With our heads filled with plans and to-do lists and hearts filled with places to be, we have reached a phase where every time of the year is considered as a good time for travellers to put on their travel suits and explore the world. Being avid travellers ourselves, we wanted to start our #whichisbest blog series with one of the most commonly asked product recommendations by our fellow travellers, adventure enthusiasts and vloggers; who constantly help us see the world through their eyes. “There is always more to offer than what you see!”
Yes, you guessed it right – Action Cameras. From the time they entered the markets, Action Cameras have ruled the world of travel vlogging and travel documentary. Action Cameras turned out to be a blessing in disguise for all those people who needed a portable and light-weight replacement to their heavy gears and a mountable alternative to their mobile phones – a device that could be durable, solid, mountable, efficient and easy to use. Enter “Action Cameras” – Digital cameras designed to shoot actions on the go. A stereotypical Action Camera is rugged and compact, mostly water-proof at surface level and typically records videos in various modes like burst and time-lapse from the shooter’s point of view.
From GoPro that made the first entry in 2004 to all these different brands available in the market right now, the action camera industry has evolved multiple folds. As per Business Insider, in 2014, worldwide Action Camera sales increased by 44% from the previous year and a half of it had the capability to shoot Ultra Definition or 4K resolution. The action camera sales have surpassed traditional camcorder and compact system camera sales ever since. It is predicted that, by 2019, the action camera sales will surpass all types of cameras .
By the year 2021, Ultra HD category of the action camera market is expected to reach $3.3 billion. The Full HD category meanwhile is predicted to reach $2.2 billion, by slowly migrating into other industries in terms of its application and usage.
Before we jump into the recommendations, let’s take a look at how to identify the best action camera, or in other words, what are the parameters to consider before buying an action camera.
Who should buy?
Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. A travel junkee, who likes to capture their journey for vlogging purposes. Anyone who feels the constant need to find a better alternative to their phone camera or DSLR because of size or durability constraints. Action Cameras are not known for the best zoom-in capacity or picture quality compared to your phones and DSLRs. So if you are someone who is looking for clarity, zooming and steadiness as your option to capture shots then maybe Action Cameras shouldn’t be your first option.
What should you look for in an Action Camera?
Size and Mountability
Users generally prefer smaller, lightweight, wearable, portable, mountable and waterproof action cameras, considering the fact that they should be able to carry it around in harsh weather conditions and landscapes. You should choose your camera based on your specific needs – underwater usage, bike trips, hiking, jumping, adventure sports, outdoor vlogging and so on.
In terms of mountability, there are several types to choose from depending on your activity. If you’re biking through a terrain, a helmet mount gives you perfect installation and security. For bicycling, you have handlebar and jaw clamp mounts. Bodycam mounts have become trendy for reducing the shake you get from helmet mounts — especially if you plan on using them for skiing, trekking, diving or bungee jumping. Just keep in mind that not all action cameras are fit for all sports and adventures. Depending on the activity, each mount must benefit your use prominently based on the shots and angles you are looking to capture.
Frame Rate and Resolution
In terms of shoot scalability and playback, you must definitely consider frame rate, expressed as frames per second (fps) as one of your parameters. Greater the fps, better the playback. Less expensive cameras offer 15 to 30 fps which would work for a standard video that does not require much editing. For a typical playback, 30fps should work for you. However, when you consider slowing your footage or editing to create dramatic scenes and effects then a 240fps would be a better choice as it can be slowed down and played back at 60fps (one quarter).
In addition to frame rate options, there’s still resolution and video quality to consider when purchasing an action camera. The best action cams on the market capture footage at 4K, 30 fps, but these may be overkill for you if you don’t own a 4K TV or 4K computer screen for playback. The most notable difference in shooting at 4K is in the ability to crop footage and still maintain a decent 1080p HD quality at the output. Cameras that support 4K can be set to record in lower resolutions as well if you want to keep file sizes down.
Controls and Apps
On-camera controls and wireless features play a very important role in choosing the right action camera. GoPro’s Hero5 Session, for instance, focuses on simple, one-button operation, but relies on a connected mobile device to adjust settings. Some models have LCDs and controls built in, but can be a bit complex to use. There are a lot of considerations when you’re dealing with such compact devices and the decision lies in the user’s requirement and budget at the offset. A popular view is that touch-screen models offer the easiest operability.
But remember, a good app can supplement a poor on-camera control system, and even elevate the camera’s usefulness. There are a few apps that let you use your phone as a live viewfinder to frame your shots, and some let you transfer files to your phone wirelessly. On top of that, many apps let you use your phone as a wireless remote, to easily control that helmet-mounted camera avoiding the discomfort of dismounting or taking off your gear.
Ultimately, your choice in action camera should come down to performance, usage, budget and ease of use.
Which is the best Action Camera in India and where to buy it?
Without any further ado let’s jump into listing our best pick in three different classifications based on price, quality and performance:
Best Action Camera – Best in class, High-end
GoPro Hero 5 Black
Buy it here
Our pick for the best Action Camera is GoPro Hero 5 black. This sturdy piece of wonder combines all the best features of GoPro Hero 4 Silver (Mind-blowing Video quality, touchscreen interface, price point to name few) and includes some of its own stand-out features that have made it easily glide to the top of our list.
- Excellent Video Quality – It claims to capture incredible 4K videos that are as stunning as the moment itself. With 12 MP lens that can shoot 4K resolution at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps, GoPro Hero 5 Black boasts high-quality motion capture. Stunning 4K video and 12MP photos in single, burst and time-lapse modes.
- Touch Screen and Voice control – Initiate video recording in a jiffy by taking control of your GoPro using simple voice commands. Frame the shot, sit back and enjoy the videos on a 2-inch touchscreen.
- Waterproof and durable – Take it wherever your phone or camera can’t be taken. Durable by design, Hero 5 Black is waterproof to 33ft (10m) without a housing.
- App and Control – Get the shot and kick back as your GoPro app transforms it into an awesome video automatically. Preview and playback your shots, change settings and trim your footage, all on your GoPro app, without any fuss.
- Battery drains quickly when the touch screen is in continuous use.
- There is no external mic support without an adaptor
Good (Best budget Action Camera) – Affordable and good quality
SJCAM SJ6 Legend
Buy it here
SJCAM SJ6 Legend is a versatile and compact option for those looking for a cheaper alternative to GoPro Hero 5 in terms of usability, but are however fine with compromising on the video quality and saturation. This release of SJCAM supports SJ-Remote and external microphone.
- User Interface and Built-in Control – SJCAM SJ6 Legend boasts one of the most responsive and simple UI which is considered to be even better than its GoPro counterpart GoPro Hero 5. It has a Dual screen – Built-in 2.0 inch back LTPS touchscreen and 0.96-inch front screen. Navigate using 2-inch touch screen shortcuts and be ready to shoot your legendary videos.
- Waterproof and durable – Comes with a waterproof housing for shooting videos 30M underwater.
- Resolution – Sporting a 16mp Panasonic Sensor, the SJ6 Legend can record 4K@24FPS(interpolation), 2K@ 30fps and many other resolutions. Snap or film the most pristine and picturesque landscapes, events and other countless settings. The SJ6 Legend uses an industry- proven Panasonic MN 34120PA 16MP sensor with 7G lens allowing the legend to take crisp and clear images. The Panasonic MN 34120PA 16MP lens is perfect for capturing all your amazing moments
- Built-in Controls – SJCAM’S distortion correction function allows you to shoot wide-angle video and photos without having the bends when the target is straight(fisheye effect). Built-in Gyro Anti-Shake features to capture crisp and clear portraits.
- Price to Performance ratio – SJCAM SJ 6 Legend is considered to be the best alternative to GoPro Hero 5, with comparable features and decent performance for a price less than half of its GoPro contemporary.
- The brightness of the LCD screen is very low, which makes it difficult for the user to view playbacks under extreme light.
- Image quality and saturation are not that great due to interpolation of 4K images, which means that the camera actually shoots the image at 2K and the software feeds extra resolution. This makes the image quality drop significantly compared to the original scene.
Cheap (Cheapest Action Camera) – Budget pick
PROCUS RUSH 4K Wifi | 19 Accessories Pack
Buy it here
Our obvious pick for a budget Action Camera was Procus Rush 4K – the best Action Camera available in this range that delivers great value considering the price to performance ratio. This is the perfect Action Camera for beginners as you get a complete accessories pack along with the camera which allows you to explore usage right away and save money on buying accessories separately.
- Affordability – Considering such a low price point for an entire set of 19 accessories along with the camera, Procus Rush 4K stands unquestionably the best in the category of Cheapest Action Cameras that deliver good value.
- Waterproof and durable – 100 Feet(30m) waterproof camera. Procus Rush boasts a body that is small yet sturdy, made to withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme action. Equipped with IP68 waterproof case, durable waterproof to 100 Feet (30m). Ideal for water sports like swimming, drifting, surfing and so on.
- Decent Video Quality – 4K Ultra HD Action Camera: Professional (4K 30fps) (2.7K 30fps) (1080P 60/30 fps) (720P at 60/30 fps) videos with 16MP photos at up to 30 frames per second for incredible photos, which is 4 times the resolution of traditional HD cameras. NOTE: Class 10 Memory Card is required for best performance and smooth videos in 4K.
- Accessories – Procus Rush Basic Pack includes 19 Accessories – such as 1X Waterproof case, 1XBicycle Bracket, 1XBack Flip, 1X J Mount(Pedestal), 1X Helmet Pedestal, 1X Helmet Pedestal, 1X 3M Tape,1X 3M Tape, 1XRibbon, 1XRibbon,1X Switch Support,1XSwitch Support, 1XSwitch Support,1XFixed Base + Communicator,1XShell, 1 X Wire Cable, 1 X Data Cable,1 X Bandage Pack of 4,and 1X Charger Adapter
- App and Wifi Control – Download Procus Cam app on android to share your action in minutes. WiFi signal ranges up to 10 mts.
- The quality of images and videos might not be sharp and clear compared to the bigger players.
- Not the best product for experts who work on intense edits and expect multiple modes.
In a nutshell, these are our picks for the best Action Cameras to choose from based on budget and performance –
|Action Camera||Price Range||Category||Buy Now|
|Best Action Camera under 25,000 – GoPro Hero 5 Black||21K – 26K||High-end, Best in class|
|Best Action Camera under 15,000 – SJCAM SJ 6 Legend||8K-13K||Affordable alternative|
| Best Action Camera under 10000 – Procus Rush 4K WiFi
||Cheap – Budget Pick