Buyers Guides |Best action cameras in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best action cameras in 2022

GoPro has led the way, but there are many new challengers for its crown. These are our picks for the best action cameras you can buy today

GoPro Hero9 Black Review
Buyers Guide

The best action cameras enable you to capture video and stills in a way that no other camera can. The compact go-anywhere design quickly found appeal in the extreme sports sector and this use was projected by big-budget marketing from GoPro. Almost two decades later and GoPro still leads the field with the formidable GoPro Hero9 Black.

But let’s take a quick look back at the development of this exciting new camera type, and how we got to where we are and the range of spec avaiable on these best action cameras in 2021.

A short history of action cameras

The past decade-plus has seen an explosion in the options for shooting creative videos and stills. This period has seen the emergence of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that can shoot in tight spaces, drones that can capture stunning video from the skies and uber-small action cameras that can record thrilling 4K video footage.

In this buyer’s guide we take a closer look at the emergence of action cameras as another fresh and potent tool in the kit bag of both photographers and filmmakers. The driving force behind action cameras has been the company GoPro who, as Woodman Labs, launched a $20 US model in 2004. The Hero 35mm 0001 was an analogue model that came with a 35mm Kodak film, a waterproof case, a wrist strap and no video capabilities.

In 2006 GoPro went digital and launched the GoPro Hero Digital model that could record VGA videos in 10-second sequences, but with no sound. The following years saw the Hero 2 and Hero 3 models coming out and through continued innovation today’s action cameras feature specs such as LCD touchscreens, 4K shooting capabilities, WiFi, editing software and companion apps. GoPro, which soon became a verb in itself for filming everything from your skiing to surfing to running, sat alone in the market. But over time, challengers emerged.

The best action cameras in the beginning were designed to be water, dust and impact-proof, which meant that users could film their antics in the sea, through the air and even tunnelling underground.

Early features were limited. There was no screen, limited resolution, but users weren’t bothered by this. Finally, you could show just how extreme you are, capturing video proof of that 10-ft drop-off, 100-foot wave or simply having fun with family and friends.

GoPro remains one of the leaders in the action cam marketplace but many others have emerged, including the likes of Sony, Xiaomi, SJCAM, Akaso, Olympus, Olfi and others. To help you decide if you need to dip your toe into the action pool let’s take a look at what such cameras offer…

What action camera should I buy?

The best action camera will have a mix of ruggedness, connectivity and video capability. When you’re trying to decide which action camera to buy, look for one that offers:

  • 4K at 30fps or more
  • 1080p at 60fps or more
  • Screen preferably touch screen
  • Image stabilisation
  • Wifi/BlueTooth and App
  • Waterproof

Which action camera features are also nice to have?

When you’re considering buying any action camera for shooting video remember to think about ease-of-use, the variety of frame rates, video resolutions, output options (such as HDMI), what memory card slots are available and if you need features like WiFi file transfer or GPS. For more tips and advice on the key factors to bear in mind when you’re buying a camera to shoot video with, check out our guide to the best cameras for shooting video. Other handy action camera features include:

  • Touch screen
  • Replaceable lens
  • Waterproof without a housing
  • GPS
  • Motion sensors
  • Voice activation
  • Locator
  • Waterproof remote
  • Livestream
  • Social media connection

The best action cameras you can buy today

All of our picks for the best action cameras were based off our experience testing them. For a deeper dive into the many different camera types and features available, check out our range of camera buying guides.

Best action cameras
Article Name
Best action cameras
Description
GoPro may lead the action camera field, however, the go anywhere cameras are not alone. Here we take a look at the best action cameras, GoPro, DJI and more.
Author
Publisher Name
Camera Jabber
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GoPro Hero10 Black

Specification

  • Photo : 23MP
  • 5.3K: 60fps
  • 4K: 120fps
  • Video stabalisation: HyperSmooth 4.0
  • LCD: Front and Rear (Touch screen)
  • Battery: Removable 1720mAh Lithium-Ion
  • Slow-mo: 8X
  • Waterproof: 33ft (10m)
  • Processor: GP2
  • Cloud compatibility: Auto upload to GoPro cloud (Sub required)
  • Voice control: Yes
  • Livestreaming: 1080p

The GoPro Hero10 Black looks like an exciting, if not overwhelming, update to the world’s most popular action camera. On paper it looks very promising, with the more powerful processor and greater variety of frame rates. Watch this space.

Price when reviewed
£499
$499

GoPro Hero9 Black

GoPro Hero9 Black

Specification

  • Camera type : Action Camera
  • Announced: 16th September 2020
  • Max video resolution and frame rate: 5k 30p, 4K 60p, 2.7K 120p, 1440 120p, 1080 240p
  • Video file formats: MP4 (H.264/AVC), MP4 (H.265/HEVC)
  • Max photo resolution: 20mp
  • Max bit rates: 100Mbps (2.7K, 4K, 5K)
  • Screen: Rear: 2.27-inch touchscreen, Front: 1.4-inch colour screen
  • Livestreaming: 1080p
  • Voice control: 4 commands in 11 languages + 6 accents
  • Battery: Removable, rechargeable 1720mAh lithium-ion
  • Storage: MicroSD USH-I
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Stabilisation: Hypersmooth 3.0
  • Waterproof: To 10m / 33 feet
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 71 x 55 x 33.6mm
  • Weight: 124g

The GoPro Hero9 Black makes the most substantial update to the Hero Black line that we’ve seen since the Hero5 Black was introduced in September 2016.

Along with a significant increase in size, the Hero9 Black adds 5K video and 20Mp stills capability plus 30% longer battery life and even better stabilisation than its predecessor. As much as we love the technical improvements, the downside to the beefed-up body of the GoPro Hero9 Black is that it’s not compatible with the MediaMod module that was introduced with the Hero8 Black.

However, the Hero9 Black is the best action cam that GoPro has produced to date and its Hypersmooth 3.0 stabilisation, complete with in-camera horizon levelling is fantastic.

While the 5K-shooting capability is enticing, the fact that it’s limited to 30fps is a bit – well, limiting – but the quality of the footage that the Hero9 generates at other settings is a step-up from the Hero8.

Further good news with the GoPro Hero9 Black is that the removable lens makes a return. That means if it takes a dive and gets scratched, you can change it. GoPro has also promised a Max Lens mode to enables a 155° field of view, but we’ve yet to see that in the flesh.

The front screen is also now coloured and can show a preview of what the camera is seeing. That’s perfect for filming yourself in action.

We like the GoPro Hero9 Black so much here at Jabber HQ that we’ve all bought one. Yep, we paid our hard-earned cash and got one each. How much more of an endorsement do you want?

Price when reviewed
£330
$349.98
Check current price

For

  • No need for waterproof housing
  • Dual Screen
  • 8X Slow-motion

Against

  • Mods are expensive
  • Not great in low light

DJI Action 2

Specification

  • Dimensions: 39x39x22.3mm
  • Waterproof: 10m without waterproof casing
  • Weight: 56g
  • Touchscreen : 1.76-inches
  • Sensor : 1/1.7-inch CMOS
  • Lens: FOV 155º f/2.8
  • ISO Range: 100-6400
  • Stills : 12mp
  • Video : 4K (4:3): 4096×3072 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    4K (16:9): 3840×2160 @ 100/120fps
    4K (16:9): 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    2.7K (4:3): 2688×2016 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512 @ 100/120fps
    2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    1080p (16:9): 1920×1080 @ 100/120/200/240fps
    1080p (16:9): 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
  • Slow Motion: 4K: 4x (120fps)
    2.7K: 4x (120fps)
    1080p: 8x (240fps), 4x (120fps)
  • Max Video Bitrate: 130Mbps

Don’t think of the DJI Action 2 as just an action camera; its small size and form make it ideal for all your video needs. It’s robust enough to be mounted anywhere, GoPro style, but has the advantage of being almost half the size. That means it’s truly wearable, mountable and can be attached to almost anything, including drones.

Image quality is amazing, and while the resolutions and framerates might not quite match the GoPro Hero 10, they’re not far behind.
The DJI Action 2 is a phenomenal camera

Price when reviewed
£455
$519
Check current price

For

  • Compact size
  • Fast video transmission
  • Modular design

Against

  • Limited to 4K

Insta360 One R Twin Edition

Insta360 One R Twin Edition Review

Specification

  • 360 Resolution: 5.7K
  • Max standard video resolution: 4K@60fps
  • Stabalization: FlowState
  • Waterproof: 5m
  • Special modes: Bullet time, Invisible Selfie Stick, Night Shot and many more
  • Modular Design: Two additional lens options available
  • SlowMotion: 8x standard, 4x 360

Looking for something a bit different from an action camera, then the Insta360 One R is about as different as they come. Adopting a modular design, this small camera is inspired, and any initial fears about how robust the connection between the module parts is, can be quickly dismissed. From VR 360 camera to standard action camera in a few seconds, the different modules make GoPro’s modules look like cheap ill-fitting add-ons.
In use, the camera with the single 4K Wide angle lens module fitted is a pure action camera, producing clear, crisp, vibrant footage, while once the dual-lens 360 is fitted, the camera captures VR footage in the way you always wanted.
The Insta360 is not just good; it’s market-leading when it comes to innovation and image quality.

Click here to buy https://store.insta360.com/product/one_r

Price when reviewed
£439
$519
Check current price

For

  • Modular design
  • Incredible image quality
  • Both standard and 360º video

Against

  • Joins get filled with mud
  • App home screen cluttered

Insta360 GO 2

Insta360 GO 2 action camera weighs just 27g

Specification

  • Shooting Modes: Video, Pro Video, Photo, HDR Video, Timeshift, Timelapse, Nightlapse, Slow Motion
  • Video: 2560x1440 at 50fps, 30fps / 1920x1080 at 50fps, 30fps
  • Recording Limit: Pro Video: 10min / Video: 15min / FPV: 30min
  • Waterproof: IPX8 (down to 4m / 13ft)
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Connectivity: BlueTooth / Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 26.5g / 0.93oz (charge Case 63.5g / 2.24oz)
  • Dimensions: 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm / 2.08 x 0.93 x 0.81in

While it tops out at 2K video and lacks a preview screen and some of the other functionality that GoPro offers, the Insta360 GO 2 is the smallest camera you will find and is also dead easy to use.

Though it’s not 4K, the GO 2’s video quality is excellent, with great colour rendition and minimal distortion. Insta360’s FlowState 2.0 image stabilization and horizon levelling technology is also superb, producing stable, professional-looking footage.

The GO 2’s size is its big selling point. It can slip unnoticed into any pocket and mount to your body much more subtly than a GoPro can. Of all the best action cameras on this list, it might also be the best for beginners.

Click here to buy https://amzn.to/3nyq4De

Price when reviewed
£295
$300
Check current price

For

  • Miniscule size
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • Good video quality

Against

  • No 4K video
  • No microSD card slot

Olfi One.Five Black

Olfi One.five

Specification

  • Camera Type: Action Camera
  • Max Resolution: 4K 24fps
  • Max Photo resolution: 16MP
  • Screen:
  • Battery: 900MAH LI-ION
  • Storage: MicroSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 115g
  • Dimensions: 78 X 61 X 37MM

There are few if any other action cameras that come close to the Olfi One.Five when it comes to features and versatility.

This isn’t just an action camera in the same mould as the majority, trying to appeal to the mass ordience, the Olfi is more refined.

With a team behind the camera that don’t just produce but are actively out testing and using the cameras the attention to detail is apparent from the outset.

On the surface, the resolution and framerates may seem reserved, but in truth they’re refined, giving you exactly what’s needed at an affordable price.

4K is limited to 24fps, but that’s clear usable 4K not pixelated, the 1080p footage is excellent and there’s little to fault with the usability.

But, that’s only just the surface of this camera. With the ability to plug-in external power and mics, you can easily use the camera for extended time-lapses or even vlogging.

At the price there’s little else that comes close to the features and quality of the Olfi One.Five Black.

Price when reviewed
£123
$199
Check current price

For

  • Unique design
  • One of the most versatile action cameras on the market
  • Good video quality and options

Against

  • Requires waterproof housing
  • 4K Video resolution limited

Sony RX0 II

Sony RX0 II: price, specs, release date revealed

Specification

  • Camera type: Action camera
  • Sensor: 15.3-megapixel 1.0-type (13.2mm x 8.8mm) Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • Monitor: 180-degree tiltable LCD
  • Waterproof: Yes - IPX8 equivalent
  • Crushproof: 440lb
  • Shockproof: 7 feet
  • Video: 4K at 30p

This mini marvel – billed as ’the world’s smallest 4K video cam’ – can pretty much fit into the palm of your hand and weighs just 132g. Despite its diminutive size it manages to incorporate a 1-inch sensor with 4K video shooting at up to 30fps, Full HD 1080 video at up to 120fps and 720 video at up to 960fps. It also boasts Sony’s popular Eye AF functionality.

As well as a great sensor the camera boasts a 24mm f/4 Zeiss Tessar T* prime wide-angle lens and a tiltable rear LCD screen. The camera is said to be ‘crushproof’ and is also waterproof down to 1 metre and has a rugged outer body.

The downsides are that it can prove to be a tad tricky to handle and you won’t get much change out of £500 if you buy this model. However if you’re after a rugged 4K camera with a great lens, it’s worth a look.

You can buy the Sony RX0 II at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£749
$698
Check current price

For

  • 1-inch sensor
  • Very lightweight
  • Flip-out monitor

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Tricky to handle

GoPro Hero7 Black

GoPro Hero 7 Black review

Specification

  • Camera type : Action Camera
  • Max video resolution and frame rate: 4K 60fps
  • Max photo resolution: 12mp
  • Screen: 2-inch Touch Screen
  • Battery: Removable, rechargeable lithium-ion
  • Storage: MicroSD USH-I
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 62.3 x 44.9 x 33mm
  • Weight: 116g

Don’t mistake the Hero 7 Black for a small update over its predecessor. It may have the same looks as the Hero 6 and match the resolution and framerate, but when it comes to performance, it’s a huge leap forward.

The colour is the most apparent change, from grey to black, and as the GoPro powers up for the first time, it reveals an all-new interface that gives the camera a fresh feel.

Linking to the mobile app has been streamlined, no passwords or faffing, just follow the instructions and within a few moments, all is connected.

Flicking through the options using the touch screen and it reveals the new features such as HyperSmooth and Live Streaming. Activating these, as with all setting changes, is as easy as a quick swipe and tap.

Back home and the footage reveals the power of the new HyperSmooth feature, the fluid motion is mindblowing.

Live Streaming is equally easy to master, sign into your FaceBook account and within minutes you’re launched on to a world social platform broadcasting live.

There may be no leaps forward in the usual sense of quality, but when it comes to usability the GoPro accelerates forward, and HyperSmooth isn’t just excited it’s the most groundbreaking advancement we’ve seen from GoPro since they launched.

Price when reviewed
£319
$329
Check current price

For

  • HyperSmooth Image Stabilisation
  • Incredible Price
  • Ultra high-quality video

Against

  • Still requires cage for waterproofing
  • No framerate or resolution boost since the Hero6

Yi 4K+

Yi 4K Plus

Specification

  • Camera Type: Action Camera
  • Max video resolution and frame rate: 4K 60fps
  • Max photo resolution: 12
  • Screen: 2.2-inch
  • Battery: High-density lithium polymer 3.8V, 1200mAH
  • Storage: MicroSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 65 x 42 x 30mm
  • Weight:

When the Yi 4K then 4K+ burst onto the scene everyone took note. Until it’s launch GoPro had pretty much led the field, then a camera arrived that didn’t just challenge the features and quality of the GoPro but bettered it.

The story of Yi didn’t start with the Yi 4K, a year or so before the Yi Action Camera had arrived. This rather cheap action camera with its vivid colour option was hard to miss.

It was just one of many cheap action cameras out there, and at first no one really paid it much attention, but then as reviews started to appear the quality of the video was revealed.

Price when reviewed
£229
$242
Check current price

For

  • Market-leading resolution and framerate
  • Exceptional 4K video quality
  • Large touch screen

Against

  • Requires waterproof housing
  • Hasn't been updated

SJCAM SJ8 Pro

SJCAM SJ8 Pro Review

The SJCAM SJ8 is one great looking action camera. The large 2.33-inch IPS rear-mounted touch screen displays a glorious clear live view, and with a well-finished exterior, it certainly looks the business.

Comprising of a traditional and slightly clunky waterproof housing the 30m case while old skool does the job of protecting the camera inside.

This type of case is dated but it’s good to see a soft touchback for the housing in the box. This can be swapped, with some effort, for the hard clear back so you can use the touch screen while retaining the water protection.

There’s plenty of recording options from 4K at 60fps through to 1080p at 120fps, for some decent slow motion.

The app is equally well thought out giving you easy access to the camera’s settings and also full compatibility with the SJCAM Gimbal.

Overall SJCAM has produced an excellent camera with features that would put the SJ8 Pro right at the top of the action camera desirability list. However, issues with the app stability and non-translation of some screens and possible missing features do for the moment hold it back.

Price when reviewed
£169
$199
Check current price

For

  • Excellent value
  • Large clear screen
  • Decent video quality

Against

  • Waterproof housing
  • The app interface can be clunky when used with Gimbal

GoXtreme Black Hawk+ 4K

Specification

  • Camera type: Action Camera
  • Max video resolution and frame rate: 4K at 60fps
  • Screen: 2-inch
  • Battery: 1050mAh lithium
  • Storage: MicroSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions (WxHxD):
  • Weight:

When I looked at the GoXtreme 4K Black Hawk back in the summer of 2017 I was impressed with the quality that this small camera was capable of.

This camera along with others was really starting to put pressure on GoPro not only equaling but bettering the features and more importantly video quality.

Since then the camera has had an update to the Black Hawk+, again a formidable camera that comes in at a fantastic price.

Price when reviewed
£126
$150
Check current price

For

  • Great price
  • 4K at 60fps
  • Decent EIS at 4K resolution

Against

  • Requires waterproof housing
  • No touch screen display

Akaso Brave 6 Plus

Akaso Brave 6 Plus review

Specification

  • Product type: Action camera
  • Max Resolution: 4K@30fps
  • Screen: 2-inch touchscreen
  • Controls: Direct, Touch, Voice
  • Waterproof: 40m with housing
Price when reviewed
£79
$79

For

  • Good quality 4K result
  • Decent build quality for the price
  • Packed with features

Against

  • 60fps and above video quality is poor
  • Poor physical connection between housing and camera buttons

Olympus Tough TG-Tracker

Olympus TG Tracker in green

Specification

  • Camera type: Action camera
  • Sensor: 8-megapixel 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS
  • Monitor: 1.5-inch Tilt-Out LCD Display
  • Waterproof: 100 feet / 30 metres
  • Crushproof: 200lb
  • Shockproof: 7 feet
  • Freezeproof: 14 F / -10 C
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC

Looking like some sort of futuristic submarine this Olympus model has an eye-catching 204-degree lens at the front and can ‘dive’ down to work 30 metres below the surface! The video resolution capabilities include 4K at up to 30fps, 1080 at up to 60fps and 720 at up to 240fps.

Above the lens is a built-in LED light for night-time shooting and it features an array of sensors, including GPS, compass and acceleration sensors – add to that a thermometer and a barometer and you’re certainly not short of shooting data.

The camera also features a built-in stabilisation system and is said to be capable of operating at down to -10 degrees C, making it an all-weather wonder. It also has a flip out 3.8-inch screen and built-in WiFi. Overall, it’s an attractive and rugged option.

Olympus hasn’t updated the Tracker since its launch a few years ago, and with Olympus’s recent sale, it seems unlikely we’ll see a Mark II. However, the original is still widely available for sale at an attractive price.

You can buy the Olympus Tough TG Tracker at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£299
$299
Check current price

For

  • Waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof
  • 4K at 30fps video
  • Flip-out monitor

Against

  • 8MP resolution
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Pola Makan Sehat adalah

Nice Information.