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The 4 Best Action Cameras - Fall 2022 Reviews

Best Action Cameras

If you're planning on shooting action-packed videos for travel or sports, a dedicated action camera can be a valuable piece of equipment. These tiny, rugged, and often water-resistant models are designed to mount to a wide variety of equipment, from chest and helmet rigs to sports cars and watercraft. A high-quality action camera offers superior stabilization performance, a wide range of frame rates to record everything from simple slice-of-life videos to smooth slow-motion clips, and is rugged enough to keep up with your adventures, wherever they take you.

We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for which action camera to buy depending on your needs. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For more options, see our recommendations for the best sport video cameras, the best GoPro alternatives, and the best cameras.

  1. Best Action Camera

    The GoPro HERO10 Black is the latest flagship action cam from GoPro. It's reliably well-built, comes with a ton of frame rate options, and has an upgraded processor over its predecessor that's advertised to give it improved low-light performance. On top of its sturdy construction, it's also waterproof to an advertised depth of 33 feet and has a front-facing screen that lets you monitor yourself in Live View while recording.

    It's the most capable GoPro yet, with 5.3k video recording up to 60 fps, 4k video up to 120 fps, and 2.7k and 1080p video at up to 240 fps, so you can easily capture high-res slow-motion footage as well as regular smooth action video. Its digital image stabilization feature reduces camera shake incredibly well for handheld recording, although it does incur a noticeable 1.36x crop. The overall video quality is also better than most action cameras we've tested, particularly when it comes to low-light recording.

    That said, its battery life is unremarkable and falls a bit short of older GoPro models we've tested, though battery performance can also vary depending on a lot of different factors, including settings and environmental conditions. It can sometimes overheat and shut down when recording continuously for longer periods. Despite that, however, this is still a fantastic all-around action camera thanks to its wide range of frame rate options, durable build quality, and stabilization performance.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative

    If you're looking for something cheaper, consider the GoPro HERO9 Black. It's the predecessor to the GoPro HERO10 Black, and while it uses an older processor and has fewer frame rate options, it still has many of the same features at a lower price point. It feels very well-built, is waterproof up to 33 feet, and has a second front-facing screen with Live View that's ideal for vlogging. It supports 5k video recording up to 30 fps, as well as 4k up to 60 fps and 1080p up to 240 fps, so you still have a wide range of frame rates to choose from to suit whatever style of video you want to shoot. Its digital stabilization feature also does a fantastic job smoothing out camera shake, though there's a noticeable crop on your footage when you enable it. Video quality also looks a tad worse in dimly-lit conditions than it does on the HERO10.

    Get the HERO10 Black if you want improved low-light performance and more frame rate options. However, if you want to save a bit of money for a camera that performs very similarly overall, the HERO9 Black is a great alternative.

    See our review

  3. Best Handheld Action Camera

    The DJI Pocket 2 is a portable handheld camera with a built-in gimbal, making it a great choice for handheld action video and vlogging. The gimbal is stabilized across three axes, and you can set it in a few different configurations, for instance, to lock the horizon or prevent the camera from tilting and rolling. All in all, it does an exceptional job of smoothing out camera shake.

    In addition to its stabilization, the camera also has an excellent autofocus feature for video. There's an active tracking mode that can lock onto a specific subject and automatically follow them without having to move the camera. It can record 4k and 1080p video at up to 60 fps for smooth action video, and it has a 'Slow-Mo' video mode as well, which captures 1080p video at 120 or 240 fps for slow-motion playback. Its overall video quality is also pretty good relative to most action cameras, thanks to its slightly larger 1/1.7-inch sensor.

    That said, it tends to overheat when recording continuously for longer periods. Though it doesn't shut down or stop recording, it does get quite hot while in use, particularly when recording in 4k. Thankfully, there's no recording time limit, either, so you're only limited by battery life, which is decent for video. All in all, this is a great portable camera for those who want to shoot stabilized handheld video without carrying a lot of extra gear.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Action Camera

    If you're on a tighter budget, the AKASO Brave 7 LE is a solid GoPro alternative that won't break the bank. Despite its relatively affordable price point, this camera feels well-built and has an IPX7 rating, so it can withstand being submerged in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. For more extensive waterproofing, it also comes with a protective case that renders it waterproof to an advertised depth of 131 feet.

    Like the GoPro HERO10 Black and GoPro HERO9 Black, this camera has a secondary front-facing screen that's helpful for vlogging. It has an intuitive menu system and a great battery life depending on what settings you use. You can also keep using it while it charges via USB-C, which is handy for longer shooting sessions. It can record 1080p video at up to 120 fps, which is great for slow-motion capture. Its stabilization feature does an excellent job of reducing camera shake in 1080p and works very well in 4k at slower speeds, though enabling it does incur a severe 1.6x crop, which is unfortunate.

    The camera also has a lot of noticeable rolling shutter effects, causing distortion with vertical lines when panning rapidly from side to side. Video quality is also disappointing, whether you're shooting in 4k or 1080p. Its 4k frame rate options are also very limited, as it can only record 4k at 30 fps. Still, this is the best cheap action camera that we've tested for those looking for something sturdy and affordable.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • AKASO V50X: The AKASO V50X is a budget-friendly action camera that's even more affordable than the AKASO Brave 7 LE. It doesn't feel as sturdily-built, lacks a secondary display, and can only shoot at up to 60 fps in FHD. See our review
  • DJI Osmo Action: The DJI Osmo Action is a good alternative to the GoPro HERO9 Black thanks to its similarly superb build quality, impressive stabilization performance, and wide selection of frame rate options. However, it can't shoot in 5k. See our review
  • GoPro HERO8 Black: The GoPro HERO8 Black is an older version of the GoPro that offers much value. It has the same fantastic stabilization performance found on the latest GoPros, but you can't use its front screen for Live View, and it doesn't have 5k video capability. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 02, 2022: Ensured picks are still accurate and available.

  2. Jan 31, 2022: Verified that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories.

  3. Jan 10, 2022: Reviewed picks for accuracy and availability with no change to recommendations.

  4. Dec 20, 2021: Checked accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.

  5. Nov 29, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best action cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our action camera reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.