If you’re looking for the best action cameras for 2018 then you might want to continue reading my below detailed buyer guide that will give you all the information you need to choose the camera that best suits your needs.
An action camera lets you capture breathtaking and adrenaline-filled adventures in your life. It is a lightweight and tiny camera that produces high definition and wide-angle videos.
It can be mounted to a helmet, fastened to the tip of a surfboard, or even on top of a tripod, making it ideal for use in extreme sports and activities. With an action camera, you will be able to create stunning mini movies and capture unbelievable photos. With its extra wide lens, you can get more width and more dramatic point of view footage.
Searching for the best action camera online can be quite daunting, especially if you do not know what you are looking for. In this article, we will be discussing everything there is you need to know about action cameras.
You will be provided the essential factors that you have to consider when choosing the best one. I hope that after you have read this article, you will be able to apply your new understanding in making a more knowledgeable decision.
I also have a rundown of the 13 best action cameras out in the market, providing you each product’s main features, pros, and cons. Here are my top choices:
- GoPro Hero 6 Black
- Garmin Virb Ultra 30
- Sony FDR-X3000 4K
- Yi 4K+
- Drift Ghost 4K
- Ricoh WG-M2
- Olympus TG-Tracker
- GoPro Hero 5 Session
- SJCAM SJ7 STAR
- Garmin VIRB 360 (360 degrees camera)
- GoPro Fusion (360 degrees camera)
- Nikon Keymission 360 (360 degrees camera)
- Kodak Orbit 360 4K (360 degrees camera)
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN ACTION CAMERA
Choosing the best action camera can be a little tricky, especially if you are a first-time buyer. This, in fact, is also true for experienced buyers looking for an upgrade. I wrote a detailed article on how to choose the best action camera, make sure you check it out.
In this section, I’m going to discuss the essential factors you might want to consider to know which action camera is right for you.
Video Quality and Frame Rates
The video resolution is one of the most crucial factors you have to consider when choosing an action camera. Today, the 4K resolution is the highest video quality that is available on almost all high-end action cameras.
However, if you are on a tight budget, you may opt to choose lesser quality cameras such as the 720p and the 1080p. Keep in mind that the right action camera for you will also depend on what devices you will use to view the recorded footage. Having a 4K action camera will be useless if you do not own a 4K television or monitor.
Another factor you should look out for is the frame rate, which is expressed as fps or frames per second. High-end action cameras can offer up to 240 fps while some only have the capacity of delivering up to 30 fps.
While 30 fps is still a decent frame rate, footage recorded at 240 fps will be played smoothly at quarter speed. In addition, the 240 fps action camera has the capability to capture fast-moving objects and will be ideal if you want to perform post production edits to your footage.
Shape, Size, and Weight
Factors such as the shape, size, and weight definitely add to the overall appearance and appeal of the action camera. The reason is that these will affect how they are mounted, whether to your helmets, chest, or the windscreen.
For an action camera, you would not want a bulky one, right? It should have a compact and sleek design, perfect for hands-free recording. When it comes to its size and weight, it is always best that you opt to choose a lightweight one, which will ensure optimum portability.
Actions cameras are built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. If you will be using the camera underwater, you might want to check first if it is waterproof.
You should also be aware that not all action cameras possess a waterproof exterior. Some of the models are advertised as water-resistant but in reality, you still have to place the camera inside a waterproof case.
While it is a minor requirement, you will definitely benefit from getting a shockproof action camera. You may not know where your next adventure may take you so it is always good to be ready, just in case.
Field of View
If you are not yet familiar with that term, the field of view, often referred to as FOV, is the area your action camera will be able to capture. Most of the action cameras do have a wide-angle field of view.
However, others offer the versatility that allows you to choose between wide, medium, and narrow field of views. An action camera’s field of view can be determining factor whether you buy a certain action camera or not, but you always have to keep in mind that almost all of the action cameras that are available right now have a wide-angle shot, which may seem like it is distorted.
In addition, most of them come with the very popular fisheye effect that will be able to create a more dramatic footage.
If you successfully have chosen the best action camera that is right for you, you will not be limited to just taking action and adventure videos. You will also find it surprising that an action camera has the ability to take great still photos as well.
If you ever think about taking photographs too, you might want to include the image quality the camera produces into consideration. It is a known fact that the higher the megapixels, the higher the resolution will be. However, you have a lot of options in order for you to optimize your photos to suit your preferences and style.
Almost all of the action cameras out right now provide around one to three hours of battery life before it runs out of juice. Obviously, the action camera’s battery life will depend on how often you use it.
In addition, shooting high-resolution footage speeds up the draining of the battery. If you have connectivity features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth always turned on, these will also make your action camera’s battery run out of juice.
The best thing you can do about this issue is that you turn these connectivity features off when you are not using it. You can also check my tips on how to extend the battery life of your action cam.
The battery life is one of the most important factors you have to take into consideration when choosing the best action camera. There is no point carrying it around if it does not have juice.
Most people opt to choose an action camera with the longest battery life. However, these types of action cameras might be a lot more expensive than others. Luckily, most models offer a removable battery, which you can easily swap with a fully charged one. Or they can be charged with a power bank.
It is also worth mentioning that extremely cold temperature will greatly reduce your action camera’s battery life. You could, however, bring extra batteries or try to keep you camera warm.
Once you are home from an adventure, you will need to transfer all your footage and images to your phone or computer. This is the reason why it is ideal that the action camera you choose should have connectivity features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
This would be really beneficial especially if your action camera does not have a screen for you to preview your footage. As mentioned above, you need to turn off these features when not in use to prevent drainage of your action camera’s battery.
A fast memory card is a requirement for you to make the most out of your action camera. A memory card that is not fast enough will just cause dropped frames and an overall bad footage.
You might want to consider getting a Class 10 memory card, which will be able to provide you the speed you will need for a memory card. In addition, some action cameras already offer UHS-II support that gives you the writing speed of as much as 312 MB per second.
Mounting and other Accessories
As you may already know, not all action cameras are suitable for each kind of sport. This is why factors such as the action camera’s size and shape should be considered.
The differences in shapes let you choose different mounting possibilities and accessories. You might want to evaluate first what you will be using the action camera for before you buy the accessories.
Controls and Apps
The camera’s controls and wireless features are also important factors when choosing the best action camera. Some models concentrate on quick and simple one-button operation while relying on a mobile device to adjust the settings.
Others, however, have an LCD display that already comes with the controls built in. If budget is not an issue, you may opt to choose a touchscreen model, as it is a lot easier to control the settings with these cameras.
A useful app will be able to compensate for the poor on-camera controls. It is also tested that it has the ability to enhance your action camera’s usefulness. Some apps offer controls that allow you to test or frame your shots before you actually hit record.
Some apps also provide a wireless remote feature that lets you control your mounted camera, preventing the unnecessary dismounting.
You may spend hundreds of dollars to buy an action camera; but do you really have to? Unless you are not using it for work and you just want a decent camera, you might want to consider buying one with a considerable price that has the complete features you need.
TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST ACTION CAMERAS FOR 2018
Now that you have learned what factors you have to consider when choosing an action camera, I will now be discussing the top 13 picks for 2018.
A summary of their best features will be provided for you, as well as a list of each individual product’s pros and cons. These will help you in making an informed decision, making sure that you will not buy what is not right for you.
I hope that you will utilise the following reviews to choose the best action camera for your adventures.
GoPro Hero 6 Black
My rating: 9.8/10
Founded in 2002, GoPro is a technology company offering one of the best action cameras right now with their latest release, the GoPro Hero 6 Black. You should be informed that the Hero 6 Black does not have any design upgrade from its predecessor the Hero5 Black.
Like the previous one, it has the same two-tone black and gray design that comes with a rubberised and rugged body. As with the older model, it allows you to go as deep as 33 feet without any extra housing. You can get it wet as much as you like and it will keep working perfectly.
The Hero6 Black has always been sleek and compact but if you want to mount it, you are going to need to place it in its case. However, a downside is that putting the GoPro inside the case would mean that there is no access to the USB-C port.
There are two physical control buttons: one on the right side for Power/Mode switch and the other one is on the top of the Record/Shutter button. Another great feature of the GoPro Hero 6 Black is that it is capable of responding to voice commands.
The display itself is not huge, measuring about two inches diagonally. The screen may be a bit small but the brightness and viewing angles will be able to compensate. To add, this model uses the same battery as the previously released model.
And just like any other gadget, Wi-Fi connectivity will surely drain the battery. You will find the micro SD memory card inside the battery compartment while the USB-C and micro HDMI ports are on the left side.
The Hero 6 Black has improved in terms of wireless connectivity. With its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features, you can wake the camera using just your Android and iOS GoPro app. It also has integrated GPS that allows accurate time and location data.
This latest offering from GoPro is the new image processor that doubles the maximum frame rate at 240 fps at 1080p. It also can provide you excellent and strong digital stabilization, which also comes with a lot of slow-motion video options. Lastly, it is a touchscreen action camera, letting you navigate through the small screen with ease and convenience.
- The GoPro Hero 6 Black has a compact and sleek design, allowing you capture footage from unique perspectives.
- Video resolution and frame rate is also topnotch.
- It offers slow-motion video options.
- This action camera also allows HDR and raw image capture.
- It is a touchscreen camera, which allows ease of use.
- It has an integrated GPS, providing you accurate time and location data.
- Its size and shape allow flexible mounting options.
- It has the ability to respond to voice commands.
- It also offers connectivity features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
- Wi-Fi transfers are a bit slow, which potentially can affect the camera’s battery life.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
My rating: 9/10
The Ultra 30 is the latest offering of Garmin Virb in its line of action cameras and sports accessories. It comes with a removable waterproof case that will be able to keep your action camera dry even at 40 meters underwater, made possible by its double-locking mechanism.
Its battery can also be removed, with an upgraded 1,250mAh feature from the previous model’s 980mAh. When it comes to battery life, you will be able to shoot at least 2 hours and 15 minutes of full high-definition footage.
However, you will not be able to connect the action camera to an external power source when it is inside the waterproof case. One thing you will notice once you remove the housing is that the Ultra 30 is very tiny.
While it is small in size, it does have micro HDMI and micro USB ports. Another great feature of the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is that the microphone has a pass-through port, which can be connected to the outer casing and provide the enhanced audio recording.
Another good news from the latest offering of Garmin Virb is the return of the LCD panel, allowing you to operate the action camera using the buttons at the top even when it is inside the case. It is also a touch screen camera, which makes accessing the menu a lot easier.
Not only that, it also incorporates a voice activation system, allowing you to control the camera hands free. When it comes to the action camera’s performance, it has the ability to shoot 4K/30 fps, 2.7K/60 fps, 1080p/120 fps, 720p/240 fps, and 480p/300 fps.
It also has image stabilization of 30-axis and up to 1080p/60 fps. You can also control the camera manually with live preview. This action camera also features an expansive view, which is perfect for an extremely large field of view.
For photos, it has the image resolution of 12 megapixels and burst frames can be up to 60 fps. When using the photo capture, you can also preview the shot using manual camera control. In terms of connectivity, this action camera has features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Every purchase of the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 comes with the action camera, the waterproof case, a lithium-ion battery, a charging and data cable, flat and curved adhesive mounts, standard and vertical mount adapters, long and short screws and extension arms, a wrench, an anti-fog kit, a sticker, and the instruction manual.
- It features a robust waterproof chassis.
- This action camera has the ability to shoot 4K and high-speed recording.
- It offers 3-axis electronic photo stabilization.
- This latest model by Garmin Virb features an upgraded battery of 1,250mAh, allowing you to shoot at least 2 hours and 15 minutes of high-definition footage.
- It has a microphone pass-through port for better audio.
- It is a touchscreen camera, which allows easy control of the camera’s functions.
- It also features an expansive view, ideal for a large field of view.
- It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity features.
- Every purchase of this action camera already provides you a complete package, from cables and wires to mounts and screws.
- It has been tested that this action camera has no image stabilization in 4K.
- The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is not waterproof without its case.
Sony FDR-X3000 4K
My rating: 8.7/10
If you have the budget, you might want to consider the Sony FDR-X3000 4K action camera, which is also one of the best ones that are available right now. It is one of the priciest action cameras on this list.
However, its optical image stabilization feature makes up for that. This is because of the fact that there is a floating lens system that will be able to counter your hand movements. This Sony action camera also comes with a separate live-view remote control, which you will wear on your wrist.
This feature will be ideal if you have the camera mounted to your helmet or if you simply want a selfie. The remote control’s new feature is capable of detaching the display then attaching it to accessories including the Finger Grip or the Shooting Grip.
In addition, the camera alone is water-resistant but you might want to place it inside its waterproof case if you are going underwater. In terms of battery life, you can enjoy all these features for 2 hours and 15 minutes at 1080p footage and 60 minutes if you use 4K-resolution.
What’s great about the battery is that it is replaceable, which would mean that you could carry a spare once it has run out of juice.
With regards to video and image performance of the SONY FDR-X3000 4K action camera, you will be getting all the frame rate options and resolutions you expect from a high-end action camera.
It will be able to shoot 4K-resolution videos at 30 fps, as well as in 1080p with frame rates of 120 fps. The FDR-X3000 also has the potential to capture great still images, provided there is ample lighting.
You might experience some struggling with low light, in which no image stabilization will be able to help you. The camera itself is equipped with a Zeiss Tessar multi-coated lens that is paired with a 1/2.5-inch 16:9 Exmos R CMOS sensor that comes with an 8.2-megapixel resolution.
It is also interesting to note that this Sony action camera has made improvements in terms of distortion, which would ultimately mean that you would be getting a less fisheye effect.
This camera also has a micro USB port for easier and more convenient file transfer. To add, there is a micro HDMI port if you want to connect the camera to a display. It also has the ability to be connected to your smartphone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Every purchase of the Sony FDR-X3000 4K includes a rechargeable battery pack, a micro USB cable, an underwater housing, an attachment buckle, the Live-View remote that comes with a wristband, a mount adaptor, and cradle.
- This action camera has excellent video, image, and audio quality.
- It also is equipped with good optical image stabilization.
- It has a long battery life, allowing you to use it for at least 2 hours and 15 minutes for 1080p and 60 minutes for 4K-resolution footage.
- It has connectivity features, allowing fast data transfers.
- The package is already complete, so you will not need to purchase other accessories.
- It has a poor display on the Live-View remote control.
- It has a bulky waterproof case.
My rating: 8.5/10
The Yi 4K+ is the latest offering from the brand, providing you a lot of upgrades since the former release. It has a simpler branding on its front with a carbon fiber-like pattern.
On the camera’s back is a 2.19-inch touchscreen you will be using to frame your shots, as well as to navigate the menus. Aside from the button found on the top, you can use the touchscreen as a way to interact with the camera.
You may purchase this action camera on its own or as a waterproof case kit, which obviously would include the waterproof housing. It should be noted that you will not be able to use this action camera underwater without its housing.
A downside, however, is that it does not come with a mount of any kind. When it comes to connectivity, the action camera features a reliable Wi-Fi pairing, as well as support for both Android and iOS devices.
In terms of battery life, you can get up to 80 minutes of 4K video capture while it gives you about 2 hours use of 1080p video capture.
This updated Yi 4K+ action camera uses the Amba H2 SOC processor, allowing up to 120 mbps video and just like the previous version, it has a 12-megapixel-image sensor.
In terms of frame rates and resolution, you can get up to 120 fps at 1080p resolution and 240 fps at 720p resolution. The big upgrade is that you can now get up to 60 fps at 4K resolution.
This is where the powerful processor comes in handy. Even if you do not plan on playing your footage at a high frame rate, it still requires a reasonable amount of power to do it.
Ultimately, it will be able to offer you flexibility for a slower motion capture while still at 4K resolution. It also utilizes electronic image stabilization, allowing you to achieve 30 fps at 4K resolution while doing an outstanding job in ironing out the shakes and bumps.
- The action camera features a fantastic image quality.
- It also uses electronic image stabilization of up to 4K/30 fps.
- For the first time, it utilizes the Amba H2 SOC powerful processor.
- It has a long battery life, allowing you 80 minutes of 4K video and 2 hours of 1080p video.
- It is a touchscreen action camera, which lets you interact with the controls and settings efficiently.
- It is not waterproof without its housing.
- Voice controls are a bit unreliable.
Drift Ghost 4K
My rating: 9/10
Another great product on this list is the Drift Ghost 4K action camera. It features a sleek, bullet form design with a rotating lens, allowing the camera to move with you wherever your adventure takes you.
The side panel can be clipped off and on, allowing you to attach modules such as battery packs or a 4G unit. It also features an easy-to-use design and interface, which comes with one of the most powerful technologies available right now.
The new Drift Ghost 4K action camera now has HD video of up to 4K at 30 fps, 2.7K at 60 fps, and 1080p resolution at 120 fps. It also utilizes electronic image stabilization, getting rid of the bumps and shakes.
In addition, it has a gyroscope, which automatically predicts and stabilizes your movements smoothly. It also has dual front and rear microphones that allows amplified sound and wind noise reduction.
It should be noted that when you are in motion, the front microphone would disengage while automatically activating the rear microphone. It has an improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to perform live streaming and fast data transfers.
The Drift Ghost 4K action camera features a “Stitch” mode; wherein clips shot after you set a time interval will automatically stitch with one another. For ease of use, it has an instant on mode for standby one-touch capture.
Not only that, it also has the capability of capturing HDR photos, aside from its excellent 4K video capture. It is also equipped with a modular side dock for accessories and power systems.
The camera now has a color dot matrix LCD screen found on the rear side. It also comes with a 10 PIN mini USB and micro USB slot for up to 64 GB.
It is also noteworthy that the photos and photo burst are up to 12-megapixel resolution. It can shoot time-lapse photos and videos of up to 12 megapixels, along with multiple intervals up to 1 hour.
The package includes a wireless remote for easier use and various mounts. It has a rotatable lens that allows you to twist the lens in whatever way you want to capture a shot.
To add, it has an auto low light mode, allowing you to still capture great photos and videos in the nighttime. Lastly, you may pair this action camera with the free Drift Life app, both available in Android and iOS.
- Sleek and compact design, allowing you to take it wherever you go.
- 4K, 2.7K, and 1080p video capability features.
- Electronic image stabilization.
- Dual microphone, one on the front and one on the back.
- Improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Captures HDR photos.
- Equipped with a mini and micro USB ports.
- Rotatable lens, which lets you twist the lens in the way that you want it.
- The package comes with a remote control, along with various mounts.
- Screen is not touch
My rating: 9.2/10
Ricoh is a Japanese technology company that started manufacturing action cameras back in 2011. The Ricoh WG-M2 is an action camera equipped with an 8-megapixel sensor, which is more than enough for 4K video recording.
What’s great about this camera is that it can also be used for capturing still images. It has a bright f/2.0 ultra wide-angle lens that has a 204-degree view. In addition, the camera can record 4K resolution videos at 30 fps with stereo sound.
It is waterproof down to 20 meters, as long as you have the lens covered. It is also shockproof, freeze proof, and dust proof. The first thing you will probably notice about this camera is that it is very tiny. But do not be fooled, with its features, it is considered one of the best action cameras available right now.
When it comes to the camera’s performance, colors are of mediocre quality. It captures an ultra-wide-angle view with a more noticeable distortion and a fisheye effect.
With its lens, you will be able to take images of much wider range, whether it is dark or bright. One thing to note, however, is that you should be careful not to underexpose or overexpose your photos.
In addition, you should be aware not to leave fingerprints and smudges on the lens. There are also a number of white balance settings limited to Auto, Outdoor, and Manual.
You do not have to worry about the ISO settings, as it can accommodate up to ISO6400 that allows low-light recording. For video capturing performance, it will be able to record Ultra HD video at 30 fps, a full HD video at 60 and 30 fps, as well as high-speed video at 120 fps.
This action camera also has built-in stereo microphones, which will be able to record audio as well. Like the other action cameras mentioned above, it uses electronic image stabilization that will keep your camera steady.
For its battery life, this action camera is rated at 450 shots, and 80 minutes of 4K resolution video.
- Equipped with an 8-megapixel sensor.
- Great for capturing still photos.
- Wide-angle lens with a 240-degree view.
- Record 4K videos at 30 fps.
- Waterproof, shockproof, dust-proof, and freeze proof.
- ISO settings can accommodate low-light recording.
- Built-in microphones that record audio when capturing a video.
- Electronic image stabilisation that reduces the bumps whenever you take a photo or video.
- Images captured are of mediocre quality.
My rating: 8.9/10
This product by Olympus will appeal appropriately to athletes, as well as data geeks. While other models do have GPS features, the Olympus TG-Tracker features a wider range of metrics including elevation, depth, temperature, latitude and longitude, distance travelled, speed, and barometric pressure. It is more of a trekking/hiking camera looking at the built-in features.
The first thing you will probably notice about this action camera is its heft and size. If you would compare it to a GoPro, it is twice as heavy and a bit bulky. However, one can benefit from its size.
For instance, its casing is rugged that allows up to 7-foot fall and up to 220 pounds of force. In addition, the temperature can be as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It is waterproof for up to 98 feet, in which you will just need a lens cover.
The Olympus TG-Tracker comes with a lens protector that will be able to fit into the wide 204-degree field of view.
The Olympus TG-Tracker is capable of shooting video at 4K at 30 fps, 1080p and 720p at 60 and 30 fps. The images are pretty decent, even in a low-light environment. You can also turn this action camera’s image stabilisation on and off.
- The package already comes with a lens protector, in case you need to go under the water.
- Wide 204-degree wide-angle view.
- Captures 4K videos at 30 fps, 1080p and 720p at 60 and 30 fps.
- Still images look great even in a low-light environment.
- While lacking the GPS feature, the following metrics make up for it: depth, temperature, latitude and longitude, distance traveled, speed, and barometric pressure.
- Its field of view settings may be a bit complicated to change.
- There is occasional fog buildup within the lens.
- This action camera does not have GPS features.
GoPro Hero 5 Session
My rating: 9.7/10
The GoPro Hero 5 Session sits in between the Hero 5 Black and the Hero 6 Black. This action camera was able to squeeze hefty features into its tiny body such as the 4K video resolution at 30 fps, ProTune options, as well as the voice control and outstanding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. A downside, however, would be this camera’s lack of rear screen, as well as an interchangeable battery.
If you are looking for a simple action camera, the GoPro Hero 5 Session might be perfect for you. It is shaped like a small cube and features only two buttons. It also has a one-side flap where you will find the USB-C and the micro SD card slot.
The Hero5 Session is equipped with a relatively small housing, which you will use to mount it to anything. The camera itself is very small and lightweight, enough for you to stick it to the side of your helmet without needing to purchase additional accessories.
It is also waterproof for down to 33 feet, which makes this perfect for underwater activities. It should be noted, however, that you may find it difficult to switch between controls, for instance, switching between the still capture to video capture and vice versa while underwater.
As mentioned above, the GoPro Hero 5 Session now has voice command features, in which you may list commands including “GoPro, turn off” or “GoPro, take a picture”.
While this action camera incorporates improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity than its predecessors, you might find it disappointing that turning on these features would reduce the camera’s battery life significantly.
We all know that the GoPro brand already has a reputation for delivering the best still and video quality in the action camera industry.
With ProTune, you will be able to adjust color settings and white balance, shutter speeds, EV compensation settings, and the ISO limits.
However, a downside is that these settings would only be accessible via the GoPro app. This action camera also features an impressive 30 fps on burst mode, which would be perfect especially if you want to grab the perfect shot from some high-adrenaline action.
In addition, the extra noise reduction would be more noticeable with this action camera.
- Very tiny and lightweight, which makes this action camera extremely portable.
- Excellent video and image quality, as with all GoPro products.
- Waterproof, down to 10 meters underwater even without a protective case.
- Features a voice command feature.
- You might find changing settings a bit challenging.
- It has a poor battery life and battery is not replaceable.
SJCAM SJ7 STAR
My rating: 9/10
Another contender for the best action cameras is the China-manufactured SJCAM SJ7 STAR action camera. Like other products on this list, the SJCAM SJ7 STAR provides an interactive touchscreen, in which you will be able to control the camera’s overall functionality.
You will also be able to download the free SJCAM app, available for both Android and iOS devices. The SJ7 can shoot footage at 720p and 920p at 120 fps, 1080p at 120 fps, 2.7k at 60 fps, and the 4K at 30 fps.
The camera comes with plenty of basic mounts, as well as a waterproof case. It may either have a grey, black or rose gold finish, equipped with two rubber buttons, a shutter button, and touchscreen at the rear side.
Found at the bottom is the hinged door where the 1000mAh lithium-ion battery pack is located. Charging the device is also very easy, as it uses a standard mini-USB cable.
With regards to the action camera’s performance, it is equipped with a f/2.5 lens, as well as the Sony IMX117 sensor and the Ambarella A12S75 chipset. To add, it also has Gyro stabilization for 1080p videos and below.
While the camera has a lot of features, you should be aware that battery life would be reduced a lot quicker if you have the Wi-Fi turned on. One thing you can do is to turn it off when you are not using it.
In terms of quality, it will be able to produce sharp and colorful video, due to the camera’s several resolution options. However, you might be disappointed that the camera lacks image stabilization when you are using 4K. It would be better if bumps and shakes, while you are on the move, were reduced, right?
- Reliable and outstanding 4K video capturing at 30 fps.
- Neat and stylish design.
- Features a rear touchscreen.
- Still images are also great for such a tiny action camera.
- No image stabilisation when shooting at 4K resolution.
- The app’s functionality is pretty basic and does not offer a lot.
Best 360 Degrees Action Cameras for 2018
Garmin VIRB 360 (360 degrees camera)
My rating: 9.5/10
The Garmin brand already has established its name as a purveyor of sports watches and GPS systems. This time, the manufacturer is striking out with the latest offering, the 360-degree action camera.
What’s great about this action camera is its ability to shoot 5.7K resolution videos. It should be noted that the resolution is for the entire frame, and not the section of the video are you shooting.
You will also be able to capture an entire 360-degree scene in one 15-megapixel spherical image that also comes with burst and time lapse settings. Aside from that, the Garmin Virb 360 action camera is equipped with all the sensors such as GPS, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.
It also features 4 microphones to record the sounds the same time you experienced them. In addition, you can connect the device via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth through the accompanying app.
- It has the ability to shoot 5.7K resolution videos.
- You will be able to capture an entire 360-degree scene through its 15-megapixel lens.
- The camera is equipped with GPS, gyroscopes, and accelerometers, which allow you to collect information that shows how far, high, and fast you went.
- It also comes with 4 microphones.
- You will be able to connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi through the Garmin Virb app.
- It is a bit pricey.
- It has a poor battery life.
Here’s a YouTube video showing the Garmin VIRB 360:
GoPro Fusion (360 degrees camera)
My rating: 9.5/10
The GoPro Fusion is what everyone has been waiting for. It is just like any GoPro action camera, but this time, it will be able to shoot 360-degree videos, as well as the incorporation of additional impressive features.
It is a square camera that comes with the same two-button control system, which is really an advantage to keep things simple and familiar for existing GoPro users.
At the front portion, you will find the monochrome screen that shows the basic information while you are shooting. However, the Fusion does not have a touchscreen feature, as well as the viewfinder.
It will be able to withstand at least 5 meter of water, which is not quite deep as the other GoPro models. There are two flaps that cover the essential ports: USB-C port and the battery door.
Once you remove the flap, you will be able to find where the removable 2620mAh battery is located, as well as the two micro SD card slots.
The Fusion is equipped with two 180-degree lenses that have the ability to capture everything that is surrounding the device. In addition, it can shoot 5.2K resolution videos, complete with all the sensors and optics.
This action camera also utilizes the OverCapture technology, in which you can choose to have a flat shot or select a wider one. With this feature, you will be able to create a professional looking video a lot easier.
- The GoPro Fusion has the ability to capture 360-degree video and still images.
- Waterproof for up to 5 meters, which is perfect for water sports and activities.
- Removable battery, which allows you to carry a spare one when it runs out of juice.
- Equipped with 2 180-degrees lenses.
- As with all GoPro products, the Fusion is also very expensive.
- Because the GoPro Fusion is a relatively new product, the mobile version of the OverCapture is not yet available.
- Desktop editing of images and videos might be a little challenging for inexperienced users.
Nikon Keymission 360 (360 degrees camera)
My rating: 9/10
The Nikon Keymission 360 action camera features dual F2.0 lenses that allow you to capture a full 360-degree image, each equipped with a 1/2.3 inches 21-megapixel CMOS sensor.
It also lets you capture 4K Ultra HD videos. Another great feature of this action camera is that it has an impressive 29-megapixel resolution for image capturing. Not only that, it offers a removable battery and a micro SD card.
This Nikon 360-degree camera is waterproof for down to 30 meters, is shockproof, and is freeze proof – without the case. The package also comes with a set of replacement lens for underwater use, as well as a sleeve to absorb drops of liquid.
At the top portion of the camera you will locate the video shutter button, the battery indicator, and LEDs that show when the camera is currently recording. On one side is the image shutter button while on the other side you will find the micro USB port, a micro HDMI port, a micro SD card slot, and the replaceable battery.
Using the camera’s highest resolution, you can expect an hour of recording. However, since there is only a LED indicator of the battery status, you will never know how much battery the device has left. It turns orange when it’s low. That’s it.
However, you may be able to find this information out via the app, but sometimes, it can be quite unreliable. Another issue users found about this action camera is that it gets really hot after continuous 4K resolution video capture.
In addition, charging is a bit slow using the micro USB cable. In terms of the output, it will be able to capture full 360-degree video at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 at 24 fps.
- The video created via the Nikon Keymission 360-degree action camera is instantly compatible with Facebook and YouTube.
- Every purchase of this action camera comes with a set of replaceable lens covers.
- It is also waterproof, shockproof, and freeze proof.
- It features a removable battery, allowing you to carry a spare.
- With the placement of the buttons, you might find yourself accidentally recording unintended footage.
- It has the tendency to get really hot if you continuously use the 4K resolution video capturing.
- The accompanying app may be a little challenging, as well as unreliable.
Kodak Pixpro Orbit 360 4K
My rating: 9/10
The Kodak Orbit 360 4K action camera has an uncanny resemblance to the previous product, which is the Nikon Keymission 360. Like the Nikon camera, it is equipped with two hemispherical lenses incorporated into a rectangular and plastic body.
Its battery, micro SD card slot, HDMI port and USB ports are all enclosed beneath a locking door. While it is not advertised as a waterproof camera, it was able to meet the IPX5 splash proof and IP6X dust proof standards.
With this feature, it should be able to handle inclement weather and a little rain without imposing any issues.
Its dual 20-megapixel CMOS sensors have the capability to capture 4K spherical videos, as well as up to 27-megapixel spherical still images. In most action camera, two 180-degree lenses are paid together, but with the Obit 360, one lens is just 155 degrees and the other is 235 degrees.
When combined, it has full 360-degree video and image capture abilities. In addition, this feature allows your action camera to shoot in these two unique modes.
When you turn the front lens on, you will be able to capture an ultra-wide-angle video or image, which equates to about 197 degrees in a 16:9 ratio. When you turn the Dome lens, on the other hand, the camera will shoot a circular fisheye image or video while preserving the field of view without any need for cropping.
Four buttons that also comes with a small information display will provide you control of the action camera’s various functions. The interface is exactly what you would expect from an action camera that has twin lenses, which would also mean that it would not have a room for a large LCD display.
While there is no manual exposure mode, you can instead set exposure compensation to darken or brighten the photo.
The brand also offers a VR remote viewer app, available for both Android and iOS devices, providing you an alternative way to access the controls of the camera.
This is through the help of the Orbit 360’s built-in Wi-Fi. While the app is easy enough to comprehend, even for beginners, its live preview features suffer a lot from a slow frame rate. In addition, the quality of the video will start to drop once you start recording.
It is also interesting to know that you may save the video and photos or share them straight to Facebook or YouTube. However, this camera does not allow you to go live. When you try shooting in a full 360-degree mode, it will be able to capture a full spherical field of view.
However, you should be aware that it would greatly help you to point one of the lenses toward an important element in the frame. This is because a stitching line might be too prominent and has the tendency to distort objects.
In addition, significant differences in light might cause exposure-blending issues that result in a more obvious stitching line. As mentioned above, the 4K resolution only pertains to the area across the sphere.
When it comes to images, you will get a much higher resolution of 27 megapixels, but might suffer from JPEG processing. To add, the aggressive noise reduction and sharpening feature might result to vital loss of detail.
One thing that is quite impressive about the Orbit 360 is its construction and build quality. While it is made of almost entirely plastic, it still feels well constructed, complete with both splash and dust proofing.
With this, it should be able to withstand normal wear and tear without imposing any issues. Every purchase of the Kodak Pixpro Orbit 360 comes with the action camera, lens covers, a protective cover, lithium-ion battery and charger, a USB cable and AC adapter, a camera carrying case, a remote control and its mount, a standard housing, a selfie stick, and a mini BT remote control.
- The Kodak Orbit 360 4K action camera allows full spherical 360-degree video capture.
- It also has an impressive audio quality due to its microphone input.
- It also allows multiple capture options.
- This action camera is dust and splash resistant.
- The camera can also withstand inclement weather without issues.
- Through the dual front and dome lenses, you will be able to capture unique images.
- The Kodak mobile app is relatively easy to use, even for beginners.
- You can directly share your photos and videos to social media.
- It has a complete package and you won’t need to buy additional accessories.
- When capturing a full 360-degree image, stitching lines tend to be very visible.
- While the mobile app is easy to use, it does have some issues with its reliability.
- It is also one of the most expensive action cameras on this list.
- Its 4K spherical video capture is locked at 24 fps.
Choosing the best action camera can be a little confusing, especially with all the great brands available right now. In addition, it is a tricky due to the fact that not all action cameras have the best features in it.
As discussed in the earlier sections, there are a lot of things you have to consider first before you go buy an action camera for yourself and it would not hurt to read the reviews first so you will not make an expensive mistake.
Action cameras do not come cheap and it is only useful that you review this article first in order for you to get the action camera that is right for you.
Factors including the video quality and frame rates, the action camera’s shape, size, and weight, its durability, field of view, image quality, battery life, connectivity, memory, mounting accessories, controls and apps, price, as well as each product’s overall features are all important into making the right decision.
In addition, I hope that you have learned a lot about each product’s features, pros, and cons so you can make the most out of the money you pay.
It is obvious that there are clear winners and clear losers but it would also be beneficial for you to look into each product individually to know what and what not to settle for when you buy an action camera.
What do you think of this list of the best action cameras for 2018? If you find it useful then please don’t hesitate to share it with your friends 🙂