Best Action Cameras For Content Creators – 101
Are you looking for a small compact camera for content creation to capture any moment? Then you should think about getting an action camera for any adventure you want to share with the world.
If you are seriously thinking about vlogging, and want a camera that can shoot incredible videos, while being able to withstand the elements you throw at it, then you need to own an action camera.
Along with a few other pieces of gear like a tripod, backpack, sound gear, and a lens cleaner, an action camera is just something most content creators should have in their bag.
Why do you need an action camera? If you are always looking for ways to be creative for your content creations, having a camera that you can take on any adventure is an asset.
Plus, action camera footage is becoming the new normal as bloggers are shooting more action camera spots to get cool-looking shots like diving into a pool, or strapping an action camera on a helmet to capture a zipline ride through a forest.
While action cameras are not the greatest at capturing quality audio, and there are many audio accessories you can buy to take care of that department, they are extremely useful cameras for various situations you want to capture.
While GoPro has been the dominant player in the action camera market for the past few years, other brands are stepping up their game in image quality and features to go head to head with GoPro. Let’s see who is at the top.
Best Action Cameras For Content Creators - 101
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GoPro’s new action camera with a new processor
- Weight: 153g
- Waterproof: 10m
- 5K video: up to 60fps
- 4K video: up to 120fps
- 1080P: up to 240fps
- Stills resolution: 23MP
- Battery life: 1-32hrs estimate
- Faster user interface
- Increased frame rates
- Hydrophobic lens coating
- Slight upgrade on Hero9 Black
- Bigger than the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black
- Not compatible with older GoPro batteries
The GoPro HERO10 is the latest newest and best GoPro action cameras around. Even though the GoPro HERO10 was released this year, without much hoopla and looking similar to the Hero9 Black, the Hero10 Black is a notable upgrade. Why? Because of the new GP2 processor, that controls both a speedy user interface, multiplies the frame rates, and powers the best image stabilization tech yet.
What standout the most with the GoPro HERO10 is the phenomenal 5.3K video with 60 frames per second, plus the convenience of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all modes, as well as the ability to capture 23MP photos with the best-ever low-light performance.
Plus, Add a Mod + Transform HERO10 Into a Creative Powerhouse.
Media Mod (Pictured Above) – Designed for vlogging, live streaming, and near-limitless expansion. The Media Mod transforms HERO10 Black & HERO9 Black into a production powerhouse. It features a built-in directional mic for enhanced voice capture, 3.5mm mic port, HDMI-out for playback on external monitors, plus two cold-shoe mounts for lights, LCD screens, or additional mics.
Light Mod – Add compact yet powerful LED lighting to your next adventure. With Light Mod, you can illuminate your subject with wide, smooth, even light and capture ultra-crisp footage. Light Mod attaches to HERO8 Black, HERO9 Black, and HERO10 Black via Media Mod (sold separately), or works as a handy standalone light for use with GoPro mounts.
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- Weight: 158g
- Waterproof: 10m
- 5K video: up to 30fps
- 4K video: up to 60fps
- 1080p: up to 240fps
- 720p: up to 240fps
- Stills resolution: 20MP
- Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
- Front-facing screen
- 20MP photos
- 14.7 MP grabs from video
- Larger physical size than other GoPros
- 5K video takes up a lot of memory
Before GoPro released the GoPro HERO 9 Black, GoPro felt like they lost their way. There wasn’t much competition in the action cameras market. But with companies like DJI trying to get into the action cameras market at the time, GoPro decided to blow the competition away with the HERO9 Black and show who is the dominant player in the action cameras market.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black is the first action camera to feature a vlogging-style front-facing screen that allows you to frame yourself while vlogging, when used as a webcam, or just for selfies.
The resolution got an improvement as well with 20-megapixel stills capability and a 5K video shooting. What I like about this it allows for 14.7-megapixel grabs from video, which I love for times I want to capture high-quality video and pictures at the same time.
With the GoPro HERO9 Black, being it an older model compared to the GoPro HERO 10, you will get super-smooth Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization 3.0, TimeWarp 3.0 for handheld time-lapses, a travel case.
GoPro has also added a new Scheduled Capture feature for presetting the time for a timelapse. With Scheduled Capture, you can set up the GoPro when you arrive at the event and tell it when to start the timelapse, then forget about it while you do the rest of your setup.
This is great for saving valuable battery life if you don’t have spare batteries with you or no areas in your area for charging.
You can still add the Mod accessories like the Max Lens Mod which features an ultra-wide-angle 155˚ FOV for enhanced perspective and improved depth of field, and the Media Mod that works with both the HERO10 Black as well.
- Weight: 134g
- Waterproof: 11m
- 4K video: up to 60fps
- 1080p: up to 240fps
- 720p: up to 240fps
- Stills resolution: 12MP
- Battery life: 1-2.25hrs
- Front color LCD monitor is great for vlogging
- Excellent image stabilization
- Not as many MODS as GoPro
- The app could use some work
The DJI brand is respected as one of the best producers of drones and handheld gimbal stabilizers on the market today, but DJI recently turned its attention to the action camera market with Osmo Action. From the look and feel of the OSMO Action camera, it rivals the GoPro Hero7 Black and performs just as well. The full-color front LCD display makes it one of the best action cameras for selfie sequences or vlogging compared to the GoPro HERO 9 and HERO 10.
This compact action cam sports a powerful 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and a wide f/2.8 lens in a pint-sized package, allowing you to record professional high-resolution video wherever the action is.
The Osmo Action is loaded with a wide range of high-resolution features within its tiny frame. It supports up to 4K60 HDR video recording, captures slow-motion video at rates up to 1080p240, utilizes DJI’s RockSteady Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), and can also operate in time-lapse and hyperlapse modes.
Still images can be captured in up to 12MP resolution in raw or JPG format, and when you rotate the camera 90° when taking stills, it will automatically change to Portrait mode. When recording in 4K30 format you can take advantage of the camera’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, and it features a wide dynamic range to ease transitions between light and dark.
Additional bonus features include a maximum ISO of 3200, dewarp mode to remove wide-angle FOV bending, custom setting modes for quick access, dual microphones, dual speakers, and it is powered by a removable LiPo battery.
The Osmo Action is waterproof to 36′ deep, so you can surf, snorkel, and swim safely with your camera for up to 30-minute intervals. For even deeper underwater activities you can take the Osmo Action down to 197′ with a separately available waterproof housing. Its original housing is so durable that it can easily withstand drops from up to 5′ high.
This little action camera is definitely stiff competition for the GoPro Hero 7 and 8! The stabilization function will make you think you’re using a gimbal! The front LCD selfie screen comes in real handy! This camera is built solid and has some weight to it! If you can afford GoPro’s latest action cameras like the GoPro HERO 9 & 10, this compact action camera will do the job you expect from the DJI brand.
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- Weight: 139 grams
- Dimensions: 4.45 x 1.82 x 1.17 inches
- Waterproof: 33 feet
- Stills resolution: 18.4-megapixel photos
- Video resolution: 5.7K
- Memory: MicroSD
- Stabilization:6-Axis Gyroscope
- Battery Life: 1-1.5 hours continuous use
- 4K and 360-degree lens
- Small, compact, and easy to use
- When in low light, stills from videos will not be that crisp
- Small Touchscreen
- Time-consuming editing
The ONE X2 is Insta360‘s pocket-size spherical VR solution with dual- and single-lens modes. In dual-lens mode, also called 360 Cam Mode, the camera uses both its front and rear lenses to capture immersive 360 5.7K resolution video with automatic internal stitching, and then using the companion iOS/Android app, you can navigate through the shot and select a specific angle and share it directly to social media.
Single-lens mode turns this 360 camera into a standard camera that you can capture regular shots with. This mode, also called Steady Cam mode, uses FlowState Stabilization with an advanced scene-detection algorithm to digitally smooth out your shot so it looks more steady.
The ONE X2 is designed 33′ waterproof as is, without any waterproof housing required, so you can take it underwater with you as well as use it in the rain. The camera also features a round touchscreen on the front for framing and monitoring your shots. For capturing audio, the ONE X2 is designed with four onboard mics with wind reduction to capture clean 360 audio, and it also supports an optional dedicated 3.5mm mic adapter for connecting an external mic for more professional audio.
The Insta360 One X2 requires time and technology compared to other action cameras on this list. Time to learn about the sheer number of creative templates, options, and edits on offer to filmmakers, and technology in the form of a relatively new smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy S9, Apple Phone 8, and Huawei Mate 20 – or newer – is required).
Regardless, the Insta360 One X2 is a seriously impressive 360º camera that will surpass the expectations of anyone trying to do something new and expensive-looking without the need for drones and a camera crew.
Yes, it is processing-intensive, and editing can be both power-sapping and time-sapping, but it’s all worth it because this little camera is capable of some incredible footage.
- Weight: 117 Grams
- Waterproof: up to 60 m
- Dimensions: 124.7×38.1×30 mm
- 4K video: up to 60fps
- Stills resolution: 64 MP
- Battery life: 90 mins
- 4K Resolution
- Story Mode
- Fixed Camera
- Only internal battery
Another of the action cameras on the market to watch for. Weighing just over four ounces, this all-in-one unit features a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer for smooth movement and easy pan-and-tilt control.
The Pocket 2 incorporates a 1/1.7″ sensor and a wide 20mm, 93° angle-of-view lens to record up to cinematic 4K60 video at 100 Mb/s and 64MP still photos onto a microSD card up to 256GB in capacity. The four microphones allow you to capture enhanced stereo audio, and they feature noise reduction and a zoom function that follows the zoom of your camera to capture enhanced audio in a tighter shot. The camera can utilize 8x zoom for stills, 4x zoom for 1080p video and audio, 3x zoom for 2K video, and 2x zoom for 4K video.
Use DJI’s Mimo app and your iOS or Android smartphone to polish your footage with preset shooting patterns, camera motions, filters, and soundtracks. The app isn’t even required to add glamour effects and to do basic editing, and you can even set it to motion-lapse with a single touch. You can also live stream your video to the web using the app.
Unlike a similarly sized smartphone, the candy bar-sized Pocket 2 offers intelligent functions like Story Mode, Active Track 3.0, hyper-lapse, panorama, and motion-lapse to create compelling creative effects. Choose between 180° and 3 x 3 panoramic shots to capture wide landscape vistas.
The Pocket 2 has a passive cooling system that quietly dissipates heat, and a rechargeable battery enables the camera to record up to 140 minutes. Included in the box are a cover, a mini control stick, a 1/4″-20 tripod mount, a wrist strap, a power cable, and USB Type-C and Lightning smartphone adapters.
Additional accessories such as a wide-angle lens, “Do-it-All” handle, USB splitter, tripod, wireless microphone transmitter, charging case, phone clip, and waterproof case are available separately to round out the Pocket 2 experience.
When it comes to action cameras, the Pocket Gimbal 2 is an amazing little camera system. It shoots incredible videos and is very intuitive to use.
Best Up And Commer: DJI Action 2
- Weight: 56 Grams
- Waterproof: 10 m without Waterproof Case, 60 m with Waterproof Case
- Dimensions: 39×39×22.3 mm
- 4K video: Up to DCI 4K60, UHD 4K120, 1080p240
- Stills resolution: 12 MP
- Battery life: 70 mins
- Tiny, go-anywhere form factor
- Magnetic mount and snap-on accessories
- Effective digital stabilization
- Up to 4K120 video
- 12MP photos
- Waterproof to 33 feet
- Works as a webcam
- Front screen option pushes price high
- Overheating is a concern
- No card slot or charging port on main camera module
- Front screen and battery aren’t waterproof
Turn to the wearable Action 2 Dual-Screen Combo from DJI to capture up to 180 minutes of your everyday life, sports efforts, or travel adventures.
Designed with a clever snap-together, modular magnetic form, the Action 2’s versatile recording options include 32GB of internal storage, up to DCI 4K60, UHD 4K120, and 1080p240 video plus up to 12MP raw and JPEG still photos.
While the Action 2 itself is waterproof to 33′, the Touchscreen Module must use a separately available case for waterproof operation.
This combo pairs the 4K Action 2 camera with a front-facing, 1.76″ OLED touchscreen module, a magnetic lanyard for hands-free operation, a magnetic 3-prong mount, and a ball joint adapter.
This magnetic, snap-on module also extends your runtime up to 160 minutes and adds 3 mics to create a 4-mic array with audio zoom for improved sound capture. To add wireless audio to your video capture, check out the separately available DJI Mic which uses a 3.5mm to USB Type-C adapter to input audio to the Action 2 camera.
There are two kits available. The Action 2 Power Combo is more affordable at $399 and includes an add-on Power Module pack to extend battery life. It’s set to arrive in stores in mid-November. The battery pack houses a USB-C charging port and a microSD card slot but isn’t waterproof like the camera itself.
The second kit, the Dual-Screen Combo, is coming a little earlier, launching on November 2. Its add-on module also includes a battery reserve, USB-C, and a MicroSD slot, and adds a front-facing touch LCD and three additional microphones. At $519 it’s a more expensive option, but one we expect vloggers will go for.
When it comes to action cameras, GoPro has maintained dominance over the past few years with its HERO line, but as new camera makers move in to compete, action cameras are only getting better because of it.
For taking your content creations to a new level the Insta360 ONE X2 is worth considering for its incredible panoramic shooting capability that can fit in your front pocket.
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About the author: Trent (IMDB | Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.