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To find the best action camera for your next adventure, we researched the essential factors that make an action camera shine, including recording resolution, image stabilization, built-in connectivity, and overall ruggedness. In a world of 4K Ultra HD televisions, we want to make sure that you don’t get stuck with an outdated, low-resolution camera. Whether you are looking to take an action camera on the track for your next drag-race, into the air for a flight cross-country, or deep underwater into the coral reefs, we’ve got an option for you.
During our research, our top pick for the best action camera came to be the AKASO EK7000 Pro, a 4K action camera with a built-in touchscreen and image stabilization, so that no matter how bumpy the trail gets, your video stays smooth. The camera features built-in WiFi connectivity so that you can connect to your camera from your smartphone or tablet with ease. The EK7000 Pros’ rugged design also allows for it to travel up to 40 meters underwater without issue. Keep reading to learn more about the best action cameras and which model is right for you.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: The AKASO EK7000 Pro delivers premium features including a 4K Ultra HD resolution, image stabilization, and WiFI connectivity, all at an exceptional price. AKASO even includes a helmet kit for use on your bicycle at no extra cost.
The AKASO EK7000 Pro takes everything that we want to see from an action camera and packs it into an affordable package, delivering the best action camera under $100. The unit includes 4K/25 fps capture, meaning that you can cover your best moments in 4K Ultra HD. The built-in image stabilization is also an excellent addition that ensures your footage isn’t shaky.
AKASO opted for a rugged camera design that is waterproof up to 40 meters when used inside the included enclosure – great for underwater videography. WiFi connectivity to control the EK7000 Pro from a smartphone or tablet is also welcomed, but we would have also liked to see a zoom function for objects in the distance. If you want something smaller, the best compact camera may be for you.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Dragon Touch 4K is the best budget action camera, and offers stunning Ultra 4K recording and 16mp photos, along with a built-in 4X zoom function for keeping your eye on the action. Dragon Touch also includes a WiFi wrist remote, allowing you to use the camera where you need it.
Read Full Review: Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera Review
The Dragon Touch 4K is an impressive little camera that can record in native 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps – capturing all the action with ease. The 170-degree wide-angle lens also ensures that your intended target stays in the shot. You can control everything from the included 2-inch touchscreen or hookup a smartphone or tablet via WiFI.
We also enjoy that Dragon Touch includes a free mounting accessories kit that allows you to capture footage in a variety of situations – making it one of the best action cameras for motorcycles. You can even jump into the water as the Dragon Touch 4K is waterproof down to 30 meters using the included housing. Compare it to the best waterproof camera and see how it stacks up.
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: The GoPro line of products is what started the action camera trend, and the HERO 7 Black shows us exactly why with Hypersmooth video stabilization and the ability to shoot 4K video at 60 fps, even underwater.
Read Full Review: GoPro HERO 7 Black Review
GoPro is a name well known throughout the action camera world for its quality video and reliable products – no difference when it comes to the HERO 7 Black. Despite boasting a price tag considerably higher than the competition, the HERO holds its own thanks to native 4K Ultra HD videos recorded at 60 fps for high-speed action, and the company’s butter-smooth Hypersmooth video stabilization technology. You can even opt to live-stream your content to services such as Facebook Live. The GoPro HERO 7 Black is definitely the best GoPro on our list.
Grabbing the camera with the best video and build quality will allow you to delve to watery depths of up to 10 meters without a housing, and many more with optional accessories. Speaking of optional, no accessories are included in the box, so be sure to add any needed mounting options to your shopping cart when purchasing the HERO 8 Black.
Update: GoPro has an upgraded model – from the GoPro Hero 7 Black to the new GoPro Hero 8 Black best for stabilization. The New GoPro Hero8 Black still has many of the Hero 7 Black features like 4K footage, voice control, and similar battery life, but has an improved electronic image stabilization with HyperSmooth 2.0 and TimeWarp 2.0. As for audio, the GoPro Hero8 Black features a front-facing mic, and new audio-processing algorithms.
If you are new to cameras read about the best DSLR camera for begginers to intermediate.
Award: Best Underwater
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re going for a dive, it would be foolish to go without Sony’s FDRX3000 action camera which offers 4K video recording capabilities down to 60 meters. The camera even includes three video modes and a 3x zoom capability.
Read Full Review: Sony FDR-X3000 Review
Sony’s FDRX3000 action camera offers the best option for underwater filming thanks to its ability to dive down to 60 meters – that’s almost 200 feet! The camera’s housing goes beyond waterproofing and features dust-proofing and shock-proofing, so you can use it in the dirtiest of conditions – go ahead and throw it on your dirt bike. The included ZEISS lens is the highest quality piece of glass we have seen on an action camera yet, and it offers a 3x zoom feature for zooming in on distant action.
Despite being pricey, we love the Sony FDRX3000 for underwater adventures. We also love that Sony included built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC, capabilities for controlling and locating the action camera from your smartphone or tablet. It has some of the things that we love in the best point and shoot digital camera.
Award: Best Aerial
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you want to record footage in an airplane, there is no better option than the Garmin VIRB Ultra with its ability to overlay cockpit conversations and ATV audio, as well as a built-in video filter for removing the propeller from view.
Read Full Review: Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Review
If pilots could dream up the best action camera, they would likely have dreamt of the Garmin VIRB Ultra. This exceptional camera offers 4K Ultra HD video quality at 30 fps, but what makes it extremely unique is its ability to record wireless flight audio. Using the built-in Bluetooth functionality, the VIRB Ultra can record flight audio from compatible headsets and audio panels. You can even overlay flight data such as position, speed, and altitude over your video.
Due to the extremely high price-tag, we would have liked to see a bit more versatility as the VIRB Ultra doesn’t include a waterproof housing, and it isn’t naturally waterproof. However, we were happy to see that Garmin at least included a unique mount and lens cover for protection with its aviation bundle.
Note: Another camera worth mentioning that we haven’t fully reviewed yet is the DJI OSMO Action camera. Some of its premium features are 4K footage, waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, and with amazing electronic image stabilization, the DJI OSMO Action is one of the best deals on action cams and it’s comparable to the GoPro Hero 8 Black.
With so many different action cameras available to take on your next great adventure, we began researching the essentials that make an action camera great, including its recording resolution, image stabilization, ruggedness, and connectivity. Every camera on our list meets a minimum set of requirements so that you can ensure the camera we recommend to you works great and won’t let you down.
When it comes to recording resolution, all of the action cameras on our list can capture video at a 4K Ultra HD resolution, so that you can enjoy the videos for years to come without worry of the quality quickly becoming dated. We also dismissed any cameras that could record in 4K but at slow fps rates – which would have made your video choppy. All of the cameras on our list also feature image stabilization so that the footage isn’t shaky as you ride your mountain bike down a hill, surf amongst the waves, or rally around a corner.
When it comes to ruggedness, all of the cameras we selected are either naturally waterproof or can utilize an external housing to take shots down underneath the water. All of our waterproof camera selections can dive down to a minimum of 30 meters, so you don’t miss out on any great shots. Thanks to the inclusion of WiFi on all of our selections, you’ll also be able to control your camera and view recorded video by connecting up to your smartphone or tablet.