The Hero5 Black is an ultimate GoPro camera that will capture most dynamic actions in the incredible, smooth 4K video. It also supports shooting photos in RAW format, so you can leave your photo camera at home.
Shock-proof, dust- and waterproof up to 33 ft
Waterproof up to 131 ft in a special case (included)
The intelligent SteadyShot image stabilization system reduces blur and noise even if the footage is taken on the move.
Limited additional accessories set.
The Sony Action Cam offers great functionality at an affordable price. The option to download additional apps significantly improves its performance.
1920x1080 - 60 FPS, 1280x720 - 120 FPS
~11.1 MP, CMOS Sensor
2 hours 30 minutes, NP-BX1 rechargeable battery
Waterproof up to 197 ft in a protective case (included)
Supports Stick Micro and MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC class 10 or better
Waterproof case (MPK-UWH1), Rechargeable battery, MicroUSB Cable, Clamp
A branded free app allows you to control this GoPro camera from a smartphone or tablet. Moreover, you can watch videos and share them with your friends online.
This best GoPro camera supports 4K resolution, so you can enjoy an extra-wide image. Lots of mounts and durable case allow you to enjoy shooting awesome extreme videos and take amazing quality photos.
Waterproof up to 131 ft in a special case (included)
Waterproof up to 49 ft
What is an Action Camera
Nowadays, video shooting technologies are developing very quickly, allowing millions of people all over the world to capture any activities. No need to say, lots of us want to shoot videos while doing some sports, but it's difficult to control a camera - it vibrates so much that the video is usually very poor. That's why action cameras have been developed - they are compact and have a sophisticated stabilization mechanism in order to provide stunning videos. Most sports cameras are fully protected against dust, moisture, and shock, so that you can even dive and capture the underwater world. Equally, any sports camera can shoot a video of your crazy bike ride or, for example, a daredevil parachute jump. Any person practicing extreme sports should have such a camera! Everybody has probably heard about GoPro cameras, but there are more HD action cameras on the market. That's why we picked the best devices and compared them by the most important features only. Now, go ahead and read our sports camera review!
However, if you want to get a camera for recording the road conditions when you're driving, we recommend you to read our comparison of the best car cameras.
Also, make sure to read our new review of waterproof cameras. These devices allow making stunning photos even underwater without any cases or accessories.
What Features to Compare
An action camera isn’t similar to a regular gadget designed for capturing still images and thus, becomes a spotlight of all those personalities who are engaged in extreme sports. Sports cameras are usually attached to bikes, cars, clothing and equipment and therefore, designed to be lightweight, compact and impact-resistant. Consider different shapes and dimensions to find the camera that would fit your setting. They aren’t made to be equal so you better go along with your own needs, while choosing among multiple models.
If you don’t want to be limited to shooting capabilities, it’d be better if you choose a waterproof cam. With one of those attached to your diving suit, capturing videos and photos of the underwater world would be a breeze. Some action cameras are wrapped in protective cases (removable and not) to allow immersion in the water up to 60 meters in depth. That’s quite impressive properties most of us could only dream about even a few years ago. For users’ convenience, a lot of cameras are equipped with displays using which in some situations is absolutely invaluable help. From there you’ll also find information on battery life.
Among the most important tech specifications that cannot go unnoticed are resolution and frame rate per second. If you seek for a sports camera to set off down true breath-taking adventures, you surely need to opt for the highest available 3840 x 2160 resolution (also known as 4K). For most average users who plan to use it only now and then, Full HD would suffice the needs. Consider the frame rate if you’d like to shoot professional video clips. 60 fps for motion capture will be good for most users while for those who’d love to dive and do extreme cycling taking pictures on the go there’s no other way rather than get a cam with the yield of 120 frames per second. Check out a viewing angle to know how much scenery it’s possible to capture. A small angle, by the way, isn’t necessary a bad specification for it allows video shooters to put smaller objects in the forefront.
Action cameras support a number of modes and options to enhance users’ experience and provide them with the right tools to make shooting much more exciting and pro-like. So, make sure that you consider all available options and find them suitable for your activities and needs. Like being mentioned above, a sports camera is used mostly by extreme personalities who practice jumping, climbing, driving and other sports activities, willing to capture slow motion of their tricks. Therefore, it’s got to be simple to use and control. Most models on the market have only one or two buttons to navigate through modes and settings, and that’s pretty handy.
GoPro HERO5 Black
The GoPro HERO5 Black is the top-of-the-line model that has replaced the sensational GoPro HERO4 camera. The new generation is even more functional and versatile! As compared to the previous models, a touchscreen display added 0.3’’ and now has a diagonal of 2’’. The GoPro HERO5 has a rugged casing that is shock- and dust-proof. Also, you can use this camera down to 33 feet underwater! However, you will need to use protective accessories for more extreme conditions, particularly if you are a keen diver who wishes to shoot stunning videos of the underwater world. The hardware of the HERO5 has also been upgraded. A new stabilization system boasts an advanced processing algorithm, allowing you to make even sharper videos under extreme conditions. We’d also like to draw your attention to the incredible quality of photos this GoPro camera can make. Actually, you can even do without a camera! The HERO5 can take pictures in RAW and, moreover, offers a manual exposure control. Thanks to the WDR mode, you will be able to make high-contrast and sharp photos of your adventures. Since this device can be used without a protective housing, the sound recording quality is fantastic, particularly thanks to the cutting-edge stereo microphone.
The key novelty in the GoPro HERO5 is the voice recognition that allows users to control the basic functions of the camera simply by voice. Now, you can turn on the camera right before the exciting part of your adventure, saving the battery charge, keep your hands free and skip unnecessary preparations on taking videos. A video and photo shooting can be controlled with the help of a single button. In addition, you can use the GoPro Plus service, upload your footage to the cloud storage and access it from your computer or mobile devices. We would like to mention an easy control of the GoPro camera: the menu is straightforward and intuitive, hence you can quickly find the right setting and adjust it. No matter what adventure you embark on, you will always be able to make a stunning video!
For Those Who Choose Active Leisure
Divers need to keep track of the time they spend underwater in order to avoid running out of oxygen. Therefore, make sure to choose a dive watch that will make your scuba diving experience safe.
Always Accurate Geolocation
The HERO5 GoPro camera is fitted with a GPS module. Hence, you will always know the exact location where the picture and photos have been taken.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
A Worthy Camera!
Garmin sports cameras are considered to be the main competitors to the GoPros in the market. Just like the top-tier GoPros, the VIRB Ultra 30 boasts the 4K video recording capability, delivering the FPS rate of 30. Also, there is a cutting-edge Sensory TrulyHandsFree voice control technology, thanks to which you can control the device without even touching it. The voice control system recognizes several simple commands, such as ‘Start recording’ and ‘Take a picture’. If you wish to know where are going to shoot a video or take a pic, just say ‘Remember that’ and the camera will add a GPS tag to the file. We’d also like to highlight a bright and handy 1.75’’ touchscreen display and a user-friendly menu that will help you configure the settings in no time. You will be able to use the touch screen even after you put the camera in a waterproof case. Therefore, you won’t need to remove the device if you need to change some settings. The Garmin engineers have done their best to make this device convenient no matter under what conditions you use it.
Share Your Emotions
This top-tier camera provides an excellent picture quality and has a 3-axis image stabilization system, so it shoots sharp and smooth videos you will truly enjoy. The Garmin Ultra 30 will help you capture your adventures, whereas a GPS module will tell you where each video has been shot, at what speed, altitude, etc. Useful proofs if your friends doubt your achievements, right? The camera can be used with a free VIRB mobile app for viewing and editing the videos you make. For professional editing, we recommend you to install the VIRB Edit software on your computer. This program will help you add the sound you wish, cut some frames out, etc. If you are a YouTube blogger, these apps can stream your videos to YouTube so that you could share them with your friends and other users online. No need to wait! That’s one of the reasons why this camera has become so popular among fans of extreme sports and bloggers.
Ride Any Waves
If you are an avid surfer who can’t live without riding the waves, don’t miss out on our review on the best surfboards. Ride the waves and shoot breath-taking videos!
This device has a highly sensitive microphone that ensures a great sound quality even if you use a waterproof case.
Sony HDRAS50/B Full HD
Looking for an action camera to buy, you will certainly notice the Sony HDR-AS50R which can be rightfully regarded as a serious competitor to a well-known GoPro due to its rich functionality and general specs. You will surely like that the camera can take very crisp and quality footage. The SteadyShot image stabilization system reduces noise and blur, even if you shoot video on the move. As the camera's equipped with Exmor R sensor and uses a high-performance BIONZ X processor with a ZEISS lens, it will also work for taking pictures in poorly lit conditions. Drifting a bit further into details, the camera can record amazing footage of underwater in Full HD with a stream rate of 50 MB/s and 60 FPS. For this purpose, though, you will also need to make sure that you use a waterproof housing that comes with the set. The ZEISS lens provides 170° viewing angles, which makes the cam perfect for creating panoramic pictures.
Enhance Functionality of Your Camera
If you'd like to increase camera capacity and get enriched functionality, there are certain apps that can help you do this. The Highlight Movie Maker is one of such applications in which you can quickly and easily edit and improve the recorded footage, add background music, rearrange the order of fragments, and then, when you're done, share it with your friends over the Internet. The Action Cam Movie is one more application that can be used to create unique videos from photos. It is available for all OSes and free for downloading.
It is good to know that manufacturer produces this action cam in several modifications, offering users to choose the set of features and options they need. So, you can get the improved version of the HDRAS50 that besides enriched functionality also has a handy Life-View remote to wear on hand and control the camera remotely. Your own smartphone can also serve as a remote control if you download a PlayMemories Mobile application.
The camera includes a waterproof housing which allows you to record footage at the depth of 197 feet underwater and keeps the device protected from scratches, shocks, and dust. All controls are easy to access, even when the camera is placed inside this housing.
GoPro HERO4 Silver
Anytime Within 24 Hours
These cameras allow us to shoot videos so that we could watch them afterwards and recall the best moments of our lives. And you will certainly agree that it's necessary to have a camera capable of shooting quality videos at a daytime and at night. The GoPro HERO4 Silver is the right choice! With the help of this GoPro camera, you will be able to take a stunning image of a night starry sky while being on a backpacking tour with your friends. You just need to attach the camera to one of the mounts, choose the right mode, and leave the rest to the GoPro HERO4 Silver. You can use Night Lapse and Time Lapse modes at the FPS rate of 30. Moreover, this best GoPro camera automatically adjusts the settings to the light conditions. Thanks to the ultra-fast wireless Wi-Fi (50% faster than on previous versions) and Bluetooth connections, you can control the camera remotely. Just download and install the GoPro app on your mobile device. Thus, you can view each picture or watch videos right from your smartphone or tablet!
You can use the Highlight Tag function to mark the most important moments of any video so that you could find them quickly later. Moreover, you can edit your videos in GoPro Studio which is a part of the GoPro app. We would also like to draw your attention to the 4K resolution this GoPro camera supports. GoPro HERO4 Silver really creates the effect of presence!
GoPro tested the durability of its HERO4model by capturing the launch of the SL-10 missile. UP Aerospace Inc. launched the missile on November 6, 2015. The missile flew as high as 120.7 kilometers and the speed reached mind-blowing 6,000 km/h. Then, the missile released a test capsule which got back to the ground on a special parachute. Several GoPro HERO4 action cameras were shooting the whole process and each of them bore this challenging test.
More Products to Consider
If you wish to shoot high-res videos on the HERO4 GoPro camera, make sure to use a high-capacity and super-fast micro SD card.
iON Camera Air Pro 3
Ready for the Most Extreme Tests
Speaking about such devices as action cameras, customers are usually interested in a couple of features: how practical each model is and what image quality it provides. Taking these features into account, we should say the Air Pro 3 is worth every dollar it costs! The first thing that catches your attention is the unusual form factor of this device; it looks like a flashlight. Therefore, it’s easy to carry the item in a pocket of your jacket or in a small bag. The aluminum casing is rugged and durable, so this small device needs no protective case. The fixation system allows attaching the device to tripods and various surfaces. The camera can shoot as deep as 49 feet underwater without a waterproof case since the housing is waterproof itself. As for the battery, it gives up to 2.5 hours of continuous shooting time, which is enough to make lots of stunning videos before it runs out of charge.
Simplicity and Quality
The iON Air Pro 3 boasts a decent image quality when shooting videos and taking photos. The lens of the camera has an ultra-wide viewing angle (160°) with an automatic shutter adjustment. Thus, the picture quality remains really high even under the low light conditions. The Air Pro 3 is very convenient to use. A single button starts and stops a video recording, as well as takes photos. There is no need to browse the menu, looking for the right settings (as on the cameras with a display). Instead, you can set the resolution with a single move of a finger. There are two options: Full HD at 60 FPS and 720p at 120 FPS. If you wish to share your videos or photos with your friends, you can upload them to the cloud storage with the help of a special mobile app for your tablet or smartphone.
Use Protective Gear!
Even true thrill-seekers who can’t live without a rush of adrenaline in their veins should remember about safety. Those who like winter kinds of sports should certainly purchase a decent ski helmet and sports sunglasses.
If you want to watch videos on your mobile device, use a WiFi PODZ.
Q: What’s the difference between an ordinary camera and an action camera?
A: Action cameras are designed for sports. Therefore, these devices are usually lightweight, compact, and easy to configure. Sports cameras are equipped with an image stabilization system which is responsible for focusing and image sharpness. Also, they have a rugged casing that withstands heavy bumps and falls. Many action cameras can shoot underwater as well.
Q: How good are these cameras at shooting videos?
A: Well, it all depends on the model you choose but generally these cameras deliver a great video quality. You can assess how good each particular model is by checking what FPS (frames per second) rate it provides at a certain resolution. For a smooth and artifact-free picture, the FPS rate should be at least 60 regardless of the resolution you choose.
Q: What’s the maximum resolution an action camera can provide?
A: This parameter depends on the model you choose. The top-of-the-line sports cameras can shoot videos at 3840x2160 pixels (Ultra HD). However, the higher the resolution, the lower the FPS rate.
Q: What viewing angle do action cameras have?
A: They have wide-angle lenses but the viewing angles may differ. The best models deliver a viewing angle of 170°, though affordable models may have a smaller angle.
Q: Do sports cameras have a zoom?
A: No, they don’t support a zoom function.
Q: Can action cameras record sound?
A: Yes, most sports cameras don’t just shoot videos but record sound as well. The best models even have a sophisticated sound processing system and record stereo sound.
Q: Do they support memory cards?
A: Yes, they do. Sports cameras don’t provide a lot of internal storage space. That’s why they require memory cards of different types. As usual, they are microSD or SDXC/SDHC cards. Don’t forget to check the maximum capacity that a camera supports, though.
Q: Can these devices be used underwater?
A: Yes, most of them can. However, some devices have a waterproof casing, while others need a special waterproof case (it’s either included in the package or sold separately). If the model you choose requires a waterproof case, don’t try using the camera underwater without one.
Q: What’s the maximum depth I can dive with my GoPro camera?
A: It depends on the model. However, the models in waterproof cases can be used deeper than those that don’t have one.
Q: Can I mount a GoPro camera on my bike helmet?
A: You can if you have a special mount. Some extreme sports cameras come with a pretty rich accessory kit including a bike helmet mount. However, for some devices, these mounts should be purchased separately.
Q: Can I take photos with an action camera?
A: You surely can! Apart from shooting videos, such devices can make brilliant photos. However, the sensors used on such cameras usually have a much smaller resolution than those used on DSLR cameras.
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