Buying a video camera for recording sports is a very different story from buying a camcorder for general movie making. For sports you’ll have to capture high speed motion, which might not be the case when recording other general videos. In such a case, you have to equip yourself with the best video camera for sports.
Now let’s imagine this scenario:
You are an action sports enthusiast. You would like to record your feats and show it to your loved ones or maybe simply record videos for some great memories. For that you would need the best action camera.
Be it snowboarding, sky diving, mountain biking or diving, you not only need an awesome sports camcorder but also need it to be water-resistant to some extent.
There are quite a few camcorders for action sports in the market. However in this post, I will provide you with a list of the 5 best video cameras for recording sports in 2017. A longer list means more options and hence more confusion. Hence I have included only 5 sports camcorders. So let’s get on with it.
If you are on a tight budget and are looking for the best video camera for sports within $100, you can check these out.
For complete view of the table on mobile, drag and scroll to the right
|Image||Product||Features that stand out|
|GoPro HERO5 Black||Voice Control, One Button Control, Higher Stability||Check price|
|Sony FDRX3000||Balanced Optical Steady Shot, Highly Durable Body, Better Noise Reduction||Check price|
|Sony HDRAZ1VR||Remote viewing through live remote, Ultra wide ZEISS Lens increasing the scope, 5 Video Modes||Check price|
|AKASO EK7000 4K WIFI Sports Action Camera||Low price but highly functional, Wrist remote control, Bestseller||Check price|
|Yi Lite Action Camera||150° wide angle lens, Longer battery life, 6-layer glass lens||Check price|
GoPro HERO5 Black
Still going strong in 2018, GoPro HERO5 is by far the best version of the GoPro action camera series to hit the market after the very successful GoPro HERO4. If you are ready to spend a few extra bucks, then the GoPro Hero5 Black is quite easily the best video camera for sports in the market today.
GoPro Hero 6 is the latest version – although the most recent version, not necessarily the best. I found the Hero5 to be a better action camera with more stability and functionality. Sometimes, more features does not equal more quality
Features of GoPro Hero5
The GoPro HERO5 Black is one of the most feature packed action camera in the GoPro HERO series. Launched in late 2016, it is currently a bestseller due to its wide range of features and high reliability. Let’s check out some of its features:
The best feature in the GoPro HERO5 that I liked is the voice control. You can enjoy hands-free control using voice commands. These voice commands enable you to perform basic operational functions in case you are in the middle of an active sport and cannot use your hands to perform those functions. A pretty handy feature I’d say.
Here are a few voice commands for your reference:
GoPro Start Recording – Start recording video on this command
GoPro HiLight – Tag specific section of a video as a highlight
GoPro Stop Recording – Stops recording the video
GoPro Take a Photo – Takes an image
GoPro Shoot Burst – Takes images in burst mode
The picture quality of the GoPro HERO5 is amazing! 4K has been introduced for the first time in the GoPro series, I was blown away by the picture clarity.When you have an action cam with such impressive picture quality, you can’t ask for more!
But hold on, there IS more :
One Button Control
It has a one button control that can power the camera ON and start recording instantaneously. Again, with the same button you can stop the recording and power off the camera. This is very convenient since you won’t always have to use the touch screen for basic operations like switching ON and recording.
Action cameras are used to take videos of fast moving objects and are used extensively in extreme sports. With such fast movement, it is tough to stabilise your shots and the videos might come out blurry. This problem has been reduced to a great extent in the GoPro Hero5 Black.
Its advanced video stabilization helps you to take smooth videos either handheld or when mounted on your favorite gear. So whether you’re snowboarding or biking, you’ll get a steady video.
For additional stability, you can use a gimbal.
Waterproof with a difference
Most of the action cameras are waterproof upto 80-100 feet. But they need a housing and that can add to the weight of the camera. Without the housing, they lose the functionality of being water-proof.
The GoPro HERO5 is waterproof even without a housing, though upto 30 feet. No extra gear needed. This can be handy if you are going for shallow water scuba diving.
For more than 30 feet, you’ll need a housing.
As far as the display screen is concerned, it is an impressive 2 inch touch screen. So the display-cum-touch screen almost occupies the length and breadth of the camera. On the display screen, you can review and play back your shots, change settings and trim your footage; all with the help of the touchscreen.
It also comes with GPS functionality and can be used with 30+ mounts and accessories.
Pros and Cons
- The price. I'd say it is reasonably priced. For so many highly advanced features you're getting in this sports video camera, you can't get a better deal at this price.
- It is highly versatile. It can be fixed on more than 30 different mounts depending upon the requirement.
- It is rugged, light weight and compact.
- The audio system is much better than the previous GoPro cameras.
- Very user friendly. The one button control, the voice control and the touch screen make using this sports camera a piece of cake.
- Touchscreen could have a better response. There can be a slight lag between 2 consecutive selections.
- The battery can drain pretty fast, if you're filming with 4K continuously, like other 4K cameras. But for 2.7K or below, it can last even longer, more than 2 hours which is more than the previous models.
- If you plan to go to a deeper depth underwater, you need to buy an extra waterproofing housing.
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 HERO5 is a very good option, and has been a bestseller on Amazon ever since its launch.
For best use of your GoPro 5, check out these GoPro tips .
Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K
The Sony FDR – X3000 can easily be considered as one of the best Action Cameras in the market today. 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 stabilisation. This is where the Sony FDR X3000 shines bright!
Balanced Optical SteadyShot
Compared to digital image stabilisation, the Balanced Optical SteadyShot in the Sony FDR X3000 provides much better stability to internal camera shake while biking, travelling or other active modes..one feature you wont find common to a majority of the action cameras.
You might not get as much stability as that you can get with a gimbal but yet the stability is much better than other action cameras in the market.
High Quality 4K Video
Excellent quality 4K video is ensured with the ZEISS Tessar lens with significant less distortion. Many times, it is not possible to maintain the high video quality throughout the shoot. But in the Sony X3000, it can be maintained due to the back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and an acclaimed BIONZ X processor. Some very hi-fi technology there!
Highly Durable Body
A big plus point in this camera is its highly durable dust-proof and shockproof body. And then its water proof housing increases the waterproof capacity to 197 feet/60m. Add to it its real-world rugged design. That seals the deal!
High Quality Clear Sound
Another feature that sets this sports video camera apart from the rest is very high quality stereo sound recording with wind noise reduction. When shooting in the open, there are chances that due to the wind, the sound recorded might have some disturbances. The Sony FDR X3000 significantly reduces this problem with this feature.
Check out this video for a better understanding of the Sony FDR X3000.
- Includes a waterproof casing making it highly splashproof, dustproof and shockproof.
- Easy to use. Controls are not complex.
- Spectacular 4k image quality. Easily one of the best in the category.
- Highly accurate GPS and remote control feature.
- The cost can seem a bit high here; although it is cheaper than the GoPro HERO5.
- One thing I found a bit strange was the absence of a backlit on the built-in screen of the camera. This can make it difficult to read in the dark.
- For this price, could have included the remote for the viewfinder.
No wonder it makes my list of the top sports 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 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.
Its spashproof design makes it possible to withstand showers, sprays or even snow when out of the box.
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 then looking at the price, I wondered whether the quality and features are really worth it to feature it among the best sports action cameras.
Well, the number of features and its spectacular performance put those doubts to rest.
Features of Akaso EK7000
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.
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 sports video cameras.
Yi Lite Action Sports Camera
After the grand success of the Yi 4K Action camera in the high end action camera market, Yi Technology decided to build a product exclusively for budget customers – The Yi Lite Action Camera.
The Yi Lite 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 Lite Action Camera
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 Light Action Camcorder has a lithium battery that enables you to shoot videos and take images upto 130 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.
YiFi Lite has a dual band Wifi – 2.4G/5G. It allows you to download your photos or videos to your smartphones at speeds upto 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 Light 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 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 includes 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 and having these features.
- The audio is much better than the Yi 4K Action Camera which had a poor audio experience in my opinion. The audio functionality has been improved to a great extent.
- After sales support and service is 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 a long battery life.
- One of its cons is something I found it 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.
- Talking about long battery life, there is a flip-side to it. It records for more than 130 hours only in 1080p/60fps mode. If you record it in 4K, you will not experience the same length of the battery life.
- It does not have an input for external mic. Though audio quality is better than the Yi Action Camera, some improvements can be made.
This sports video camera will easily exceed your expectations. If you are looking for a durable yet affordable camcorder for sports, go for the Yi Light Action Camera. You won't regret it!