Top 10 Best Action Cameras of the Year for Sports & Adventure

Best Action Cameras

Check out the 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 cameras is constantly expanding; now, it is easy to get confused about the variety of models. If you ask a sales assistant for advice, you can buy the product any store wants to sell the most. In this regard, my list of the best action cameras is becoming very relevant, which will significantly simplify your choice.

Please note that this rating consists of models presented on 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 the best gimbals for action cameras, which tells in all the details about what characteristics you should pay attention to select a gimbal for an action camera.

List of Top 10 Best Action Cameras of The Year

  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

Review of Top 10 Best Action Cameras for Sports & Adventure

Review of Top 10 Best Action Cameras for Sports & Adventure
Review of Top 10 Best Action Cameras for Sports & Adventure

1. SJCAM SJ5000X ELITE

No. 1 Best Action Cameras SJCAM-SJ5000X-ELITE
Winner – Best Action Camera
  • 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 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 interpolate the picture up to 2K at 30 fps or 4K at 24 fps.

The model owners note no particular sense in the last two modes, but FHD is excellent. The viewing angle is adjustable – from 70 to 170 degrees. It 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 than 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.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon and buy it.

Pros:

  • The excellent picture quality when shooting in FHD.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Motion Sensor.
  • An extensive set of accessories included.
  • It can be charged from a power bank.
  • Convenient application for control from a smartphone.
  • Adjustable viewing angle.
  • Good electronic stabilization.

Cons:

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

2. XIAOMI MIJIA 360 PANORAMIC CAMERA

Second - Best Action Cameras
Second Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 relatively inexpensive device with pleasant parameters 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 has a straightforward interface, is often updated, but still, some users note that the software does not always work stably.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

3. DJI OSMO POCKET

DJI OSMO POCKET
Third Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 an indestructible device that can shoot under challenging conditions and easily survive in them. In 2020, more devices fell under the concept of an action camera. One of them is the DJI Osmo Pocket. The model appeared in 2018 and became an exciting 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.

In appearance, the DJI Osmo Pocket strongly resembles a gimbal, which has a miniature camera instead of the mount for a smartphone or camera. Unfortunately, it does not have a wide viewing angle (only 80 degrees), but it has excellent 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; you can also purchase a separate adapter for an external microphone.

The device has many exciting 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 essential to understand that the DJI Osmo Pocket is not a device for everyone. For fans of extreme sports, the camera is not suitable since, due to the peculiarities of the mechanical stabilizer, shocks, and falls guarantee instant death. In bad weather, it is inconvenient to use it. But this is an excellent product for those who like to shoot videos in good weather without making a lot of effort.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

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

4. DJI OSMO ACTION

DJI-OSMO-ACTION
Fourth Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 a lens and a full-color LCD. In particular, such a device is the DJI Osmo Action.

This gadget can 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 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. It allows you to screw in some 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 videos but also time lapses or hyper lapses.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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
Fifth Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 full-fledged waterproofing inside it; because of it, 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 unique accessory containing a much better external microphone. GoPro will also 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. The action camera does not need to be inserted into a unique frame, scratching the body made of soft plastic. The product also received a GPS chip. It records in unique 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 also about the image; the pictures are 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 shooting a 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.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • A 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.

Cons:

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

6. SONY FDR X3000

Sony FDR X3000
6th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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. The device shoots a smoother picture compared to competitors – 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 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.

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

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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
7th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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. It means that the device can shoot absolutely everything around; its angle of view is whole 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 and saving the video in a more understandable format for YouTube and TVs.

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

This model differs from the usual GoPro Hero 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. 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 in 4K even a little higher resolution. It’s nice that, in any case, the user has access to proprietary electronic stabilization.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

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

8. RICOH THETA V

RICOH-THETA-V
8th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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.

It is another unusual action camera and again with panoramic shooting. The model appeared back in 2017, but even in 2020, it remains relevant and one of the best in the segment. Video is shot here at 4K resolution at 30 fps and is carried out on its drive, 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.

The camera boasts an ergonomic design, easy operation, and four 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 entirely 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.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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
9th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 a much better quality of its 5.7K than in other devices with this resolution.

Please note that this model provides a 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 so that in a few seconds, you can change the camera and start shooting video in 4K or vice versa to 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.

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.

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

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Incomplete software.
  • There are no reviews about the structure’s durability; 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
10th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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 most extended battery life.
  • A non-removable battery is used.

11. GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30

GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30
11th Choice: Best Action Cameras
  • 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 many advanced components.

The device records all movements of a person, which can then be displayed on a map while 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 hand. The only high cost can confuse. Unfortunately, Garmin products have never been cheap.

If you are interested, you can check the latest price on Amazon & buy it.

Pros:

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

Cons:

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