Action Cameras have become the go-to for many people willing to get professional footage out of an adventure, wanting to save space in their luggage, or simply to avoid the costs of the high-end professional camera.
Whether you’re into adventures, high emotions, sports, or fun in general and you’re looking for your next camera to take anywhere with you, you’re in the right place.
Choosing your new device is challenging and depends on what you want to do with it, but it’s essential to know how to choose action cameras.
While some of the best action cameras on the market have top-notch stabilization, there are other models that equally deserve to be noticed. Stick until the end to know the best features other than that.
1. Choose an Action Camera with Image Stabilization
One of the most important features in an action camera is, as you can probably guess, video stabilization.
While some cameras have taken over the action camera market with their unshakable stabilization, most have some kind of in-body stabilization installed.
It is an important feature to consider as you’d get decent footage out of any type of situation from biking, underwater, or running around filming.
Whether the image gets cropped or not with image stabilization, it is essential to possess this feature.
Last but not least, we would recommend checking out the stabilization availability of different action cameras for different resolution combinations.
2. Battery Life
Battery life is one of the essential things that need to be considered in an action camera. It can get up to 3 hours depending on the model and on your budget, but that’s not it.
In fact, the battery life depends on a few factors such as the resolution you’re filming in or the weather condition, and having an extra battery or a portable charger will definitely help in keeping you going. For this reason, we highly recommend (budget allowing) going for an action camera with a removable battery.
Moreover, in order to make the battery life last longer, you can change the internal settings. If you plan to film in 4K with the best stabilization quality, you’ll notice a massive drop in battery life. The same goes for live streaming or wireless connection to your mobile.
3. Video Resolution is Essential
The footage resolution is an extremely important selling point in action cameras. In fact, your camera resolution will allow you to capture clear and crisp footage depending on it. It basically is the amount of detail the camera can record, measured by the number of pixels in each frame.
The most standard and popular resolution is 1080p. Known as Full HD, it provides great footage taking average space on your memory.
4K resolution comes next and is four times higher than 1080p, which means 4 times more pixels and a 4 times more detailed footage. Lastly, you can also choose the 720p resolution which is the standard HD.
We’d recommend going for the highest available resolution which is 4K, but that also comes with a higher price tag.
Other than that, you might want to go for a 60fps-able camera to capture beautiful slow-motion footage.
Nowadays, some high-end action cameras can even record up to 5.2K videos. For instance, it will produce crisp footage when filming unique scenes such as snowboarding, cycling, diving in the sea, or hiking mountains.
Being waterproof is one of the most sought of features in an action camera. Whether you want to take it to the beach, on a tropical rainy adventure or to vlog under the rain, you’ll want to have it.
You’ve probably seen these underwater images and having your personal one to share on social media is always nice to have.
Note that not all best action cameras are waterproof, but an external case can be mounted to protect them.
Also, if you’re planning to shoot water sports, a waterproof action camera is the device you need.
Last but not least, some action cameras have a native waterproof system and you won’t need to think about buying an additional mount. On the other hand, for some cameras, you will need to invest in mounts or other accessories to take them underwater.
5. Live Streaming from Your Action Camera
Live streaming has become a nice feature to have on smartphones but also on action cameras. Whether you have fun at a party, join a tour on vacation, or visit a museum, anything is possible with a camera and an internet connection.
Going live displaying a nice image all around the world is a nice addition to action cameras. However, it certainly shouldn’t affect your choice in buying your new device.
Action cameras able to live stream online can be used for different purposes. One of them is to live stream when gaming online. This is indeed a great feature given the number of gaming channels on Youtube or Twitch nowadays.
Other than that, it is also great for travel videographers who want to show the world in real-time while having their vacation.
In conclusion, the live streaming feature is one of the best that you can have on your action camera.
6. Sturdiness- Essential Feature for Action Cameras
The sturdiness of an action camera is much more essential than many of us might think. The best action cameras are usually designed to be waterproof, with some of them being dustproof, shockproof, and freezeproof.
Action cameras are used to capture adventures and they could be at risk of falling down at any moment. For instance, you don’t want your camera to break simply because it fell off your helmet while cycling.
Durability is an important feature for adventure lovers. In fact, it is somewhat annoying to sacrifice the camera’s portability and size only to add a protective case to it.
Other than that, your action camera is made to capture special moments that you couldn’t record with a simple device. For this reason, the camera should be able to take excellent footage no matter the situation.
To sum up, the more rugged your new action camera is better.
7. Additional Accessories to Customize Your Camera
Optional accessories for action cameras are another thing to consider before purchasing that can take your experience to the next level.
In fact, while accessories shouldn’t affect your choice, it is certainly important to think about the situations.
For instance, your camera being waterproof might be enough to satisfy your needs if you’re planning a sunny vacation. However, if you want to attach it to your helmet, your bike, or your backpack, you will have no choice than purchasing additional mounts.
Other than that, some action cameras such as the will need an adapter if you want to attach an external microphone. That is certainly a downside, and you’ll need to calculate an extra $50 to the price of your camera, which doesn’t please everyone.
8. The Audio Should be Good
While some cameras are able to capture better audio than others, it is an important feature in an action camera that is not to be underestimated. In fact, audio is just as essential as video quality and it can actually make or break your footage.
In general, any average action camera’s footage will be ruined by the wind. However, new wind-noise reduction technologies can capture brilliant sounds and let you hear the subtle sounds of the outside world.
Last but not least, there are external microphones available for the devices that don’t capture great audio. However, some cameras will need an adapter or an extra accessory to work with it. For this reason, audio shouldn’t impact your decision too much, but you should however calculate the extra costs for the potential adapters.
The Bottom Line
That's it for the guide on how to choose action cameras. Now that you know how to choose action cameras and the best models, you should be able to make the right purchase for your needs. The best action cameras on the market can be rather expensive, so do some research and read the reviews before ordering it.
Other than that, adapt your budget to the camera you can afford and consider the feature. As many features of this list, a camera has, the best footage you’re going to get out of it.
One last thing to consider is the brand’s customer service. In fact, if you camera breaks, you’ll need fairly quick assistance.
In conclusion, we’d recommend a waterproof action camera with image stabilization that is able to produce 4K footage. Don’t forget that buying an action camera is a great investment to create unique memories and cinematic movies to show your friends and share on social media.