Very stable video. Waterproof. Includes voice control. Supports streaming. Hyper-stabilization function produced a nice natural-looking smooth video. 5K video is cutting-edge.
Camera can be difficult to set up and learn to use.
Comes with helpful mounting options. Easy to use. Waterproof up to 100ft in depth. Decent battery life. Includes remote control. WiFi compatible and works well with the App. Great value for price.
Includes accessories, but doesn't have the most useful instructions on how to use them.
Includes a 4X zoom and wide angle. Comes with a wearable remote control. Has a driving mode to be used as a dashcam. Includes 2 batteries. Lots of mounts. Quality video. Good audio quality.
Camera does not have the capacity to hook up an external microphone.
Easy to learn and use. 4K video recording and 12 megapixel photos. Waterproof design allows for recording in water. Features video stabilization. Optional bundles to include SD cards and batteries.
Some issues reported with faulty batteries.
Equipped with WiFi and HDMI port for easy content transfers. Waterproof up to 100ft in depth. 4K video and 20 megapixel photos. Multi-angle views and anti-shaking stabilization feature. Bundle includes various accessories and two batteries.
Remote control wristband isn't waterproof. Battery life is shorter than expected.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Action and sports cameras allow you to shoot video and photographs as you would with a traditional digital camera — but with a twist. Action cameras are typically smaller than traditional cameras, making them easier to carry, and they’re more durable so they can withstand rough treatment.
Action and sports cameras allow you to shoot video or photographs in difficult terrain and on the move. You can attach one to your clothing, helmet, bicycle, or skateboard to record your adventures. Action cameras can withstand normal bumps and jolts, but even if you take a tumble off your bike or drop the camera, it should continue operating without breaking. Many action cameras work underwater too, allowing you to shoot videos or photos of dives, surfing, or pool parties.
If you’re going to wear the action camera on your body, you don’t want a large device that’s so bulky or heavy that it throws you off balance or weighs you down.
Size: A typical action and sports camera measures about 2 to 3 inches long, 1 to 2 inches tall, and about .5 to 1 inch deep. These dimensions don’t include any mount you use to connect it to your body, bike, tripod, and so on.
Weight: The average action and sports camera weighs 4 to 8 ounces, though some are larger or smaller than this range.
Shape: Most action cameras are rectangular, which works well for mounting on your chest or helmet, but you can mount one almost anywhere. Square action cameras are even smaller and can be mounted almost anywhere. Cylindrical action cameras are made for easy attachment to handlebars, skateboards, and surfboards.
Some action and sports cameras are water-resistant or waterproof.
A water-resistant action camera can be used near water, such as lakes and rivers, and the camera can withstand being damp or wet for a brief period of time.
A waterproof action camera works underwater for a certain period of time. Check the user instructions that come with your specific camera to determine how long it can remain in the water.
Most waterproof cameras work underwater for up to 60 minutes, but each camera is a little different, so stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
You will find some of the same features on action and sports cameras that you find on typical digital cameras. You can use these specifications to compare sports cameras.
The image sensor is the chip inside the camera that measures the light coming through the lens and records the scene. The size of the image sensor is important because a larger sensor can record clearer photos and videos than a smaller sensor.
The smallest sensors in action cameras measure 1/2.3 inches. Higher-quality action cameras have an image sensor measuring 1 inch. Understand that these image sensors are quite a bit smaller than what you’d find in a traditional DSLR camera, which is why DSLRs can record videos and photos of far higher quality than action and sports cameras.
Videos: Action and sports cameras are able to record video at either HD or 4K resolution. HD videos have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, while 4K videos have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. However, if the action camera has a poor-quality or small image sensor, your 4K video may be muddied and not look much better than HD video.
Photos: The resolution of photographs is measured in megapixels (MP). An action camera can record photos with resolutions from 10 to 24 megapixels. Cameras with higher resolution store more details but also require quite a bit more storage space on the memory card.
The LCD screen on an action camera allows you to preview the image the camera will record as well as the photos and videos you’ve already taken. These screens are quite a bit smaller than what you find on traditional cameras, usually measuring around 2 inches diagonally.
Battery life is a key consideration for any action camera because you’ll likely be using the camera in remote locations where recharging the battery isn’t possible. Expect to get up to four hours of battery life from a single charge.
Skateboard: MINORITY Skateboard
If you want to record your skating tricks, your action camera and this durable-grip 32-inch maple skateboard are all you need.
BMX bike: Mongoose Legion L60 Freestyle BMX Bike
The Legion L60 has 2.3-inch tires to deliver a smooth ride, which is ideal when you want to shoot videos of your adventures with an action camera.
Inexpensive: The least expensive action cameras cost $20 to $75. These are basic action cameras with tiny image sensors that give you limited ability to control the image and video quality.
Mid-range: These action cameras cost $75 to $200. You can use these cameras in deep water, and they have plenty of advanced features for controlling the shots. Some older GoPro cameras fall in this price range.
Expensive: The priciest action and sports cameras cost $200 to $500. These are durable cameras that yield the highest-quality images and offer the largest image sensors.
Q. Can’t I just use my smartphone camera as an action camera and save some money?
A. Some people record action scenes on a smartphone, but they rarely attach it to a helmet for first-person video. A rugged action camera is a much better choice. It’s designed to handle the toughest conditions, so you don’t need to risk damaging your smartphone.
Q. Can I mount an action camera to a bike or skateboard helmet?
A. You can, but you might need to purchase a certain type of helmet that can accommodate the mounting bracket for the action camera. Sometimes you can add the camera to the helmet with strong double-sided tape, but this probably won’t hold up to extremely rough treatment.
Q. Do I have to use the action camera inside a case?
A. Not necessarily. Some action cameras come with an extra case that fits around the camera body to protect it from drops and water. Other action cameras don’t need an additional case for protection.
Q. Can I use the action camera as a regular camera too?
A. Sure. You can shoot videos and photographs with the action camera just like you would with a regular DSLR or another type of camera. However, you won’t be able to control the settings on the action camera as easily as you can with a dedicated digital camera. Additionally, the action camera has a smaller image sensor than a DSLR, which negatively affects the image and video quality.