With so much of the world to experience and numerous adventures to participate in; from swimming in tropical seas, to trekking the desserts, to scaling mountains, it is natural that we would want to record some or even all of these exploits, for posterity, for memories or even just to share. One of our most recent holidays involved volunteering with turtles and we certainly felt that it was a great shame that we did not have one of these with us as we snorkelled with milk sharks and admired clown fish playing in sea anemones.
As technology advances, we are no longer confined to a small number of options, where there used to be only the one or two brands associated with higher speed frame rates, easy touch controls, better and faster processing and solid, robust body cases, pivot arms for better angles there are now a range of brands and features to choose from.
The age of action camera just switched up a notch and is definitely here to stay.
Top 8 Best Sports and Action Video Cameras
Here in this post, we outline some of the classics as well as some of the newcomers to this field of digital action video camcorder kits.
- GoPro Hero4: Black or Silver Edition Camcorder – 4K
- Sony HDR-AS200VR Action Camera with Live View Remote – LIVE REMOTE
- GoPro Hero Session Camcorder – SMALLEST, WATERPROOF
- Sony HDRAZ1VR/W Action Camera Mini with Live View Remote – LIVE REMOTE, SPLASHPROOF
- GoPro Camera HERO+ LCD HD Video Recording Camera
- YI 4K Action Camera – 4K
- TomTom Bandit Action Camera – 4K, WATERPROOF
- Sony FDR-X1000VR/W 4K Action Cam with Live View Remote – 4K, LIVE REMOTE
Update: GoPro launched the new generation HERO5 series action cameras which includes, HERO5 Black and HERO5 Session. These together with HERO Session make up their new portfolio of action cameras. The HERO5 Black retains the same camera profile as the HERO4 but now comes in a waterproof design for up to 33ft (10m) without the use of a housing. It has 4K Video and 12MP photo capture capability with RAW photo support. Like the HERO4, it comes with a front status monochrome LCD and rear 2-inch colour touch display. For connectivity it supports WiFi and Bluetooth. Advanced features include wind noise reduction, stereo sound, voice control, video stabilisation, location capture and automatic backup to cloud.
The cheaper HERO5 Session comes with 10MP sensor while still capable of capturing 4K video in 30 fps. Compared to the bigger HERO5, it lacks the colour touch display, the status monochrome display, the ability to capture location and photos in RAW + WDR format. The equally small and even cheaper HERO Session, also featured below comes with 8MP sensor capable of capturing 1440P30 and 1080P60 videos. Compared to the HERO5 Session, it lacks voice control, video stabilisation and auto upload to cloud. Both HERO5 Session and HERO Session comes with small monochrome status LCD display and are waterproof to 33ft (10m) without the use of a housing.
At the same time, GoPro also launched their fordable Drone called the Karma Drone with stabiliser and harness compatible with HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session and HERO4 Black and Silver. The age of action camera just switched up a notch and is definitely here to stay.
Now for a closer look at our list:
1. GoPro Hero4: Black or Silver Edition Camcorder – 4K, WATERPROOF
Hero4 in Black or Silver is GoPro’s flagship action camcorder. It features improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates at high resolution 4K30 and 1080p120 high frame rate video enable stunning, immersive footage. New Protune settings unlock manual control of colour, ISO Limit, Exposure and more. Waterproof to 40 metres (131 feet) with 12MP photos at a blistering 30 frames per second and improved audio.
- 4K recording: Capture everything in superb 4K Ultra HD quality at a smooth 30 frames per second. You can also shoot at 1080p for even higher frame rates.
- 12MP photos: The Hero4 shoots beautifully detailed 12 megapixel images at up to 30 frames per second too.
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth: Connect to the GoPro app on your phone and enjoy even more control, download and share your footage.
- Protune capture control: Tweak your settings until their just right. Adjust colour levels, ISO, exposure and more for your own personal take on the action.
- Time lapse: Customise exposure settings up to 30 seconds for single and time lapse photos.
2. Sony HDR-AS200VR Action Camera with Live View Remote – LIVE REMOTE, SPLASH PROOF, WATERPROOF CASE
Snag super-smooth video and stunning pics with advanced image stabilization, splash proof body and Live View Remote. You’ll capture the action in high-quality XAVC S format, with built-in WiFi and stereo mic with wind noise-reduction. And it’s easy to edit your best moves into one video with included Highlight Movie Maker software.
- Full HD video with rich 60Mbps data and up to 240p slo-mo in HD
- SteadyShotTM image stabilization works from bikes to aerial shot and more
- Control up to 5 Action Cam via smartphone or LiveViewTM Remote
- Splash proof body with universal tripod mount
- Built-in stereo mic for quality sound with wind noise reduction
- Automatically creates highlight video in MP4 from multiple clips with Highlight Movie Maker app
- Loop recording prevents running out of memory card
- Live stream your video via Ustream. Advanced manual control allows flexibility in movie expression
- Ultra wide up to 170° pro quality f/2.8 bright ZEISS® lens
ALSO: Sony HDR-AS100VR Action Camera with Live View Remote – LIVE REMOTE
3. GoPro Hero Session Camcorder – SMALLEST, WATERPROOF
The GoPro HERO Session Action Camcorder is the smallest and lightest action camcorder in our list. It uses a tough design that allows you to capture action footage in all kinds of conditions.
Captures striking Full HD video quality, with a variety of resolution options for every occasion. HD options of 1440p and 1080p are perfect, whilst the high frame rate of the 720p option offers smooth playback for slow-motion footage.
Easy controls: Capture footage and take photos in seconds with a single button which powers on the camera and begins video capture all at once. And once you’re finished filming, another press of the button stops recording and turns the camera off to preserve battery life.
More control via app: It can also be remotely connected using the built-in WiFi or Bluetooth and the GoPro app. View your captured media, share your shots on social media and change the settings in moments.
Camera settings: Easily adjust the settings on the camera by selecting between time lapse, frame rates, resolutions and more using the app.
Durable and waterproof: Weighing just 74 g, the Hero Session has a compact yet sturdy design, which has been designed to be more wearable than any other model. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, the camera is even waterproof to 10 metres without needing an additional housing, allowing you to transition effortlessly from the beach to the sea.
- Full HD 1080p video up to 60 fps.
- 149° lens
- Waterproof to 32 ft with included housing (10 meters)
- Up to 2 hours recording
- 8 megapixel still photos, burst of images at 10 fps & time lapse mode with a variety of interval options.
4. Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Camera Mini with Live View Remote – LIVE REMOTE, SPLASHPROOF
- Sony’s smallest splash-proof Action Cam
- SteadyShotTM image stabilization conquers bumps and blur
- Control ActionCam via phone or up to 5 cameras with Live-View Remote. Mobile phone with app connect via NFC then WiFi.
- Splash proof design (IPX4) meant it can stand shower, spray and snow.
- Built-in stereo microphone for quality sound recording
- 5 video modes (1080/60p @50Mbps HD and 2x slow motion)
- Ultra wide up to 170° pro quality ZEISS S lens and Exmore R CMOS sensor for better low light performance.
- Broadcast your video live via Ustream.
5. GoPro Camera HERO+ Camera with LCD HD Video Recording Camera – WATERPROOF HOUSING, LCD
- Ultra Wide Field of View (FOV) with Ultra Wide angle glass lense with reduced distortion
- Consumer grade low-light performance
- 1080p video capture at 25, 30, 50 or 60 fps (depending on model), 720p video capture at 50 or 60 fps, 8MP still capture on the HERO+ and 5MP still capture on the HERO
- Burst Rates: 10/2 fps [5 fps]. Time Lapse Intervals: 0.5 second on the HERO, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60 seconds on the HERO+
- Auto low light, Quick Capture, Looping video on the HERO+
- Video: High bit rate video output (H.264): Up to 25Mb/s. Audio:Mono 48kHz, AAC compression with standard multi-band AGC (Automatic Gain Control)
- Compatible with GoPro App and GoPro Studio
- Built-in 1180mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery (HERO), 1160mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery (HERO+)
- Ports: mini USB and micro SD (at least a Class 10 or UHS-I rating) and a capacity up to 32GB (HERO) or64GB (HERO+)
6. YI 4K Action Camera – 4K, LCD TOUCHSCREEN
The YI 4K Action Camera features an impact resistant Gorilla Glass 2.19″ LCD touchscreen so you can shoot and preview with the touch of a finger. Shoot high resolution videos at 4K 30fps / 1080p 120fps / 720p 240fps and capture 12M photos using our selection of photo and video modes including Timelapse, Slow Motion, Timer, and Burst.
Customized with the newest Ambarella A9SE75 Chip and Sony IMX377 Image Sensor to support first-class image capture/encoding, low power consumption, and bright detailed image output with minimal noise even in low light conditions. Built-in Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) with 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer provides stable video even when the camera shakes, moves, or experiences impact. Connect to the YI Action App using built-in high-speed 5GHz Wi-Fi to edit, apply filters, add music, and share on social media instantly.
- Records 4K/30fps (60mbps), 1080p/120fps, 720p/240fps video and 12MP photos using a 155° wide-angle lens with F2.8 aperture
- Built-in 2.19″ LCD touchscreen with 640 x 360 high resolution for easy previewing and shooting. Designed with Gorilla Glass Retina to resist scratches and daily impact
- World’s leading technologies: Ambarella A9SE75 Chip, Sony IMX377 Image Sensor, 7 layers of glass lenses, and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) to guarantee ultra-clear and stable 4K video resolution and 12M pixel photos even in low light conditions
- Rechargeable 1400mAh high capacity 4.4V lithium-ion battery records up to 120 minutes of 4K/30fps video with a single charge. Built-in Bluetooth and high speed dual band 5GHz/2.4GHz Wi-Fi support for wireless remote control and the YI Action App for instant photo and video editing.
7. TomTom Bandit Action Camera 4K – 4K, WATERPROOF DIVE LENS
TomTom’s pocket-sized action camera blends pin-sharp 4K quality with a range of awesome on-the-move features. Not only can you make this camcorder waterproof with the included Dive Lens, you can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to edit and share your footage. Use the built-in sensors to measure the likes of speed and G-force, then charge it up quickly with the innovative Batt-stick design.
- 16 megapixel stills and 4K or Full HD, 1080p frames, with features such as Time Lapse and Slow Motion
- Easy Editing With Bandit App on iPhone or Android smartphone via Wi-Fi.
- Add music and data overlays, manually mark 6-second highlights and when ready, simply shake the phone to share your highlights.
- In-camera sensors – detecting Speed, G-force, Altitude, Acceleration, Rotation.
- Innovative Batt-Stick make charging cables a thing of the past. Just slide it out and plug it directly into a computer or laptop’s USB port
- Waterproof Adventure Pack make your Bandit waterproof (to 40M) with the included Dive Lens, so you can make awesome underwater movies. Also included are a backpack mount, GoPro mount adapter, anti-rotation clip, microphone windshield and some basic surface mounts.
8. Sony FDR-X1000VR/W 4K Action Cam with Live View Remote – 4K, LIVE REMOTE, WATERPROOF HOUSING
- Professional 4K (3840 x 2160) video recording with up to 240p HD / 120p HD
- SteadyShot image stabilization works from bikes to aerial shot and more
- Using Wi-Fi control up to 5 Action Cam via smartphone app (Sony PlayMemories Mobile app) with one touch connect via NFC or LiveView Remote
- Splash proof body with universal tripod mount (IPX4)
- Built-in stereo mic for quality sound with wind noise reduction
- Automatically creates highlight video in MP4 from multiple clips
- Loop recording prevents running out of memory card, Live stream your video via Ustream
- Advanced manual control allows flexibility in movie expression
- Ultra wide up to 170° pro quality f/2.8 bright ZEISS® lens
Live Remote RM-LVR2 – frame your shot, change the shooting modes, turn on GPS, and control up to 5 Action Cams