We review action cameras, priced from $199 to $529.
Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which models:
- deliver the best video quality in daylight, low light and artificial light
- are the easiest to use
- have the best battery life
- take the best still photos
On this page, you'll find:
The popularity of the action camera in the era of the smartphone can be traced to one major feature – durability.
While the smartphone has replaced the compact still camera and dedicated video camera for many, most people would think twice before strapping an $800 smartphone to the bonnet of their car or to their helmet before hurtling down a bike track.
But even if your recreational activities aren’t extreme, action cameras are also well suited to anyone who simply wants something to take to the beach or throw in a backpack when travelling overseas.
No action camera on test delivers better video than the top-performing HD video cameras we’ve tested, or still images that come close to those produced by the best still cameras available today. However, all are built for durability, and when combined with the accessories to mount the camera to almost anything, become a compelling option for extreme action lovers, as well as occasional weekend warriors.
Action camera update: November 2013
The Hero range from GoPro helped popularise the action camera market, delivering affordable, durable video capture to extreme users. The just-released Hero 3+ offers additional features such as 4K resolution video at high frame rates and will be covered in the next CHOICE test. Other models also in the next test include the Sony HDR-AS30V, JVC GC-XA2 and Ion AirPro2.
The models in the current test are still readily available, and you should also be able to grab a Hero 3 model at a discount price leading up to Christmas.
- Contour 2
- Contour ROAM2
- Drift Innovation HD Ghost
- GoPro Hero3 Black Edition
- GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition
- GoPro Hero3 White Edition
- JVC GC-XA1 ADIXXION
- Liquid Image Model 727 the EGO
- Midland XTC300VP4
- Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon
- Panasonic HX-A100
- Polaroid XS100
- Sony HDR-AS15
We assess action cameras for:
For more information on pocket camcorders or video cameras go to our Electronics section.
- Video quality performance in daylight/low light/artificial light conditions
- Ease of use
- Battery life
- Still photo performance