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The best action camera for 2024: top cameras for adventures

If you’re into making cool adventure videos, you’ll want the best action camera. We’ve tried out lots of them, from the affordable ones to the fancy ones, and we’ve picked out our favorites. No matter if you’re surfing, skydiving, or doing something else wild, our guide will help you choose the perfect Best action camera for you, without breaking the bank.

Right now, we believe the top choice for most people is the GoPro Hero 11 Black. It’s the most advanced GoPro yet, featuring a new 8:7 aspect ratio that makes it simple to crop footage for social media. Plus, its Horizon Lock keeps 5.3K/30p video stable and level all the way around. But if you’re looking to save some cash, the Akaso Brave 7 LE is our budget-friendly winner. It comes with two screens and weather-sealing, making it the best affordable action camera out there.

The best action camera for 2024

GoPro Hero 12

Right now, if you’re after the top-notch action camera, the GoPro Hero 12 is the one to go for. It’s like a little powerhouse that captures super smooth videos in stunning detail. With its big 1/1.9-inch CMOS sensor, it can shoot at a high resolution of 5.7K at 60 frames per second.

This camera shoots in an 8:9 aspect ratio that allows you to edit the content and use it for different social media platforms hassle-free.

Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth 5.0 keep your shots level and shake-free, while a larger sensor improves low-light performance. It boasts user-friendly features like a front LCD, which makes vlogging an easy and intuitive experience.

You can easily tweak settings and start or stop recording using your phone, all wirelessly. Plus, there are handy post-production tools for making quick edits on the fly. It’s also waterproof up to 10 meters without needing extra housing, so it can handle different activities and weather conditions. However, the battery life isn’t the longest, and there are some subscription-based cloud features to think about.

Video Resolution: Up to 5.3K (up to 60fps)
Still Image Resolution: 27MP
Display Size: 1.4-inch LCD (front), 2.27-inch LCD touchscreen (rear)
Size: 2.83 x 2 x 1.32 inches
Weight: 5.43 ounces
Waterproof Rating: 33 feet

 

GoPro Hero 12

GoPro Hero10 Black

If you’re okay with slightly lower image quality, the GoPro Hero10 Black is a good choice and costs less than the Hero12 Black. Both can shoot at the same top resolutions and frame rates, like 5.7K at 60 frames per second. But the Hero10 Black has a smaller image sensor (1/2.3-inch CMOS), uses 8-bit color, and has a bit lower bit rate, so its pictures aren’t quite as smooth or vibrant as the Hero12 Black’s.

Though the difference is noticeable in side-by-side comparisons, it’s likely to be important only to the most discerning of users. For most people, the Hero10 Black’s well-stabilized, high-resolution image will look great on social media and even on large 4K TVs.

The Hero10 Black doesn’t have the 0.25-inch mount like the Hero12 Black, and it doesn’t come with the longer-lasting battery (though you can get one separately). It also doesn’t have all the same video modes. Plus, because of its smaller sensor, it’s not as good at recording vertical and horizontal content simultaneously.

Video Resolution: Up to 5.3K (up to 60fps)
Still Image Resolution: 24.7MP (from video only)
Display Size: None
Size: 2.06 x 2.02 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 4.69 ounces
Waterproof Rating: 33 feet

 

GoPro Hero10 Black

DJI Osmo Action 4

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is aimed at experienced video enthusiasts, offering cinema-grade video specs that really stand out. Its strong control gives you advanced manual settings, which filmmakers love.

The stabilization on the DJI Osmo Action 4 is top-notch, thanks to RockSteady 2.0, which smooths out even the most intense footage. Its mounting systems make it easy to hold onto devices or connect various rigs. Plus, it has a side color screen for precise framing, and an adjustable front screen that’s great for vlogging. It’s one of the rare action cameras with Micro HDMI and USB-C ports, perfect for professional workflows.

The Magnus M automatic mode optimizes settings to focus shooting entirely on the subject. Its tool-free modular design means opening for charging or storage is simple without separate accessories. The DJI Osmo 4 is competitively priced for the top-tier specifications, which makes it attractive to pros and serious hobbyists.

Video Resolution: Up to 4K (120 fps)
Still Image Resolution: 10MP
Display Size: 1.4-inch LCD touchscreen (front), 2.25-inch LCD touchscreen (rear)
Size: 2.78 x 1.74 x 1.29 inches
Weight: 5.11 ounces
Waterproof Rating: IP68 / 196 feet (with waterproof case), 59 feet

 

DJI Osmo Action 4

DJI Pocket 2

Even though it’s not exactly an action camera, the DJI Pocket 2 is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a filmmaker or vlogger who travels solo. It comes with a built-in three-axis gimbal that’s not just for stabilizing footage. When paired with the Pocket 2’s face-tracking feature, we discovered in our review that it can automatically track your movements from side to side as you walk in front of it.

The Pocket 2 is an upgrade from the original Osmo Pocket, featuring a bigger 1/1.7-inch sensor that can snap 64MP photos and shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second with 100Mbps. It also offers better audio options with four built-in microphones and an optional Creator Combo pack that includes a wireless external microphone. While the Pocket 2 isn’t waterproof on its own, you can purchase a waterproof case separately to keep it safe in depths of up to 60 meters.

Video Resolution: Up to 4K (120 fps)
Still Image Resolution: 9.4MP
Display Size: 2-inch rotatable touchscreen
Size: 5.5 x 1.66 x 1.32 inches
Weight: 6.31 ounces
Waterproof Rating: Not waterproof

 

DJI Pocket 2

Olympus Tough TG-6

Built to withstand any adventure, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is a top-notch compact camera housed in tough materials. It’s waterproof up to 15 meters, freeze-proof down to minus 10°C, crushproof up to 100 kilograms, and shockproof against drops from 2.1 meters. This camera is ready for action and excels in conditions that would put other cameras out of commission.

Despite being heavier than many action cameras, the Olympus Tough TG-6 doesn’t need any additional casing thanks to its durability. During testing, we found it felt sturdy in the hand and still fit comfortably in a pocket. This is partly due to its internally stacked 25-100mm equivalent lens, which provides useful zoom flexibility without sticking out from the camera body.

Olympus Tough TG-6

Kandao QooCam 3

The Kandao QooCam 3 is small enough to hold in your hand and can capture regular video, 360-degree video, or high-resolution still images at an impressive 62MP resolution. For video, it can shoot up to 5.7K at 60 frames per second, making it one of the highest resolution cameras in this collection. With two 1.55-inch sensors and an f/1.6 aperture, it performs well in various lighting situations.

The camera’s OS offers a handful of shooting modes, which makes it both easy to use and versatile. When capturing 360-degree video, the QooCam 3 enables seamless horizontal correction so what’s being shot appears level, even if the camera is in motion

A neat feature, similar to Insta360 action cameras, is the invisible selfie stick feature. If you accidentally capture the optional selfie stick in your shot, the camera automatically removes it during filming. This camera offers great value with its versatility. In the box, you’ll find the camera, one battery, a USB Type-C cable, a lens cloth, and a soft carrying case. When not shooting 360-degree video, it does a fantastic job capturing regular wide-angle video from different perspectives. It can also be used as a point-and-shoot camera for highly detailed photos. Overall, it’s a more affordable option compared to the GoPro Max.

Video Resolution: Up to 5.7K (60 fps)
Still Image Resolution: 62MP
Display Size: 2-inch touchscreen
Size:  3.3 x 2.8 x 1 inches
Weight: 12.5 ounces
Waterproof Rating: IP68

 

Kandao QooCam 3

Akaso Brave 4 Elite

On the outside, the Akaso Brave 4 Elite might look a lot like the GoPro Hero 12 Black, but there’s one major difference: their respective prices. The Brave 4 Elite comes bundled with a handful of mounts, accessories, lens filters and cables, but it’s priced two-thirds less than the basic GoPro Hero 12 Black camera. This camera’s maximum video resolution is 4K (60fps), which is more than high enough for most videographers. It can also shoot still images at 20MP.

Similar to GoPro cameras, the Brave 4 Elite has image stabilization and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect it to a smartphone for remote control, but it also comes with its own remote control that you can wear on your wrist. Additionally, it responds to voice commands. What sets this camera apart is its 64GB internal storage, along with a microSD memory card slot, allowing you to capture videos or photos without needing a separate memory card. Overall, the camera’s operating system supports twelve shooting modes.

Video Resolution:  Up to 4K (60 fps)
Still Image Resolution: 20MP
Display Size: 1.5-inch LCD (front), 2-inch LCD touchscreen (back)
Size: 2.32 x 1.57 x 0.91 inches
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Waterproof Rating: IPX8 (33 feet)

Akaso Brave 4 Elite

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