Best Action Camera 2019: 10 Cameras For The GoPro Generation
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GoPro is practically synonymous with action cameras, and the company has continued to expand its offerings year after year, whether you're looking for a traditional action camera or a 360-degree camera like the GoPro Max. You can typically rely on GoPro cameras to have excellent build quality, high-resolution video recording, and plenty of frame rate options, making GoPros a sure bet if you want a high-quality action camera.
We've tested four of GoPro's flagship action cameras, and below you'll find our picks for the best GoPros at different price points. While GoPros aren't the cheapest action cameras you can get, older models stay available long after their initial releases, giving users with different budgets and needs more options to choose from without necessarily buying a camera secondhand.
The biggest difference between the HERO9 and the HERO10 is that the HERO9 uses an older processor, which doesn't perform quite as well in low light. It also has fewer frame rate options, though 5k up to 30 fps and 4k up to 60 fps is nothing to sneeze at, and you still get 240 fps when shooting in 1080p, giving you a lot of flexibility for high-speed recording. All in all, if you can live without the additional frame rate options and better low-light performance of the HERO10, this camera offers most of the same features at a lower price point, making it one of the best GoPro cameras you can get for the price.
If you're on an even tighter budget, consider going back a generation and getting the GoPro HERO8 Black. Though it's an older model, it's still a very capable action camera. It's highly portable, even a tad smaller and lighter than both the GoPro HERO9 Black and the GoPro HERO10 Black. It also has the same sturdy build quality you'd expect and the same level of waterproofing for underwater recording.
DJI is one of GoPro's biggest competitors, offering alternative action cameras that are right up there with GoPro for build quality. That said, GoPro cameras tend to deliver higher-quality video and more frame rate and resolution options.
AKASO is one of many GoPro knockoff brands, offering basic action cameras at cheaper price points. That said, GoPros are much better built than AKASO cameras and typically have significantly better video quality with higher resolution and frame rate options. So, while an AKASO camera can do if you're on a very tight budget, GoPros are more expensive for good reason.
After testing new cameras from GoPro and Insta360, we think that the Hero10 Black is best for most people, the Hero11 Black is best for more serious social media, and the Insta360 X3 is the best 360 camera.
If you want to create videos that offer unique views and angles, as well as be able to capture everything, everywhere, all at once, the Insta360 X3 is a 360 action camera that can double as a traditional action camera. Overall, the GoPro Hero10 and Hero11 are easier to use and their image quality is a little better, but the X3 offers far more creative options for people looking to elevate their videos beyond what the GoPro cameras can do.
GoPro's second-generation 360-degree action camera, the Max ($499.99), is a lot friendlier to use than its first effort, the Fusion. You don't have to fiddle with dual memory cards, the software tools to work with 360 footage are a lot better now, and the camera has a touch screen so you can more easily adjust settings. It costs a bit more than our favorite action camera, the GoPro Hero8 Black, an item that's a better fit for most action videographers, but is worth a look if you're all-in on 360-degree capture and editing.
The Max is limited to 24 or 30fps when using both of its lenses at launch. But many who are used to using action cameras prefer a quicker frame rate, whether it be to better capture fast motion or for some flexibility for slow-motion playback. The Hero8 Black can push to 240fps at 1080p quality.
At its best, the GoPro is a fantastic piece of kit. These small and incredibly rugged little action cameras offer class-leading video and audio, a wealth of creative modes and can often be picked up for a very reasonable price. And, while GoPro has built its reputation off of documenting some of the most extreme activities going, its easy-to-use, versatile line of cameras are just as at home with vloggers, commuters and holidaymakers.
If you're a seasoned action camera veteran looking for a comprehensive list of the best GoPro action cameras on the market, feel free to scroll further down the page, where you'll find our top picks. Newcomers, however, should start with our brief guide that explains how to find the best GoPro for you.
The Hero 11 Black packs everything you'd expect from flagship action cam. Spec-wise it supports 5.3K video recording at up to 60fps, 4K at up to 120fps and both 2.7K and Full HD clips can be recorded at up to 240fps. The Hero 11 also features GoPro's most effective video stabilisation yet, HyperSmooth 5.0. When enabled the camera is able to smooth out the wildest of camera movements, resulting in cinematically-smooth clips. There's even a Horizon Lock function which is able to correct a full 360-degrees of tilt, ensuring you're always able to maintain a perfectly level shot. Overall, the Hero 11 Black's image quality is the best we've encountered from an action camera.
Although no longer listed among GoPro's current lineup of action cams, if you shop around you can still find older Hero 8 Black cameras in stock. Compared to GoPro's latest offerings it is starting to show its age a little now. Its video recording options top out at 4K60, it lacks a front-facing display and it can't be used with GoPro's latest Mod accessories.
Additional features include multiple microscope modes and focus stacking. Currently priced $449.99 and available in black and red, the TG-6 is easily one of the best waterproof cameras currently available.
Also on board are all the usual features that make GoPro cameras great, chief among them being its impressive electronic image stabilisation system, HyperSmooth, which is now in its fifth generation. Improvements include a Linear and Horizon Lock digital lens that keeps footage straight even if the camera rotates 360 degrees.
360 cameras are naturally great at stabilizing video thanks to all the information provided by the two lenses. Shooting action shots with the Max looks almost like you are using professional stabilizing equipment. Check out some of the shots in my GoPro Max review video to see what I mean.
The best 360 cameras are perfect for action video enthusiasts or content creators. As the name suggests, 360 cameras capture a panorama of everything around you, to help immerse your audience in the video.
For those looking for a 360 camera with more of a traditional action camera design, the Insta360 One RS is your best bet. Like its predecessor, the Insta360 One R, this innovative camera has a modular design that lets you swap out its 360 lens for a wide angle 4K camera or a camera with a 1-inch sensor. What's more, the camera has some other pretty cool features, including video stabilization and a comprehensive app that has a lot of powerful editing tools.
You get a lot of weird stares and comments when you test 360 cameras. By now, people are used to seeing action cams like the GoPro, but both the shape and way you mount 360 cameras immediately draws attention.
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The most well-known brand in action cameras has to be GoPro, and specifically the GoPro Hero range of action cameras. Whilst they tend to be the more expensive option, they excel at action photography and video.
For a long battery life, your best option is going to be a DSLR, as mirrorless cameras use up more battery due to not having an optical viewfinder, which means you always need to be powering a screen.
Sony makes some of the best full-frame mirrorless cameras, including the terrific A7 III. You can get $200 off this model, either as a body-only option ($1,799) or bundled with a lens ($. With a 24.2-megapixel full-frame (35mm) sensor, the A7 III is one of Sony's most advanced and versatile cameras yet. It has a five-axis image stabilization system for rock-steady photos and videos, speedy performance, and advanced tech, like Sony's effective Eye AF. Like many Sony A7 cameras, the A7 III is a great 4K video camera too.
The deals aren't just on older cameras. There are savings on the new A7R IV and A9 II ($100 off), but they aren't as significant or hard to find. Sony's Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion covers its mirrorless cameras, point-and-shoot cameras (Cyber-shot), action cameras, camcorders (Handycam), and accessories. Sony cameras generally don't go on sale, and while the deals are mainly for older models, nearly all of Sony's cameras are very good products.
Olympus makes one of the best rugged point-and-shoot cameras, the Tough TG-6. You can get $100 off this model, but the bigger deal is for the Tough TG-Tracker, a similar camera that's designed for shooting video. The TG-Tracker is $150 off.
With front and back screens, great image stabilization, a rugged exterior, voice controls, and the ability to capture 12-megapixel photos and 4K videos at 60 frames per second (30 fps with high-dynamic-range), the Osmo Action is one of the better action cameras you can buy. You can save $100.
If you want a mirrorless camera, the best option is the Fujifilm X-S10. But DSLR loyalists should go for the Canon EOS 90D. And compact camera lovers will like the Sony ZV-1. Finally, the best action cameras for vlogging are the GoPro Hero 10 Black and the DJI Pocket 2.
While action cameras are not the greatest at capturing quality audio, and there are many audio accessories you can buy to take care of that department, they are extremely useful cameras for various situations you want to capture. 2b1af7f3a8