EVERY respectable adventurer knows today a hike in the mountains or a diving session in the ocean are just not the same without an action camera.
These little companions have grown increasingly cheaper in the last few years, and their specs have simply skyrocketed, but how do you choose the best action camera for you?An action camera is the perfect accessory to your adventures[/caption]
What resolution and frame rates do I need?
Surely, the first thing you should look at is resolution and frame rates.
The higher the resolution, the clearer your picture will be. Since most TVs today support 4K playback, you should get a camera that can record at least in 4K.
Frame rate is also important, as it establishes how smoothly your footage will look like.
Frame rate is typically referred to as frames per second (fps), and with 30fps you should be okay in most cases.
If you’re looking at making slow-motion videos, however, you will need an action cam with a higher frame rate.
What accessories do I need?
That ultimately depends on what you’re planning to do with your action cam, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Many action-cam accessories share interchangeable accessories, but that’s not always the case.
Some cameras are geared towards uses in specific sports, and their mounts and accessories are shaped to frame where the action is.
Waterproof capabilities are also something to consider, as some action-cams come with built-in waterproofing, while with others you’ll need specific cases.
What about editing my footage on the go?
Smartphones are becoming more and more powerful, and many video editors are starting to utilise them for editing purposes for speed and practicality.
Of course, the best action-camera software comes from big-brand names like DJI and GoPro, but you are not confined to them if you want to edit on the go.
Third-party apps like Adobe Premiere Rush and iMovie are equally as good, if not more.
Considering all these factors, what action camera should you get? Here is our pick of the best ones.
This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.
1. GoPro Hero 9 Black
- (AD) GoPro Hero 9 Black – £329.98 from GoPro – buy here
GoPro’s flagship camera, the Hero 9 Black just came out, and its specs and features are proof of the company’s commitment to action cams.
The Hero 9 Black features a brand new display, which is pretty handy for vloggers, as well as a new sensor.
The new 23.6MP sensor can record pretty smooth 5K video footage, and the camera’s electronic stabilisation has been improved further.
The HyperSmooth Boost mode is now available in all shooting modes, while it was only present in some of them in previous models.
The battery has also been improved, although not massively, and the Hero 9 Black is waterproof down to ten meters, which is pretty great.
2. DJI Osmo Action
- (AD) DJI Osmo Action – £259.09 from Amazon – buy here
GoPro’s competitor number one, DJI has in the past few years released more than a handful of great gadgets.
Of course, the DJI Osmo Action is a 2019 camera, and can’t directly compete with the latest GoPros, but this action cam is still an excellent piece of equipment for travellers and vloggers alike.
With good image stabilisation and a dedicated in-camera slow-motion mode, the DJI Osmo Action is a good all-rounder action cam.
The front display is rather handy for vloggers, and the menus easy to navigate.
Unfortunately, there is no GPS or HDMI port on the DJI Osmo Action, but all in all, this action cam is a valid option to consider.
3. Insta360 One R
- Insta360 One R Twin Edition – £395.40 from Amazon – buy here
A unique buy in the world of action cameras, the Insta360 One R is, simply put, a modular action cam.
This means it can be used both as a 4K action camera and a 360º one by easily adding (or removing) the dual-lens module.
The Insta360 One R excels in both compartments, too, with smooth FlowState stabilization, auto-follow, auto-frame and auto-edit features.
Image quality is impressive in both modes producing video outputs with H.265 codec, as well as in the ProRes422 lossless format.
Add in waterproofing up to five meters (via the dedicated mounting bracket or Dive Case), and you have the most versatile action camera on the market.
4. GoPro Max
- GoPro Max – £456.99 from Amazon – buy here
Another 360/action camera combo, the GoPro heavily leans on the 360 part.
In fact, while in regular “Hero” mode, the Max can only film in 1080p, the 360 lenses can record footage in 5.7K, with pretty impressive results.
The GoPro dedicated mobile app is pretty great in that sense and allows for immediate editing without the need for a VR headset.
The stitching is not perfect, but considering this is an action cam, the results are certainly satisfactory.
Image stabilisation is also worth a mention here, with Max HyperSmooth working in both 360 and normal mode.
5. Sony DSC-RX0 II
- Sony DSC-RX0 II – £730 from Wex – buy here
Sony DSC-RX0 II has been advertised as an action cam, and it sure looks like one, but the truth is it might work better as a vlogging camera.
Some impressive specs place this action cam above most of the competition, both in image quality and price.
Its 15.3-megapixel 1-inch sensor is roughly four times the size of traditional cameras and is capable of capturing slow-motion videos at an impressive 960fps.
On the other hand, the camera stabilisation is not amazing, and if you also consider the screen that flips out on a metal hinge, this looks more like a perfect camera for vlogging than an action one.
The Sony DSC-RX0 II is rugged however, being water-resistant up to 10 metres, able to withstand 2-metre drops, as well as a force of 200kg.
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