Which is the best action camera for you? Types of Action Cameras

In this article, we are going to discuss the types of action cameras that are available in the market as well as the pros and cons of each type and ultimately, which one suits your needs the best.

As you know, action camera market is booming and as competitive as ever. More and more people are turning towards it because it offers tremendous value for its price and thus more are able to afford it.

If you are new to action cameras or want to know more about it, you can read more about it here.

In this article, I will list out the types of action cameras out there in the market and subsequently decide which is best for you.

The types of action cameras are as follow, Box Style, Cube Style, Bullet Style, Periscope and 360˚ action cameras.

These are the factors that I will use for comparison.

  • Price
  • Size
  • FOV
  • Resolution
  • Screen and Connectivity

Lastly, before we start, I’d like to say that this is a generalisation to give you a rough idea and although it applies to most of the cameras under that category, there might still be exceptions.

Types of Action Cameras

1. Box Style

box style cameras what types of action camera should you get
Popular ‘Box’ Style Action Cameras

So if you are familiar with action cameras or have been looking at it for some time, I am very sure that you have seen box-style action cameras. 

This is because majority of action cameras fall under this category such as popular models like GoPro Hero 5 Black, SJCAM SJ4000, Eken H9R, Thieye T5e, Yi, etc). Therefore, there are a lot of choices for you to choose from.

If you decide to buy this there are a lot of choices and support be it from forums or support page because there is a high likelihood that many people are going to face the same problem as you. Hence, you probably won’t go wrong with buying this type of action camera especially if you are new to it.

Versatility

Also, box-style action cameras are very versatile, the most versatile in this list, as it can be used almost anywhere, ranging from holidays, to skydiving, etc.

SJ4000 Accessories SJCAMThis is because the accessories connected to these cameras can be used interchangeably and if you decide to buy an SJCAM camera and later decide that you want to switch to a ThiEYE or GoPro, you can still keep the accessories and use it with your changed camera.

Click here to check out the best accessories!

Resolution:

Depends on the camera, 720p – 4K.

FOV:

Average: 160˚

Screen and Connectivity:

Action Camera Remote
Typical Action Camera Remote

Most have screens on the back to view the footages.

For those that don’t, there are apps to connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to view and customise your settings.

Some also have remote control to start and stop recording. Eg. Eken H9R, GeekPro EOV1 Plus.

Waterproof:

Most fall under 30m – 40m waterproof index.

Most are only waterproof with the external casing which is provided and not waterproof solely the camera itself.

Price:

It can be as low as $50 (Eken H9R) to as high as $400 (GoPro Hero 5 Black ).

Verdict

I think cameras under this category is good for you if you are a beginner or have no specific interest and want something that is simple.

2. Cube Style

cube style what types of action camera should you get
Popular ‘Cube’ Style Action Cameras

Next up, we have the cube style.

This type of action cameras are really compact and portable (most compact in this whole list) and are used usually if you want to mount it in a small area or if you simply like smaller and more mobile action cameras.

There is only usually one button, which is to start and stop the recording. Starting, switches on the camera, whereas stopping the recording switches off the camera, hence, there is no idle time.

FOV:

Average: 140˚

The field of view of these cameras are slightly smaller than the box-style by about 20˚, thus it can’t capture as much.

Waterproof:

Average: 10m

The camera body itself is already waterproof and no external casing is required. However, the waterproof housing can still be bought separately to increase the tolerance to 45m.

Screen and Connectivity

With size this small, it is not possible to house screens on the cameras and hence everything is required to be done remotely through your phone, which is connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Price:

$65.99 – SJCAM M10 –> $99 (Polaroid Cube +) –> $150 (GoPro Hero Session)

Verdict:

I think this camera is for those who like a compact portable camera and likes travelling as it is not bulky at all and very easy to bring about.

It is also for those of you who like mounting on tight corners or small areas as this camera is the most compact of them all.

3. Bullet Style

bullet style what types of action camera should you get
Popular ‘Bullet Style’ Action Cameras

Thirdly, we have the bullet-style.

This is called bullet style because it looks like a bullet and is very long and sleek.

As far as I know, there are no major brands, at least I know that specialises in doing this and currently, it is mostly Chinese, thus quality may be a little sketchy.

Versatility:

I feel this is mostly to mount on places that need this type of shape and is also very good for mounting on your RC car or quadcopter because the weight will be distributed very equally and hence your riding will be very stable and not lob to one side.

It also is used for filming bikes as you can easily mount it on your bike stem.

A disadvantage of this would be that the accessories are designed only for the model you purchase and cannot be used with other models as the dimensions are different.

Resolution:

Most can film at 1080p – 30fps or 720p – 120fps, which is decent enough to film your videos.

FOV:

Not very wide, most about 120˚ to 140˚.

Screen and Connectivity:

A downside of this cameras would be that it has no viewfinder, no screen and no wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth). Hence, the only way you can see is either you plug to your phone to view it or through your PC.

Price:

$100 – $150

Eg. CamPark Camera ($99.99) or New Technology G1S ($129.99)

Verdict:

I feel its ideal for you if you really want action camera of this shape to mount onto your RC, or else, you should consider another type.

4. Periscope Style

HTC Re First Periscope Shaped Camera what types of action camera is the bestThis isn’t really considered an action camera because it isn’t tough enough in my opinion, but anyways, the only periscope style action camera I have seen is the HTC Re. Hence, the following is going to be quite specific on this model.

The HTC Re is quite unique because it has a grip sensor which is able to be switched on and off based on your grip. Grab, on. Let go, off.

Versatility:

It is waterproof resistant and dust resistant.

Although this camera doesn’t feel very durable to maybe film underwater shots, it is definitely durable enough for travelling(can easily slide into pockets) as I feel it is one of the best value action cameras for travelling out there in the market.

htc re accessories

It has no mounting capabilities except for the 1/4″ tripod screw underneath which you can connect to your tripod or selfie stick, but I think it will look a little weird with the Re together. 😛

Although the accessories do not have a very wide variety, it is still definitely enough to do simple daily activities.

Resolution:

1080p – 30fps , 720p – 120fps

16MP Native Resolution

I’ve checked the quality and it is really clear and nice to look at.

FOV:

146˚

Screen and Connectivity:

Although it has no screen, it works like the cube style and has an app that is very user-friendly and simple, which you can connect to your smartphone with to customise and view your footages with.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Price:

Available for $61 on Amazon

Verdict:

This is very good for people who want a simple, cheap and portable solution to their travelling as it has basic water and dust resistant properties and is also able to film really clear and vibrant shots.

I think I’ll use it to film concerts (if I even get to it) as it would be a good view because of the height advantage due to the length of it. 🙂

But for sports activities, where there will be a certain extent of roughness, I really wouldn’t recommend it.

5. 360˚ Style

360˚ action cameras what types of action camera should you get

Last but not least, we have the 360˚ style cameras.

In the past, a lot of them are for enterprise use but now many are available for personal use.

Due to the latest trend on VR, manufacturers have started investing in 360˚ style cameras because it will be very popular in the near future as everything is switching over towards VR.

Moving on to the cameras…

Versatility:

This is very good if you are into sightseeing, travelling, etc but if your main focus is on extreme sports(wakeboarding, mountain biking)  or general sports (cycling, running), it may not be your best choice as these cameras are not very strong as there are a lot of delicate lens inside and hence, will not be very ideal for those kind of activities.

Resolution:

Generally about 2K, which has to be since it covers a wide amount of view.

FOV:

Field of View of SJCAM 360360˚ (Horizontal) and 220˚(Vertical)

Screen and Connectivity:

It usually has a small screen to view your status like battery life, the number of photos or duration of videos left in storage. To view the footage, you can use the app which can be connected to your phone via Wi-Fi.

Price:

Ranges from:

$67 – Cube 360 & $65.9 – Elecam 360 (Review Here) (Code:92ELE360)  —> $190 (Samsung Gear 360) –> $15000 (Yi Halo, GoPro Fusion)

More examples:

$130 – SJCAM 360 and $180 – 360FLY,

This is the highest price range in this list as it can capture the widest view, while still maintaining the quality.

Verdict:

360˚ cameras are used to film normal event (cycling, running, roller coaster) but rarely use to film extreme events (mountain-biking, wakeboarding)as there is too much risk involved due to it being relatively fragile.

However, having said that, the video produced by it is really very cool because it is super immersive and are used for VR.

Summary

In conclusion, there are many types of action cameras to choose from and if you came here asking “which action camera should I get” or “what types of action cameras are there”, hopefully this post has answered your question.

To me, ultimately when I am looking for an action camera, I would always go for the one that gives the most bang for my buck, and you should too. Not every time does the most expensive mean the best because there are many companies that offer a little less but at half the price.

Anyways, I hoped I gave you a nice insight of action cameras and hopefully you have learnt something from it.


Lastly, as this is my take on a general category of action cameras, and if there’s any specific model that you’ll like to know my view about or you think I have missed out on something, please feel free to drop a comment down below and I’ll try my best to reply to it ASAP!

Lastly, lastly, thanks for dropping by and have a nice day! 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. Hi, Excellent run down of Action cameras.

    I personally use the SJCAM 4000 and it suits my needs. Which are very varied. As you said the best thing about the box style cameras is their versatility.

    I use it for diving, cycling (on and off-road) and general filming, including time lapse ect.

    I think its a great choice for someone who wants it all.

  2. Hey there,

    Wow, this is such an informative post on action cameras. I’ve lost my camera a long time ago and while I usually take pictures with my phone, you make me think maybe it’s time to get myself a new one. I like the cub style cameras, it does look very nice and portable. 🙂

    I will look more into it, do you happen to have a post about the best cube cameras?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Anh

    1. For the best cube cameras, I do not have a list of them as of now. My recommendations are either the GoPro hero session (150 USD) , the polaroid cube+(99 USD) or the sjcam m10(70 USD) as they are all pretty decent and quite good value for money but the difference is the video quality and the amount of features they offer.

      It all depends on your budget to see which one fits you the best!

      If you need any more advice as to which cameras to buy, feel free to ask!

      Till then, thanks for dropping by and have a nice day! 🙂

  3. Hi…I am planning to buy a action camera but i am really confused because there lot of available in the market. My main purpose to use my action cam for my vacations and a also i have started my new youtube channel so for that purpose also. I was planning to buy SJCAM SJ7 star. I am confused.

    Kindly recommend me a good one. My budget is not that much.

    Regards,
    Prateek

    1. Hi Prateek, I actually think the SJ7 Star is pretty good but if you want to go for something similar and around the same price range of $100 to $200, I’d actually go for the newer improved SJ8 action cams, specifically the SJ8 Plus, which I’ll be reviewing soon.
      Meanwhile, feel free to check out my top recommendations here!

  4. The Warrior G1 is made by Yuntab (not New Technology) see the website here http://www.yuncooltech.com/features/index.html

    The main thing this camera has going for it is the battery life which is in excess of 5Hrs – which no other action camera seems to be able to match. I use two of them to film my (very wet) sailing activities on a Weta Trimaran to produce movies like this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDUER2ERHdE.

    I prefer the sleek shape of the TCL SVC200, Sony and the Warrior because it’s more aerodynamic and its lower profile and thus less likely to get caught by a sail or rope.

    My main gripes with the camera are the non-removable watermark and it uses H265 compression but optimised for storage space and the H264 setting produces better quality images but compromises storage.
    Also the waterproofing is a bit suspect if you don’t do up the rear cap very tightly and the screws around the lens are zinc plated which is useless in a saltwater environment.

    An article on the best action cameras for extended battery life would be very welcome by me and by many cyclists too.

    Regards

    Paul

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