Action cameras are unlike any other kind of camera. They’re designed to be attached to helmets, surfboards, cars and other objects, and they’re small, tough and simple to operate, with a lens that captures the world in high-definition video and in a wide-angle fish-eye perspective.
GoPro is the market leader with its iconic box-shaped Hero cameras, but action cams also come in a ‘bullet’ style, like the iON Air Pro. There’s lots of choice now, and you shouldn’t just buy on brand – think about what you want from an action camera and how you plan to use it.
Veho Muvi K-Series K2 NPNG
Weight: 84g | Waterproof: 100m | 4K video: No | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 16Mp | Battery life: Up to 4hrs
It’s not a familiar High Street brand, but UK-based Veho has put a great deal of effort into making sure that its Muvi range of action cameras is a major contender in this competitive action cam market. The box design and wealth of mounts included in the box is a great move. Its design and build show that it is made to withstand the action, and an ultra-tough dive case quotes a maximum depth of 100m – deeper than all the rest and far greater than we’re able to test.
Weight: 64g | Waterproof: 40m, with waterproof housing | 4K video: 10fps | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 16Mp | Battery life:2hrs
It has its limitations but the iSAW Edge is still an incredibly capable action camera at a price that defies its features. The spec sheet really does look too good to be true for the price, with 4K capture, 120fps slow motion at 720p and up to 60fps at 1080p. The design is similar to the GoPro Hero series and the 40m waterproof housing is fully compatible with the majority of GoPro mounts, but where the camera really wins confidence is in the quality of both the build and video. Footage is sharp clear and crisp and the overall design takes on board easy clean elements such as a flat, wipe-clean lens, that so many of the newer manufacturers totally overlook.
GoPro Hero4 Session
Weight: 74g | Waterproof: 10m | 4K video: No | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 100fps | Stills resolution: 8Mp | Battery life: 1.5-2hrs est
The Session is a welcome break from the standard GoPro design, and strips back the action camera concept to its basics – but the price does seem high for the video options available, which stops this moving further up our list. This is a camera designed as a perfect cube design harnessed within a skeleton frame. This design makes it incredibly easy to mount in any direction. The large Record button on the top starts and stops recording so there’s no worrying about different modes and options – that’s all handled by the app. The Session feels like a welcome return to the basics but still captures the quality of video that you’d expect from GoPro.
Drift Stealth 2
Weight: 97g | Waterproof: 40m using optional case | 4K video: No | 1080:30/25fps | 720: up to 60fps | Stills resolution: 12MP | Battery life: 3hrs
The Stealth 2 is an incredibly small action camera, making it an ideal choice for anyone wanting a helmet or vehicle mounted device. As with the larger Stealth-S, this compact version features a 300 degree rotating lens which enables the easy leveling of footage without the need for adjusting mounts. Despite the small size, the battery is good for a staggering 3 hours of life and enables easy charging through USB. Recording options are limited to a maximum of 1080p at 30fps, however, but there’s a good selection of lower resolutions with higher frame rates. The Stealth 2 is a lightweight yet robust action camera ideal for use in difficult to mount situations.
Weight: 114g | Waterproof: 10m, with waterproof case | 4K video: 30/25/24fps | 1080: up to 120fps | 720: up to 240fps | Stills resolution: 8.8Mp | Battery life:N/A
The X1000V demonstrates Sony’s long standing expertise in imaging. It offers outstanding visual quality with 4K video and full 1080p video at 120fps, so you can capture stunning large scale or slow motion footage. The only snag is that while many other cameras have adopted the GoPro mounting system, Sony has stuck to its own. However, this does lock solid and is of exceptional quality – and mount adapters for GoPro accessories are available if you need them. There is also the option to use the RM-LVR2, a wearable wrist live view remote that gives complete control over the camera and is a great accessory if you’re mounting the camera out of reach.