Action cameras market has been recently flooded with all sorts of these devices, so it’s not that easy to choose the one you need among all this diversity. You might be wondering how to buy the best action camera?
Despite that all of them are completely simple in use and their task is just “to record video of maximum quality under any conditions”, still it’s quite easy to make the wrong choice.
What’s the bottom line? I’ve tried to dig into this stuff and I’ve made a list of the best action cams as well. There also some recommendations as for choosing an action-cam and a summary of all above mentioned – all of these is here, in this review.
Here’s a short summary for those who are in a hurry and have no time to read long articles:
- 1 Now: what is an action camera and what is it for?
- 2 Action camera reviews
- 2.1 GoPro Hero 6 Black: is the best action camera in 2017
- 2.2 GoPro Hero4 Black still great
- 2.3 YI 4K Action Camera (US Edition) Night Black: best choice
- 2.4 Garmin Virb XE: waterproof action camera for diving and hunters
- 2.5 Polaroid Cube – best budget action camera 2017
- 2.6 SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi: best action camera under 100
- 2.7 Sony FDRX3000R/W 4K: perfect stabilizer and microphone
- 2.8 DBPOWER N6 4K: is the best seller on Amazon.com
- 2.9 HTC Re: a highly simple device for everyday
- 2.10 360fly: this action camera is for extreme sports
- 3 Extra features of action cameras
- 4 Fasteners type
- 5 Now: which SD card to choose for an action camera?
Now: what is an action camera and what is it for?
An action camera is a digital camera for recording video in aggressive media while you are being involved in the motion and it’s not intended for manual filming.
Mostly it is used by travelers, thrill-seekers, journalists, military officers and so on. The device is put on cars, helmets, serf-boards, bicycles, clothes and sports equipment.
Camcorder has to record the brightest and most interesting events of your life.
The device features are: its small weight and size, it is waterproof and it has dirt-guard system as well as different fixations for different surfaces. Due to the latter feature the camera can be put anywhere and so you can get video from incredible camera angles.
Most models can even be used for filming under water.
First action cameras were developed by GoPro Company and it has become a leader in this room in the market. Though besides its products a lot of other camcorders have appeared on the market and quite often they are of the same quality and cheaper.
Action camera reviews
GoPro Hero 6 Black: is the best action camera in 2017
In October 2017 GoPro introduced its new flagship camera Hero 6 Black. When Hero 5 was manufactured it could be surely called the best action camera, since it contained all the most important components from the previous GoPro models with a small number of new useful features.
GoPro Hero 6 Black was designed according to the same principle. Let’s look into the differences between GoPro Hero 6 Black and Hero 5 Black to find out how exactly better the new device is and whether it is worth buying? Or maybe your old camera is still good enough?
These cameras are identical if we talk about their appearance. It means that any of them has quite firm rubber coated case and embedded damp proofing, that perfectly works up to 10 meters deep without the necessity to put an additional waterproof case. Both models are equipped with 2 microphones.
The main GoPro Hero 6 Black improvement isn’t about its design; it is all about its new processor GP1. This processor allows filming higher resolution video at higher fps speed if compared to Hero 5 Black.
- HERO6 Black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a QuikStory-an awesome edited video.
- With 4K60 and 1080p240 video,HERO6 Black delivers 2x the performance compared to HERO5 Black. With an all-new GP1 chip optimized for GoPro capture, HERO6 Black delivers vastly improved image quality.
- With our most advanced video stabilization yet, HERO6 Black captures super smooth footage, whether it's handheld or mounted to your gear.HERO6 Black is waterproof to 33ft (10m) without a housing.
- Now featuring touch zoom and an updated UI, the 2-inch display makes it easy to frame shots, change settings and play back footage.
- Featuring 5GHz Wi-Fi, you can copy photos and videos over to your phone 3x faster than with HERO5 Black.
With Hero6 Black action camera you can now film 240 fps video with higher resolution – 1080p. For many users both improvements can be considered as important ones, since now these parameters allow taking “smooth” pictures with high resolution and high quality slow motion video filming. Moreover Hero 6 Action camera can film 2.7К video at 120 fps.
GoPro representative has announced that GP1 processor will ensure the device operation under low light level as well as improve its dynamic range. However, now it’s impossible to check out to what extent the above mentioned parameters will be elevated.
Another new feature of Hero 6 Black is its hand-activated scaling that provides digital zoom function. Such scaling will worsen the image quality if compared to optical zoom function. However, if you have no chance to get closer to the action you are recording that option will be rather helpful. However, this mode can’t be called new from the technical point of view.
Both action camera models support digital image stabilization, but GoPro has stated that Hero 6 Black has the most advanced image stabilization function. At that the manufacturer implies that GP1 processor is to ensure some additional support for software stabilization.
GoPro Hero 6 Black unlike Hero 5 will support digital image stabilization at 4K / 30 and 1080p / 120, which is very good. In fact, image stabilization works at any resolution not just for some specific parameters.
Basing on some tests performed with Hero 6 Black this improved stabilization function is actually a big step forward in comparison with the previous model. If you record video with Hero 6 Black when walking, the frames you get appear much sharper.
Summary: the main advantage of both GoPro Hero 6 Black and Hero 5 is improved resolution and fps speed. This is what you should consider when making decision whether to buy GoPro Hero 6 Black. Improved image quality is a huge merit of the new device. If it appears not that important to you, you are welcome to get Hero 5 Black
- Improved video quality
- Advanced stabilization function
- Hand-activated scaling
- Large number of gadgets
- Complete water resisting and high impact value
- Quite good filming quality under lack of light
- Very user-friendly interface
- Expensive accessories
GoPro Hero4 Black still great
Let’s face it, GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition is quite an expensive stuff. But for this money you get a highly protected device which is capable to record video with the highest resolution Ultra HD in a wide range of operation environment, use slowmo mode, create TimeLapse and a lot more.
In other words the GoPro model has no rivals and this means that if you are looking for an action camera that meets the highest requirements, then GoPro Hero 4 is the 1st device you should set your eyes on.
However, if you need a camcorder just to memorize some important events of your life, then «GoPro Hero4 Black» is kind of luxury you may not need.
- Professional 4K30, 2.7K60 and 1080p120 video, 720p240 video for super slow-motion playback and 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® support the GoPro App, Smart Remote and more
- Improved camera control and built-in video trimming lets you create and save short video clips right on your camera
- ProtuneTM with SuperViewTM delivers cinema-quality capture and advanced manual control for photos and video with the world's most immersive wide-angle field of view
- Night Photo and Night Lapse offer customizable exposure settings for nighttime shooting
Besides this protective containment housing prevents the camera damage when riding on a motor bike and when doing other extreme sports; there is a wide range of accessories for this camera on the market as well.
- Possibility to shoot Ultra HD-video
- It is perfect for shooting from on drone
- Leakproofness (it has a special case)
- Light weighted
- High speed filming, up to 240 fps
- Embedded Wi-Fi
- It has high range of accessories
- The newly produced action camera has a QuikCapture button that is placed on top of the gadget to perform snap shot/recording
- The updated processor delivering up to twice of its earlier efficiency now is responsible for all numerous innovations
- There is a branded app for watching the filmed video and sharing photos and video in the Internet
- It has a unique ability of the camera remote control by means of Wi-Fi (it works at a distance of 180 meters) and Bluetooth
- You can use tags for maximally comfortable processing of the filmed video
- PROTUNE mode! Perhaps it is the most important advantage of this action camera. Due to it you can obtain a perfect image when post-processing your video. When this mode is on the camera is shooting at maximal bit rate without compressing or processing the image. If you’d like to realize the camera potential then shoot using this mode together with the flat color profile
- The plug caps can be easily lost
- Short duration of offline mode operation; the battery runs down fast when using WiFi.
- It has a new type of battery which isn’t compatible with the previous GoPro camcorder generations
- No exposure locking
- Inconvenient control
- Not user-friendly touch screen (an optional one)
YI 4K Action Camera (US Edition) Night Black: best choice
Xiaomi Yi 4k action cam – is a new 4К action camera for sports. It has 12 megapixel matrix Sony IMX377, its pixel’s size is 1,55 mkm, aperture is equal to f/2,8 and the camera angle is rather wide – 155 degrees.
Xiaomi Yi allows 4K filming at 30 fps. You can also record video in slow motion mode with 1080p resolution at 120 fps as well as 720p at 240 fps. Due to 12-MP sensor Sony IMX377 and Ambarella A9SE75S chipset the camera is capable of filming 4K video at 30 fps as well as slow motion 1080p video at 120 fps and 720 p at 240 fps.
This new Xiaomi Yi model offers you the following features:
high resolution ability and coding quality, numerous number of filming and operation modes, standard screwed fixation, longstanding 4K video filming without any extreme overheating, perfect touchscreen according to action camera standards, quite good electronic stabilizer (keeping in mind that most of mini camcorders doesn’t have any at all), quite low rolling shatter effect, wide range of settings, affordable price.
The company programmers deserve a special credit for the camera software and its mobile application. One may hardly ever encounter such a functional software.
However, it is quite difficult to discuss any demerits of the device, since, to do this we’ll have to compare this camera with other similar devices. Though, rather poor package contents of Xiaomi Yi II can be considered as its drawback as well as the device nonstandard size.
Nevertheless, the first issue actually becomes a plus for the camera buyers – because due to a small range of accessories the whole camera set is cheaper. As for the camera size that doesn’t allow using it in waterproof cases made by other companies – it is due to the device internal design and, sadly, nothing can be done in this respect.
- Photo and video quality (including night shooting)
- Rather efficient hardware: Ambarella A9SE95 processor and Sony IMX377 sensor
- The camera records full-scale 4К video, 2.7K (2704×1520) up to 60 FPS, 1080 (1920×1080) up to 120 FPS
- All filming modes have high resolution and FPS values
- Quality case design; a thread to mount a stand is right on the device case
- Stereo sound and sensitive microphones
- Wide camera angle
- High off-line mode operation duration at one battery charge
- Automatic video rotation of 180 degrees
- Correction of camera lens distortion
- Gyroscopic stabilization
- Convenient and user-friendly menu with sensor control
- Regular firmware upgrade by the manufacturer
- Wi-Fi 2,4G/5G, BT 4.0 and a branded application
- International version
- There is no protective cap for the camera lens
- Smooth case of the camera has no anti slip sections on it for hand-held shoot
- SlowMotion mode provides the image quality (1280×720@240 FPS)
- Xiaomi Yi 2 screen can be barely readable under bright direct sunlight
Garmin Virb XE: waterproof action camera for diving and hunters
When using this action camera you’ll be able to both record your location defined by the embedded GPS unit and dive up to 50 meters deep without using a waterproof case!
Probably this is the best hunting action camera.
Garmin Company is another one manufacturer of camcorders who demonstrates ambitions and aspiring plans to capture the action cameras market. The company has upgraded its Virb product line quite noticeably by presenting Virb X and Virb XE models.
Their main difference is the ability of XE major version to film video in 1080p format at 60fps, and the minor one is capable of the same thing but at 30fps. First that thrills any fan of extreme filming is that you can dive with camcorder Virb XE up to 50 meters deep without any additional cases or boxes.
- G-METRIX-Built-in GPS and external sensors with connectivity to Garmin devices to capture performance data like speed, elevation, heart rate and G-force
- ADVANCED VIDEO - Capture thrilling footage with high definition 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second, or capture up to 240 frames-per-second slow motion
- BURST CAPABILITY - The VIRB X and VIRB XE offer a burst shooting mode that will capture several photographs in quick succession so that you don't miss the action.
- WATERPROOF - Waterproof to 50 meters without a case, allowing control of cleaner and clearer video and audio. Weather proof contacts allow for rugged charging and powering
- BLUETOOTH AUDIO - VIRB X and VIRB XE can connect directly to wireless Bluetooth headsets or microphones to capture audio in high definition
«Garmin Virb Elite» camera is supplied with an adapter for GoPro fasteners, so it can be easily used with any of GoPro accessories. In general the whole package of the camcorder is great including the software set «VIRB Elite App», apps for iOS and Android, as well as the possibility to edit the software for Mac and PC.
The camera is equipped with GPS, which traces the user location when the device is on and it applies your route coordinates to the video. The action camera has a Wi-Fi unit that allows managing shooting process or watching the filmed video. The device has the function of image stabilization which sufficiently decreases the number of distortions appearing due to vibrations on poor roads.
- Quality video
- High optical sensitivity for shooting at low light (very important under the water)
- Performs HD quality sound without the case unsealing
- It has both embedded and external microphone
- Continuous waterproof external power supply without the case unsealing
- It has the ability to function as a drive recorder and recharge at any moment without unsealing
- Waterproof glass. Water splashes don’t leave any sign on the screen
- It has branded free program for processing and editing video with the ability to add data from all the sensors, location on Google maps and satellite images
- Embedded GPS and other sensors (acceleration, overloads, location in space) in a waterproof case made by a reliable manufacturer
- Perfect stabilizer
- Possibility of shooting series of photos at 30 fps and slow mode filming
- PRO mode for more precise image settings
- Gadgets can be connected wirelessly
- Multifunctional free software
- It has a stand-alone button for “photo” mode, possibility to photo and record video simultaneously
- Simple process of firmware upgrade
- When charging the battery the camera switches off itself
- It has no display (only the display to adjust setting)
- High price
- Heavy (it shows, when the camera is put on a helmet, for example)
- Very small number of fasteners that come in camera set
Polaroid Cube – best budget action camera 2017
Actually, this device is for extreme sports fans, which are just beginning and have a limited budget.
They’ll especially enjoy dust and water proof covering of the camera as well as the possibility to put Cube into the water up to 5 meters deep (but only in a waterproof case!).
Polaroid Cube is rather specific action camera within budget ones. Possibly, it is the easiest camera to master: it has only one button (1 click turns on “photo” mode and 2 clicks – “video”). Its resolution is fair 1920 x 1080 p. Modern H.264 is used as a codec in it.
- World's Funnest, Cutest Lifestyle Action Camera in Tiny Cubic Package. Not Wi-Fi compatible.
- 6MP CMOS Sensor for Crisp Images; Selectable 720p or 1080p Video Rate
- 124-Degree Wide-Angle Lens Effortlessly Captures Big, Vibrant Scenes
- Built-In Rechargeable Battery Records 90 Continuous Minutes Per Charge
- Mounts Magnetically or w/Clip for a World of Exciting Action Applications
The gadget has a magnetic holder which makes buying some other accessories unnecessary and you can use the camera when riding a bike, for example. However, be careful here, since the camera doesn’t have a motion sensor and if you turn it upside down the image will do the same.
In 90-s Polaroid Company was famous due to its snapshot cameras. Many years have passed since then and the brand has been forgotten by quite a lot of users. Nowadays this manufacturer is trying to draw attention to itself. The company has started from producing the simplest action cameras for sports. First of all Polaroid Cube attracts with its low price – it costs the money you may spend to buy a simple camera.
This camcorder has two large advantages. Firstly, is its weight – it is the lightest one from all – 45 grams. Secondly, it has the best price. Yes, it’s true, that the camera is far behind its main rivals as for many parameters, but it costs 3-4 times cheaper. As a budget device the camera does frankly good work. It allows taking photos and recording videos maybe of not the best quality, but still they are quite good. Polaroid Cube appearance is quite attractive for users, especially for woman.
- Low price
- Attractive appearance
- Damp proof case
- Minimal size and mass
- Quite high rapidity
- Very comfortable in use
- Strong magnetic holder which ensures reliable sticking to metal surfaces
- Only one operation button
- It saves photo and video files into separate folders
- Its case is covered with soft touch plastic.
- It shoots at just 30 frames per second
- It’s not supplied with any fasteners
- No stabilizer
- The battery capacity is quite small (720 – 90 min, 1080 – 40 min)
- It runs hot when shooting and charging the camera simultaneously
- It doesn’t shoot when connected to a PC
SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi: best action camera under 100
It is a perfect and, what’s important, a budget choice of action camera having all necessary functions and parameters.
It has widescreen video recording mode, Full HD shooting, small 1.5 inch display, able to film in H.264, HDMI-output and W-Fi unit allow using the camera for any purpose.
Shooting is performed by means of 3MP CMOS matrix. The lens focal distance is 2,8 mm due to which everything around you is filmed. The image has Full HD resolution at 30 fps. It is possible to increase the latter parameter only by decreasing the resolution up to the ordinary HD.
- ✔Chipset Novatek 96655,170 degree A+ grade HD wide angle. BACK-ILLUMINATED sensor with low-light sensitive night vision for shooting night scene perfectly, 170 degrees ultra wide angle lens for shooting broader vision. 4x Digital Zoom keeps you close to the action. High-definition digital motion video recording device
- ✔The accessories contain two batteries, and there's another one inside the camera. Three pieces of battery, three times record time and three times enjoyment
- ✔Ultra compact and lightweight design(59.2*41*29.8mm,58g).Comes with a waterproof case,IP68 waterproof up to 30m for capturing water action
- ✔BUILT IN WI-FI wireless module: effective distance up to 3-5 meters, apply on your phone or tablet, easily record videos and take photos, upload and share every moment in a timely fashion
- ✔Perfect for outdoor sports, extreme sports, water sports, home security, car DVR, and diving. 100% Customer satisfaction with service by Vivid View Accessories
This display will serve those who don’t want to use their smart phone for nothing, since if you are shooting in the rain, for example, no one will take an expensive gadget out of the pocket to take a few pictures. This model has a wireless unit that ensures remote control or transferring the files to some other device.
- LCD display
- Minimal size and mass (46 g)
- WiFi unit and possibility to control the device using a smart phone
- Reasonable price
- Huge number of fasteners and their compatibility with GoPro
- High build quality
- 30 fps
- Sound recording quality. Low microphone volume, if the camcorder is in the case nothing is heard at all
- Photo quality is bearable (there is no 12 Мрх there). The pictures it takes can be compared with the ones taken using some third-rate phone
- No remote control device
- The camera is poorly fixed within the waterproof box.
- Stated 720p and 60 FPS aren’t reachable here. Use 30 FPS and 1080р
- When being compared to GoPro: the camera looks like GoPro, but that’s it. Photo and video quality is lower, components are very poorly performed. So if you can afford buying GoPro, then it’s better to buy it
Sony FDRX3000R/W 4K: perfect stabilizer and microphone
This is another one very-very good camera. It shoots with high resolution, takes perfect pictures, but what is especially cool it is 240 fps with HD quality and 120 fps with Full HD – this is something incredible! If you intend to record video at high bit rate with image stabilization (only at 1080p), this camera is the best choice!
Photo and video compilation quality performed by Sony FDRX3000R/W 4K impresses. The camera shoots 4K Ultra HD video at 100 mb/s, as for the photos and frames obtained from Sony FDRX3000R/W 4K camera they are incredibly good from POV of camera standards. All these are insured by such camera functions as embedded exposure compensation and image stabilization. 4K Ultra HD video mode in Sony is filmed in highly efficient format from Sony XAVC S 100 mb/s, but it also means that this camera requires SDXC card.
The camcorder also has image stabilizer, white-balance is set automatically, there is a small display, H.264 and MPEG4 video formats are supported. The action cam has a microphone input, embedded NFC and Wi–Fi units as well as GPS – this is a complete set of all possible technologies. The manufacturer supplies the camera with a supplementary battery, waterproof case and a set of stickers-fasteners.
- Ultimate image stabilization from Balanced Optical SteadyShot Professional 4K with ZEISS lens and Exmor R CMOS sensorCamera control, viewing w/ smartphone or supplied Live View Remote
- Splash-proof body or use incl. waterproof housing down to 197ft.Selectable viewing angle: Wide, Medium or Narrow and 3x zoomHigh quality 12MP still images and up to 10 fps in burst mode
- Interval record at 8.3MP for stills and 4K time-lapse videoHigh Quality stereo sound with wind noise reductionBuilt-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, HDMI, USB and mic jack
- Intuitive interface, 3x rec. lights and adjustable beep volume
Finally, Sony FDRX3000R/W 4K waterproof case broadens the shooting possibilities – 10 meters under the water – no matter if it is a sea or a freshwater pond – how do you find this characteristic?
The quality of obtained video is also great, even better than that of GoPro HERO4 Black. Duration of offline mode operation is perfect, too: the camera can work more than 2 hours. High price of the camera and its accessories can be considered a drawback though.
- 4K mode
- Digital image stabilizer
- Dust and water proof case
- GPS (recording of the shooting route)
- Rather good quality of high-speed record
- High resolution
- High sensitivity providing proper shooting at low light
- Remote control device comes in the package
- Shooting quality
- High serviceability
- Operation time (it is about 1.5 hrs when having fully charged battery and recording video of maximal quality)
- Commutation with other devices (iOS, Android) and remote control
- Software for the video editing
- Loop recording
- Multi-purpose threaded fastener (just like any common camera or video camera has)
- Possibility to plug in an external microphone
- Sound recording in stereo format
- Noise damper for wind
- Mist- and dust-proof without the protecting case (not for diving)
- Expensive branded fasteners and at that any other fasteners produced by different companies are almost missing
- Necessity to buy a case (glass) for underwater filming (it is possible to shoot under water in its standard case, but because of round protective glass the camera doesn’t focus under the water). After buying the waterproof case you’ll be able to dive up to 60 m deep (comparing to 10 m with the standard case and 40 m diving that indicates its main rival)
- Absence of stabilization at 4К and FullHD mode shooting at more than 30 fps
- All mechanical sounds are clearly heard in recording: if you change the light stand length – it’ll be heard in the video
- It runs hot while longstanding filming at maximal resolution
- Smart phone and remote control device don’t work simultaneously with the same camera
- After buying this camera you should start planning to buy the best SD card, supplementary battery, selfie stick and some more fasteners
DBPOWER N6 4K: is the best seller on Amazon.com
Despite its low price DBPOWER N6 4K has a high quality design and rather meritable filming quality. The camera has IP68 rating and it can stand getting under water up to 30 meters deep. The device quality construction is ensured using a metal casing.
The camera itself is a 20-megapixel one with Sony IMX078 sensor. You can film 4K at 24 fps or 2,7K at 30 fps. The device wide angle lense has a diagonal of 170 degrees. The camera is also equipped with hacking prevention technology.
DBPOWER N6 feeds from Novatek NTK96660 chipset, it has a battery of 1200 mАh capacity. As for the battery – there are even two of them in the device set. 2.31” led display ensures easy preview of your recordings and it also has protection against scratches and finger prints on it.
- Guarantee:Please Recognize the real DBPOWER N6 Action Camera, DBPOWER developed N6 Action Camera, beware of imitation, fake and poor products. DBPOWER provide 2 year product warranty for N6 Action Camera and lifetime warranty for the N6 battery.
- 4K Ultra-HD Action Cam: Sony image sensor, 7-layer glass lens, records 4K/24fps, 2.7K/30fps and 20MP photos using a 170-degree wide-angle lens. The DBPOWER 4K sports camera presents you with both high quality videos and pictures.
- Large 2.31-inch LCD Touchscreen: The Built-in 2.31" touchscreen for easy preview and shooting, DBPOWER 4K action camera is highly recognized for its stylish, yet solid appearance.
- Diverse Functions: Anti-shake DSP & WDR provides a clearer picture for motion shots and it has a motion detection function. Supports up to 64GB microSD card(CARD NOT INCLUDED).
- WiFi & 30M waterproof camera: Remote controllable over Wi-Fi by using the CamKing app, which also offers instant photo and video editing. Wi-Fi signal ranges up to 10 meters. A waterproof case allow you to dive 30 meters under the water, making it possible for you to capture every moment of adventures, ideal for Extreme Sports such as surfing, diving etc.
- Waterproof case
- Touch screen is big enough
- Lightweight and easy to pack up
- Many different attachments came with
- Quality build
- High resolution
- Slow Motion
- Time Lapse
- Quite a lot of defective products are manufactured
- Poor stabilization function
- Short Battery Life
- Horrible Mount
- Horrible Water Proof Case
- Doesn’t come with a charger
- Mini USB Cable is loose and randomly disconnects
- Non Existent Support
HTC Re: a highly simple device for everyday
So, who is a potential user of this camera? Let’s try to describe him: he is young, he has no time to get into all technical details of network technologies. This person is not very interested in video quality as well, what means more is the camera mobility, connection and control simplicity, the camera is ready to film or take pictures once it is on.
HTC Re is an example of completely different design and style concept for action cameras.
HTC Company having designed its latest offer has relied on ordinary customers. Year after year videos of some thrill seekers become popular. They record how they fly, ride, jump and other crazy things. But what should the others do? Those who don’t go out often and don’t test themselves by doing any of above mentioned.
HTC has thought about these people and created for them this camera, which resembles more a periscope or an inhaler. Its case is made of smooth glossy and very nice on the tough plastic. The camera can easily fit into your pocket. It’s not longer than 10 cm and it weighs 65 grams.
- Ultra-Wide Angle Lens No need for a viewfinder. 146 degree ultra-wide view captures everything.
- Grip Sensor No fumbling with the on/off switch. An automatic sensor detects your grip for instant-on use.
- One-Button Control Tap for photos, press for videos. Seamless control eliminates the need for a photo/video mode switch.
- Ergonomic Design Subtle size and form-fitting grip fits your hand naturally for distraction-free use.
The charged battery ensures 2 hours of continuous filming. The action cam is so small, that it has neither a display, nor “on” button. It looks very nice. Grip-sensor automatically turns the camera on right when you take it into your arms. It has only two buttons – with one of them you take pictures or turn video recording on and the second one turns Slow motion recording mode on.
The filming itself starts when simply pushing the main button and when pushing and holding the button the video recording mode switches on. HTC Re case is made of quality glossy plastic which allows using the device under the water at about 1 meter deep for about half an hour.
To adjust some parameters of the camera you’ll need a smart phone or a tablet, where you should install a special app first. However, this adjustment process can be done only once and the camera will remember it.
You can set video quality (HD or FullHD) and photo resolution. You can also control the camera remotely via any smart phone, using its display as an object finder. By means of the app you can turn on the camera TimeLapse mode as well.
Possibly, someone would like to compare RE Camera with GoPro one, but it won’t be a meaningful comparison.
Yes, – both devices are compact action cameras for filming all the stuff around you, but this is where their similarity ends. GoPro is an action camera for professionals, it is a protected device, often used for filming extreme sports, where first of all protection and basic functions are important.
- Good quality case materials and building
- User-friendly app RE for Android and iOS
- Dust- and waterproof
- Timelapse mode
- Can be controlled with one hand
- It is quote troublesome to film in the dark
- Low quality of sound recording
- Almost no image stabilization
- Loss of connection between a smart phone and camera is possible
- Low capacity battery which is not portable
- You can’t plug in a supplementary battery on a standard light stand
360fly: this action camera is for extreme sports
A potential owner of the above mentioned widescreen action camera seems to be a young man with active lifestyle and he is eager to share all the beauty of the places he’s seen with his friends.
A businessman and a big fan of extreme sports – Peter Edderton is sure that his 360fly camera is to become the main rival to GoPro and it’ll popularize the virtual reality technology which is starting to pick up stream nowadays. 2017 is considered to become a landmark for this direction on the market and it looks like the camera designer has foreseen it.
In fact, such companies as Facebook and Google are already launching the process of spherical video support on video services.
As for 360fly camera characteristics – it has a quality sensor to film video with resolution 1504 х 1504 p at 30 FPS. Spherical shape of the gadget and the lens with f2.5 aperture allow creating solid video frames. The modes supports microSD up to 32 Gb and it has a waterproof case.
- World's widest single-lens camera
- Record and store up-to 3 hours of 360 Degree HD footage
- Edit and share video in 90 seconds or less
- Dustproof, shockproof and water resistant
The fact that the camera battery and SD card aren’t portable is disappointing for sure. However, as the camera service has shown both the battery charge and SD card are quite enough for 1,5 hours of continuous filming. This time is quite enough even though you’ll be editing the video later. As for the 1st generation model 360fly is rather well designed without any unnecessary stuff, it’s the camera where additional settings may only get the video worse when shooting at 360°.
- 360Fly HD main feature is that it has no alternatives. There are similar devices, but there is no exactly the same device with some different characteristics on the market. This is what makes this camcorder a unique one
- Can be used for underwater filming
- Modern futuristic design
- Camera angle
- Relatively high battery capacity
- It’s impossible to adjust settings to change video and photo resolution
- If you aren’t divers you won’t need this rubber cap to protect the microphone input from water ingress. But if you are, this small thing may just get lost
- Apart from the widescreen filming at 360° sadly the video quality is rather low with poor detalization
What’s the bottom line? Well, when choosing which action camera to buy you should pay attention to the following:
You might be wondering – then how to choose an best action camera?
But if you are a blogger or you want to become one you should take into account that most of utube content is being watched with resolution not more than 1080р.
However, when editing the video SlowMo mode may be required and here you’ll need cameras with 1080р at 60 fps. As a rule, such cameras have maximal resolution not less than 2К.
If your intension is to film some detailed additional stuff with unique camera angles: views from quadrocopter, for example, and then edit them and add some video from other more professional cameras – in this case you definitely need action camera 4K.
And it’s not just about that you are still going to use this video format, it’s about the matrix quality which will give you more detailed image even when filming with lower resolution. And what is more – in case of 4K camera you’ll always be able to crop a picture to be 1080р without any loss of quality.
The higher is the resolution and the more frames per second a camcorder can film, the more expensive it is. Any digital videocams can be conditionally divided according to their filming maximal resolution and frames per second rate.
For action cameras these values will be the following: 720р, 1080р, 2К, 2.5К, 4К and fps correspondingly: 30, 60, 120, 240 and values equivalent to these in PAL system. Such a gradation sufficiently affects the camera price within one brand.
A camera glass – the amount of light that gets to the matrix depends on this component. The more light passes through the camera glass per second, the higher quality image is obtained. And this is directly proportional to the camera lenses quality. Manufacturers don’t specify which optical components are being used, but SONY, for example, states that they use optics made by world-wide known ZEISS.
But the wider the angle is, the shorter the lens is and wide-angle lenses cause perspective distortion. The lines become curved, so having the function of image correction won’t hurt. After receiving the image the camera automatically aligns curved lines.
A matrix this is the most important camera component which directly influences photos and videos quality. It can be considered the same as film in old photo cameras.
Wow, what do you need to know about the matrix?
The larger are the matrix and its elements-pixels physical dimensions, the more light they capture and the more high quality image you get correspondingly. The matrix size equal to 36?24 mm is a good one for reflex cameras.
Frames per second rate: 24 fps is regarded to be enough to get the main picture with the human eye. But the images given with 50 fps seem to be smoother. The matrix ability to capture video with high fps rate not only makes the final video smoother, but also provided with corresponding video processing it allows applying SlowMo effect.
This is when the video is being slowed down twice or more. In the matrix and action cameras technical characteristics this parameter is always indicated separately for each resolution. The higher is the resolution, the more efficient the matrix has to be to save maximal number of frames per second.
The lower is the resolution, the higher is fps rate. The majority of cameras record video in such formats as MP4, AVI, MOV, which is quite enough. H.264 video format is necessary to film the highest quality video.
You might be wondering – what else should I know about the matrix?
Different matrixes vary in their dynamic range – this is the ability to show simultaneously dark and light colors of the scene. The wider the dynamic range is the more details you get on a contrast image. For example, when filming in sunny weather the sky pattern and the filmed object details will be seen both.
For matrixes with lower resolution a processor can be less powerful correspondingly. But images processing isn’t the only task for this device. All action camera components are connected with each other by means of a processor to provide complete functionality of a camcorder.
The main thing you should know about the processor is that it has to be powerful enough to manage all the above mentioned responsibilities and at that generate as less as possible heat.
Camcorder software quality is very important as well. Quite a lot depends on the company programmers: namely, what maximum parameters they’ll obtain from the available hardware by means of their software. Sometimes a company releases a “raw” product on the market and after that updates it by improving its key features and removing the existing errors by firmware updates.
Therefore, when buying an action camera make sure that its manufacturer provides technical support for its products by releasing new firmware updates continuously. This is true especially for nameless brands.
Extra features of action cameras
However, there are full-color led displays where except for the recoding settings you can select the camera angle by using the screen as a viewfinder and to watch the video footage as well. Screens also differ in their size – the large the screen is, the more comfortable it is to use it.
But if the camera doesn’t have a screen, then some models have a stand-alone unit, though it increases the camera dimensions a bit and makes it impossible to use the camera in a waterproof case or with other accessories.
WIFI and Bluetooth
WIFI and Bluetooth units make the life of camera owners much easier. Using these units you’ll be able to transmit direct video signal right into your mobile device. It’s very helpful when a camera is installed in such a place where you don’t have the ability to look at the camera screen and select better camera angle.
Or, when the camera is far from you, so you have the ability to start and finish recording by means of remote control.
Except wireless modules there are embedded plugs that broaden camera’s features. For example, when connecting your camcorder by means of USB to your computer you’ll be able to use it as a web-camera or as multimedia-player with the image output onto the TV screen via HDMI port.
If there is a mini USB port in the camera, you can plug in an external microphone and improve the recorded sound quality by this. If the sound is important then pay more attention to this property since not all camcorders have high level of sound recording.
The info obtained from the gyroscope directs how to deviate the lens more efficiently to compensate any given vibration. So, as a result you get a stable “floating” image. Cheaper cameras don’t have this floating lens and to transmit the image not the whole sensor (matrix) diagonal is used, but just its half.
The image that overrides the border is used to compensate the vibrations. I.e the active zone of the matrix is sort of “floating” within it. When activating this function you may notice that the camera angle of view becomes a bit narrower and this is what gives the spare space for shifting in case of the frame shaking.
Nowadays an action camera has become a multi-purpose device. In particular, they are more often used as drive recorders. Usually, in this mode the camera records separate video fragments of a pre-set duration: 3, 5, 10, 15 minutes. This is done to enable re-recording when the storage is lack of free space.
Not to delete quite a large video file which may contain some important data, the file is divided into several parts. G-Sensor – is what helps to save the necessary part of the information without deleting it accidentally.
In case of a car crash the sensor responds to a hit and makes it impossible to delete the part of the video file, where the crash was filmed. To delete it you’ll have to format the flash-card using computer.
If your camera has a GPS-sensor, it’ll record the coordinates of the place where the car crash happened. All this information has to contribute to legal decision-making during the trial and to increase evidence base.
Some models of action cameras such as Garmin Virb X manage to add recording of heartbeat data into their features as well as the travelled distance and a span distance and if it is necessary to measure a rider, wind or a ship velocity and lots of other things that allow comparing such camera with an on-board computer.
Gopro Company is an ancestor and popularizer of action cameras. As the time went by lots of different accessories for action cameras appeared with a corresponding fixing standard. The majority of modern manufacturers don’t take risks trying to create their own types of fixation since this will lead to the necessity to produce their own product line of competitive accessories for their cameras.
That’s why they are using the standard used by Gopro Company.
When choosing an action camera you should take into account the above mentioned not to limit yourself with the decision contents when selecting accessories for it. Different manufacturers use different approaches when supplying their devices.
For example SJCAM Company is very generous when equipping all its cameras with lots of additional installation hardware. As for Xiaomi the situation is quite the opposite – quite a lot of things, even the necessary ones – such as waterproof case you’ll have to buy yourself. Therefore, when talking about the price of action camera consider the set of additional accessories it has.
Wight and form factor
These may vary.
The most popular ones are rectangular, cylindrical and cubic shaped action cameras. It’s pretty difficult to give any particular recommendations in this respect – just keep in mind how you are planning to use your camera when selecting which one to buy.
For example, a cylindrical shaped camera will do best for installing on a motor bike helmet, because at high speeds it creates less resistance to wind. It may appear that a camcorder weight is so small that it may not play any part when choosing one.
Though, in some particular cases it’s possible to sacrifice all other features for the camera size.
When selecting the device study the battery capacity (mA/h) and the offline operation time indicated by the manufacturer. In real life Sony camcorder models outrun GoPro and Garmin cameras as for this parameter, but there are less popular models such as Liquid EGO that is capable of offline filming for 5 hours.
Now: which SD card to choose for an action camera?
Here is another one parameter that may influence the filming duration and this is the SD card capacity.
It’s desirable to buy SD cards of 10-th class at that taking into consideration that a standard microSD has 32 Gb and it can hold about 200 min of recorded video with resolution Full HD 1080p or it’s about 34 thousand photos with resolution 2560×1920 pixels (5 megapixels). It’s better to choose SD card of one of these manufacturers: SanDisk, Lexar, Delkin, Transcend.
And it’s better not to save on SD card to avoid further problems with recording and reading video files. It’s clear that the larger the capacity is, the better. We advise to buy at least 32 Gb SD card, but 64Gb is still better).
Last update on 2017-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API