The 8 Best Action Cameras For Travelling & Extreme Sports

Action cameras are a fantastic piece of technology. They have opened a whole new world for extreme sports and even travel bloggers. They are small, durable and anyone can use them. And most of all, they are designed to be attached to surfboards, cars, bicycles, literally anywhere. They are meant to take a beating and still work like nothing happened!

And capturing moments has become a part of the modern world. YouTube has become the number one website for video bloggers. There are tons of people traveling around the world and capturing what they see with their best action camera. It has become a real job. Everybody loves watching some cool skydiving or desert racing videos. Without action cameras, this would be impossible. Just attach them to yourself or a moving object and done.

GoPro is currently the market leader. They were the very first company to introduce their Hero action camera line. But since then, many other companies have started to enter the market. And some even surpass the GoPro. One of such is Sony, who’s action cameras have been number one in video quality for quite some time now. And there is also SJCAM and Xiaomi, both who are known for their amazing budget action cameras.

The saturation of the market has also made things more difficult for the average consumer. With the amount of different action cameras available, it’s hard to pick the very best for you. That is why I have put together a list featuring the very best camera in every category. You can really find something for any type of budget and requirement. Not everybody needs to have the best video quality or some of the fancier features. Such as Voice Commands for example. While they are nice, they really increase the price and sometimes they ain’t worth it.

1. GoPro Hero7 Black - Best Overall

GoPro Hero7 Black LCD

It’s been a while since GoPro has managed to release an action camera that could be considered the best overall. Well with the Hero7 Black, they finally reclaimed back that position from Xiaomi and Sony. Not only have they managed to make the flagship action camera much cheaper but they have also really improved the hardware. The Hero7 Black is capable of recording 4K resolution videos at up to 60 fps and 1080p videos at 240 fps! Which enables you to create some incredibly slow-mo moments. But that’s still not the main reason that sets it apart. GoPro definitely spent much of their time on developing a new digital stabilization system, the Hypersmooth! Hypersmooth does an incredible job at keeping the video stable and smooth. It’s actually much better than anything their competitors currently have. Add all of that together and you see why it is the best action camera you can currently buy. You can also read our GoPro Hero7 Black review for more information!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 60 fps; 2.7K 120 fps; 1440p 120 fps; 1080p 240 fps; 720p 240 fps
  • Photo: 12 MP
  • Memory: Up to 256 GB MicroSD
  • Features: 2″ LCD touch screen, WiFi & Bluetooth, Voice Controls, Hypersmooth, USB-C
  • Battery: 45 minutes of 4K 60 fps
  • Waterproof up to 10 m / 33 ft

As you can already see from the technical specs and features that the camera is definitely flagship worthy. I have also compared the Hero7 Black with a bunch of other cameras as well and so far they have beaten every single one. The only downside for me is that it doesn’t have a threaded tripod mount underneath. I would love to just hook it up to a tripod but instead I need to use a frame case in order to do that. That’s the one thing that I’m personally not a fan of. But everything else, fantastic!

2. Sony HDR-AS300 - Best For Streaming

Sony HDR-AS300 Design

Sony has always been the action camera for extreme sports. Their unique design is perfect for mounting the camera onto your shoulder or a helmet. It’s also one of the main reasons why it’s so recommended for IRL streaming as well. And it’s not even just my own opinion. The professional IRL backpacks that you may have seen streamers use also include the Sony HDR-AS300. So it’s a well proven action camera that you can rely on. You can also read our full review here: Sony HDR-AS300.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 1080p 60 fps; 720p 120 fps
  • Photo: 12 MP
  • Memory: Up to 128 GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Small LCD screen, Image Stabilization, Live Stream
  • Battery: 125 minutes of 1080p 30 fps (WiFi off)
  • Waterproof with special case up to 60 m / 196 ft

For me the biggest downside of the Sony HDR-AS300 is the resolution. Like for IRL streaming it’s perfect as you’ll never go over 1080p. Which also means that there’s no reason to buy the action camera for anything else. Especially since you can get a camera with much more impressive technical specs for the same price, if not cheaper even. Or you can also take a look at the Sony FDR-X3000! It’s their flagship action cam that’s still incredibly powerful and has the exact same design.

3. Sony RX0 Mark II

Sony RX0-II Design

The Sony RX0 Mark II is the most premium action camera here. You can’t really tell that from looking at the technical specifications right away. But once you take a closer look and compare it to other cameras, you’ll notice some upgrades in hardware. For example the Sony has a much bigger sensor than any of the other action cameras here. Which also allows it to capture videos at a much higher quality. And that also shows in the price as the Sony RX0 Mark II is also the most expensive camera in this list. Which is why I can only recommend it to vloggers who will use it much more often than a normal person would.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 30 fps; 1080p 120 fps
  • Photo: 15 MP
  • Memory: Up to 256 GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi+Bluetooth, EIS, 180 degrees tiltable 1.5″ LCD touchscreen, Shockproof, External microphone jack
  • Battery: 60 minutes of 4K 30 fps recording
  • IPX8 Waterproof rating (Down to 10 m / 33 ft)

There are also a bunch of features that make it perfect for vloggers. The Sony RX0 Mark II has a standard tripod mount that lets you mount it onto selfie sticks and tripods. Its size and weight are also ideal for gimbals. But besides all that, the camera included an external microphone jack. So you can add a better external microphone to capture audio. This is probably the most desired feature for vloggers. It doesn’t mean that you can’t buy it if you aren’t a YouTuber. It’s just that in my eyes it’s too expensive unless you are a professional. You can read more about it in the RX0 Mark II review!

4. Apeman A80

APEMAN A80 Review

The Apeman A80 is our highest rated budget action camera that costs around $99! And for that price, you get a lot. I’m not talking about just the video quality either, which is surprisingly good. The action camera comes with an impressive amount of accessories. From different mounting options to a waterproof case. And the case is actually rated waterproof up to 40 m / 130 ft. Which is more than the typical waterproof housing that you’d normally get.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 24 fps; 2K 30 fps; 1080p 60 fps; 720p 120 fps
  • Photo: 12 MP
  • Memory: Up to 128 GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi, Electronic Image Stabilization, FPV output
  • Battery: 55 minutes of 4K 24 fps recording
  • Waterproof with included case up to 40 m / 130 ft

What really impressed me is that you can now get native 4K resolution from an action camera for less than $100. It shows that hardware has been getting cheaper and that you don’t need to spend a ton of money anymore to get good video quality. And the Apeman A80 is the clear example of that. They have even managed to balance out the colors. And yes of course you do get some blur but that’s normal and it’s not that evident. You can also check out video examples at our Apeman A80 review.

5. AKASO BRAVE 4

AKASO Brave 4 Review

It’s pretty funny how the cheapest action cameras include the most accessories. AKASO is a brand that’s especially well known for this. Their Brave 4 is one of the best bang for buck action camera that you can buy for less than $100. And it’s mostly because of the entire package that they have managed to put together. Not only do you get an impressive amount of mounts but also extra batteries and even a remote controller. It’s an incredibly package for beginners! Plus the camera it self is pretty good as well. It has a decent build quality and a familiar design. There’s even a front LCD screen and a bigger 2″ IPS screen on the back.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 24 fps; 2K 30 fps; 1080p 60 fps; 720p 120 fps
  • Photo: 4 MP (Interpolated to 16 MP)
  • Memory: Up to 64 GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi, 2″ IPS screen, Small front screen, EIS
  • Battery: 90 minutes of 1080p at 60 fps
  • Waterproof with included case up to 30m / 98ft

The video quality isn’t bad either. To be fair, it’s pretty average overall and in one of the best in its price range. Now the AKASO Brave 4 isn’t exactly capable of recording in 4K resolution. Sure it’s written in the technical specifications but it’s actually interpolated. So you should only take a look at the 1080p quality. And in terms of that, it’s fine. You can check out my opinion and a couple of example videos in the AKASO Brave 4 review. It even includes an Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) system. Which I mean isn’t that great but it’s still better than nothing. So definitely take a look at some of the example videos.

6. RunCam 5

RunCam 5 Design

RunCam is the brand you turn to when you are looking for an action camera for a FPV drone. They have had years of experience at it and it’s really their niche. The RunCam 5 is their latest FPV action camera that’s throughout designed for drones. It’s incredibly small and light. Which is perfect. Plus it has a cube design with the lens in the middle. So again it’s perfect for drones as it stays in the parameters and records from the center. Plus the lens is covered with Gorilla glass, so you don’t need to worry about the crashes either!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 30 fps; 2.7K 50 fps; 1440p 60 fps; 1080p 120 fps
  • Photo: 12 MP
  • Memory: Up to 128 GB MicroSD
  • Features: QR code settings, FPV mount compatible
  • Gorilla glass lens cover

More impressively, they have managed to fit the Sony IMX377 sensor into the incredibly small body. The camera is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps! And those are the native specs that you actually get. Which also shows in the video quality as it’s really good considering how small it is and how much it costs. The Micro USB also supports the TV-OUT feature. Unfortunately the cable isn’t included and you need to buy it separately. It also doesn’t have WiFi. Instead you need to open up an app on your phone, configure the settings and scan a QR code with the RunCam 5! It’s such a clever system. Especially since you aren’t going to be changing settings that often anyways.

7. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Garmin Virb Ultra 30 action cameran

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is a fantastic action camera that is built for extreme sports and tough conditions. You can already tell that from it’s tough design and amazing build quality. But where it really shines is underwater. When I first reviewed the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 I wasn’t too pleased with the video quality. Especially when I compared it with the Hero5 and FDR-X3000. I mean the quality was good but I just didn’t like the colors that much. But once I brought it underwater, I was immediately blown away. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is definitely the best action camera for underwater recording. The video quality and colors are made for underwater recording.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 30/24fps; 2.7K 60/48/30/24fps; 1080p 120/90/60/48/30/24fps; 720p 240/120/60/30fps; 420p 300fps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Memory: Up to 128GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi, GPS, 1.75″ LCD screen, Digital Image Stabilization, Voice Control
  • Battery: 1 hour of 4K at 30fps
  • Waterproof with included case up to 50m / 164ft

As you can see from the specs, you also get a very nice waterproof case with the camera. It can actually be used at up to 50m / 164ft which is more than most other action cameras offer. The only negative part I can find is the pretty expensive price of $400. I’d also add the colors outside of water. But that’s more of a personal opinion. I know that many are into the more warmer colors and want the sky to be really blue. Read our full review: Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

8. Samsung Gear 360

Samsung Gear 360 Camera

I have reviewed a pretty decent amount of 360 degree action cameras and almost all of them have had the same problem: blur. That’s just the state that 360 degree video is currently at. But if you still want one, then I have to recommend the Samsung Gear 360. I’d say that it’s currently the best action camera for 360 degree videos. Compared to Nikon KeyMission 360 for example, it has fantastic stitching. It creates the perfect 360 degree video where you can’t even see where the footage has been stitched together. Another thing is that it comes with a tripod. Which means that you can record while moving around as well, without having your hand be in 50% of the video.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Video Resolutions: 4K 30fps (Dual camera); 1440p 30fps (Single camera)
  • Photo: 30MP
  • Memory: Up to 128GB MicroSD
  • Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 360 degree video, Gyro, NFC, Dust & Splash proof
  • Battery: 1 hour 30 minutes of 4K at 30fps
  • Waterproof option not available

The Samsung Gear 360 does cost $300 so it’s not the cheapest option. But it does have the best video quality in this price range. Another negative part is that the camera can only be connected to your phone via Bluetooth. And only the following phones are compatible: Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge. But if you don’t have a Samsung or want something cheaper, then I’d recommend taking a look at the SJCAM SJ360. It doesn’t have as good video quality but it’s definitely the second best in my opinion. Read our full reviews: Samsung Gear 360 & SJCAM SJ360

Tips For Finding The Best Action Camera

If the above options didn’t meet your needs and you would like to find an action camera tailored just for you, then below are some guidelines to help you further in finding the best one.

Firstly set the price limit for yourself. There are a lot of different models out there and expensive isn’t always the best. There’s plenty of different brands that have action cameras for all price ranges. If you are looking for something cheaper then I’d recommend looking at SJCAM, Xiaomi and Sony. Sony has a few cheaper ones that still have the same excellent quality as their more expensive models.

Secondly make sure it has all the features and accessories you need. Such as that it’s waterproof if you need it for diving, required mounting options for extreme sports and other accessories for drones. Also some action cameras come with accessories. Those are always good as buying them separately means spending more money.

Thirdly the video quality, which I consider to be the most important part of action cameras. My advice here is to watch videos that others have taken with the camera of your choice and decide if you are happy with the quality. Also price/brand does not equal video quality. I have done plenty of comparison articles where cheaper action cameras have beaten GoPro’s for example in terms of video quality. A lot depends on also your preference. If you have two videos that have the same sharpness and clarity but the colors are different, then pick the one you prefer. I’m always mentioning how I personally prefer more plain natural colors so definitely figure out which type you prefer.

Conclusion

Finding the best action camera for you can take time and an expensive product isn’t necessarily the best! If you have any more questions then we have more in depth camera information at the review, comparison and article sections. We hope you can find the all the help needed from us! If you have any videos you’d like to share with us then feel free to use the contact us page and we will gladly feature you!