Smartphones are always handy for capturing holiday snaps, but if you’re in the mood for a proper adventure then they simply won’t cut it. What you need instead is a camera that can brace the elements and take a serious knock or two in the process – you need an action camera.
It’s no secret to those familiar with action cameras that GoPro tends to the rule the roost with yearly updates to its mainline devices, but there are several alternatives out there that not only surpass GoPro in some areas, but are just flat out better for different scenarios. To let you know exactly which action cameras are worthy of your attention, we’ve highlighted our favourite right here and specified the type of filming that they excel in. No matter which one you go with, they’re all the best of the best.
Best overall: GoPro Hero 10 Black
Honourable mention: GoPro Hero 9 Black
Best GoPro alternative: Insta360 One X2
Best modular action camera: DJI Action 2
Most portable action camera: Insta360 GO 2
GoPro Hero 10 Black
There’s a reason why the name ‘GoPro’ has become synonymous with action cameras at large, and it’s plain to see in the GoPro Hero 10. This souped up camera is certainly a lot more expensive than the other options available on this list, but the price tag is worth it in the long run. With the ability to shoot 5.3K footage at up to 60fps, the Hero 10 beats the competition on video quality, but it’s the new HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilisation that seals it as the ideal companion for any adventure.
Shoots 5.3K at 60fps
Industry leading stabilisation
Large, bright front screen
One of the most expensive action cameras available
Doesn’t shoot in 360 degrees
GoPro HERO 9 Black
Even though it has since been superseded by the Hero 10, the GoPro Hero 9 is still a fantastic action camera in its own right. With a resolution topping out at 5K and a bright front-facing display (just like one on the Hero 10), the Hero 9 is perfect for vloggers. Because the Hero 9’s been out for some time, it’s offers up a hefty saving over GoPro’s newer camera.
Shoots high quality 5K footage
Signficantly cheaper than the Hero 10
Front display is ideal for vloggers
The Hero 10 captures better footage
Insta360 ONE X2
Best GoPro alternative
Even though GoPro’s been on the market for longer, Insta360 has made a huge impact in the comparatively short time the company’s been around. The company’s recent flagship, the Insta360 ONE X2 not only shoots stable footage at up to 2560×1440 50fps, but it also has the ability to film 360 degree video at 5.7K, making it the perfect option for VR filmmakers in need of a (relatively) affordable, pocketable camera.
Shoots 360 degree footage
Maxes out at 5.7K video
Comes with a memory card included
Insta360 app isn’t as polished as GoPro’s
Accessories are needed to make the most of it
DJI Action 2
Best modular action camera
For the Action 2, DJI decided to move away from the GoPro-esque design of its previous action camera, instead opting for a modular design that makes the experience so much more accessble than before. If you want to shoot some quick footage then you can get that just from the Action 2 itself, but if you want to do some vlogging then simply snap the secondary display to the bottom and you’re good to go.
Inspired modular design
Surprisingly small for what it can do
Battery mod makes it easy to shoot for longer
Can be pricey when you factor in all the modules
Insta360 GO 2
Most portable action camera
The portability of the Insta360 GO 2 has to be seen to be believed. Roughly the same size as the average thumb, this miniscule camera can easily fit into the palm of your hand, but that doesn’t stop it from packing some serious power under the hood. It can handle stabilisation well with the company’s own-brand FlowState software, and can even shoot footage at up to 2560×1440 at 50fps.
Charging case doubles as a remote
Several accessories included
Can heat up quite quickly
Video quality is bested elsewhere
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