To capture the most adrenaline-filled, extreme moments of your life, you need the best action camera. A weather-resistant body and a 4K video mode is what you need. That’s why I’ve found 15 action cameras, one of which will definitely be perfect for you.
Action cameras were originally designed for sports and adrenaline lovers so they could record their activities in a convenient, reliable, and safe way. Since then, action cameras have become very popular among other users. Regardless if you need a camera for hiking, recording vlogs, or streaming, action cameras are simple to use and I recommend everyone try them. I’ve gathered the list of 15 best action cameras rated for extreme photography.
Price: About $360
It is the first model that has a completely new technology for recording smooth and high-quality videos – HyperSmooth. Thanks to it, you get the opportunity to take smooth and stabilized pictures even shooting with hands. Another distinguishing feature is the Time Warp. These two above-mentioned technologies enable you to create a Time Lapse on the move. In addition, the speed for short videos is increased by 30 times.
Expanded internal memory and a cool new interface undoubtedly make this model one of the best action cameras. You may record incredibly high-quality videos in 4K format. Moreover, this model is also the best action camera for cold weather. There is less autonomy at low temperatures, and you have four hours to shoot. If you want to increase the life of the battery in such conditions, I advise you to buy a special case from GoPro, for example, Super Suit.
Price: About $319
Compared to GoPro action cameras, this Sony camera has fewer choices of speed and resolution. Choosing compatible mount products for this Sony action camera is a bit difficult. While you pay approximately $50 for the Hero 4 Black, you get high-quality sound and several 1080p video speed options. This model is perfect for lovers of snowboarding or skiing. While its 16-foot waterproof depth is inferior to GoPro, camera protective housing is built at the proper level. Sony HDR-AS100V is an excellent choice for those who are just starting to work in the genre of extreme photography and videos. This action camera with GPS will be a good choice if you photograph the conquests of peaks, air, or water.
Price: About $378
This Garmin action camera may record videos at depths of up to 164 feet thanks to its rugged and waterproof case. It has the function of GPS tracking, the ability to transfer files using Wi-Fi, as well as the G-Metric feature. This cool camera offers 1080p video resolution and is one of the best GoPro like cameras. The developers gave it an excellent digital image stabilization and provided you with the opportunity to use multi-camera synchronization to seamlessly switch between several angles. In general, this is a wonderful camera for action shooting with excellent performance and the ability to add GPS data to your videos.
Price: About $379
It is an updated version of Pixpro SP360. Using this best action camera, you can record videos in 4K format. You have access to additional coverage on the vertical axis, while horizontally you have 360-degree coverage. If you want to get even more amazing results and be able to cover the area as fully as possible, then you should pay attention to a Dual Pro Pack option. However, the camera will be almost twice as expensive. In this case, you get two cameras that you can fasten to your back and to each other in order to simultaneously shoot the foreground and background of the scene. After that, you can stitch them all together.
This model can be referred as the best 360 camera for snowboarding thanks to this system. However, it is not always convenient to use it and the choice of software is not very large. On the whole, you need to be patient in order to achieve the desired result.
Price: About $209
This model is a cool alternative to the GoPros, although less popular. The Yi 4K+ is a perfect action camera for recording 4K videos. The integrated Sony IMX377 image sensors capture 12MP pictures and excellent Full HD videos. This action camera has a sensitive 2.2" Gorilla Glass retina touch screen, which is bright and clear. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Besides, due to its quad-core CPU, the Yi 4K+ has a very responsive interface.
Unfortunately, the camera does not have water protection outside its waterproof case. It has a built-in image stabilization (EIS) which assists you in getting smooth and stable videos. The 1200mAh battery gives you the opportunity to record a 4K video for more than 1 hour. The support of voice control and the availability of RAW format are amazing bonuses.
Price: About $168
This model does not refer to Sony's new products. However, it is quite suitable for action shoots. This is the best budget action camera that lets you take really cool pictures. In addition, using the XAVC-S, you have the ability to record Full HD. For video recording in motion, it is very important to avoid blurriness and get a sharp image. The creators gave this model an effective stabilization system – SteadyShot. Test this camera for shooting while riding your bike or driving. The difference with other models at approximately the same price will be immediately noticeable.
A small level of oscillation contributes to the normal perception of the video. Perhaps someone will not like the camera dimensions as it is not compact. Experts advise using ZEISS optical lenses for this action camera to get Optical Steady shots. Its waterproof case lets you use the camera at a depth of 60m.
Price: About $149
If you need something small and compact, then this is the best GoPro camera for you. It doesn’t matter where you place it, you will get a stunning video. If you are shooting slow motion, then I recommend choosing 720p100 mode. It will give you the most impressive results for these purposes.
This model can also be used for a series of stills, or single 8MP frames as well as cyclic recording (thanks to this feature, you can use the camera as a DVR). This GoPro camera is distinguished by its low weight and compactness. It is well-protected from moisture so you can take it to the beach or even underwater. Excellent compatibility with GoPro apps and amazing video quality contribute to the popularity of this camera. Unfortunately, you may have complaints about its non-removable battery.
Price: About $187
A distinctive feature of this model is the ability to use two shooting modes with different angles of field of view – 170˚ and 90˚. The 170° version gives you the ability to shoot video widely, though there is fisheye lens distortion. However, the 90˚ mode provides you with an excellent video without distortion. This is one of the reasons why this model is called the best 4K action camera.
The shooting speed of the 4K video is 30fps. Higher speed is available to you in slow motion mode. It is equipped with the AmbarellaA12S75 chip, which allows you to shoot high-quality video. The camera has an IMX117 image sensor that produces a very good, broad effect on the dynamic range. The camera works well in low light and supports remote control.
Price: About $57
The Yi Lite action camera offers all the essential functions you can expect from these cameras. It is theoretically capable of shooting 4K videos, the camera has a maximum framerate of 15/20 (depending on NTSC or PAL system). Such a small framerate leads to jumpy, rough and poorly focused videos, which will look even worse because of the lack of image stabilization in 4K. That being said, recording in 1080p or 720p offers better image quality, higher fps and reduces camera shake thanks to the built-in image stabilization system.
Moreover, such resolutions enable slow and time-lapse modes. Another cool feature is loop mode that allows recording over footage in a cache during a certain timeframe. The camera can take 16MP photos and do continuous shooting or time-lapse photography. The included timer is great if you want to take group pictures and don’t want to be the odd person out. With such a broad range of functions and its reasonable price, Yi Lite can be called the best GoPro alternative.
Price: About $115
It’s a tiny camera with an NTK96660 processor and a 16MP sensor made by Sony that allows for taking sharp, clear photos and highly detailed videos with a resolution of up to 2K with 30fps. Despite its compactness, the M20 includes lots of functions, gyro stabilization, Field of View adjustments and fish-eye effect removal. It has AV and underwater modes and can be controlled with your smartphone via Wi-Fi.
SJCAM M20 allows for recording videos in MP4 and MOV formats while its weight is a mere 55 grams (which is ideal if you plan to attach it to a drone). Compared to other GoPro like cameras, I think it’s a good replacement that will cost you only half as much. It’s the best action camera under $150 thanks to the high video quality, beautiful stills and a variety of included accessories.
Price: About $65
APEMAN is the one of the best budget action cameras that offers amazing performance for its size. It’s ideal for everyone who needs a camera to capture life on the go. This model is especially great if you enjoy underwater shooting. It has a protective case that allows for using the camera in depths of up to 30m. Another cool feature is the adjustable zoom. It allows for changing the size of the area you plan to record in the 70-179-degree angle range.
Like many inexpensive sports cameras, you’ll have to purchase an SD card separately since it isn’t included in the package. It works with cards with a max storage size of 128GB, which is great because other models have a limit of 32GB.
Price: About $50
ACT47 is another inexpensive GoPro alternative that can record 4K footage. Probably the biggest benefit of recording in 4K is the ability to crop videos. This makes wide-angle lenses, which are common for action models, more universal. Additionally, you can record footage in smaller resolutions to avoid excessively large files.
However, similar to other GoPro competitors, this action camera offers disappointing performance when recording videos on the go. Videos recorded in good lighting conditions are great. Overall, the ACT74 is a reasonably-priced camera that provides nice image quality, 4K support, and useful accessories. It’s probably the best action camera under 50 dollars you can find.
Price: About $20
Vemont is a universal action camera that comes with different mounting accessories. The included mounts can be attached to a motorcycle or skating helmet, a tripod, etc. The water-resistant case excels at protecting the camera but it does cover the microphone and severely spoils the audio quality. However, underwater shoots typically don’t require sound so that shouldn’t be an issue.
The waterproof case allows for using the camera up to 30 meters under water. You can’t really compare this camera to the best GoPro products because of the considerable difference in price and video quality, as they are meant for completely different user categories. It’s compatible with SD cards in the 8-32GB storage space range. The camera works on a 900mAh rechargeable battery, which can be easily replaced.
Price: About $48
The EK5000 is one of the best action cameras for about $50. With an included 2” LCD screen, this model enables you to preview all your recorded content with perfect clarity. This action camera features a 12MP camera and supports recording videos in 1080p with 30fps, and in 720p with either 60 or 30fps.
Moreover, the EK5000 offers Wi-Fi connectivity and enables you to pair it with a smartphone or tablet to preview or transfer content. The waterproof case allows for using the camera up to 100-feet under water. I recommend this camera if you enjoy hiking, skating, skydiving or skiing.
Price: About $49
This JEEMAK camera has 4K Ultra HD support and allows for taking 16 Megapixel photographs. Considering video recording, you have the freedom to choose between 4K and 2.7K with 30fps or reduce the resolution to 1080p or 720p and enjoy a framerate of 60- or even 80fps. To make the camera more user-friendly, the kit includes a remote control that allows for operating it from a distance and it has integrated Wi-Fi to connect with your smartphone.
The kit mounts allow you to attach the camera to your bicycle or motorcycle. Moreover, thanks to the waterproof protection, it can be used for recording diving, surfing or kayaking videos. Water-resistance also comes in handy while riding on rainy days.
|Campark ACT74BUDGET||VIEW PRICE|
|Vemont 1080P||VIEW PRICE|
|Akaso EK5000 1080P||VIEW PRICE|
|The JEEMAK||VIEW PRICE|
|Yi Lite||VIEW PRICE|
|SJCAM M20||VIEW PRICE|
|APEMAN 4K A80||VIEW PRICE|
|Yi 4K+FOR RUNNING||VIEW PRICE|
|Sony HDRAS50/B||VIEW PRICE|
|GoPro HERO Session||VIEW PRICE|
|Hawkeye Firefly 8S||VIEW PRICE|
|GoPro Hero 7OUR CHOICE||VIEW PRICE|
|Sony HDR-AS100VFOR SKIING||VIEW PRICE|
|Garmin VIRB XEWITH GPS||VIEW PRICE|
|Kodak Pixpro SP360 4KBEST 360°||VIEW PRICE|
There are not many worthy alternatives for GoPro action cameras. Using one of these cameras, you can be calm about the fact that water, dust or other things won't spoil your equipment, so it is suitable for any environment. Nevertheless, even the best action camera needs a number of accessories that will make its performance even better.
The choice of mounts depends on what you are going to shoot and how. So if you want the viewer to see everything with your eyes, then the camera should be placed on the head, shoulder or chest. If you intend to record video while driving any vehicle, then choose the pole or a handlebar mount. A good old-fashioned suction mount will allow you to attach your GoPro almost anywhere you want. Pay attention to the extension tripods if you need extra length or height to be able to shoot more widely.
Your camera for underwater filming undoubtedly needs a special aqua-filter to provide the desired color correction. For those cases when you are experiencing a lack of light, you need to purchase additional underwater lighting. If you plan to record videos at great depths, then you need to provide additional protection for your action camera for underwater shooting. There is a wide choice of housing units on the market that are suitable for scuba diving and allow you to shoot video at a depth of up to 197'.
Buy another battery. Although portable chargers and power supplies have their advantages, it is more convenient to simply change the battery to continue shooting. No matter where you go, if you have to shoot for a long time, two batteries guarantee that you will not miss anything from your adventure.
There are action cameras that have a small amount of internal memory up to 8 GB. This is not very significant, since a memory card will be the main storage volume. For recording high-quality video in resolution from Full HD 1920x1080, you need a camera supporting cards with a capacity of 32 GB. This will be enough for at least two hours of shooting. For 4K video, it's better to look at cameras capable of supporting 64 GB and up. It should also be understood that for 1920x1080, you need at least a 6-speed class SD card, and for 4K 3480x2160 video, a U3 class card is recommended. It is not desirable to skimp on the memory cards.
Image stabilization is necessary when doing hand-held shooting. There is digital stabilization, in which edges are cut off from the frame. It can be found in inexpensive cameras. More advanced and expensive models use optical stabilization when the lens moves. This approach is more efficient.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.