We had some great HD action camera releases this year – but which is the best action camera of 2011?
This short article will take a look at all the popular action cameras released this year from the top brands like GoPro, Drift Innovation and Contour and hopefully we can decide on a winner!
This info might come in handy if you want to make a comparison before you buy or are looking for the best action camera to get for yourself or someone special at Christmas time.
1. Drift HD
The Drift HD action camera is a new release from Drift Innovation. This new model is 25% smaller than their previous cameras such as the HD170 Stealth.
It packs some killer features that make this possibly the best action camera of 2011.
- Full HD 1080p and many other HD resolution options (960p, 720p, WVGA)
- Built-in LCD Color screen 1.5″
- Remote Control for switching recording on and off (up to 5 meters)
- Rotating 170 degree wide angle lens
- Improved rear hatch (interchangeable water-resistant hatch)
- Improved goggle mounts and other various mounts
- Re-chargeable Li-Ion battery
- 1 Year Warranty
The retail price for the Drift HD is $369.00. It may not be the cheapest action camera on the market, but you get some unique features which may justify the higher price.
This particular camera will be available in Mid-November and if you pre-order it, you should have it in time for Christmas this year.
The Drift HD can be pre-ordered online here for $369.00 and will be available for shipping soon.
All orders of cameras comes with free shipping (US and Canada) and a free filming guide.
If you want to learn more about the Drift HD, you can read my full Drift HD review to get all the specs and features of this action camera.
2. Contour ROAM
The ContourROAM could be called the best “budget HD action camera” of 2011 because of the very attractive low-price tag while still giving you full HD video quality and overall quality that the Contour brand is famous for.
Because the ROAM is a basic camera, you do miss out on a few of the features that some of the higher spec cameras come with, however, this camera still has pretty much everything you need to record awesome HD video.
- Full HD 1080p and many other res options (960p, 720p)
- Slow motion capable (30fps – 60fps)
- Still photos (5 megapixels)
- Rotating wide-angle lens (170 degree angle)
- Waterproof (up to 1 meter)
- Light-weight and compact design
- Easy to use – Utilizes the famous Contour single on-off switch
- Lots of mounting options
- 180 days warranty
- Very affordable at just $199.00
The low price of just $199 makes this the cheapest 1080p HD action camera from Contour and all other competing brands like Drift and GoPro.
The new Contour ROAM model could very well be a contender for the best action camera of 2011 because of these two factors – low price and high quality.
It’s ideal for anyone who just wants to a HD action camera to video their extreme sports but doesn’t want to fork out a lot of money.
Just note that the Contour ROAM can’t do 60fps and the battery is internal so you can’t take a spare battery with you on long trips. You have to re-charge the camera via USB or car/wall charger.
The Contour ROAM is available for sale online for $199.00 with free shipping (US and Canada) and bonus filming guide.
To learn more about this new affordable action camera, read my full Contour ROAM review here.
Other releases from Contour in 2011 were the ContourGPS and the Contour+.
These cameras are advanced cameras equipped with GPS and other high-tech features suitable for professional use.
They are on the higher end of the price scale so if you don’t mind paying more for some awesome professional features, check out my ContourGPS review and Contour+ review to learn all about these models.
3. GoPro HD HERO 960
The GoPro 960 is GoPro’s budget action camera release for 2011.
GoPro has always been known for it’s competitive prices and the 960 model is the cheapest model released from GoPro and the overall cheapest HD action camera within the big named brands coming in at a very affordable $179.00.
The reason why it’s this cheap is because it doesn’t do 1080p HD and is limited in a couple of other features.
It tops out at 960p which is still HD and very good quality, however if you’re looking for a camera that can produce Full HD video, then the GoPro 960 isn’t for you.
Let’s take a look at the specs of this camera…
- 960 HD video (also choose from 720p and WVGA)
- Can do slow-mo replays (60 fps in WVGA only)
- Wide-angle lens (not rotatable)
- Can take 5 MP still photos
- Water proof case (up to 60 meters)
- 1 year warranty
Although the GoPro 960 can’t do 1080p, it still produces awesome 960p video which you may find sufficient for use on your PC and for video uploading. You still get all the other neat features and quality that you can expect from GoPro.
You don’t however, get a lot of mounts with the 960 model like you do with the GoPro Motorsports or Surf Hero. So if you wanted to add on a mount or two, the price may be just as much as getting one of the other GoPro packages with the HD camera.
The GoPro HD Hero 960 is available for just $179.00 which includes free shipping (US and Canada) and free shipping guide.
For more info on this camera, go and read my GoPro 960 review to get all the specs and details.
4. GoPro 3D System
While this isn’t a camera in itself, GoPro released the GoPro 3D system which allows you to put two GoPro HD cameras side by side and make 3D video.
This is the first 3D set up for action cameras and really made the headlines all around the internet.
Here’s what you need to make the GoPro 3D system work:
- The GoPro 3D system (includes special waterproof housing, sync cable and 3d glasses)
- 2 x GoPro HD Hero cameras (not compatible with GoPro 960 or SD Gopro)
- 3d video editing software (you get this free with your purchase)
The system with the cases is on sale for $99.99 (not including the cameras). Basically, this includes the case, cable, galsses and software.
So you will need two HD GoPro cameras lying around, you’ll also have to buy them (or just one more if you already have one). You get a cool pair of blue and red 3D glasses too so you can watch on your PC or TV and even on Youtube.
The good thing is that all GoPro mounts can be used with this system so your existing mounts and other accessories like batteries can be used.
The GoPro 3D system is available for sale online for $99.99 (not including GoPro cameras) with free shipping (US and Canada) with free filming guide.
Learn more about the 3D system here on my other post.
In my opinion, the Drift HD takes the cake for being the best action camera of 2011. The high tech features and specs and competitive pricing make it a clear winner.
– Drift Cam
p.s. Don’t forget you can get my free exclusive bonuses when you purchase any action camera at the online store that I recommend through the links my this website.