Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Action Camera

A small, lightweight, unobtrusive camera is great for capturing outdoor adventures, as long as you buy the right one.

GoPro Hero 7
The advent of small, waterproof cameras allows people to film in locations they never thought possible.GoPro

The action camera world has become extremely crowded and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of confusing specs. You might find yourself wondering how much resolution you really need? What about frames per second? Image stabilization? The answer is that it depends on what you want to do with it. There may not be a one-size fits all action camera but following these three guidelines should help you narrow in on your ideal model.

GoPro Hero8 Black Waterproof Action Camera
Some action cameras have incredible image stabilization to go with ultra-sharp and colorful images up to 4K60.GoPro

Action cameras are built for activities that go bump. When you’re using one, you’re typically on the go, and sometimes, going very fast. Action camera footage used to be pretty hard to watch because it was so shaky it could make viewers nauseous. Today, the better action cameras have buttery smooth image stabilization. The current generation of action cameras almost look like they’re on a gimbal, even when they’re not.

AKASO Brave 4 4K 20MP WiFi Action Camera
If you plan to film underwater, consider a waterproof case and a camera that offers multiple view angles.AKASO

Let’s talk image quality. There are a lot of factors to consider and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of numbers. Let’s keep it simple. The best action cameras currently shoot 4K footage at 60 frames per second to give you super sharp, smooth video, and 1080p footage at 240 frames per second that can give you 10x slow motion. That gives you a lot of options to play with, but that may be overkill for many people. Most of the time you’ll probably want to shoot at 1080p 60fps but look for a camera that can do at least that, as well as 4K24.

GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition
If you want to immediately begin filming, consider a camera bundle that includes extra batteries, an SD card, and possibly an underwater housing.GoPro

One of the main reasons to buy an action camera is so you can use it to shoot in situations where you wouldn’t want to risk breaking your phone or larger camera. These puppies are small, light, and tough. Make sure you check out the specs on just how waterproof the camera is. Many are waterproof to 33 feet without needing an additional housing, which really adds to the convenience. You want a camera to be shock-proof and dust-resistant, too.