For your next adventure, you will need one of the best action cameras to film your exploits. Designed to go wherever you want, these cameras are rugged to protect against the elements, as well as falls, spills, and drops. Unlike other types of cameras, action cameras are also small and compact, making them easy to put in a bag, as well as easy to mount on a variety of things, whether it’s your helmet, motorcycle, bike, skis, or even your dog.
Ultimately, choosing the best action camera will depend quite heavily on how you intend to use it. Do you need maximum resolution, waterproofing, impact resistance, slow motion, forward-facing screen, or optimal mounting flexibility? It’s worth taking some time to familiarize yourself with all these different action cameras and what they offer.
You can get an action camera that is waterproof up to 30 meters by itself, or a camera that requires a housing, or an action camera that is not very waterproof but can withstand serious shocks without breaking. Maybe wireless functionality is the most important thing for you, or maybe you’ve won a camera that you can control via your phone with an intuitive application?
Best Action Cameras
Just so you know, you can check out our list of the best waterproof cameras while you’re here. In this article, we’ve collected the best action cameras of the moment.
1. GoPro Hero9 Black
The ante has just been increased. If you want the best possible action camera, it has to be the latest flagship of GoPro. It’s true that the brand’s first action camera with a vlogging front screen won’t suit everyone, but the appearance of the 5K resolution certainly makes it the first. Even if you’re not looking for 5K video per se, a new sensor allows you to get 14.7 MP shots from 5K video, as well as take 20 MP stills.
It also features a 2.27-inch larger screen than the GoPro Hero8 Black, super-smooth Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization, TimeWarp 3.0 for handheld time-laps, a travel case, and an upcoming Max Lens Mod accessory that will bring GoPro Max-style features like 360º Horizon Lock and an ultra-wide SuperView Max mode at 155º. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
2. GoPro Hero8 Black
It’s no longer the flagship of GoPro, but if you don’t need 5K or a front screen, the smaller, lighter 2019 GoPro might be perfect for you. A key difference from its predecessors is that it has folding feet, which means you have built-in camera support. And you can accessorize the Hero8 Black even more with a beautifully designed new set of options called Mods; we like the Display Mod, which adds a second monitor that’s perfect for vloggers (something built into the GoPro Hero9 Black). These additions cost you more, but with a price reduction, the Hero8 Black is starting to look like a good value option given its excellent 4K video and image stabilization system. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
3. GoPro Hero7 Black
The GoPro Hero7 Black is the action camera that brought us HyperSmooth, a video stabilization system so powerful that it opens up new creative possibilities. The shake-buster even works at up to 4K 60fps. Those who use a gimbal on their GoPro can do without it because HyperSmooth even gives the pocket video a silky smooth look. However, it also offers a new possibility: TimeLapse portable video.
The Hero7 Black’s 2GB of memory allows it to apply HyperSmooth to frame-by-frame shooting in time-lapse mode. In addition to these stabilized hyperlapses, the Hero7 Black offers a wide dynamic range, a SuperPhoto function, and 12 separate voice commands. However, it lacks the new features and additions of the two most recent GoPros. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
4. DJI Osmo Action
DJI is best known for producing some of the best drones (and to a lesser extent for its gimballed camera stabilizers) but has turned to the action camera market with the arrival of the Osmo Action. It appears to have been designed to be a direct competitor to the GoPro Hero7 Black and is doing a great job of giving the GoPro a good chance to make money. We especially like the addition of a color LCD screen on the front, which makes it one of the best action cameras for auto-filming or vlogging sequences. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
5. GoPro Hero7 White
The GoPro Hero7 White was officially discontinued at the end of last year – but is still on sale at many retailers. As a result of these two facts, we’re now seeing incredible offers on this model – allowing you to get a GoPro camera at a truly affordable price. This was the base model in the range. There’s no 4K, and while there’s built-in image stabilization, GoPro’s latest HyperSmooth technology is not found on this camera. It’s still waterproof up to 10 meters and can shoot 1440p HD video at 60 or 30 frames per second, and is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible. Plus, of course, it can be used with a wide range of GoPro accessories. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
6. Sony RX0 Mark II
The Sony RX0 II is expensive, but it has features that make it really interesting to consider. One of them is the ability to shoot short video sequences at speeds of up to 1,000 frames per second – you certainly can’t do that with a GoPro. And while the RX0 was capable of producing 4K UHD footage only to an external recorder, the RX0 Mark II can record 4K internally (and on time, too). The one-inch sensor produces superb images, whether photos or videos, increase the camera’s efficiency in low-light conditions, and offers a magnificent dynamic range.
It’s an expensive proposition, but if you need beautiful slow-motion images, there’s nothing better and you’re looking for optimal image quality, this is one of the best action cameras you can get right now. The Sony RX0 II also features a front-panel flip-up action screen, making it much more effective as a tool for vlogging and creating high-quality content. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
7. Olfi One.Five Black
Olfi One.Five Black is a slightly refreshed version of the Olfi One.Five and doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it does what it does well, which is to capture 4K images at a rate of 24p. Its attractive price makes it an interesting proposition for those who don’t want to pay GoPro-money for an action camera. Vertically oriented, the Olfi One.Five Black is perfect to be fixed on the handlebars of a bike, but its waterproofness at 30 meters also makes it an excellent tool for water sports. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you take advantage of the Olfi application to control the camera from your phone – the functionality is basic but works well. A solid and inexpensive choice of the action camera. Overall, this is one of the best action cameras.
8. SJCAM SJ8 Pro
The SJCAM SJ8 Pro, based on the GoPro, offers many of the features of the higher quality Hero cameras, but at a much lower price. Not only does it provide 4K images at 60p, but these images also benefit from six-axis image stabilization, which is very useful in active shooting situations. Standard GoPro editing allows the SJ8 to be mounted on any media, and there’s also decent slow motion if you reduce the resolution to 1080p or 720p. The waterproof housing is a bit cumbersome to use, with a lever lock system that can be tricky to use, but it’s probably one of the best action cameras at this price point.