The Best Action Cameras for Adventure Seekers | 2024 Edition

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Nowadays action camera is a must for all kinds of trips that involve some actions. Or when you want to be more flexible than with the standard camera. If you like to do a lot of outdoor activities or if you are passionate about extreme sports, action cameras are the ideal solution.

First of all, you get as compact as a possible camera. Second, they are usually water-resistant (or at least weather-sealed) and rugged. Third, their electronic stabilization makes videos smooth almost as you use a gimbal (with some limitations we will outline later). 

And last but not least, action cameras are powerful because of additional mounts that enable you to find angles you won’t find with any other types of camera. 

If you are looking to buy action camera for the first time, or you want to pursue new model instead of old once, in this article, you will find our recommendations!

Table of Contents

Our Top Picks

If you don’t have a time to go through the whole article, below you will find quick overview of our favorite action cameras:

Best Overall

DJI OSMO ACTION 4

GoPro Hero 12 Black

Insta360 Ace Pro

Best 360 Camera

Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition

Best Super Small Action Camera

Insta360 GO 3

Best Budget-Friendly Action Camera

GoPro Hero 10 Black

The Best Action Cameras

First, we want to uncover our methodology.

There are 4 categories we fit cameras in:

  • Best overall
  • Best 360 camera
  • Best super small camera
  • Best budget-friendly camera

This year we haven’t chosen 1 single camera in the best overall category, but 3 instead. Simply, this year DJI, GoPro, and Insta360 have almost equally great cameras for which we can be sure you won’t make a mistake choosing any of them.

In the best 360 camera, the main criterion is its ability to record 360 footage. While in the best super small camera the main criteria are the size, hence we were searching for the best camera that could fit your pocket

Our recommendation for budget-friendly action cameras is focused on cameras that you get the most for your money.

Best Overall

DJI Osmo Action 4

Image source: DJI

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 145 g
  • Dimensions: 70.5 × 44.2 × 32.8 mm
  • Waterproof: up to 18 m (59 ft) without the waterproof case, up to 60 m (197 ft) with the waterproof case
  • Sensor Size: 1/1.3″
  • FOV: 155°
  • Still Resolution: 10 MP
  • Video Resolution: up to 4K at 120 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Life: up to 160 minutes in ideal conditions (it may vary depending on your usage)

Why You Will Like It

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is a robust and ultra-compact camera that stands out as an excellent choice if you are seeking a lightweight yet powerful alternative to supplement your smartphone or mirrorless camera.

Its lightweight design at just 145 g makes it an excellent travel companion without adding significant bulk to your gear. The latest technology behind its electronic image stabilization ensure that you will get a smooth footage always, while the 360-degree horizon leveling corrects horizontal tilts at any angle, ensuring your videos remain stable no matter how action-packed the adventure gets.

Furthermore, you can count on high-quality footage even in low light because of its big 1/1.3″ image sensor and wide max. aperture of f/2.8. Also, you will get 10-bit colors in videos even in standard mode. Another thing you will like for sure is a magnetic quick-release for accessories. If you want to share your videos on social media, there is an option of shooting native vertical videos.

Also, the battery has very good capacity and you can count on even more than 1.5-2 hours of standard usage.

Because of all of that, DJI Osmo Action 4 is one of our 3 picks for 2024!

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Photographers: Those who want a small, rugged camera that can go places where larger cameras can’t.
  2. Vloggers and Content Creators: With the front screen, fantastic video stabilization, and native vertical shooting mode, it’s ideal for self-shooters and action shots.
  3. Extreme Sports Enthusiasts: The camera’s durability, waterproofing, and stabilization are perfect for capturing high-intensity activities.
  4. Everyday Users: Anyone looking for an easy-to-use action camera capable of producing high-quality video and complementing their smartphone or mirrorless camera.

Pros

  • One of the best video quality in the action camera world, because of a big sensor, (1/1.3″) and wide aperture (f/2.8).
  • Excellent electronic stabilization that works together with 360-degree horizon leveling.
  • Magnetic quick release for mounts offers the quickest way to add and remove accessories.
  • Best-in-class waterproofing capable of going down to 18 m without extra housing (and up to 60 m with the waterproof case).
  • Quick charging (18 minutes to charge to 80%, 49 minutes to 100%).
  • The front touchscreen is ideal for vlogging and self-recording. 
  • High-Resolution Slow Motion (4K up to 120 fps).

Cons

  • The front screen is not very visible in bright sunlight, which might be challenging for outdoor shooting.
  • The audio quality for advanced videographers may not be ideal (however you can use the external microphone).
  • Still image quality is not pair with video quality (flagship smartphones are still capable to produce better images than DJI Action 4).

DJI OSMO ACTION 4

GoPro Hero 12 Black

Image source: GoPro

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 154 g
  • Dimensions: 71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6 mm
  • Waterproof: up to 10 m (33 ft) without the waterproof case, up to 60 m (197 ft) with the waterproof case
  • Sensor Size: 1/1.9″
  • FOV: 156° in 8:7 (177° with the optional Max Lens Mod 2.0)
  • Still Resolution: 27 MP
  • Video Resolution: up to 5.3K at 60 fps, 4K at 120 fps, 2.7K at 240 fps
  • Battery Life: up to 1.5 hours at 5.3K at 30 fps and over 2.5 hours at 1080p at 30 fps

Why You Will Like It

The GoPro Hero 12 Black is an excellent camera that is on pair with DJI Osmo Action 4 on most features, but offer even higher video resolution. With GoPro Hero 12 Black you can capture 5.3K videos in 8:7 which mean that it uses full aspect ratio of the sensor. So, this  enables you to get as much detail as possible now, and provide you great versatility in video editing. 

Newest GoPro has also the improved 6th generation of its HyperSmooth video stabilization which ensures extremely smooth footage. Additionally, you can by the new Max Lens Mod 2.0 to extend FOV from 156° to 177° for an extreme ultra-wide experience. Also, there is a 360 horizon lock & horizon leveling on all resolutions. 

It’s worth saying that with GoPro 12 you get enduro battery with improved battery life (about double runtime of previous versions). is a game-changer for travelers who often find themselves away from power sources for extended periods.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Photographers: Because of very high-resolution 27MP images and wide-angle capabilities, especially with optional Max Lens 2.0 make it perfect for capturing extra wide landscapes and action shots.
  2. Vloggers and Content Creators: With wireless audio support for Bluetooth devices and vertical capture mode, it’s a versatile tool for creating social media content.
  3. Action Sports Enthusiasts: The camera’s rugged build, waterproof design, and advanced stabilization are ideal for capturing sports and activities.
  4. Tech-Savvy Enthusiasts: Anyone who values latest technology gadgets and versatile, high-quality video capture might find the Hero 12 Black a worthy investment.

Pros

  • Superior video quality (especially detailed in 5.3K).
  • Extremely effective footage stabilization with 360 horizon leveling.
  • Extended battery life with new enduro batteries.
  • Wide FOV (especially with optional Max Lens Mod 2.0 that offers 177° FOV).
  • Supports vertical video for social media and wireless audio for convenient vlogging.
  • High-resolution still mages (capable of taking 27MP photos).

Cons

  • A bit worse low light capabilities compared with competitors with larger sensors, no matter that max. aperture is f/2.5 (which is wider than on competitor’s cameras).
  • Still some lagging while you go through the menu (but it’s better than predecessors). 
  • Without magnetic quick release for mounts (it’s the thing we especially like on DJI Osmo Action 4).

GoPro Hero 12 Black

Insta360 Ace Pro

Image source: Insta360

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 179.8 g
  • Dimensions: 71.9 x 52.1 x 38.5 mm
  • Waterproof: up to 10 m (33 ft) without the dive case, up to 60 m (196 ft) with the dive case
  • Sensor Size: 1/1.3″
  • FOV: 16mm (35 mm equivalent focal length)
  • Still Resolution: 48 MP
  • Video Resolution: up to 8K at 24 fps, 4K at 120 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
  • Battery Life: up to 100 minutes when recording at 4K30fps with Active HDR (battery life tested in a laboratory environment at 25°C with AI Highlights Assistant off)

Why You Will Like It

Insta360 Ace Pro is another action camera that’s our favorite for 2024. If you are in doubt about whether to buy GoPro or DJI, take a look at Insta 360 as well.

First of all, there is the best night mode among action cameras thankfully 3 things: a big sensor (1/1.3″) paired with a Leica Summarit lens (max. aperture f/2.6) and PureVideo Mode which significantly reduces noise and improves brightness, you will get high-quality footage any time of day.

You will also get a fantastic app for your smartphone to view and edit your content, also there are a lot of tutorials from which you can gather inspiration. Also, there is a built-in AI selfie stick eraser and the ability to create dynamic movement timelapse shots.

Furthermore, Insta360 Ace Pro is the only of 3 cameras in our Best Overall category with a flip screen, so you will have a similar experience as when you shoot with a mirrorless camera. Also, it has a magnetic clip and GoPro/DJI-style mounting fingers provide seamless connectivity to accessories, enhancing versatility and ease of use in various shooting scenarios.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Action Lovers Who Don’t Want GoPro or DJI: This camera is an excellent choice for anyone interested in action shots, but don’t want to buy GoPro or DJI action cams.
  2. Travelers: Its top-notch image quality, even in low light and night shots, makes Insta360 Ace Pro pretty desirable among travel photographers as a main or additional camera alongside a mirrorless/DSLR or smartphone.
  3. Vloggers: This is also an excellent choice for vloggers considering the fantastic smartphone app for AI video editing and the use of various AI effects, like selfie stick remover.

Pros

  • Excellent low Light performance.
  • Excellent active HDR videos.
  • Flip Touchscreen (the back touchscreen flips up for easier framing and setting visibility).
  • Magnetic mounting system that enables quick changes of mounts on the go.
  • Smart features as hand gesture or voice control for convenience and AI Warp for creative video transformations.
  • AI editing that simplifies the post-production process.

Cons

  • No option to replace the lens cover (but the producer claims Free “No Question Asked” lens repair within 1 year of purchase).
  • A bit bigger & minorly heavier than GoPro Hero 12 and DJI Osmo Action 4. 

Insta360 Ace Pro

Best 360 Camera

Insta360 ONE RS 1 Inch 360 Edition

Image source: Insta360

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 239 g
  • Dimensions: 53.2 x 129.3 x 49.5 mm
  • Waterproof: IPX3 water resistant, protecting against light rain and snow. It should not be submerged in water
  • Sensor Size: 1″ (dual sensors)
  • FOV: 16mm (35 mm equivalent focal length)
  • Still Resolution: 21 MP
  • Video Resolution: 6K (5888×2944 at 30 fps, 6144×3072 at 25 fps, etc.)
  • Battery Life: up to 62 minutes (factory claim in test environment using 6K at 30fps)

Why You Will Like It

If you are looking for a 360 action camera, Insta360 Ace Pro is not something that will offer you this, but there is extremely capable camera from the same roof – The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition. It’s a game-changer in a class of compact 360-degree cameras. 

You will get unbeatable image quality because large dual sensors (1″) and Leica lens. To translate into video resolution, this camera is capable to deliver footage in 6K and to shoot 21 MP 360 photos. 

Because of the large sensors and maximum aperture f/2.2, you will get excellent low light shoots, and there is also 6-axis stabilization that ensures smooth footage. Also there are lot of AI options you could see on other Insta360 cameras as Pure HDR, AI auto editing and invisible selfie stick.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Photographers: Who look for high-resolution 360-degree images and videos in a compact form factor.
  2. Content Creators: Who desire 360-degree capabilities to produce immersive content.
  3. Enthusiasts and Professionals: Who want the image quality close to DSLRs but in a much more portable and rugged body.

Pros

  • Exceptional image quality with high dynamic range and excellent low-light performance.
  • 6K 360 video and 21 MP 360 photos.
  • Versatile and upgradeable (interchangeable lens design to suit different shooting scenarios).
  • AI-powered modes for enhanced dynamic range and details.
  • IPX3 water resistance (suitable for shooting in various weather conditions).
  • A long-life battery that supports over an hour of 6K at 30fps video recording.

Cons

  • High cost (the premium sensors and optics increase the price point).
  • No GPS module.
  • The screen size may be small for touch controls, which could be challenging during operation.

Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition

Best Super Small Action Camera

Insta360 GO 3

Image source: Insta 360

Key Specifications

  • Weight: camera 35.5 g, Action Pod 96.3 g
  • Dimensions: camera 25.6 x 54.4 x 23.2 mm, Action Pod with screen folded 63.5 x 47.6 x 29.5 mm, with screen unfolded 63.5 x 86.6 x 29.9 mm
  • Waterproof: camera up to 4.88 m (16 ft), Action Pod IPX4 water resistant against rain and splashes
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3″
  • FOV: 35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 11.24mm
  • Still Resolution 6.6 MP
  • Video Resolution: up to 2.7K at 30 fps, 1440P at 50 fps
  • Battery Life: up to 45 min with camera only, or up to 170 min with camera + Action Pod (factory claim in test environment using 1080p at 30 fps with screen off)

Why You Will Like It

If you are searching for an ultra compact action camera and you are OK to sacrifice 4K, the Insta360 GO 3 is a camera that will fit you perfectly. 

Considering its ultra-compact design it is highly versatile for travel photographers and lifeloggers. Video quality is quite good for the camera its size. You will get stabilized 2.7K at 30 fps. Also the camera waterproof up to 4.88 m (16 ft), making it suitable for a variety of shooting conditions. 

The included Action Pod give you additional functionality. The most important are: flipped screen, magnetic mounts and additional battery time. So, when you put Insta 360 GO 3 into Action Pad you will get look and feel as you use traditional action camera. Moreover, the magnetic mounting system and a range of available accessories enhance its usability in diverse environments.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Photographers: Who look for a lightweight and highly portable camera.
  2. Vloggers and Lifeloggers: Who value compactness and versatility in their shooting gears.
  3. Content Creators: Who want a camera that can be worn or mounted in numerous ways.

Pros

  • Very good 2.7K video with effective image stabilization to ensure smooth footage while on the move.
  • Versatile, ultra-compact design that’s extremely portable and easy to carry.
  • Waterproof camera unit.
  • Magnetic mounting system for additional accessories (ensure easy add and remove).
  • Included Action Pod that provides traditional action camera handling with a flip-forward touch LCD and extends battery life.
  • User-friendly mobile app for convenient editing (iOS and Android).

Cons

  • Action Pod housing isn’t submersible which limits the waterproof feature to the camera unit only.
  • Short battery life + battery is the non-removable battery that may require frequent recharging or the use of the Action Pod for longer battery life.
  • No 4K video capability, which may be a drawback for 4K resolution enthusiasts.

Insta360 GO 3

Best Budget-Friendly Action Camera

Image source: GoPro

Key Specifications

  • Weight: 153 g
  • Dimensions: 71.9 x 52.2 x 38.5 mm
  • Waterproof: waterproof up to 10 m (33 ft)
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3″
  • FOV: 148° (170° with the optional Max Lens Mod)
  • Still Resolution: 23 MP
  • Video Resolution: up to 5.3K at 60 fps, 4K at 120 fps, 2.7K at 240 fps
  • Battery Life: up to 1 hour at 4K at 60 fps

Why You Will Like It

The GoPro Hero 10 Black is a very good action camera that offers significant improvements in usability and performance over its predecessors. If you are beginner and looking for a more budget solution, you shouldn’t look elsewhere. 

The quality of 4K and 5.3K footage is close to the newest cameras. There are also few slow-motion modes up to 4K at 120fps, make it a fantastic choice for capturing dynamic and engaging footage. 

The improved touchscreen and 4th generation HyperSmooth stabilization ensure a smooth filming experience, making it an ideal social media companion.

Who Should Buy It

  1. Travel Vloggers: The rugged and waterproof design is perfect for adventurous travels in various weather conditions.
  2. Action Sports Enthusiasts: High frame rates for slow-motion and powerful stabilization are ideal for action shots.
  3. Photography Hobbyists: Those who want high-quality stills from their adventures without carrying a bulky camera will appreciate the 23MP photo resolution.
  4. Beginners: Anyone who wants to enter into the action camera world, but wants to stay on the budget.

Pros

  • High-quality videos in all resolutions.
  • Very capable image stabilization.
  • Suitable for all types of weather and environments + it’s waterproof up to 10 meters.
  • Good photo capabilities (good dynamic range and contrast, plus there is a RAW mode).

Cons

  • The battery life may not suffice for long shooting sessions without spares.
  • The camera may shut down due to overheating, especially in high frame-rate modes.
  • Low-light photos don’t match the quality you will get with a smartphone camera.

GoPro Hero 10 Black

In Summary

With an action cam, you will get a lot from a pocket-size camera. Nowadays they are improved a lot than if you compare it with some old models. Hence, many professionals use them to make footage and photos from unusual angles.

For some travelers, an action camera could be even main travel camera, especially if you are an action/outdoor traveler. For others, it is a great additional gear to get some ultra-wide content + to be able to use it underwater or on any kind of action.

On the other hand, they are pretty dependable on additional accessories and mounts to leverage their power at full capacity.

In the end, there are a lot of cameras that fit every pocket. In this article, we stuck to advance models of well-known brands (DJI, GoPro, Insta 360) in all 4 categories because currently, they are much more advanced than cheap cameras made by no-name producers.

Happy shooting!

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