Buying an action camera is very different from buying a camcorder for general movie making. Action cameras need to record high speed motion in extreme conditions, which might not be the case when recording other general videos. For recording extreme sports and other high speed motion videos, it is best to equip yourself with the best action cameras.
Now let’s imagine this scenario:
You are an extreme sports enthusiast. You have just bought that latest dirt bike you’ve always wanted to ride and you can’t wait to give it a spin. Or you are finally going to go scuba diving off the coast of that exotic island in Europe. And you want to record your adventures so that you can view them later or maybe you want to post them on your blog. To capture the best moments flawlessly, you need the best action camera you can afford.
There are quite a few action cameras in the market. However in this post, I will provide you with a list of the 5 best action cameras in 2019. A longer list means more options and hence more confusion. Hence I have included only 5 of them and most of them have 4k resolution. So let’s get on with it.
If you are on a tight budget and are looking for the best action cameras under $100, you can check these out.
My list of the best action cameras
|Product||Features That Stand Out||Pros & Cons||Cost Range|
|GoPro Hero7||1. Voice control for better access and control|
2. Gimbal-like stability thanks to the hyper smooth video stabilization
3. Seamless live streaming
1. The increased stability is a big plus
2. Waterproof up-to 33 feet without a casing
1. Quality of the live streaming is limited by the platform
2. Battery drains faster for the highest 4K configuration
|Sony FDR X3000||1. Comes with optical image stabilization for better stability|
2. ZEISS Lens ensures a top notch 4K quality
3. Can record high quality audio with the inbuilt mic
1. Made to last long and withstand rough conditions
2. 4K display works well
1. Lacks a backlit in the display screen
2. Similarly priced to the GoPro but doesn't include a remote control nor voice control
|Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Cam||1. Uses near field communication which enables remote viewing through smartphone|
2. Uses the live view remote RM-LVR2 which can control some operations of the cam
3. Ultra-wide ZEISS lens with a view up to 170 degrees
1. 30% smaller than other Sony action cams makes it highly portable
2. Can shoot high quality videos even in low light
1. Underwater focus is not as sharp as I would have liked
2. Been a few years since it came in the market
|Akaso EK7000||1. It comes with WiFi enabled app to sync the audios and videos |
2. It is waterproof upto 100 feet
3. It comes with a wrist remote control for easier operation
1. Very reasonably priced for 4K display
2. Comes with a remote control
1. Doesn't include advanced features
2. the wrist remote control is not waterproof
|Yi $K Action Camera||1. Best in class Wifi|
2. 6 layered ultra-wide angle lens which reduced the glare in bright light
3. 2 inch LCD display screen with Corning Gorilla glass
1. Very reasonably priced
2. After sales support and service matches standards of the big brands
1. Does not come with a waterproof housing
2. Audio quality could have been better
GoPro HERO7 Black
Launched in September 2018, GoPro HERO7 is the latest version of the GoPro action camera series to hit the market after the moderately successful GoPro HERO6. Packed with a load of features, this newest GoPro version is expected to exceed expectations this time. If you are ready to spend a few extra bucks, then the GoPro Hero7 Black is quite easily one of the best action cameras in the market today.
Features of GoPro Hero7
The GoPro HERO7 Black is now easily the most feature packed action camera in the GoPro HERO series. Launched in 2018, this much awaited action camera is fast becoming a bestseller due to its wide range of features and reliability.
It has some really amazing new features such as voice control, one button control and can withstand water upto 33 feet without a casing. Now that’s an added bonus since it reduces the weight of the camera.
The voice control is an interesting concept. With the help of a few pre-defined voice commands you can turn on and off certain features of the camera.
This is also the third GoPro action camera that has 4K display, after the HERO5 and HERO6. 4K is a revolutionary concept that changes the overall video taking and viewing experience.
Another thing I noticed in the GoPro Hero7 was excellent stability as compared to the previous GoPro versions, thanks to its hyper smooth video stabilization. You now get gimbal-like stability as it predicts your movement to correct for any camera shake that might occur while you’re shooting. This is easily the unique selling point of this version of GoPro.
Now you can also live stream a video into popular video platforms like Facebook and Youtube. This is a great feature if you’re a vlogger or run a video channel on any popular video platforms.
Who can buy?
This camera can be a great buy for GoPro enthusiasts who are looking for advanced features and more hand-off control in their action camera. For example someone who has a passion for dirt biking can switch the camera ON and OFF with the help of a few voice commands. Also when you need more stability and want to use minimum accessories, the GoPro HERO7 is a great buy.
Of course, people who have never purchased a GoPro can also go for it. However, you must be ready to do some learning before you can use the camera to its fullest potential.
No product can be perfect and like any good sports video camera, the GoPro Hero5 also has a few drawbacks.
- You can live stream in any resolution including 4k. However this is limited by the platform that you want to live stream on. For example, Facebook only allows live streaming in 720p.
- If you are using the 4K60 and 4K30 mode, the battery can drain pretty fast. The maximum upto 90 minutes. That’s not much of a surprise since higher the quality, more is the battery consumption. An alternative is to shoot some part of the video in 1080p and some in 4K if you want to shoot high quality videos.
- You need to buy a waterproof casing for use beyond 33m underwater. This can add to the cost of an already higher-priced action camera.
Where to buy?
If you are looking to buy a sports video camera that is well-built and with tonnes of features and is also not a burden on the pocket, the GoPro HERO7 is a very good option and is fast becoming a bestseller on Amazon ever since its launch.
Check it out on Amazon for more details and additional customer reviews.
For best use of your GoPro 7, check out these GoPro tips .
Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K
I believe a lot in the power of the brand. Most of the time, you can expect a quality product from any of the major action camera brands. The Sony FDR – X3000 is an example of it. It comes loaded with a ton of features for an optimum shooting experience.
Features of Sony FDR-X3000
It has the capability of shooting 4K videos. Although many other action cameras in the market come with 4K shooting ability, the challenge comes in image stabilization. This is where the Sony FDR X3000 stands apart.
It has optical SteadyShot technology. This helps to provide better external and internal image stability than digital stabilization. This is one factor that definitely makes the FDR X3000 stand out.
Like the GoPro Hero5, this also has a 4K video quality thanks to the ZEISS lens that it is fitted with. If you aren’t aware ZEISS is one of the leading lens makers in the world. Any product from them is a guaranteed high-quality innovation.
Finally, another important feature of this camera that sets it apart from many other low-priced extreme sports cameras is the high-quality audio that it records. A lot of noise is reduced in the recording stage itself and you get a much clearer output sound.
Who should buy?
Without a doubt, Sony enthusiasts have been the maximum buyers of this product. Besides those looking for the best configurations that an action camera can possess and are willing to shell out a few extra bucks, they should go it.
It is sturdy and will definitely serve you well in the years to come. These types of cameras are the ones that are almost guaranteed to work well for a really long time.
- Many users have said that a backlit in the display screen would have been a great added advantage. I agree with this. Even when you are using the action camera in daytime, the exposure to sunlight would make it difficult to read the display screen. In such a scenario, a backlit can definitely help.
- Sony should have included a remote control especially since unlike the GoPro Hero7, it doesn’t have voice commands though it retails at a comparable price.
Where to buy?
You can buy the Sony FDR X3000 at various offline and online stores. However, since you get some good discounts and deals and can also read other customer reviews and questions, you can check it out on Amazon.
No wonder it makes my list of the top action cameras. With tonnes of features packed into it, as also some really helpful improved functions make it a serious competitor with the GoPro.
Sony HDR-AZ1VR Waterproof Action Cam
Japanese electronics giant Sony has come up with a splash-proof action camera that has delivered great promise. The smallest splash-proof sports camcorder by Sony, you can be assured of a very smooth video even on rough passage with SteadyShot image stabilization.
Features of Sony HDR-AZ1VR
This sports video camera by Sony boasts of some powerful features.
Smaller and lighter It’s a mini action cam and is quite light to carry. Its slender, custom design is about two-thirds the size of other sports action cams by Sony. Consequently, you have less wind and water pressure acting on it.
Splashproof Its spashproof design makes it possible to withstand showers, sprays or even snow when out of the box.
Remote Viewing With the help of One Touch Near Field Communication (NFC), your compatible smart devices can be turned in to remote viewing devices via wifi.
Live View Remote RM-LVR2 With the help of the Live View Remote RM-LVR2, it is now possible to frame your shot, turn GPS on, change the shooting modes and control up to 5 Action Cams.
Steadyshot for fast action sports The steadyshot technology reduces the chances of blur appearing because of bumps and sudden movements in fast action sports like skiing and motocross.
Built-in stereo mic As is the trend these days, the Sony HDRAZ1VR/W sports camera comes equipped with a builtin stereo microphone which is good enough to capture quality sound.
Ultra-wide ZEISS lens The camcorder comes equipped with a pro quality ZEISS lens with a wide angle scope extending upto 170 degrees. This increases your perspective while taking panoramic views of ski slopes or mountain hills.
Equipped with Exmor R CMOS sensor This technology makes it possible to shoot high quality videos even in low light.
5 video modes available 1080/60p @50Mbps HD and 2x slow motion
- The Sony HDRAZ1VR/W is 30% smaller than other versions of Sony action cameras and is hence easy to carry.
- With a resolution of 12 megapixels and an option to shoot 1080/60p, it is certainly a great buy.
- Some users cited concerns about the camera not giving a very sharp focus being underwater for a longer duration.
- Others commented that it is a better idea to shoot with 1080p than with 720p. But overall users were quite satisfied with the product.
AKASO EK7000 4K WIFI Sports Action Camera
The first thing that caught my eye with the AKASO EK7000 4K Wifi Action Camera was its price tag. It is much cheaper than the more popular GoPro series and other action cameras. But does it give a good performance?
Well, a large number of features and its spectacular performance make it one of the best action cameras under 100. It is made by the Japanese action camera company Akaso which has slowly crept up as one of the best selling action camera brands internationally. For a change, the market leader in budget action cameras is a Japanese brand and not Chinese.
Features of Akaso EK7000
Flexible Resolution It is an action camera that can record videos and take pictures in 3 resolutions – 4K at 25 fps, 2.7K at 30fps and also 1080p at 60 fps. Now the 1080p resolution is an added feature as most 4K video cameras do not come with the facility to shoot 1080p.
Wrist Remote Control An additional feature that impressed me a lot was the 2.4 G wrist remote control that comes along with this action camera. Shooting videos or taking pictures becomes much simpler now at the click of a button and you don’t have to reach out to your camera always.
Waterproof The AKASO EK7000 4K Wifi Action Camera is waterproof upto 100 feet. So it fits the bill of an underwater sports action camera as well. Only care you have to take is that the remote control is not waterproof to such a depth.
Built-in WiFi App Control It comes with a built-in WiFi and HDMI. By downloading the App,EZ iCam, you can sync your photos and videos with your tablet, PC or mobile. A very handy feature!
- Hands down, the price. very rarely you get such a feature-packed, top-rated sports video camera at such a price.
- It comes with a tonne of free accessories. You can use them to make your action camera perform better in any scenario.
- Longer battery life. The Akaso EK7000 comes with two rechargeable 1050mAh batteries. Each battery can record for as long as 90 minutes. That’s quite a powerhouse performance.
- Though the videos recorded at 4K and 2.7K resolution have turned out to be excellent, some users have complained that the photos taken are not of as excellent quality as the videos. If you’re only interested in recording videos, then this should not be much of a concern to you.
- This sports video camera does not come with an option for adding an external mic. Drawback or not, depends upon your preference.
- The wrist remote control is not waterproof. So you cannot take the wrist remote underwater to large depths.
Considering the price, the features and the quality of the videos recorded, this camera is definitely a buy for those who are looking for a good quality sports video camera with a low price tag. It might not have as many features as the GoPro or the Sony FDR X3000, but for this price range it is definitely one of the best action sports cameras. You can buy it on Amazon to avail the best deals and discounts.
Yi 4k Action Sports Camera
The Yi 4K Action camera is a budget 4k action camera that features among the top action cameras under 200. It has been very successful and is still one of the best selling action cameras on Amazon. Hence we have included it in our list here.
The Yi 4k Action Camera is an extreme sports specialist camcorder with a 150° wide-angle lens. This is a relatively new launch in the market, yet already has earned the coveted Amazon’s Choice badge. It is a very sturdy camcorder with excellent video quality and a lot of essential features.
Let’s have a look at some of these features:
Features of the Yi 4k
Long Battery Life
One of the most important aspects to look at while buying an action camera is the battery life it offers. Usually, batteries of action cameras with a resolution of 1080p and above tend to drain fast. If you’re not prepared with an extra set, you can be left in the lurch.
The Yi 4k Action Camcorder has a lithium battery that enables you to shoot videos and take images upto 120 minutes. This is in 1080p/60 fps. Keep in mind that if you shoot in 4K mode, the battery might not last that long.
Best In Class WiFi
WiFi capability in the sports camcorders these days is much more than a luxury. With convenience taking priority in our lives, the availability of WiFi in the action camera makes it very easy to perform some mundane editing tasks.
It has a dual-band Wifi – 2.4G/5G. It allows you to download your photos or videos to your smartphones at speeds up to 50 Mbps. This also allows you to use your smartphone as a remote to operate the camera up to a distance of 330 feet away.
Professional and High Quality Video Recording
The Yi 4k action camera comes with a Sony IMX206 image sensor which explains the high-quality images and videos. An image sensor can be considered as the CPU of the action camera. For a better understanding of the analogy, an image sensor in a digital video camera is like a film in an analog video camera. If you’re interested, you can read more about the IMX206 image sensor here.
You have the option of recording you in 4K/20fps, 1080p/30fps, 1080p/60fps and take images with a 16MP camera.
6-Layer Ultra-Wide Angle Glass Lens
150° wide-angle lens with an f2.8 aperture helps you take bright and clear images and videos. The lens comes with a 6 layer of coating to reduce the glare that can happen in bright light.
There’s also the option of choosing your own parameters for the videos thanks to the self-defined image quality parameters. This helps you to change the settings based on the light available as well as select any of the 9 modes which include burst, time-lapse to record even better videos. For low light, there is a switchable auto low light setting in the menu. (The previous version had a non-switchable auto low light setting which meant it would turn on low light mode and be that way when it sensed a drop in brightness)
2 inch LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass
I was impressed with the 2 inch LCD display screen which has a Corning Gorilla glass protection. The display scores high on UI – you can easily navigate through the different modes and have a great preview and playback experience. The Gorilla glass protection protects the screen from scratches and minor impact.
Of course, if you throw it on the floor deliberately, the impact would be too much (Who does that anyway?!) But for daily use, you can be least worried about damage to the screen.
- It goes without saying, the price. At this price, you won’t get many action cameras that are so reliable and having such features.
- After-sales support and service are pretty good. Some of the improvements in the functionalities of the newer models have been carried out on direct suggestions made by customers.
- Easy to use interface with long battery life.
- One of its cons is something I found hard to believe. It does not have a waterproof case included with the camera. Although you can buy it from Amazon as a separate item.
- It does not have an input for an external mic.
- The audio quality at the time of recording was not up to my expectations. It could have been better.
This sports video camera will exceed your expectations. If you are looking for a durable yet affordable camcorder for sports, go for the Yi Action Camera. You won’t regret it!
Check it out at Amazon for more information and customer reviews.