The Best Action Cameras of Year 2020, Who’ll Also Be in Trend in 2021

  • Reviews
  • 19 min read
Best Action Cameras

Check out our selection of best action cameras, if you don’t want to waste your time picking a meticulous action camera model? As you know the range of action camera is constantly expanding, now it is easy to get confused in the variety of models. If you ask a sales assistant for advice, you can buy the product that any store wants to sell the most. In this regard, our list of the best action cameras is becoming very relevant, which will greatly simplify your choice.

Please note that this rating consists of models presented in online e-commerce sites. In this regard, the price may vary on in country retail chains. We also recommend that you read the article on choosing best gimbals for action cameras, which tells in all the details about what characteristics you should pay attention to choose a gimbal for an action camera.

Content

  1. SJCAM SJ5000X Elite
  2. Xiaomi Mijia 360 Panoramic Camera
  3. DJI Osmo Pocket
  4. DJI Osmo Action
  5. GOPRO Hero 8
  6. Sony FDR X3000
  7. GOPro Max
  8. RICOH THETA V
  9. Insta 360 One R Twin
  10. GoPro Hero 5 Session
  11. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

1. SJCAM SJ5000X ELITE

SJCAM-SJ5000X-ELITE
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3″, 12 MP
  • Connectors: Micro USB
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 68 Grams
  • Price: from $138

Any device requires training and it is not very logical to start acquaintance with action cameras starting from expensive models. In such a situation, it makes sense to buy an affordable option. For such purposes, the SJCAM SJ5000X Elite camera has proven itself well.

It received a decent matrix Sony IMX078, which can shoot in FHD at 60 fps or can interpolate the picture up to 2K at 30 fps or 4K at 24 fps. The owners of the model note that there is no special sense in the last two modes, but FHD is excellent. The viewing angle is adjustable – from 70 to 170 degrees. This will remove the fish-eye effect if you don’t like it. There is electronic stabilization. It works pretty well, especially if you remember that the model is much cheaper compared to many competitors.

In addition, a motion sensor was introduced into the device, which will allow it to be used as a video recorder in a car. There is also a Wi-Fi module for connecting with smartphones, which, through a proprietary application, will allow you to control the camera. However, you can do without them. Autonomy is enough for 70 minutes of continuous video, all settings and the resulting picture can be viewed on a 2-inch screen. The model comes with an excellent set of accessories, including an aqua box with which the camera can dive to a depth of 30 meters.

Advantages:

  • Excellent picture quality when shooting in FHD.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Motion Sensor.
  • A large set of accessories included.
  • Can be charged from a power bank.
  • Convenient application for control from a smartphone.
  • Adjustable viewing angle.
  • Good electronic stabilization.

Disadvantages:

  • Mediocre picture in low light.
  • Poor sound recording.
  • It gets very hot, but there were no problems because of this.

2. XIAOMI MIJIA 360 PANORAMIC CAMERA

  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3″, 12 MP (2 pcs)
  • Connectors: Micro USB
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 109 Grams
  • Price: from $350

This panoramic action camera “Xiaomi Mijia 360” from Xiaomi is a fairly inexpensive device with parameters that are pleasant for this price. Shooting here is possible at a maximum resolution of 3.5K with 30 fps, there is electronic stabilization. The model received IP67 protection, which will protect it from moisture and dust, and it can also operate at temperatures from 10 to 45 degrees.

Recording here is carried out on MicroSD memory cards up to 128 GB, the battery will last for 75 minutes of operation with the Wi-Fi module turned on. At the same time, the device supports fast charging QC 2.0. For ease of use, you can install a proprietary application on smartphones. It is Russian-language, has a clear interface, is often updated, but still some users note that the software does not always work stably.

Advantages:

  • Good quality photos.
  • Convenient smartphone app.
  • Frequent updates.
  • Tripod included.
  • Moisture protection.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Can work at low temperatures.

Disadvantages:

  • Few features.
  • The software does not work correctly on some smartphones.

3. DJI OSMO POCKET

DJI OSMO POCKET
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3″, 12 MP
  • Connectors: Type-C
  • Wireless Modules: No
  • Weight: 116 Grams
  • Price: from $249

For many, an action camera is a kind of indestructible device that can shoot in difficult conditions and will easily survive in them. In 2020, more devices fall under the concept of an action camera. One of them is the DJI Osmo Pocket. The model appeared in 2018 and became a very interesting option for a separate category of users.

The trick of this camera is that it is designed more for bloggers who do not shoot reviews, but focus on creating reports and similar materials. However, it is also suitable for those who just want to record what is happening around them and are looking for a convenient technique for this.

In appearance, the DJI Osmo Pocket strongly resembles a gimbal, which has a miniature camera instead of a mount for a smartphone or camera. Unfortunately, it does not have a wide viewing angle (only 80 degrees), but it has very cool optical stabilization and records video in 4K at 60 fps. It is also a very compact, lightweight and ergonomic device that when folded is easy to carry in a jeans pocket, and in working order is easy to hold throughout the entire shooting. According to the manufacturer, the battery will last for 2 hours of operation, however, everything depends a lot on the mode. In reality, recording videos in 4K will drain the battery in 40-50 minutes.

The built-in touch screen is used for control, recording is carried out on microSD cards up to 256 GB. The model also has an adapter for connecting smartphones on Android or iOS, in addition, you can purchase a separate adapter for an external microphone.

The device has many interesting modes – face and object tracking, normal and dynamic time-lapse, the ability to create panoramic photos stitched together from 3 pictures and much more.

It is important to understand that the DJI Osmo Pocket is not a device for everyone. For fans of extreme sports, the camera is definitely not suitable, since due to the peculiarities of the mechanical stabilizer, shocks and falls guarantee instant death, and in bad weather it is inconvenient to use it. But for those who like to shoot video in good weather, without making a lot of effort, this is a great product.

Advantages:

  • Excellent image quality.
  • A functional application for a smartphone with a large number of modes and settings.
  • Ease of use.
  • Excellent stabilization.
  • Compactness and ergonomics.

Disadvantages:

  • Small viewing angle.
  • There is no protection.
  • The built-in microphones on the street do not provide very good sound quality.
  • No tripod mountable.
  • There are no built-in wireless modules – only in the form of additional accessories with a rather high price tag.

4. DJI OSMO ACTION

DJI-OSMO-ACTION
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3 inches, 12 MP
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 124 Grams
  • Price: from $197.

When shooting a vlog with an action camera, one problem usually arises: you do not know if your face and landmarks in the background are in the frame. And to fill up the horizon in this way is easy. Fortunately, devices are beginning to appear, the front panel of which has not only a lens, but also a full color LCD display. In particular, such a device is the DJI Osmo Action.

This gadget is able to boast not only two screens, switching between which is carried out by double-tapping with two fingers or long pressing the Mode button, but also high-quality electronic stabilization. And it needs a separate conversation.

This function is called Rocksteady. Stabilization works even when shooting at 4K resolution at 60fps. It is disabled only when the frame rate is increased to 100 FPS or higher. The stabilization cuts the picture a lot, making the viewing angle less impressive, but almost completely eliminates any shaking. Independent testing has shown Rocksteady to perform better than the GoPro Hero7. However, it must be admitted that with insufficient illumination, stabilization completely fails to cope with its task, which is why it has to be turned off so as not to spoil the picture.

This model uses a replaceable front lens. This allows you to screw in some kind of filter instead of it – for example, a polarizing one. There is a radiator grill under the lens – do not confuse it with a microphone. Alas, the microphones are located here in less convenient places – on the side and top ends. If you do not use a frame-mount, you can accidentally block the microphone holes with your fingers at first. And in any case, in terms of sound quality, the device is inferior to the Sony FDR-X3000 – the waterproof membrane traditionally spoils everything.

Shooting here is carried out on the already familiar 12-megapixel matrix, created by Sony. As mentioned above, content can be saved in 4K resolution. You can shoot not only traditional video, but also time lapses or hyper lapses.

Advantages:

  • There is a front display.
  • Hyper-lapse shooting is available.
  • Good water resistance – up to 11 meters.
  • Decent battery life.
  • Bitrate up to 100 Mbps.

Disadvantages:

  • An external microphone requires a proprietary adapter.
  • Stabilization does not work when shooting HDR video.
  • Stabilization spoils the picture in low light.
  • Not the best sound quality.

5. GOPRO HERO 8

GOPRO-HERO-8
  • Matrix: CMOS, 12 MP
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Wireless modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 103 Grams
  • Price: from $279.

It is one of the lightest action cameras on the market. At the same time, there is a full-fledged waterproofing inside it, thanks to which the device is submerged to a 10 meter depth without any problems. And because of it, I must admit, the device writes sound rather mediocre. Fortunately, the situation is fixable, you just need to buy a special accessory containing a much better external microphone. GoPro is also going to sell an additional display and light, which you do not need to acquire.

The main innovation of this model is a built-in mount that extends from the bottom. Now the action camera does not need to be inserted into a special frame, scratching the body made of soft plastic. The product also received a GPS chip. It records in special tags readings about speed and altitude above sea level. In the future, you can display this data on video.

GoPro Hero 8 is not about sound, but about image. The picture is written in very high quality. The camera squeezes all the juice out of the 100 megabit bit rate. It also stabilizes the image. And it does it better than the previous model of this company. Stabilization is possible even when you are shooting 4K video at 60fps, which is also good news.

Spectacular hyper-laps can be captured with this camera. Even in the frame, something interesting begins to happen, then the picture can be slowed down immediately by tapping on the screen. The next tap returns the hyper-lapse shooting mode, when one or two frames are taken every second.

Advantages:

  • Built-in mount is used.
  • Outstanding 4K video quality.
  • Additional accessories supported.
  • High quality electronic stabilization.
  • Thoughtful hyperlapse shooting mode.
  • Decent water resistance.
  • There is a GPS chip.

Disadvantages:

  • Mediocre recording sound quality.
  • The second display remains monochrome.
  • Malfunctions in the software are not excluded.

6. SONY FDR X3000

Sony FDR X3000
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.5 Inches, 8.2 MP
  • Ports: micro-USB, micro-HDMI, mic-in
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
  • Weight: 114 Grams
  • Price: from $348.

The Sony FDR-X3000 is one of the few action cameras equipped with an optical stabilizer. In comparison with competitors, the device shoots a smoother picture – the shaking is noticeable, but almost does not distract from viewing. The downside of this solution is the non-standard design – a mechanical stabilizer for GoPro paired with a Sony camera will not work. All other accessories are also unique for this device.

The FDR-X3000 shoots at a maximum resolution of 4K at up to 30 fps – electronic image stabilization is disabled in this mode; only optical image stabilization remains. Full HD (1080p) can write up to 120 fps and HD (720p) – up to 240 fps.

Separately, it should be noted the presence of a large number of connectors and wireless modules. You can even connect an external microphone to the camera. However, the built-in does its job very well – in this regard, the Sony product is ahead of many competitors. A GPS chip may also come in handy, which will allow you to put geotags.

This is the same camera that comes complete with a remote control. The smartphone can also be used as a remote control, a tablet or a smartwatch Sony Smart Watch 3, so buying such equipment does not make much sense.

Advantages:

  • NFC and GPS are present.
  • 4K video recording is possible.
  • The lens is supplemented with an optical stabilizer.
  • High bitrate – up to 100 Mbps.
  • High quality sound;
  • There is a microphone input.
  • The set includes a waterproof box.

Disadvantages:

  • The design assumes the use of only original accessories.
  • In the aqua box, the sound is almost completely muffled.
  • The camera does not deal well with wind noise.

7. GOPRO MAX

GOPRO-MAX
  • Matrix: CMOS, 16.6 MP (2 Pcs.)
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Weight: 154 Grams
  • Price: from $449.

This gadget combines two devices at once. The first is a panoramic camera. This means that the device is capable of shooting absolutely everything around, in fact, its angle of view is full 360 degrees. This parameter was achieved through the introduction of two wide-angle lenses. In the future, you can keep the original result, allowing the viewer to choose what to look at. But it’s better to do a little editing using the GoPro App, pre-selecting the desired angles, saving the video in a format that is more understandable for YouTube and TVs.

Through the application, you can change angles almost constantly, throughout the video. This way you can get a result that is unattainable by means of a standard action camera, no matter how cleverly you twirl it in your hand.

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This model differs from the usual GoPro Hero not only in a large number of lenses and increased dimensions. The device includes six microphones that record sound from all directions. And the American manufacturer decided to introduce a GPS chip into its creation that stores geographic coordinates.

The second gadget that is combined in this device is, of course, an action camera. From it there is moisture protection, the ability to record slow-motion video and support for a large number of mounts. To fix the latter, two retractable hinges are used, the frame is no longer required. To control the device, buttons and a touchscreen display located on one side of the camera are used. The result is written in 4K or even a little higher resolution. It’s nice that in any case, the user has access to proprietary electronic stabilization.

Advantages:

  • The sound is recorded using six microphones.
  • Retractable mount.
  • High quality 4K video with stabilization.
  • Advanced hyper-laps are supported.
  • Convenient LCD touch screen.
  • High bitrate up to 78 Mbps.
  • Decent water resistance.

Disadvantages:

  • When shooting a vlog, the angle of view will seem too wide.

8. RICOH THETA V

RICOH-THETA-V
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3″, 12 MP (2 Pcs)
  • Connectors: Micro USB, Microphone Jack
  • Wireless modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 121 Grams
  • Price: from $359.

Another unusual action camera and again with panoramic shooting. The model appeared back in 2017, but even in 2020 it remains not only relevant, but also one of the best in the segment. Video is shot here at 4K resolution at 30 fps and is carried out on its own drive, which is 19 GB. At the same time, there is Wi-Fi, when connected via which streaming is possible. In addition, it can be used to connect to a smartphone and control shooting and camera settings through the proprietary application. The second connection option is Bluetooth; however, many users call it completely useless.

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The camera boasts an ergonomic design, easy operation, and 4 microphones for high-quality sound recording. The battery will last for 80 minutes if you write to the internal storage. In broadcast mode, it will sit down on average in 40 minutes. It is worth noting that the model can work completely independently, but its potential is revealed much better with a smartphone or laptop. There are two separate applications for post-processing photos and videos – Theta Plus and Theta Plus Video.

Advantages:

  • Sophisticated design.
  • Good photo quality during daylight hours and at dusk.
  • Functional applications for Android.
  • Good sound quality.
  • Convenient management.
  • There is a possibility of live broadcasts.
  • Built-in memory.

Disadvantages:

  • When connected to a smartphone, it sits down quickly.
  • No microSD support.
  • Expensive accessories.

9. INSTA 360 ONE R TWIN

INSTA 360 ONE R TWIN
  • Matrix: Not specified.
  • Connectors: Type-C
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 121/130 Grams
  • Price: from $479.

Insta 360 One R is a modular action camera that, when fully loaded (twin version), offers users two cameras at once – wide-angle 4K (up to 30 fps) and 365 degrees in super 5.7K (up to 30 fps). The “super” prefix is ​​not used by chance, since the manufacturer insists on much better quality of its 5.7K than in other devices with this resolution. It should be noted right away that this model provides proprietary stabilization Flow State, which without additional equipment (and therefore without increasing the size of the device) offers effective image stabilization. This technology is used in other action cameras of the company and has proven itself well.

A feature of Insta 360 One R is precisely the modularity of the system – the design is made in such a way that in a few seconds you can change the camera and start shooting video in 4K or vice versa go 360 degrees. At the same time, the wide-angle module can be put on the battery base in the selfie mode or with a lens from the user.

This design allows the manufacturer to produce other modules, which means that users will be able to buy them and thus upgrade the device, and not look after a new camera if the available capabilities are not enough.

Among the features of the camera are moisture protection when immersed up to 5 meters, autonomy for 70 minutes, HDR support, voice control, work with Android and Apple smartphones, using the Apple Watch as a remote control, as well as connecting Air Pods for sound recording and much more. Among the modes – tracking the object, slow motion, night, shooting the starry sky.

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The model turned out to be quite expensive, but considering the package bundle and functionality, it will become a very interesting acquisition. In addition, a lot of accessories are provided for it, which will take the capabilities of the device to a new level.

Advantages:

  • Modular system
  • Effective stabilization.
  • Basic moisture protection – up to 5 meters.
  • Many interesting modes.
  • Ease of assembly – modules can be changed in a few seconds.
  • Large selection of accessories.

Disadvantages:

  • Incomplete software.
  • There are no reviews about the durability of the structure, there are concerns that with frequent changes of the camera module, the connectors will quickly fail.
  • The minimum number of interfaces (due to the presence of moisture protection).

10. GOPRO HERO5 SESSION

GOPRO HERO5 SESSION
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3 Inches, 10 MP
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 74 Grams
  • Price: from $719.

At one time, the American company GoPro decided to release an inexpensive action camera. As a result, the HERO5 Session was born and became a real hit. Buyers loved the tiny size of the device. The creators had to endow the product with simplified components, but this did not eliminate the camera from supporting shooting in 4K format. Voice control has not gone anywhere either. The Vloggers did not save on sound recording either – this process is carried out with two microphones. The savings are noticeable only on connectors and other little things.

Advantages:

  • Waterproof housing.
  • Miniature dimensions.
  • Good photo quality.
  • Good sound quality.
  • A large number of accessories.
  • Affordable price tag.
  • Voice control introduced.

Disadvantages:

  • There is no HDMI interface.
  • There is no NFC or GPS.
  • In terms of video quality, the camera is inferior to the flagship.
  • Not the longest battery life.
  • A non-removable battery is used.

11. GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30

GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30
  • Matrix: CMOS, 1/2.3 Inches, 12 MP
  • Ports: micro-USB, micro-HDMI
  • Wireless Modules: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT +
  • Weight: 65 Grams
  • Price: from $499.

Garmin products are built for the constant use of a GPS chip. This rule also applies to VIRB Ultra 30, which got into the rating of action cameras due to the presence of many advanced components. The device records all movements of a person, which can then be displayed on a map, at the same time embedding speed information in the video. Most of all this will appeal to cyclists, who also get the opportunity to connect, say, cadence and heart rate sensors. Also, the product is of interest due to moisture-absorbing elements, thanks to which it is not necessary to pack the camera in an aqua box in the rain or fog.

The minimum weight of the device is surprising – 65 grams are hardly felt in the hand. Only high cost can confuse. Unfortunately, Garmin products have never been cheap.

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Advantages:

  • Excellent GPS chip performance.
  • Small size and tiny weight.
  • It is possible to connect auxiliary sensors via ANT +.
  • Rich equipment including aqua box.
  • Built-in altimeter, compass, gyroscope and accelerometer.
  • Voice control introduced.
  • There is a color LCD display.

Disadvantages:

  • There is no NFC chip.
  • Branded accessories required.
  • The quality of the photos will not suit everyone.