With Christmas just around the corner, an action camera is the perfect gift for someone who loves outdoor action sports. But it’s hard to know which the best action camera is when it comes to purchasing one. Each one seems so different in many of the features and specifications. But these days, almost all top-end action cameras share many common features and specs.
Some of the ‘must-have’ features that nearly all the top brand cameras have include picture stabilization, a waterproof casing, a touch screen (or two), 4K resolution, and remote control compatibility. There’s a lot of variety in this industry, which can make choosing the best action camera for your needs a challenge. Image quality is one of the most crucial aspects to consider, and frame rates are always preferable for maximum smoothness.
We can help you choose the perfect action camera for your needs if you’re searching for a light-weight, high-resolution, mountable, robust waterproof camera to take on your next fantastic adventure.
Best three action camera: Product Review
1. GoPro Hero 10 Black
There’s a reason why GoPro is frequently the first brand name that springs to mind when you think about action cameras. GoPros are known as ‘THE’ action camera. They were the first major action camera on the scene with their small, light, and well-engineered HERO range of cameras that simply produced quality footage in a reliable package. It’s often the first choice for action camera shoppers for these reasons.
The Hero 10 Black (8/10, WIRED Recommends) builds on its predecessors with a new CPU that improves picture stabilization, speeds up capture times, and extracts more excellent resolution from the 23.6-megapixel sensor. The Hero 10 is similar to the Hero 9 in looks, but it has a bit more processing power and longer lasting battery.
The Hero series has always been a step ahead of the competition regarding picture stabilization, arguably the essential function of an action camera. The Hero 10 Black improves on this by offering 5.3K, 30-fps footage with “HyperSmooth 4” – their trademark stabilization system. At 5.3K resolution, you get gimbal-like smoothness while still having enough picture to crop and output to 4K.
- 5.3K video at 30 fps
- New CPU for better picture stabilization
- Video tone mapping
- Improved noise reduction
- Excellent image resolution
- Water-resistant hard case
- Higher cost camera
- Moderate learning curve
GoPro has been the leader in the action camera game since the start, but in the last few years, there has been some tough competition with new cameras coming onto the market which are just as capable with a smaller price tag.
2. Insta360 One R Twin Edition Camera
Number 2 on our list of the best 3 action cameras includes the Insta360 One R Twin Edition – “Twin edition” meaning this package includes two interchangeable lenses – a 4K wide-angle lens for standard forward-facing video, and a 5.7K 360 degree lens.
So no matter what application you’re looking for, the Insta360 has it and changing lenses is as simple as putting Lego blocks together.
The big selling point of the One R is the camera’s modular construction which enables you to swap out the wide-angle 4K camera for the 360 lens and vise-versa. In addition, the camera offers several exciting features, such as great video stabilization and complete editing software to get the angles from the 360 deg video that you want.
Insta360 has issued several firmware upgrades for the One R that have enhanced low-light performance and included many new functions, including the option to use the One R as a webcam. Not only is it wonderful to have some new shooting capabilities, but it’s also nice to have such consistent support in the form of updates rather than releasing a brand new camera that you need to buy every year.
The One R’s display can be spun around to frame yourself in your videos (great for vlogging), but its diminutive size (smaller than that of the GoPro Hero) makes navigating on-screen menus a little difficult. Nonetheless, this is a highly versatile action camera.
- Can shoot 360 deg video or 4K wide-angle
- Interchangeable lenses
- Can double as webcam
- Easy user ability
- Enhanced low-light performance
- 5.7K 360 video (good quality after cropping and zooming)
- Lower image resolution with still shots
Insta360 is known for producing the most popular 360 deg action cameras, which is why it’s on out list. But we understand that 360 deg video is not for everyone. So if that’s you, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also get the Insta360 One R with either the single wide-angle 4k lens or the 360 deg lens – not the Twin pack, so you can choose the package which suits your needs and budget best.
3. DJI Action 2
DJI’s new Action 2 action camera is lightweight and well-built. The Action 2 is waterproof and easily mounted on a helmet or chest. This is the second action camera in the DJI Action camera series. Let’s see if this newer DJI gizmo delivers on its promises.
The first thing that strikes you when looking at the new Action 2 is its incredible compact size and design. It’s smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Osmo Action. The new unit weighs only 56g versus 124g in the previous iteration. It’s so light that it won’t bother you when worn.
The front has a 1.4-inch screen with 300PPI pixels that illuminates nicely for outside viewing. A big lens protector protects it to the right. The Action 2’s selling point is the attachable front-facing screen. When in front mode, you can see what you’re shooting (great for vlogging) if you press the side button twice or double-tap the screen.
Uncover a USB-C port and a microSD card slot on the Action’s right side. In addition to the battery, the touch screen is positioned on the rear. They are spread over the top and right sides, offering good click feedback while staying soft.
- Small, compact design
- Front color touch screen
- 12MP sensor
- Ultra-wide-angle lens (155 deg compared to 145 deg in prev. model)
- Waterproof to 10m
- Structural durability concern because of ultra light weight
- 4K video not amazing quality but image stabilization smooths it out
These are the 3 action cameras of 2021 that we have found to be the best buys for those looking for a serious and reliable action camera. The Insta360 sticks out thanks to it’s 360 video capabilities. If you’re not entirely into 360 video, then either one of these cameras will be the perfect tool for capturing all of your thrilling, and breathtaking adventures – whether you’re skiing, skydiving, mountain biking, diving underwater or want to vlog your life.