Best action cameras you can buy today

GoPro Hero 7 Black review
Buyers Guide

Action cameras may have made their name in the extreme sports market, but these days they have a much larger appeal. The problem is there are just so many of them so how do you choose the best action camera for you. 

Action cameras are great for families as everyone can use one, there are no worries about kids dropping them or throwing them around. Youths love the branding and lifestyle reflected in brands such as GoPro. And then there’s Yi, appealing to all those influencers and life-livers.

These cameras are now so much more than their original target audience, and of course the market is huge.

With so many cameras out there to choose from making the right choice for you is a hard one. What features do you really need and how much do you really need to spend?

Action cameras come in all shapes and sizes – and price points – tailored for all sorts of pursuits. In this guide we’ve rounded up the 10 best action cameras you can buy today.

Today there really is a camera out there for everyone, so hold tight and let’s take a look at the contenders.

The 10 best action cameras currently available

From top to bottom of a list of hundreds of action cameras on the market, here is our present top ten:

  1. GoPro Hero7 Black
  2. DJI Osmo Action
  3. Yi 4K+
  4. Sony RX0
  5. Garmin Virb Ultra 30
  6. Eyesaw Touch
  7. Olfi One.Five
  8. SJ CAM SJ7 Star
  9. Wasp 4K
  10. ThiEYE T5E

The top 10 best action cameras explained

GoPro Hero7 Black

GoPro continues to lead the market, and the latest GoPro Hero7 really establishes its dominance and position at the top. It packs in the features, including the all-new HyperSmooth and Live Streaming, two features that despite seeming small actually transform the way these cameras can be used.

OK others can match the voice activation and touch screen, and it has some new features that I can live without, such as the zoomy thing, but there’s absolutely no arguing with the fact that it’s the only camera out there that can shoot 240fps at 1080p.

The design, usability and the pure number of supports sees the Hero 7 Black in first place. To be honest, there’s nothing else that comes close.

Who’s it for?

Everyone from extreme sports enthusiasts to anyone needing a solid camera with market-leading image quality

Key Features

 

Buy UK: From WEX
Buy US: From BH
Price: £379
Max 4K frame rate: 60fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 240fps
GPS: Yes
Motion Sensors: Yes
Voice Activation:Yes
Social Live Stream: Yes
Touch Screen: Yes

DJI Osmo Action

DJI OSMO Action Review

There have been many challengers to GoPro’s dominance in the action camera market: Nikon, Yi, Garmin and of course Sony, but one by one they’ve fallen by the wayside. But now DJI has entered the fray and announced the DJI OSMO Action.

Is it different? Hell yeah. It’s armour clad, ready for the impending battle.

This is one manufacturer that has already gone head-to-head with GoPro. The Mavic and Karma Drone battled it out in the sky, but even before launch the Karma drone had issues and was grounded, and even after those issues were resolved it never recovered.

However unlike the Karma Drone the GoPro Hero 7 Black is refined and close to perfection, pulling on years of experience in a field that the company has dominated for years.

In the last battle, GoPro tried to take on DJI on its home turf, this time the tables are turned, and it’s DJI venturing into GoPro’s territory.

And DJI has given the Oslo Action all the features that a market-leading action camera must have: 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, voice control, touch screen, GPS, motion sensors, live stream capability, external audio and most importantly image stabilisation.

Rock Steady (RS) is DJI’s version of HyperSmooth and equally impressive. It’s the same technology that features in the Spark Drone, and you can see it refined here.

The build quality is exceptional, and as an action camera, it’s one of the best looking and most robust out there.

The screw in filters are an excellent addition, and with the release of a polariser and ND filter, it will make a nice rounded action camera for all situations.

The video quality and image stabilisation are the two headline features for the moment, and both are exceptional.

Who’s it for?

Sports enthusiasts, vloggers, drone pilots and even serious photographers who care about image quality.

Key Features

 

Buy UK: From WEX
Buy US: From B&H
Price: £299/$349
Max 4K frame rate: 60fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 240fps
GPS: Yes
Motion Sensors: Yes
Voice Activation:Yes
Social Live Stream: Yes
Touch Screen: Yes

Yi 4K+

Yi 4K PlusIf you want to see a manufacturer that really has got it right, then look no further than Yi.

This camera rocks and it’s a great price, but the frame-rates just can’t quite keep pace with the GoPro Hero 6 Black, otherwise, it would almost take the top spot.

What makes it so good? Image quality is exceptional at all resolutions and the touchscreen interface is really easy to use.

It shoots 4K at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps, the app is pretty smooth and it has voice activation, but what really makes this camera is the live social video streaming.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who needs great quality and live video streaming to social platforms. One for the Vloggers.

Key Features

Buy: From WEX 
Price: £334
Max 4K frame rate: 60fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 120fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: Yes
Social Live Stream: Yes
Touch Screen: Yes

Sony RX0

Sony RX0 reviewThis is the most exciting camera of the year and it’s not an action camera, but it is, sort of.

It’s the right size, you can drop it in a puddle, knock it about and mount it in the same way as an action camera, so for all intents and purpose here it is an action camera.

What makes this camera interesting is that it blurs the lines between action and a completely new genre of camera, the lens is a 24mm equivalent focal length rather than the usual 170 FOV and specifications and literature is all far more serious than you’d normally expect from an action camera.

For now and until a new genre emerges this is action camera grown up. Specifications are insane 1000fps at 1080p is far more than impressive. Ok you can only record a few seconds, but wow it’s amazing.

Roll on to a 1-inch sensor size and video quality options that look more at home on a pro video camera and once you’ve run part way through the list you’ll be asleep, this is one for the pro videographers.

Who’s it for?

Creative video professionals – the potential is amazing but one is not enough.

Key Features

Buy UK: From WEX 
Buy US: From B&H
Price: £799/$448 
Max 4K frame rate: Need accessory
Max 1080P frame rate: 1000fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

Garmin Virb Ultra 30

Garmin Ultra 30 ReviewFitness freak? then go Garmin. That’s it really, Garmin really do know how to make cameras and ones that weave perfectly into your fitness echo system.

The Garmin Virb is packed with sensors, GPS, Motion and accelerometer that all feedback data from your activities all so you can gauge your fitness progress.

The camera is just the start as those sensors enable you to connect your Virb Ultra 30 up to your other Garmin Fitness devices so you can keep track of everything.

Who’s it for?

Again, fitness freaks, this is your only choice.

Key Features

Buy UK: From Amazon 
Buy US: From B&H
Price: £305.58
Max 4K frame rate: 30fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 120fps
GPS: Yes
Motion Sensors: Yes
Voice Activation: Yes
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: Yes

iSaw Touch

Isaw Touch review

Promoted as an entry level action camera the iSaw Touch costs around £140. You may argue that there are plenty of cameras on the market for less than this, with the same video specs and resolution but you’d be wrong.

The Touch is an entry level camera and marks the new base level, somewhere around the top line for mid range cameras a year ago.

Actually this camera ups the game across the board. The Edge i iSaw’s flagship model and that is impressive but ageing and this really is something beyond that.

Ok the 4K is interpolated and it doesn’t have voice activation or motion sensors but that screen is something to behold.

The LCD screen is bigger than any other action camera I’ve seen, and it’s really good quality, The camera just looks and feels great – there’s definite Yi waves when it comes to the interface but this is no Yi Lite.

Who’s it for?

Looking for your first action camera then dive in.

Key Features

Buy UK: Amazon 
Price: £139.99
Max 4K frame rate:24fps (Interpolated)
Max 1080P frame rate: 60fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: Yes

Olfi One.Five

Olfi One.fiveWe love this one, the Olfi One.Five. There’s plenty to like about this small action camera and it’s certainly distinctive in looks.

Image quality is good and the small screen on the back and simple navigation make it a great all round choice.

Of all action camera this one features one tough case and one that I wasn’t initially sold on. Almost a year later after my initial review and it’s still in regular use.

The Olfi is the camera that sits on the edge of excellence. When you need to capture something and you need the quality to be good, but you’re not sure if the camera will make it then the Olfi is the one to go for.

Who’s it for?

Those who ride and crash.

Key Features

Buy UK: Amazon 
Buy US: Adorama
Price: £150/$180
Max 4K frame rate: 24fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 60fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

SJ CAM SJ7 Star

You can warm your hands nicely with the heat that this small one gives off after a good ride. Thrash the specifications to the max and the results are impressive, especially when you consider the price.

Despite the decent build quality and full metal construction there’s nothing that really shines out about this camera, it just sort of does what it does.

I like it for that reason; it’s understated and SJ CAM produce a huge range of cameras that will suit every level of user.

If you need a decent camera and are likely to lose or destroy one, then you’ll get on well with the Star.

Who’s it for?

This is the one for skiing – the slopes are littered with action cameras. This balances excellent quality with price – can you imagine loosing a Hero 6 or RX0? holiday ruined.

Key Features

Buy UK: Amazon 
Buy US: Adorama
Price: £149/$160.99 
Max 4K frame rate:30fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 60fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

Wasp 4K action camera

Wasp 4K FrontThere have been few cameras that I have warmed to so quickly. The design was over the top, I caked it in mud, crashed a few times, dropped it in the sea, the dog tried to rescue it and it became a part of the family.

Unfortunately it had to go back and we all still miss it. So if you see the Wasp 4K out there tell it we wish it well and if it wants to come back there’s a place on the bike, landy waiting for it.

Why do I love it – the 4K video quality was outstanding and it’s the only action camera that feels like it could be run over by a tank and survive.

When I spoke to the owner of the company he was just Wasp, a perfect example of someone who really understands what action cameras are about. If it’s dirty chuck it in the dish washer, fair enough.. 

He knows what I think, and when the Wasp 2 arrives we’re going to see the ultimate tough go anywhere camera.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who needs the ultimate in tough cameras, 4 X 4 off roaders and cross bikes.

Key Features

Buy UK: Amazon 
Buy US: Amazon
Price: £169/$57.99
Max 4K frame rate: 24fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 60fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

ThiEYE T5E

ThiEYE T5eProbably the best of the Hero 4 clone cameras. I say clone because the specification if not the design are almost identical.

The ThiEYE is well finished has a decent app and racks up the specifications and features. Really it’s similar in function to the SJ CAM SJ7, in as far as it offers great quality and features at a rock bottom price.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who wants GoPro quality video at half the price.

Key Features

Buy UK: GearBest 
Buy US: Amazon
Price: £100.74/$129.99
Max 4K frame rate:30fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 120fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: No
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

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Best action cameras you can buy today
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Best action cameras you can buy today
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Action cameras come in all shapes and sizes - and price points - suited for all sorts of pursuits. In this guide we've rounded up the 10 best action cameras you can buy today.
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Camera Jabber
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