Best Action CamerasUpdated on: August 4, 2018
If you are a person that loves to document the world around you in photographs and especially videos, then you are probably thinking about purchasing an action camera that will enable you to capture even the tiniest detail, to record every single moment in highest quality and broadcast the excitement of many special and thrilling adventures. However, before you go and buy the first action camera that falls into your hands, you should carefully consider your needs, your budget and many other factors that should affect your choice and help you find the most suitable and best action camera for you.
Buying an action camera can be a really exciting thing, but you need to think about many things if you want to get exactly what you are looking for. You don’t want to buy an action camera that will not be as good as you thought just because you didn’t invest enough time to consider all advantages and disadvantages beforehand. In this article, we will help you find the right camera for you by discussing some of the things you need to consider when buying one and by talking about some of the best action cameras on the market.
How to Choose the Best Action Camera
As we have already mentioned, there are certain factors and features you need to pay attention when you are buying an action camera if you want to make a smart and informed decision.
One of the most important things to consider when you choose your action camera is video quality, or simply put, video resolution. At this time, 4K resolution is the best quality of video available on the majority of action cameras. After this resolution, there are 1080p and 720p. The right choice for you depends on your intentions for using the camera, as well as devices on which you will be viewing your videos. I mean, if you don’t have a 4K TV or a computer monitor then you really don’t need an action camera with 4K video resolution.
If you want to use your action camera to take still photos as well, it would be wise to consider the image quality as well. Look for the camera that has more megapixels, since that means that it has higher image resolution.
Field of View
Field of view is field or area that your action camera can capture at any time. The majority of action cameras have a wide-angle field of view, but there are others that let you choose your settings. In most cases, options are a wide, medium and narrow field of view. This might not be so important for you, but you need to keep in mind that videos shot in the wide-angle field of view can seem a little distorted in some cases.
If you really plan to use your action camera in every possible condition, like rain, or snow, or even under water, then you need to make sure that your camera is waterproof, or even weatherproof. Some action cameras come with an exterior that is resistant to water, while others have to be used with a waterproof case.
The majority of action cameras only have a few hours of battery life, usually around three hours of constant use. This, of course, depends on the way you use it. For example, shooting videos with higher resolution, or using connectivity features will shorten your battery life. Keep in mind that cameras that have longer battery life are usually much more expensive, or in some cases they don’t have features that you need. So, if you can’t go with the option that gives you the longest battery life, you need to think about price and availability of spare batteries.
These are just some of the most important features you need to consider when you choose your action camera. You should also pay attention to connectivity features, memory card options, accessories available, etc. To help you with all these decisions, we have made a short list with some of the best action cameras available on the market so you don’t have to waste too much time when you choose the right action camera for you.
Sony FDR-X1000V/W 4K
[s dir=”left” img=”https://strevel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/sony-fdr-x1000v-w-4k-action-cam.jpg”]Sony FDR-X1000V/W 4K[/s]The first action camera on our list comes from Sony and it is pretty similar to previous action camera models from this company, especially when it comes to design. It has a body that looks like a shotgun, but more importantly, it has a flat base. That means that this action camera can stand on its own without any support. With the camera, you also get a casing that is waterproof, so you can take your camera underwater, even up to 33 feet (10 meters).
It has a 170-degree lens at the front, which also lets you decrease the field of view to 120 degrees if you have image stabilization feature turned on. In fact, this feature is what separates this camera from the GoPro. FDR-X1000V/W has a microphone that is placed right below the lens.
Working with this camera is pretty straightforward. Two buttons that are placed on the side panel (Prev and Next) allow you to navigate the menu features on the LCD screen. If you want to start or stop recording, or confirm your menu selections, you just need to press record button that you can see on the top. On one side, there are a micro HDMI and USB ports behind a door that partially open. When you open them to the full, you will see the microSD and battery slot.
When it comes to resolution and image quality, this action camera is at the very top. It records videos in 4K, which is the highest available resolution. This has many benefits, like taking a still photo or even pulling one from your video. It also lets your crop in parts of your videos. The image quality is very high and your videos will be clear if you record them with this fantastic action camera.
GoPro HERO5 Black
This rectangular little camera is one of the best action cameras on the market and it comes with a stylish design. It is similar to its predecessors when it comes to design, but there are many changes as well. For example, HERO5 can go underwater without a case. Also, the touchscreen is another innovation. It is pretty large and responsive, with an easy navigation through the menu. However, you need to remember to lock your screen before you go in the water with this camera because water drops might cause changes in your settings by accident.
This camera has voice controls, which is a really cool and innovative feature in the world of action cameras. Seven languages are included in this feature, but it isn’t completely reliable. For example, some environmental noises like wind rushes might cause confusion. Also, this is the first GoPro camera that includes GPS. However, the only thing that your GPS does is geotag your images and photos.
When it comes to image quality, not many cameras can top HERO5. Even though it doesn’t shoot in the 4K resolution it can produce some very sharp photos and videos. There is a side button, in contrast to the previous GoPro models where the button was placed in the front that allows you to toggle power and modes. There is a button on the top that allows you to start and stop recording. Same as before, if you press both buttons simultaneously, you will be able to modify all granular things while you look at the compact LCD screen on the front of this amazing action camera.
Another change that HERO5 brings is the upgraded battery which is not at 1220mAh. This is important if you have multiple features turned on. However, this comes with a logical drawback – you won’t be able to use your old batteries.
GoPro HERO4 Silver
We talked about HERO5, now is the time to discuss its predecessor, HERO4. This is the second most popular GoPro camera in the market, but it is probably the one that offers the best value for the money. It has a classic GoPro design, which is very elegant and stylish. However, without a case, this camera isn’t at all rugged or mountable. For this reason, a standard case comes with the camera and it is pretty rugged, but you can choose other, lighter and not so rugged solutions. This standard case also adds waterproof quality to HERO4, which means that you can take it underwater, up to 130 feet (40 meters).
This action camera has LCD screen, which is surprisingly not that usual when it comes to action cameras. However, this works like a charm and it is incredibly handy. This allows you to flip through your options on the screen and look at a fine preview of the things you want to shoot. This preview is particularly useful because GoPro allows you to choose between four field of view settings. However, you can’t use your touchscreen once you have closed the case. In this case, you can use an amazing GoPro wireless smartphone app and pair your smartphone with your camera. This allows you to see a live preview and access recording models like photo, video, time-lapse and slow-motion.
This fantastic action camera has top level video and image quality, even though it doesn’t record in 4K resolution. However, even though the quality is great, there are some small shortcomings, like the fact that bright sun can make your video seem a bit hazy. Even though GoPro cams don’t offer image stabilization feature, the video that you record with HERO4 is still less wobbly when compared to most other action cameras.
Polaroid Cube HD 1080p
As the name itself says, this is a cube-shaped miniature camera that is only 1.4 inches (35mm) long. It has rounded corners and it is shock, cold and waterproof despite being so tiny. You can get this action camera in three color versions – blue, black and red. There is a magnet below that camera that is pretty strong and can adhere completely to any steel or iron surface. In the back, there are a microSD slot and a USB port that is used to charge the battery. With this camera, you will also get a USB cable. There is also a toggle switch in the back of the Cube that allows you to change resolution between 720p and 1080p.
However, regardless of what resolution you choose, your video will be limited to 30fps. This is a bit of a letdown since the majority of action cameras can offer videos at 60fps. The field of view that this camera provides is 124 degrees wide, which is also sub-standard when it comes to the more popular, but also more expensive action cameras. However, this field of view is still wide enough, so it really isn’t a big problem. The video quality is pretty satisfactory, especially when you consider the design of this cute camera that allows you to bring it with you anywhere you go. On the other hand, still photo quality isn’t that amazing.
This sweet camera has only one button, placed on top of it. To turn the Cube on and off you need to press that button for a longer time. If you press it fast once, you will take a 6 MP still photo. If you press it two times you will start recording a video. Press it again to stop the recording.
360fly 4K Video Camera
This is a pretty unique action camera because it has a very specific and interesting design. It is sphere-shaped and has a flat bottom and angled edges, along with a protuberant glass lens. It actually points straight up, but can record anything that is going on around you at once. This single eye captures everything that is found in its field of view.
This attractive action camera doesn’t have any common data ports. However, it has a series of connectors on its flat base that allows you to share our data. You can do this via USB and you will get a micro USB cable along with the camera. There are also two LED lights that indicate what is going on with the camera by changing lights. Blue signals that the camera is looking to connect to a smartphone, green indicates that is connected to a smartphone, red means that the camera is currently recording and yellow that it is connected to a computer via USB.
Even though this is a camera that shoots videos in the 4K resolution, the quality of those videos is pretty disappointing when compared to the expectations. Another flaw of this small camera is the audio, because it only has a microphone that is not bigger than a pinhole. Since there is no option to connect an external microphone, this can be a real problem.
360fly has an internal memory that allows you to store 64GB of data on it, which is enough for at least 3 hours of footage. The battery lasts for 90 minutes on average on a single charge. This camera is splash and dust protected, which means that you can take it with you to the beach, or use it in bad weather, like when it is raining or snowing. It can also go underwater, but no deeper than 30 feet (10 meters).
YI 4K Action Camera
This rectangular action camera has a very similar design to GoPro hero series, but it is a bit wider. However, the depth and lens are practically the copy of HERO4 Black, which is pretty impressive itself, but this camera also includes an LCD touchscreen, which is an added option for HERO4. The display comes with a 640 x 360 resolution and it is really bright and sharp, which is great for composing shots and modifying settings on the camera. This touchscreen is actually necessary since Yi 4K only has one button that is designed to turn the camera on or off and to shoot videos and still photos, so you will do all of your work when it comes to changing settings or toggling between modes on the touchscreen. This presents a problem when you use waterproof case, which is actually not included in the basic package.
When it comes to connectivity features, this camera only has a single micro-USB port that also allows you to charge the battery. For storage purposed, there is a microSD slot. Another way to connect your camera with other devices is via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
This action camera has a 155-degree field of view and it has a limit of 30fps when you record your videos in 4K resolution. If you decrease the resolution to 1080p, the limit increases to 120fps, which is pretty great. The image quality isn’t as good as with GoPro cameras, but it is still satisfactory enough, some might even say excellent. The biggest flaw of this camera comes with the audio quality, especially when it is encased in the waterproof case. Still images can be taken at up to 12-megapixels and there are timer and time lapse features, as well as burst modes; photos look amazing, with numerous details.
This is a very sturdy action camera that has a very elegant design. It is essentially a black box with gray metallic engraving. ThiEYE T5e comes with a waterproof casing, which means that you can take it underwater, in the depths up to 195 feet (60 meters), as well as two batteries and adhesive stickers, a micro USB cable and wiping cloth. All these things are included in the basic package and make this action camera a real gem.
This action camera is actually really small, which you will notice once you take it out of your waterproof casing. Also, you will experience just how quality it was manufactured and you will be able to fully appreciate its design. It truly feels sturdy and secure when you hold it in your hand because it has an amazing body texture. In addition to this, this camera is shock and dust proof as well when it is inside the casing.
ThiEYE T5e has a very simple and intuitive layout for commands. On the front of the camera, there is the On/Off button, on the top, there is a button that allows you to start and stop recording and on the right side there are two buttons that are used to navigate through the menu and settings.
When it comes to video and image quality, this is one of the best action cameras on the market. You can shoot videos in 4K resolution and you can also use it to record fantastic slow motion videos that also have a great quality. Still images come in 16MP resolution. Before you take your video or photo, you can preview it on the LCD screen so you can be sure that you will capture the view in front of you in the best possible quality.
Aokon New AR 4K Full Ultra HD
This is an extremely sturdy and rugged action camera that is made to sustain extreme weather conditions and various environments. It has a waterproof casing that lets you shoot amazing underwater videos in the depths of up to 100 feet (30 meters). Because it is so rugged, this action camera can be used to shoot numerous outdoor activities, like surfing, biking or even skydiving. So, if you are primarily looking for a camera that is extremely portable and can withstand different weather, this camera is one of the best choices on the market for you.
There are many fantastic features that this action camera provides to its users, but probably the most exciting one is the WI-FI function wrist remote controller that allows you to control your camera from distance, or you can control your camera using your Android or IOS smartphone as well.
This awesome camera records videos in 4K resolution, but you can also choose a lower resolution if you don’t want to use too much of your memory storage that 4K videos demand. If you are taking still photos, you will be able to do so in 12MP. The lens has a wide angle, 170 degrees, which means that you will be able to capture a wide shot for your video or photo. There are different modes in which you can shoot your videos, like slow motion, time lapse, battery saver mode, etc. You can also use continuous shooting mode or digital video recording. This camera has a microSD slot and a 3.7V Li-ion 1050mAh battery that can last for 90 minutes if you shoot your videos without a break.
This action camera comes in various colors and has a very stylish and modern design. It has an LCD screen in the back so you can preview your videos and images and it has a very straightforward and user-friendly menu which you can navigate easily. It is an extremely durable and rugged camera that is also waterproof and can go into depths of around 100 feet (30 meters). LD4000 works great in extreme weather conditions and environments, which makes it an ideal action camera to take on vacation or if you simply want to capture some outdoor adventures. It is a very light and small camera, which increases its portability a lot.
This action camera records videos in 1080p resolution, which is not as good as 4K, but it is still pretty great. Video quality is amazing and it is probably improved a lot thanks to the NT96650 chip that this camera uses. It also has a pretty wide angle lens, 170 degrees to be exact. This camera offers powerful and fast image capture because it has a 12MP lens with a burst rate of 30fps.
One small problem and flaw that this otherwise great camera has is connectivity since it doesn’t support WI-FI connection, which means that you won’t be able to use your smartphone and connect it to your camera. It also has a 32GB microSD card that on which you can store around 5 hours of video and includes batteries that last for around an hour, depending on the recording quality. Also, another issue that might irritate you is the speed of charging the batteries, but that isn’t such a big problem really.
Campark ACT73R 4k
If you are looking for a reliable and sturdy action camera, you need to seriously consider Campark ACT73R. This camera, like many others on our list, comes with a waterproof case that will allow you to shoot breathtaking underwater videos in the depth of up to around 100 feet (30 meters). It also has wrist remote control feature that allows you to control your camera from a distance of around 50 feet (15 meters), as well as share your images or videos on social media as easy as possible.
With an LCD screen built into the back of the camera, you will be able to preview your videos and photos so you can be sure that you captured everything just like you wanted to. This camera shoots 4K videos at 25 frames per second, Full HD at 60 fps and 720p videos at 120fps. It has a 170-degree wide angle lens and supports SDHC cards that have a storage space of 32 GB. The quality of videos and images is up to par with some of the more expensive and more popular cameras we have covered on our list, so choosing Campark ACT73R will not be a mistake when you consider quality.
The battery has an average life span of 90 minutes per charge, but that might vary depending on the resolution in which you shoot your videos. However, charging the battery takes a lot of time. This camera also comes with many useful accessories, like straps, helmet mount kit, zip ties, that will allow you to shoot videos while you enjoy sports like cycling, running, skiing, diving, etc.
Choosing the right action camera for you isn’t easy, but we hope that you will be able to make a smart and informative decision thanks to our review of some of the best action cameras on the market. As we have already mentioned, there are many factors you need to consider when you choose, like video and image quality, storage room, design, durability, a field of view, battery, accessories, price, etc. When you take all these features into account, you will be able to wager all pros and cons and choose the action camera that will suit your needs.
Whatever your choice might be, we hope that you will end succeed in documenting some of your amazing adventures and beauty of nature and we hope that our list has helped you speed up the process at least a little bit. After all, the market for action cameras is huge and very competitive and any help you can get is always welcomed.