Best Action Cameras

Best Action Cameras

If you’re looking for the best action cameras you can buy, you’ve come to the right place. These days, GoPros are far from your only options in the adventure cameras department – there are now a wide range of rugged 4K cameras in all price ranges, and we’ve rated the best based on our rigorous field tests. GoPro remains the biggest name in action cameras, but stiff competition from DJI, Insta360, and Akaso recently has forced it to step up its game.

While this can make your purchase decision more difficult, the advantage is that we’ve never had a wider choice. Whether you are looking for a budget model for your bike dash cam or you need a large 1 ” sensor to capture your vacation in the highest quality, our list below has an option for you. We’ve also added some of the best 360-degree cameras, like the GoPro Max, for those who want to capture the entire scene around them instead of worrying about the framing.

What features should you be looking for? The best action cameras all have a few things in common. They all have electronic image stabilization (of varying quality) to compensate for bumps or falls. And because they are robustly built, shock resistance and water resistance are usually standard. Most of the latest action cameras also have smartphone connectivity for editing, sharing, and streaming on social media – great if you want to create action vlogs for friends, family, or fans.

We’ve included our thoughts on each camera’s companion apps in our roundup below as they are not all created equal. Some modular action cams also allow you to alternate your recordings with useful accessories such as microphones to improve the quality of your content.

List of the Best Actions Cameras

GoPro Hero9 Black

The ultimate action camera – and now better value

best action cameras
  • Weight: 158g
  • Waterproof: 10m
  • 5K video: up to 30fps
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 240fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 20MP
  • Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate

The bar has been raised even higher. If you want the very best action camera, GoPro’s latest flagship is the one to go for. It’s true that the brand’s first action camera with a vlogging-style front screen isn’t for everyone, but its 5K resolution certainly makes it the frontrunner. Even if you’re not looking for 5K video per se, a new sensor allows you to capture 14.7 MP of 5K video and 20MP of stills.

The camera also has a larger 2.27-inch display than the GoPro Hero8 Black, super-smooth Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization, TimeWarp 3.0 for handheld time-lapses, a travel case, and a soon-to-be-available Max Lens Mod accessory that will offer GoPro Max-like features like 360º horizon lock and an ultra-wide 155º Max SuperView mode. As for now, this is the best action camera that you can buy.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras right now.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

$698.00
in stock
September 13, 2021 11:52 am
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

DJI Osmo Action

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

Best Action Cameras
  • 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.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition

A unique proposition of both 4K and 360 action cams

  • Weight: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 72 x 48 x 32.4 mm
  • Waterproof: 16 feet (optional housings also supported)
  • Stills resolution: Not specified
  • Video resolution: 5.7K
  • Memory: MicroSD
  • Mount: Bespoke mounting bracket
  • Battery life: Not specified

The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition, which will be released in early 2020, is indeed a very tempting proposition because it can be used both as an action camera and as a 360 camera. In essence, it is called “Twin Edition” because it is two cameras in one, with two lens modules that can be easily swapped. One turns it into a 4K action camera, the other gives it the ability to take 360º images, and it also has a lot of extra features, including 5m waterproofing (which can be extended with a special housing).

AI algorithms also enhance the various shooting modes, and in particular the impressive Auto Frame mode, which can automatically find and select the action in a 360º video. There is also a 1-inch Leica camera mod that gives you another option – you can swap the 360 module for a high-end actioncam. The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition is a great buy if you want to use your action camera to capture footage in all sorts of different directions. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras right now.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

SJCAM SJ8 Pro

A great-value 4K action camera offering surprisingly high-quality footage

best action cameras
  • Weight: 85g
  • Waterproof: 30m
  • 4K video: up to 60fps
  • 1080: up to 120fps
  • 720: up to 240fps
  • Stills resolution: 12MP
  • Battery life: 90 mins

Taking more than a few cues from GoPro, the SJCAM SJ8 Pro offers much of the functionality of top-quality Hero cameras, but at a considerably friendlier price. Not only does it have 4K footage at 60p, but this footage also benefits from six-axis image stabilization, which really comes in handy in action shooting situations.

Thanks to the standard GoPro mount, the SJ8 can be mounted on anything you want to attach it to, and there’s also decent slow-motion if you lower the resolution to 1080p or 720p. The waterproof housing is a bit clunky to use, with a lever lock system that can be tricky to operate, but this is arguably the best action cam at this price. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras right now.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

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.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

$179.95
in stock
September 13, 2021 11:52 am
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

$424.99
in stock
September 13, 2021 11:52 am
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

Akaso EK7000 Pro

Best budget-priced action camera

  • Weight: 61g
  • Waterproof: Yes, to 40 metres
  • 4K video: At 25fps
  • 1080p video: At 60fps
  • 720p video: No
  • Stills resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Battery life: Up to 90 minute per charge

This upgrade of the 2016 EX7000 model sticks a ‘Pro’ suffix to the name and shoehorns in 4K shooting. It looks like we’re getting our money’s worth quite a bit, as this model also has 16MP stills and a two-inch touchscreen. There’s also anti-shake, albeit of the electronic variety, while the waterproof body allows it to withstand depths of 40 meters and a selectable dive mode allows users to compensate for the lack of red light for underwater scenes.

Images are stored on an optional microSD card, which of course has an additional cost. Included in the box is a remote control that can be attached to your wrist, plus various mounts and cables and the two lithium polymer batteries required. As the above suggests, Wi-Fi is included, as is the ability to achieve time-lapse special effects, so all in all, this is an option worth exploring further. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras right now.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

Akaso Brave 7 LE

A twin-screen action cam for less

best action cameras
  • Weight: 61g
  • Waterproof: 3ft/1m (131ft/40m with supplied casing)
  • 4K video: At 30fps
  • 1080p video: At 60/30fps
  • 720p video: 240/120/60fps
  • Stills resolution: 20 megapixels
  • Battery life: Up to 90 minute per charge

If you need a front-facing screen for vlogging – or to make sure you stay in focus when filming yourself skiing down a slope with a selfie stick – this is a bargain. It has the same killer feature found on the GoPro Hero 9 and the DJI Osmo Action, but the second screen comes at a fraction of the cost.

You get 4K recording and 20 megapixel photos – plus a capable 6-axis image stabilization system. In the box, you’ll also find a host of accessories, including a second battery, mounts and an underwater housing. Note that, unlike many competitors, you must use this housing before taking your action cam into the water. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras right now.

Last update was on: September 13, 2021 11:52 am

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