Action cameras may have made their name in the extreme sports market, but these days they have a much larger appeal.

They’re great for families as a camera that everyone can use, there’s 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 camera 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?

In this feature I’ll go beyond the usual top ten and let you know the facts about the cameras that matter and which will be most suitable for you.

Today there really is a camera out there for everyone, so hold tight and let’s take a look at the 2017 contenders.

Action camera top ten in brief

From top to bottom out of a list of hundreds here is the present top ten:

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

GoPro Hero 6 Black

GoPro Hero 6 ReviewGoPro are the market leaders and it’s easy to see why especially when it comes to the GoPro Hero 6 Black. It packs in the features and as yet there really is nothing on the market that can come close.

OK others can match the voice activation and touch screen, and it has some new features that I can live with out; 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 amount of supports just edges the Hero 6 Black into first place.

Does it have any failings? A few, the major one is the complete lack of live social streaming ability, a feature that is fast becoming an essential across the action camera genre.

Who’s it for?

Still one for the extreme sports enthusiast and anyone needing a solid camera with market leading image quality

Key Features

Buy UK: From WEX
Buy US: From BH
Price: £479
Max 4K frame rate: 60fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 240fps
GPS: Yes
Motion Sensors: Yes
Voice Activation:Yes
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: Yes

Check out the GoPro Hero 6 Black Review

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 touch screen 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

Check out the Yi 4K+ review

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: From WEX 
Price: £799
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

Check out the Sony RX0 review

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 freak this is your only choice

Key Features

Buy: Amazon 
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

Check out the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 review

iSaw Touch

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: 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

GoPro Hero 5 Session

GoPro Hero5 Session time lapseI liked the original Session when it was released and now that I can shout at the latest version I like it even more.

It’s small square and at this moment in time my Session is bolted to the Nut-R on my old Greg Lemond Team Zapp. It’s the small camera that should have been there during the Tour De France  and would certainly have supported Greg in those troubled times with Trek. Any way all cleared up now thanks to Mr Walsh.

The Session, small expensive but excellent.

Who’s it for?

Anyone needing an ultra compact camera, great for road cyclists. 

Key Features

Buy: From Wex 
Price: £259
Max 4K frame rate: 30fps
Max 1080P frame rate: 90fps
GPS: No
Motion Sensors: No
Voice Activation: Yes
Social Live Stream: No
Touch Screen: No

Olfi One.Five

Olfi One.fiveLove this one, and it may look a little familiar to many of you but to me this is 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: Amazon 
Price: £149.99
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

Check out the Olfi One.Five review

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: Amazon 
Price: £149
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

Check out the SJ CAM SJ7 review

Wasp 4K

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.

Check out the Wasp 4K review

Who’s it for?

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

Key Features

Buy: Amazon 
Price: £169
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: GearBest 
Price: £100.74
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

Summary
Action Camera Top Ten 2017
Article Name
Action Camera Top Ten 2017
Description
Action camera originated in the world of extreme sports but now they have far broader appeal. Here we look at the very best cameras in our Action Camera Top Ten 2017
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Camera Jabber
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