full HD only
  • Expensive

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Conclusion

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.

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