Best Action Cameras

John C.
By John C. / November 7, 2016

If you don’t capture your adventure, did it really happen? Of course it did, and many times adventures are best had when the cameras are left at home. But more often than not on that big powder day, or that clean glassy day on the water you want some footage to show off to your friends and score some fake Internet points. C’mon who doesn’t? The best action cameras can make you look like a pro, but an inferior camera can turn the most epic run, wave, skydive (whatever) into boring and dull videos that no editing software can repair. Here’s my list of the best action cameras to make sure your adventures look epic for all to enjoy!

Action Camera Comparison Table

Image

Model

Size

Weight

Price

Rating

GoPro Hero 5

1.3  x 2.4

x 1.6 in.

4 oz.

$$$

Sony HDRAS20 Action Camera

4.8 x 3 x 6.5 in

1.1 lbs.

$$

Olympus TG-Tracker

3.7 x 1.4

x 2.2 in.

6.4 oz.

$$$

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action Camera

2.4 x 1.2

 x 1.6 in.

3.2 oz.

$$$

ISAW Edge 4K Action

Camera

2.3 x 0.9

x 1.6 in.

2.2 oz.

$$

One thing that stands out from the list is that all the cameras have the same four star rating. While GoPro has the brand recognition, the other models rival it in terms of technology. Other factors need to be considered, such as size, aesthetics and price. The Sony is the largest camera and the GoPro is extremely compact so your choice will also depend on how large a unit you want to carry. So in no particular order, here is a brief review of each action camera.

The new GoPro has some serious upgrades that should make your choice between the older and now cheaper Hero 4 and this new model quite difficult. The ever-trustworthy action camera company has straightforward controls and now with footage in ridiculously sharp 4k this camera is a true beast. The fish eye lens, featured on all GoPro models makes this camera’s videos the best of all action cameras out there. With a wider and clearer shot your footage will capture way more at a higher resolution. And with GoPro’s editing app you can customize your footage on the way home, as long as you’re not driving.

2. Sony HDRAS20

Sony’s Action Cam, my first camera. I used this camera for quite a few years, mostly for snowboarding and hiking and loved it. However, I also had a wish list if I were to remodel it myself. Listen up Sony. This camera can produce some HIGH QUALITY footage comparable to the GoPro’s, but the lack of the fish eye lens means you capture less of the goods. Also, because of the way this camera is shaped, it's best mounted (if that’s your intent) on a side mount. It produces awesome footage, but it feels different than your typical top of head mount that the GoPro utilizes. You can mount this camera anyway you want, but the selfie stick footage with this bad boy rules all. The steady shot image stabilization helps to make this camera one of the best action cameras out there.

Welcome to the future of action cameras. The Olympus TG tracker is tough on the outside (no need for protective housing here) and down right scientific on the inside. Let’s check it out. This camera features a data log mode, where you can track your stats even if you're not shooting any videos. The sensors on the front act as an LED light (helpful for shooting in darker conditions) as well as an information-gathering center for your adventures. This feature can sense GPS, altitude and depth, speed, temperature and more. These features combined with 4K capability and an extra wide, high speed lens, will help capture your adventures in the most favorable light. Clearly this “smart” camera is one of the best action cameras on the market.

4. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Many camera enthusiasts are calling this the GoPro killer and it’s easy to see why. They look very similar and the features are comparable to the Hero 4 but the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 comes in at a lower price point. But many reviewers believe this camera has a simpler user interface. Another “smart” camera. This action camera comes from one of the leading GPS companies, so of course it features a killer data system, which can tell you your location, altitude and a plethora of other data. This camera even knows when you’re skiing! Ski mode will film and track you as you travel downhill, but stop when you’re at the bar. The main difference between this camera and the others on our list is the fact that this camera’s battery lasts, even in very cold temperatures. For those who want a more economical alternative to GoPro, this is the one to get!

5. ISAW Edge

The ISAW Edge camera falls on the lower priced end of the spectrum, but that doesn’t mean you really have to sacrifice much. Here’s the deal. This camera features a flat wipe-clean lens that really allows you to nail the perfect shot. With footage comparable to the GoPro this camera offers an affordable option with some sweet features such as a sleek and slim shape and built in WiFi that allows you to control your camera from up to 15 feet away.

There you have it, the best action cameras on the market. Don’t let an inferior camera ruin the footage that could’ve gotten you sponsored! Also be sure to check our Best Travel Accessories!

About the author

John C.

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