The Best Action Camera In 2021

Best action camera in 2021

Which is the best action camera? If you had asked us a few years ago, our answer would be obvious, ‘GoPro’! Even though the answer is still pretty much the same as GoPro still leads the market, but it’s not unraveled anymore.

From the times when GoPro was used as a synonym for the word action camera, action cameras have come a long way. And finally, there are now worthy competitors like DJI and Insta360 and numerous Chinese brands that are doing really well in the action cameras category. These companies not only offer competitive features but also offer them at competitive prices. Not everyone needs everything that GoPro offers at that high price tag, therefore, now buyers have more options at multiple price ranges to choose from.

Today, you can find more older models of GoPro among the best budget action cameras than ever before. You also have worthy choices of affordable GoPro substitutes available among the best action cameras for under 200$. Even you can buy cheap action cameras for under 100 $ only, and they come with features once found in premium quality action cameras. Obviously, the flip side to it is that it’s harder to decide whether you should spend on expensive GoPros or go with the budget options now. It’s difficult to analyze which action camera is best for you when you have so much diversity in the market. But despite the different brand and price tags, one thing that is common about these budget action cameras is that they all come with excellent video quality and image stabilization in rugged compact water-proof bodies. Which are quite essential features for any action camera nowadays.

Obviously, not everyone goes for price tags, some prefer the best in the game despite the high prices. For those people, the best action cameras now offer advanced features that are hard to resist even at high price ranges. These cameras can now shoot in resolutions as high as 5K, have excellent Slo-Mo capabilities, come with class-leading stabilization, autofocus, and dust and waterproofing like never imagined before. They offer voice control for hands-free operations as well as live streams of videos to your social media. There is so much that these cameras can do now. And they come in traditional and 360-degree models. That is why there are many more things to consider now when buying the best action camera.

Keeping all the important features into consideration, we have got you a collection of action cams that can be an excellent investment to record your adventures. And we have arranged and ranked them based on their unique features, incredible results, superior build quality, and durability after thorough research and testing. Have a look!


10 Best Action Cameras In 2021

1. GOPRO HERO 10 BLACK

  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, up to 10m
  • Battery life: 1-3 hours
  • Resolution: 5.3K/60fps, 4K/120fps, 2.7K/240fps
  • Display: 2.27-inch LCD rear, front Color LCD With Live Preview
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: The best action camera in the market
Pros
  • Better camera resolution
  • Better slow Mo and faster frame rates
  • Faster and smoother user interface
  • Hydrophobic lens coating for dropless flareless shots
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • Expensive

So, here it is our top and absolute weapon to shoot action, the brand new GoPro 10! Yes, go pro 10 is here, and it’s even better. It comes with the same form factor as GoPro 9, so for all of you who’ve been using third-party accessories with your previous GoPros, you need not worry, as you can still use them, but on a better and more powerful camera. Yes, the GoPro 10 comes with improved resolution on its new camera, now it can shoot 23 MP photos, so now it’s not just a video shooter but a worthy photographic tool. You can shoot excellent photos with it, the colors are great and dynamic.

And video, for which GoPros are known, is obviously better with now GoPro 10 shooting 5.3K at 60 fps and 4K at 120fps. And not only that, but it can also shoot 2.7K at massive 240 fps, so fasten your seat belts extreme sports shooters, its fastest GoPro with its new GP2 chip system!  Moreover, after using it, GoPro9’s touch screen feels redundant, it that faster and smoother to use.

There is much more- the camera now features a new hyper smooth 4.0 which can make your videos much more balanced and smoother. You can shake or tilt your camera up to 45 degrees compared to the previous 27 degrees on GoPro 9 and still see a stable image. Its max-lens mode on previous models which could lock the horizon, is now even better with GoPro 10, and you can literally turn the camera upside down and it will stay balanced on the horizon, plus you get double the frame rates and better and fully stabilized slow motion as well. For water sports enthusiasts the camera lens comes with a hydrophobic coating, so now drops and flare on the screen won’t ruin your shots.

One thing that stayed the same, is the camera’s battery life. It has the same battery life as Gopro9, which wasn’t really bad in the first place. But we would recommend you to keep an extra battery with you if you are interested in using high-end modes quite often. Overall, it’s an exciting camera and has raised the bar for action cameras!


2. DJI OSMO Action

The best action camera
  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, up to 30 feet
  • Battery life: 2.55 hours
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps
  • Display: Touchscreen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Front-facing screen with filters and good stability
Pros
  • It has excellent footage
  • It has a front screen
  • Easy to configure
Cons
  • Its front screen is not visible in sunlight

The DJI Osmo action camera has a versatile design with 2 LCDs; one is at the back and the other one at the front. It gives it a unique style and provides the user with new features to frame up the recordings. This fantastic addition allows the user to capture great selfies and makes it one of the best Vlogging cameras. It also helps you view your impressive shots even when the camera is mounted high or when the back screen is not accessible.

The back screen has a resolution of 16:9 ratio that is better than GoPro resolution and gives the best result. It offers an innovative feature that allows changing lens filters. It is as simple as screwing the protective glass and changing it with the filter you want. Just like when you add a diving filter, polaroid filter, or neutral, screw the protective glass and fix the filter. These filters are standard thread size, which means that they are easy to find and readily available.

The DJI Osmo action has incredible electronic image stabilization, which minimizes vibration. The electronic image stabilization EIS is near to the level of GoPro Hero7 black. Keeping its functioning in mind and its ease of use, the Osmo action camera is a near copy of GoPro.

At this suitable price, it can shoot 4K at 60fps and has all the impressive features you would expect from an action camera at this range. DJI Osmo is waterproof without a case. It lacks some features that GoPro has; however, people prefer it because of its clearer audio and better noise reduction, and long-lasting battery and display screen. It provides you with all the necessary features within a budget, and that is why we place it above GoPro Hero8.


3. GoPro Hero8 Black

The best action camera
  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, up to 10 meters
  • Battery life: 1-3 hours
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, 720p at 240fps
  • Display: 2-inch flip-up screen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Great image stabilization and super smooth 4K video
Pros
  • It has a rugged, waterproof design
  • It has an improved user interface
  • It has a crisp touch LCD
Cons
  • Its Wi-Fi video transfer takes time

GoPro has its strong base in the action camera world. GoPro is the brand name that has started the action camera market and is leading the way. After hero5, the next two versions have the same design, so Hero8 black is the first redesigning of this generation after Hero5 with a built-in mount. So you do not need a frame or case to attach it with anything. This feature has made it faster to set up and allows you to easily remove and change batteries and memory cards while your camera is still mounted at anything.

With its handy and thinner design, you can carry your camera in your pocket. Moreover, GoPro’s super striking feature of hyper smooth stabilization has been updated to 2.0 in the Hero8 model that offers excellent steadiness, which smoothly records the rough trail runs and rocky mountain rides. This incredible addition makes Hero8 highly recommended as compared to other action cameras.

Hero8 new feature, Time Warp 2.0, creates hyper-lapse video by choosing time-lapse speed on its own based on camera movement, and you can slow down to real-time when you want. It enables you to create highly polished and impressive time-lapse videos.

It comes with a microphone, and its audio processing helps in taming the vibrations, reduces wind interferences, and combat noisy conditions giving perfect voice control and improved interface.

GoPro has introduced a new line of accessories called mods. Hero8 mods provide you with an LED light and a small shotgun microphone. It has a flipping screen mod that can be converted into a selfie screen. This selfie or vlogging screen addition is an excellent feature for vloggers.

The QwikStories feature is a GoPro built-in application that lets you connect your Hero8 action camera with your mobile phone. Hence you can store your videos and photos on your mobile phone, and editing them has become more comfortable and fun. Now you can get this great package at a reduced price to experience the unique features.


4. GoPro Max

The best 360 action camera
  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, up to 5 meters
  • Battery life: Up to 1.30 hours
  • Resolution: 16.6MP stills, 5.6K at 30fps, 1440p 2D at 60fps
  • Display: 2-inches flip up screen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Amazing 360-degree video and in-camera stitching
Pros
  • Hyper-smooth stabilization
  • Six microphones audio
  • Timewarp shooting features
Cons
  • Low battery life

GoPro max is an updated version of the GoPro generation. If you want a traditional shooting action camera with good video quality, GoPro Hero8 is an optimal choice. But if you wish for advanced technology with updated features with which you can reframe your videos after recording and want to have outstanding audio quality, GoPro max is worth considering.

GoPro max has the expensive two fisheye lenses that capture a spherical 5.6K video. Using OverCapture software, you can crop the video into a standard 2D video size.

It is a complete package as it comes with super six-microphone audio that can clearly and correctly record the best audio.

GoPro Max offers Time Warp shooting features with a built-in mounting case to attach it with anything, so you do not need an extra mounting accessory.

When converted to 2D video from a fisheye image, it has a maximum resolution of 1440p at 60 fps. However, it is not its best quality and does not match hero8 black in low light. On the other side, it has the best waterproofing protective covering and a 360-degree angle of view. Keeping its extraordinary features and advanced technology, it is worth recommending. If you choose 360 action cameras over the traditional ones then GoPro Max is indeed the best action camera without any doubt.


5. Insta360 One R

The best 360 action camera
  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, 5 meters with case
  • Battery life: 1 hour
  • Resolution: 18.5MP stills, 5.7K at 30fps, 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 200fps
  • Display: Touchscreen
  • Sensor: 1-inch sensor
  • Reasons to buy: 360-degree image quality and versatile modular design
Pros
  • It has a modular design
  • It has a reversible screen
  • It has a 4K at 60fps wide angle
Cons
  • Its small screen is fiddly

With the new editions in the action cameras world, insta360 with its One R has provided a 360-degree view feature to its users. It brings you the option of recording at 360 degrees view and choosing the objects you would like to focus on while editing. Thus, there is no need to point and focus on things while recording.

Insta360 one R is the second action camera of insta360 that comes in a modular design. These units provide flexibility and versatility to the camera. Insta360 One R has the battery module that makes the bottom, and then other modules are attached to its top. Three versions provide different kinds of footage so that you can get either one or all three modules.

Its 4K edition has a 4K lens module and a screen that can fold up backward and forwards. This lens and screen setting is similar to the GoPro Hero8 and DGI Osmo action settings. The other edition that is 360 edition, enables the user to take 360-degree footage.

Insta360 One R is equipped with two fisheye lenses that allow you to make a 360-degree recording, and then you can edit and re-edit the recordings.

Insta360 One R has a 1-inch edition with a one-inch sensor that increases the video’s resolution and enables you to take the footage from 4K to 5.3K. A super-wide 14 mm lens that is co-engineered with Leica, which makes it a high-quality lens action camera. This incredible feature adds versatility to the insta360 one R, unmatched in the action camera world.


6. Sony RXO II

The best sony action camera
  • Key Specifications:
  • Water proofing: Yes, up to 10 meters
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Resolution: 15.3 MP stills, 4K at 30p, 1080p at 1000fps, 720p at 1000fps
  • Display: Tilting LCD screen
  • Sensor: BSI CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Amazing slow-motion feature and vlogging front-facing screen
Pros
  • Waterproof up to 10 meters
  • It has an amazing image quality
Cons
  • Tiny monitor

Sony is a promising brand and created its own space in the action camera market and flourishes with its brilliant products and advanced technology. Its last action camera FDR-X3000 was released in 2016. While Sony RXO II has some features similar to an action camera, other features are identical to a small adventure camera. Sony doesn’t categorize it in its action camera list, but it indeed has the looks and features of one.

Sony RXO II is waterproof up to 33 feet and has the shockproof capability of 6.5-foot drops. It offers excellent withstand crush force and brilliantly bears up to 440 pounds per square foot.

Sony RXO II is a half-action camera and half still camera. It is a small second-generation camera but has a massive 1-inch sensor that can record up to 15.3MP pictures. While it also has an incredibly high-class Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens. When it comes to action cameras, Zeiss 24mm is comparatively not wide, but it has a perfect focal length for taking pictures while walking around.

For extremely slow-motion recordings, it enables the user to shoot up to 1000 frames per second. Having impressive crush-proof and waterproof features, it can record video 4K footage at 30 frames per second and full HD videos at 120 frames per second. It has a tilted LCD screen, which can tilt up to 180 degrees and down by 90 degrees.

This Sony model also has the Soft Skin Effect mode and advanced Eye AF. Though it is expensive and doesn’t come under the casual action camera category, it is indeed one best action camera, one of its kind; keeping its advanced features in mind, it has the top place in the market.


7. GoPro Hero7 Black

  • Key Specifications:
  • Water proofing: Yes, up-to 10 meters
  • Battery life: 1-2 hours
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, 720p at 240fps
  • Display: 2-inch LCD screen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Incredible smooth feature and great video quality
Pros
  • It has an outstanding hyper-smooth technology
  • It has an amazing 4K video at 60fps
Cons
  • It has an insensitive voice command

You can now get GoPro’s updated version of the previous generation at a reduced price, which is in GoPro’s recommended version even to date. Hero7Black was the best idea of the previous version. Hero7Black is the action camera that has introduced super smooth recording stabilization. It delivers impressive features, and for the Hero8 Black version, it has improved.

It doesn’t come with an integrated mount as it has the same older design. Hence you need to mount a frame with the camera to attach it with anything. The design is the same as Hero5 and Hero6 but with better features. So, if you have used these Hero versions you can use the same frames of previous generations with Hero7 black.

Hero7 Black has a fantastic video quality; therefore, you won’t be dissatisfied choosing it over Hero8. Its still resolution shooting is 4K at 6 frames per second, and you can do all the advanced settings with the ProTune application. With its comparison to Hero8, it does have good video quality, but it can’t compete with the HyperSmooth stabilization of Hero8 that is an incredible feature of the Hero8 version.

Hero7 Black has the best fun features one could have at this price range, so getting it would be an excellent idea to record your adventures.


8. SJCAM SJ8 pro

  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: with the case, up to 30 meters
  • Battery life: 1.5 hours
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, 4K at 60fps
  • Display: 2.3 inch LCD screen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: High-quality features in medium price tag
Pros
  • It uses gyro EIS stabilization
  • It records in 4K resolution
  • It has a built-in Wi-Fi
  • It has a 170-degrees field of view
Cons
  • Battery life could be better

SJCAM SJ8 Pro is an action camera with high-definition features. Now you can capture every moment with brilliant quality. It records videos with 4K resolution at the frame rate of 60 frames per second.

It is equipped with the latest Ambarella H22 S85 chipset solution that achieves exceptional videos and photo quality. SJCAM SJ8 pro has a Sony sensor IMX377 and allows you to capture 12-megapixel photos making this action camera stand out. It supports 8 times digital zoom and a user-friendly dual UI interface.

SJCAM SJ8 Pro is engineered with excellent material making it durable and allowing you to use it at extreme adventures and in rough conditions. It is waterproof with a casing up to 30 meters underwater. The waterproof casing also protects your SJCAM SJ8 pro against scratches, impacts, dust, and sudden breaking if it falls.

SJCAM SJ8 has a lithium-ion battery of 1200 mAh. It does no power delays. It is a travel-ready action camera as it assures that your action camera is ready for recording without any delay.

SJCAM SJ8 pro has 2 microphones that record perfect and clear sounds. It also enables the noise cancellation function.
SJCAM SJ8 Pro has built-in wi-fi connectivity. You can switch from 2.4 GHz to faster 5 GHz to quickly transfer your files. It supports a 2.33-inches IPS touchscreen and a wide field of view of 170-degrees. SJCAM SJ8 pro has 7 layers of glass lens that ensure distortion-free high-resolution footage.

SJCAM SJ8 pro with a one-touch command button operates very smoothly. It supports free app download to connect your SJCAM SJ8 pro with your smartphone. The powerful SJCAM Zone app is for previewing and editing your footage. With the SJCAM Zone community, you can make friends and share your videos and pictures with them.


9. YI 4K Action and Sports Camera

  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: with the case, up to 30 meters
  • Battery life: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, UHD 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
  • Display: 2.2 inch LCD screen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Offers best for less money
Pros
  • It has a long battery life
  • It offers 1080p and 720p
  • It has a wide view angle of 155-degrees
  • It supports image stabilization
Cons
  • Expensive

YI 4K Action and Sports camera is undoubtedly one of the best helmet cameras. And comes under budget considering its features and functionality. It supports an Ambarella A9SE75 chip and an image sensor of Sony IMX377 with a seven-layer glass lens of high quality. All this is in a metal-designed case that looks just as good and reliable as it performs. You can easily mount YI 4K to your helmet or fix it on your wrist or handle of your bike.

It records high detailed 4K UHD videos at the frame rate of 30 frames per second and 60 Mbps. It reduces wind interference and tams vibrations, so the videos are recorded with minimal noise. It has a night vision recording, so you can record at lowlights or nighttime when it is dark and deliver vibrant images.

YI 4K Action and Sports camera have an electronic image stabilization function with an axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer that detects the position and change in motion. Its sensor reproduces the stable videos using an image cross border compensation algorithm when it detects tilt, impact, and shakiness.

It has a 1200 mAh lithium-ion, high voltage battery that is rechargeable and has a working life of 8-hours. It does not drain the battery and has low power consumption while having top-notch features. At 4K recording with a frame rate of 30 frames per second, it can work up to 120-minutes on a single charge. It has a durable, highly sensitive retina touchscreen with a 2.19-inches wide gorilla glass that prevents it from being broken on any impacts and prevents scratches.

YI 4K Action and Sports camera come with a sensitive touchscreen. And supports a built-in wi-fi and Bluetooth with high uploading and downloading speed and has anti-interference technology. It has a YI action app that provides you easy video and image editing. It also lets you share your videos on social media with a simple live stream feature. The temperature-resistant function prevents it from over-heating and keeps the temperature regular when you are shooting at high resolutions.


10. Garmin Virb Ultra 30

  • Key Specifications:
  • Waterproofing: Yes, up to 50 meters
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Resolution: 12MP stills, 720p at 120fps, 1080p at 60fps
  • Display: 1.75-inch touchscreen
  • Sensor: CMOS sensor
  • Reasons to buy: Amazing waterproof capability and blue-tooth audio options
Pros
  • It is waterproof up to 50 meters
  • It has a blue-tooth audio option
Cons
  • The battery drains out fast

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 action camera has introduced several exciting features in the action camera world. In addition to its GPS and motion sensors, it has a built-in 3-axis image stabilization technology. Garmin Virb Ultra 30 offers a 1.75-inches touchscreen and high-quality microphones, GPS capture, and G-sensor.

An outstanding G-matrix technology, which records performance data as those of you who enjoy being adventurous and ride downhill, will benefit most from it. It records data, including speed, heights, G-force, and heart rate. Heart rate can be recorded by connecting the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 with a heart rate monitor.

This fantastic smart action camera comes with the best technology G-matrix sensors that measure the GPS, the compass direction, and the temperature to notify the user of the changing weather. It can also connect with compatible ANT devices to collect and transfer data, such as smartwatches and heart rate devices, adding an exciting layer to its features.

Without a case, it is waterproof up to the depth of 50 meters in water and can record in temperature as low as -10 degrees centigrade, giving you a reason why you should consider this tough stuff.

With Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth microphones can also be attached to it to enhance audio quality. Voice control has impressive quality, and it is one of its key features. It starts on your voice command and stops or pauses recording at your voice command, and has a reminder feature of finding specific events.

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 has a good video quality of 4K at 30 footage per second and 1080p at 60 footage per second with a well-designed compatible application. The built-in Wi-Fi connectivity makes it one of the best action camera choices.


What is the best action camera?

As the name indicates, an action camera is a compact, rugged and fast action capturing device intended for sports and adventures. Whether it’s a biker, who wants to record his ride in a desert or a rock climber documenting his climb, a surfer against the massive waves, or a snowboarder showing his skills on the snow. An action cam is every adventurer’s delight.

What to look for when buying the best action camera?

Designed for capturing action, these cameras bring unique features to the table, including small size and portability. But there are certain features that you must consider going through before deciding on the best action camera for you.

Lens Type:

Other than traditional action cams that use a simple lens system to provide you with a field of view around 180 degrees max, you now also have the option of 360 action cameras that offers complete 360 degrees coverage. These cameras use multiple fish eye lenses to give you a panoramic view of the surrounding. You can record everything in Ultra High-resolution spherical video that you can later edit to 1080p using whatever angles, zooms, and pans you want. The result is a highly professional and stabilized video that is otherwise impossible with a traditional action camera.

But you can’t use this video straight from your camera to your social media like traditional action cameras, you have to do an extra step of editing it either in your camera or on your laptop. These 360 action cameras are comparatively difficult to use, and most people would rather go for traditional action cams. But still, it is worth looking into these cameras before making your final buying decision.

Video resolution:

Despite being their small and portable size, these cameras come with fantastic video and photography capability. They can record high-quality footage in 4K and now even 5K, and with 1080p as being the norm. Normally the higher the video resolution they offer, the higher their price and the lesser the battery life. 1080p is ideal for bikers who prefer longer recordings, while a Vlogger and content creator may need 4K, and pro may want to invest in the higher 5K.

Video stabilization:

The best action cameras now come with either optical or electronic image stabilization. Since action cameras are intended for action, the better the in-built stabilization, the better is the camera option.

Audio:

The audio quality of your action camera can not be ignored. Since it is the time of social media, and live streaming is a thing these days for adventurers and youtube vloggers, the audio quality of the action cameras is really important. Most action cameras now come with internal microphones with good audio quality. But sooner or later you will need good external microphones for better audio quality. So it is recommended to look for external microphone support when buying an action camera.

Mounting system:

Action cameras provide the best mounting capability possible, better than any other category of cameras can provide. They come with various mounts like helmet-mount, clamp-mount, handlebar-mount, strap-mount, suction cup-mount, and adhesive mount, and even pet mount that you can choose from. However, an action camera with a universal mount system would be an ideal choice compatible with third-party mounts.

Build and design:

A camera with ruggedized features such as reinforced glass for screen and lens, waterproofing, and weather sealing is preferred. Moreover, since you’ll be mounting it on your helmet now and then, your action camera is preferable to have small size and lightweight to save you from the pain in the neck.

Ease of use :

Easy to use controls, and an easy to use App is ideal. Plus a touch screen and live view front screen, and voice commands are additional features that you must look into depending on your use.

Battery life:

The more its battery life, the better the action camera is. But an action camera with a removable battery is ideal so that you can replace it with a fresh one easily whenever the battery runs off amidst your adventure.

Storage:

Saving footage can take up a lot of storage space. And no one wants to run out of space amid the adventure. So it is always recommended to go for a higher count of SD support.

Reliable wireless connectivity:

To offload images and edit the footage, you will need to connect your action cam with your cell phone or laptop. And for that, your best action cam must come with a WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity feature.

Webcam facility:

It’s great when you can use your action camera as a webcam, though, not every action camera may have it. But for YouTubers and social media users, this feature can come in handy, and one must check for it in the camera before buying it if interested in live streaming.


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