How To Buy An Action CameraI would say there are 3 main steps to buying an action cam.
1. Features To ConsiderBelow are some of the features you can expect to have on an action cam and there are some that are rather sketchy because of the false advertisements going aroundSomething that I’ve found with action cameras is that those below $100 usually have only about 1-2 of these features whereas those that cost higher (above 100) have about 3-4 of these features.
Image StabilizationThere are 2 main types of stabilization, video and photo stabilization.Most cameras above $50 have stabilization for taking pictures which is commonly referred to as anti-shake image stabilization. And thus when you take a picture, it wouldn’t be blurry and ‘smudged’ all over.For action cameras above $50, you can almost safely assume that there is going to be anti-shake image stabilization.But the real issue lies with the video stabilization as it’s a little more tricky to deal with because it requires more processing power to do so.Most videos that you’re going to take will be shaky and unstabilised, regardless of where you’re taking it from unless of course, you have a stabilizer attached to it.Therefore, you’ll need a way to stabilise the bumps and tremors in the video.There are 2 main types of video stabilization, gyro image stabilization & optical image stabilization.The main difference is that gyro works electronically or through software, whereas optical stabilization works by the physical lens moving to counteract the motion (eg. camera bumps up→ lens move down to reduce shake)If you want to know more this, feel free to read more in-depth about the different types of stabilization here!Most action cams above $100 have a built-in video stabilization but these are examples of the few action cams with exceptional image stabilization: Firefly 8S & Yi Lite.
Wind Noise ReductionWhen travelling around, from car rides to bikes and even to something as simple such as hiking at your local hill.There would always be wind noise and it gets especially loud when you’re moving fast.Hence. to combat this, manufacturers have introduced wind noise reduction which works by having dual stereo microphones at different sides of the camera which work together to differentiate between wind noise and actual sound and using that data, they’ll be able to remove the wind noise.From the cameras I’ve reviewed with this feature such as the Explorer 3 and T5 Edge, the wind noise reduction, I found that it removes approximately, about 80% of total wind noise, so it’s really useful for producing clear and undisturbed audio.
Lens Distortion CorrectionNext up, we have the distortion correction feature.Wide angled shots taken by action cameras creates a more immersive & engaging viewing experience compared to your typical smartphone camera but one of the drawbacks of action cameras is that they tend to have a bit of distortion/warp in their shots due to the fisheye lens which is required for creating a wide angle shot.Hence, in order to correct this distortion, you’ll have to manually edit it using an editing software which can honestly be quite a hassle especially when you’re dealing with not just a few clips but tens or even hundreds of them.That’s when action camera companies noticed that this is a pertinent issue and started making software algorithms to correct the fisheye distortion.
Below: Fisheye Distortion Correction
Voice ControlThis is a feature that’s in my opinion quite rare for action cams especially on the lower end (less than $200) as the software and hardware used to make this must be very accurate, hence expensive, in order to achieve a satisfactory quality.
Remote Control CompatibleIf you’re planning to be out with your action cam and have it be mounted onto somewhere, be it on your backpack, a monopod, or even on your bike, it’ll be worth getting a camera that is remote control compatible as that way, it’ll be way easier and more convenient to control your cam.Besides that, having a remote control also makes taking selfies and wefies more fun as you wouldn’t have to use the traditional way of setting a timer, etc to take one.All you have to do is point the camera at you and hit the button on the remote. Simple!
Few Important Specs To Take Note Of
Resolution & Frame RateThese are the most rudimentary specs as it determines how clear and smooth your video is.If you’re looking for cheaper action cameras (below $130) determining the resolution isn’t as straightforward because many action cams are not capable of shooting in a certain resolution (usually 4K) that they claim they are able to.What I mean is often times, although they claim to be able to shoot in 4K, it’s actually fake 4K and by that I mean it’s interpolated (upscaled) and therefore it isn’t true, native 4K.If you’re interested in fake resolution click here to read more about it here!
Field of ViewHow wide the camera is able to take: On average it is about 150˚.But I personally like about 130˚ the best because I find it to have a good balance between wide angle and distortion.
Battery LifeLook at the battery life instead of the battery capacity as that will give you a more accurate indicator of how long the camera can last.
WaterproofMost action cameras with the waterproof case have a waterproof index of 30m which means you’ll be fine doing light water activity with it such as surfing or kayaking but if you’re using it for more heavy water events such as diving or swimming, the minimum I’ll recommend would be 45m.
My Top RecommendationsI have separated my top recommendations by different price point.
Coupons & DiscountsLast and final step!Now that you’ve finally found the action camera that satisfies your needs and budget, it’s time to find the best deal for it!Oftentimes, there are deals and offers floating around the internet and that’s why I’ve decided to make a compilation of the different deals here!Thus, if you’re looking to save some money, feel free to check out my coupon codes here!Alternatively, if you head over to my recommendations page (above) the best places to buy will already be there under every camera!
That’s all I have for now. I hope you’ve got a better understanding of action cameras by now!If you’ve any thoughts or questions regarding action cameras or anything in general, please feel free to comment down below!If not, thanks for dropping by and have a great day! 🙂