WHAT ACTION CAMERA TO BUY: THE BEST MODELS FOR EVERY BUDGET

action cameras

 

 

Cycling, conquering snowy peaks, 360-degree shooting of home events – there are action cameras for any task.

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What to do if you are extreme sports or travel lover, you want to shoot a video during a parachute jump or a cross-country motorcycle race, but at the same time, you are afraid to break an expensive and fragile family video camera? You need to turn to action cameras – compact and rugged devices designed specifically for such tasks. They can be attached to the handlebars of a motorcycle, bike helmet, jacket. They allow you to shoot dynamic scenes while moving. And some capture 360-degree videos. This article will help you figure out which action cameras are considered the best in 2020 – it is a kind of miniature review.

Best Budget Action Cameras

 

Entry-level action cameras are designed to familiarize yourself with this type of device. Usually, they do not give the best sound quality and average picture level, but they are much cheaper than other models.

Eken H9R Sports

from $165 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 4096×2160.

  • 1080P 720P,3 feet underwater

  • Maximum frame rate: 120 fps @ 1280×720, 60 fps @ 1920×1080, 25 fps @ 4K Ultra HD.

  • Matrix: CMOS 12 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 170°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/33 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: HDMI output, USB interface, Wi-Fi.

  • Dimensions: 59×41×25 mm.

  • Weight: 64 g.

  • Autonomy: 1.1 hours

  • Batteries: 2 Lithium Metal batteries

This action camera is excellent value for money. Despite the 12-megapixel matrix, Eken H9R supports shooting in 4K 25fps. But it’s better to shoot in 1080p mode (for “honest” 4K, whatever one may say, a matrix of at least 8 megapixels is required), especially since the camera can shoot at a frame rate of 60 fps in it. The key features include the presence of a remote control, the presence of a Wi-Fi module, as well as a waterproof case with a huge number of different mounts. In addition, the model is compatible with GoPro accessories. A wide-angle lens does not create “soap” at the edges of the frame, as in most cheap cameras.

✅ Pros:

  • the recording quality and 4K support;

  • complete set and compatibility with GoPro accessories.

❌ Cons:

  • no lens cap;

  • quiet sound.

SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi

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  • Maximum resolution: 3840×2160.

  • Maximum frame rate: 60 fps @ 1280×720, 30 fps @ 1920×1080.

  • Matrix: CMOS 12 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 170°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/33 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: HDMI output, USB interface, Wi-Fi.

  • Dimensions: 59×41×29 mm.

  • Weight: 46 g.

  • Autonomy: 1.1 hours

This camera has good functionality for its price category. A lens with a viewing angle of 170 degrees, a waterproof case that allows you to immerse the device to a depth of up to 30 meters, the presence of a Wi-Fi module that allows you to broadcast live. By the way, the version without Wi-Fi should not be considered, since instead of a 12-megapixel matrix, a 3-megapixel one is used there. A huge plus is also the complete set of the device. Time Lapse : 2 sec / 3 sec / 5 sec / 10 sec / 20 sec / 30 sec / 60 sec. The box with the action camera comes with a large number of different mounts for a bicycle, scooter, steering wheel, installation on soft surfaces, on a bicycle helmet, clips, Velcro, and so on. 

✅ Pros:

  • lightweight;

  • price-quality ratio;

  • excellent kit.

❌ Cons:

  • quiet sound;

  • average image quality in low light conditions.

  • The adapter is not included in the package

Rating of inexpensive action cameras

 

Action cameras are capable of producing a decent picture. They are distinguished from expensive models mainly by the absence of advanced functions, interfaces, or small nuances in technical specifications.

GoPro Hero8 Black

from $396 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 3840×2160.

  • Maximum frame rate: 60 fps @ 1920×1080, 30 fps @ 4K.

  • Matrix: CMOS 12 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 150°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/30 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: USB interface, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 62×45×28 mm.

  • Weight: 94 g.

  • Autonomy: 1 hour

  • Special Features: Hyper Smooth

GoPro has a fairly simple lineup: Black is a professional model, White is cheap, Silver is for those who care about quality, but do not need advanced features. The GoPro Hero 7 Silver offers the same rugged waterproof design and intuitive touch interface as the flagship model. Shoots in 4K at 30 fps. Yes, there is no stabilization, no front display, non-removable battery, some advanced features are not supported (Hypersmooth, ProTune). However, for most users for everyday shooting, this is not required.

✅ Pros:

  • ergonomics;

  • durability and build quality at the level of expensive models;

  • just the features you need for everyday use.

❌ Cons:

  • no stabilizer;

  • not very capacious non-removable battery.

DJI Osmo Pocket Handheld

from $242 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 3840×2160.

  • Maximum frame rate: 120 fps @ 1920×1080, 60 fps @ 4K.

  • Matrix: CMOS 12 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 80°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/33 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: microphone input.

  • Dimensions: 29×122×37 mm

  • Weight: 116 g.

  • Autonomy: 2.2 hours

The DJI Osmo Pocket is slightly different in format from the other cameras on this list. It is built on the basis of a three-axis mechanical gimbal. This means it has better optical stabilization, but the rotating gimbal mechanism isn’t very robust and isn’t designed for action, helmet or handlebar tethering. The design of the camera also allows you to hold it with one hand, and all controls are optimally placed on the front panel under the thumb. The DJI Osmo Pocket is the best option for creating smooth, professional-looking videos in relatively quiet environments.

✅ Pros:

  • mechanical stabilization of the cardan;

  • good autonomy;

  • image quality.

❌ Cons:

  • not suitable for extreme shooting;

  • no water resistance;

  • quiet sound.

Top Advanced Action Cameras

The best action cameras to buy in 2022 Reliable, with good video and sound quality, advanced features, and technologies.

GoPro Hero10 Black

from $657 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 3840×2160.

  • Maximum frame rate: 240 fps @ 1920×1080, 60 fps @ 5.3K.

  • Matrix: CMOS 23 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 150°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/30 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: HDMI output, USB interface, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 66×49×28 mm.

  • Weight: 131 g.

  • Autonomy: 0.5 h.

  • Special Features: Anti-Shake, Time Lapse, Low Light

  • Batteries: ‎1 Lithium-ion battery

This model was released at the end of 2020. In appearance, Hero8 resembles its predecessor. In front, there is a small one-inch monochrome screen for displaying service information. On the back surface, there is another two-inch LCD display. The camera is equipped with a rich set of modules, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. In addition, there are Type-C and HDMI ports. GoPro Hero8 Black received a new mounting system without the need to purchase an additional frame. Improved microphone reduces wind noise at high speeds. A frame rate of 240 frames per second in FHD ensures maximum video detail even in the most dynamic scenes. The case is waterproof. There are functions Slow Motion, Time Lapse, and others.

✅ Pros:

  • shooting quality;

  • build quality;

  • rich set of modules and connectors.

❌ Cons:

  • there is no compatibility with accessories of older models;

  • autonomy.

Sony HDR-AS300

from $257 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 1920×1080.

  • Max frame rate: 120 fps @ 1280×720, 60 fps @ 1920×1080.

  • Matrix: CMOS 8.20 MP.

  • Viewing angle: not specified.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/30 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: HDMI output, USB interface, headphone output, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 83×47×29 mm.

  • Weight: 109 g.

  • Autonomy: 2.55 hours

Action cameras from Sony have a non-standard form factor. In appearance, they resemble rather a miniature ordinary video camera. This results in the high ergonomics of the devices. HDR-AS300 has physical control buttons, which allows you to use it even with gloves. There is also a remote control. Sony action cameras are also famous for their effective optical image stabilization. This model is equipped with all modern interfaces and modules, including wireless ones. The case is quite durable, and in the presence of an aqua box, it is dust and moisture resistant. However, all users note that the microphones are very sensitive to wind.

✅ Pros:

  • rich set of modules and connectors;

  • ergonomics;

  • good quality, great functionality;

  • autonomy.

❌ Cons:

  • permission;

  • microphones are sensitive to the wind;

  • no lens cap included.

Sony FDR-X3000R

from $349 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 3840×2160.

  • Maximum frame rate: 200 fps @ 1280×720, 120 fps @ 1920×1080, 30 fps @ 4K.

  • Matrix: CMOS 8.20 MP.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/30 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: HDMI output, USB interface, microphone input, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 83×47×29 mm.

  • Weight: 114 g.

  • Autonomy: 2.35 hours

The Sony FDR-X3000R also has a custom action camera shape. But the optics and image quality are top-notch. It uses a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, equipped with a proprietary Optical Steady Shot image stabilization system, which eliminates blur defects during dynamic movements with the device, even when using the maximum zoom. To counteract the camera shake, a gimbal mechanism is used. The FDR-X3000R has excellent color reproduction and light sensitivity. It shoots well both during the day and at night. Thanks to the aqua box, water resistance is ensured at a depth of up to 60 meters. A special application allows you to control the camera from your smartphone.

✅ Pros:

  • autonomy;

  • availability of all modern interfaces;

  • high-quality optics and image stabilization;

  • ergonomics.

❌ Cons:

  • high price for accessories and repairs.

Action cameras for shooting in 360°

Flagship-level action cameras that, among other things, allow you to shoot 360-degree shooting.

Insta360 One R (Twin 360)

from $533 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 5760×2880.

  • Maximum frame rate: 200 fps @ 1920×1080, 30 fps @ 4K.

  • Viewing angle: 360°.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: USB interface, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 72×43×48 mm.

  • Weight: 131 g.

  • Autonomy: 1.1 hours

This camera was introduced on January 7, 2020, at the worldwide CES. This is a very unusual action camera due to the original modular design. The basic version with a single lens for shooting in 4K at 60 fps can be purchased for 30 thousand rubles. However, the Twin Edition comes with a module for 360-degree shooting. There are also additional modules for the camera, for example, for panoramic shooting. In many reviews of this model, it was noted that the recording quality is superior to the GoPro Max.

✅ Pros:

  • modular design;

  • shooting quality;

  • resolution 5.7K.

❌ Cons:

  • the price of the camera and additional modules.

GoPro Max

from $697.26 USD

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  • Maximum resolution: 4992×2496.

  • Maximum frame rate: 60 fps @ 1920×1080, 30 fps @ 4K.

  • Matrix: CMOS 16.60 MP.

  • Viewing angle: 360°.

  • Shutter speed: 1/10000 – 1/33 sec.

  • Aperture: f/2.8.

  • Interfaces: USB interface, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.

  • Dimensions: 64×69×24 mm.

  • Weight: 154 g.

  • Autonomy: 1.45 hours 

  • Special Features: Timelapse

One of the best action cameras of 2020 with two screens, two sensors, and the ability to shoot in 5.6K. The flagship GoPro Max features fisheye lenses that allow you to shoot in all directions. It supports both classic and spherical 360-degree shooting. Video is smooth and detailed thanks to excellent stabilization, horizon leveling technologies, and Max HyperSmooth. Six built-in microphones that support directional audio adjustment provide excellent sound quality. There is also voice control.

✅ Pros:

  • fisheye lens;

  • two screens;

  • equipment;

  • resolution 5.6K.

❌ Cons:

  • relatively large dimensions.

 

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