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When it comes to action cam­eras for out­door activ­i­ties, GoPro mod­els come to mind. Con­ve­nient form fac­tor, the abil­i­ty to shoot in 4K 120 FPS or 5K, work at great depth — GoPro’s place in the list of the best is unde­ni­able. But there are alter­na­tives — com­pact, eco­nom­i­cal, with an unusu­al design. We have col­lect­ed 10 action cam­eras wor­thy of atten­tion for shoot­ing extreme events.

The task of a good action cam­era is not to miss a sin­gle detail. Pho­to: t3.com

GoPro Hero10 Black
Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edi­tion
DJI Action 2
Aka­so Brave 7LE
GoPro Hero9 Black
Insta360 Go 2
Aka­so EK7000
Ape­man A100
OCLU
SJCAM SJ8 PRO
con­clu­sions

GoPro Hero10 Black

GoPro Hero10 Black brings extreme shoot­ing to the lev­el of 5.3K. Pho­to: nomadasaurus.com

The flag­ship mod­el of 2021 looks not far from the Hero9 Black. But tech­ni­cal­ly Hero10 Black has sur­passed its pre­de­ces­sor. The new GP2 proces­sor has dou­bled the frame rate in 4K and 5K modes for smoother and more real­is­tic record­ings of extreme scenes. Hyper­Smooth 4.0 sta­bi­liza­tion tech­nol­o­gy makes videos cin­e­mat­ic, clear. Shoot­ing in motion — no blur­ry frames.

Shoot­ing in low light is no prob­lem for the GoPro Hero10 Black. Pho­to: gopro.com

GoPro Hero10 Black records video at 5.3K 60FPS. Filmed videos can be turned into a spec­tac­u­lar action pro­mo. On a suit­able exter­nal dis­play, 5.3K video looks incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful. Add to this the strength of the case, the speed of the inter­face, the water resis­tance — and we get the num­ber 1 action cam­era.

Main fea­tures of GoPro Hero10 Black:

  • weight: 153 g;
  • admis­si­ble immer­sion depth in a pro­tec­tive her­met­ic box — 10 m;
  • Video for­mats: 1080p up to 240 FPS, 4K up to 120 FPS, 5.3K up to 60 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 23 MP.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • hydropho­bic coat­ed lens­es repel water — no need to con­stant­ly wipe the lens;
  • 5.3K 60 FPS — max­i­mum lev­el detail;
  • acces­sories and mounts for con­ve­nient shoot­ing in any con­di­tions (for an addi­tion­al fee).

What is impor­tant to know:

  • GoPro Hero10 Black is not a bud­get mod­el: the price ranges from 48–50 thou­sand rubles;
  • larg­er than Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black;
  • bat­ter­ies from old­er ver­sions are not suit­able.

Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edition

Insta360 bets on widescreen and wins. Pho­to: t3.com

Direct com­peti­tor GoPro intro­duced a mod­u­lar design with two lens­es. For thrill-seek­ers who love 360-degree shoot­ing, there is a brand­ed lens with f / 2.0 aper­ture and 5K video res­o­lu­tion. The built-in Insta360 app offers ready-made tem­plates for cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful clips from widescreen videos.

How, what and in what for­mat to shoot is a pleas­ant headache for the own­ers of Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edi­tion. Pho­to: digitalcameraworld.com

The sec­ond cam­era lens with f / 2.4 aper­ture shoots video and pho­tos in 4K and 6K. Flow­State sta­bi­liza­tion is smooth, with auto-edit­ing. Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence helps to cope with pos­si­ble dis­tor­tions. The sound is record­ed imme­di­ate­ly on three built-in micro­phones.

The for­mat of the “con­struc­tor”, good sta­bi­liza­tion and full 4K — Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edi­tion almost reach­es the lev­el of giants. Novice users need to get used to the screen and soft­ware, but it’s worth it.

Key Fea­tures of Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edi­tion:

  • weight: 121 g;
  • water resis­tance — 5 m;
  • video for­mats: 4K up to 60 FPS, widescreen 6K 25 FPS, 6K up to 30 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 48 MP.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • con­ve­nient mod­u­lar design;
  • 4K and 360 lens­es are includ­ed;
  • excel­lent sta­bi­liza­tion;
  • pho­tos in RAW for­mat.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • touch screen small (24 x 24 mm);
  • edit­ing files takes time;
  • work­ing with files of max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion requires the instal­la­tion of soft­ware on a PC or lap­top.

DJI Action 2

DJI has rethought the approach to min­i­mal­ist action cam­eras. Pho­to: dji.com

Anoth­er mod­u­lar option that gives the user the choice between size, per­for­mance and weight. The basic, sin­gle cam­era weighs just 56g and records files direct­ly to inter­nal mem­o­ry. The OLED touch screen makes it eas­i­er to record and out­per­forms the GoPro in view­ing angles. When you con­nect the option­al mod­ule, DJI Action 2 turns into a clas­sic action cam­era.

Rock­Steady 2.0 sta­bi­liza­tion is ready for action-packed shoot­ing. Shot with DJI Action 2 in 4K Hyper­lapse mode. Pho­to: digitalcameraworld.com

DJI has inte­grat­ed their pro­pri­etary drone solu­tions into Action 2. With the DJI Mimo app, you can watch videos while shoot­ing. For broad­cast­ing in live mode, Blue­tooth and Wi-Fi mod­ules are installed in the cam­era.

For those who were look­ing for a bal­ance between shoot­ing qual­i­ty, adapt­abil­i­ty to dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, weight and price, DJI Action 2 will be a dis­cov­ery.

DJI Action 2 Key Fea­tures:

  • weight: 56 g;
  • water resis­tance — 10 m (with case — 60 m);
  • Video for­mats: 4K up to 60 FPS, 2.7K up to 120 FPS, 1080p up to 240 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 12 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • ultra-light mod­u­lar design in a min­i­mal­ist style;
  • porta­bil­i­ty and reli­able fix­a­tion of blocks with mag­nets;
  • Respon­sive touch OLED dis­play;
  • con­ve­nient con­trol through the DJI Mimo app;
  • pho­tos in RAW for­mat.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • no 5.3K mode;
  • file res­o­lu­tion is infe­ri­or to GoPro Hero10 Black;
  • it is not pos­si­ble to expand the default built-in mem­o­ry.

Akaso Brave 7LE

Aka­so does not com­pete with GoPro, but offers a 4K cam­era at a nice price. Pho­to: redsharknews.com

The front screen of the Aka­so Brave 7 LE is a god­send for those who like to take self­ies while descend­ing from the moun­tains or surf­ing. The front screen of the Brave 7E is just like the GoPro Hero9 and DJI Osmo Action, but much cheap­er! The mod­est cam­era does not have a 5K mode and mod­u­lar blocks. But the mod­el from Aka­so writes video in 4K 30FPS, demon­strates good sta­bi­liza­tion in action scenes and costs 2–3 times cheap­er than pop­u­lar mod­els.

The main screen of the action cam­era is clear, bright and clear with­out expla­na­tion. Pho­to: redsharknews.com

The max­i­mum video bitrate is 50 Mbps. By all canons, this is not enough for 4K. Due to the low bitrate, small arti­facts are vis­i­ble on the record­ing. But is there any right to scold a cam­era with a price of about 12,000 rubles for this?

Key fea­tures of Aka­so Brave 7 LE:

  • weight: 61 g;
  • water resis­tance — 1 m (with case — 40 m);
  • video for­mats: 4K 30 FPS, 1080p up to 60 FPS, 720p up to 240 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 20 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • low cost;
  • 4K for­mat;
  • six-axis sta­bi­liza­tion;
  • excel­lent auton­o­my: an aver­age of 120 min­utes of con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion;
  • two con­ve­nient screens for shoot­ing in dif­fer­ent for­mats.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • tru­ly pro­tect­ed from water only in a case;
  • a use­ful set of acces­sories includ­ed: a spare bat­tery, mounts, a box for under­wa­ter shoot­ing;
  • to work in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions for Aka­so Brave 7 LE, it is bet­ter to buy a GoPro adapter for a tri­pod;
  • RAW for­mat is not avail­able.

GoPro Hero9 Black

The GoPro Hero9 Black is shock, water, dust and bad con­tent resis­tant. Pho­to: re-store.ru

The 2020 mod­el intro­duced the world to the new ben­e­fits of the front LCD screen in action cam­eras. The front dis­play shows: shoot­ing mode, bat­tery sta­tus, the num­ber of free megabytes on the mem­o­ry card.

GoPro Hero9 Black shoots detailed videos in 5K res­o­lu­tion. The wow effect from pho­tos is enhanced by the Super­pho­to func­tion — auto­mat­ic pro­cess­ing. Hyper­Smooth 3.0 sta­bi­liza­tion with hori­zon lev­el­ing option ensures smooth cutscenes even dur­ing motor­cy­cle races.

With the Time­lapse fea­ture, time freezes along with the wave. Pho­to: allegro.pl

Hero10 Black has more advan­tages. But on a strict­ly lim­it­ed bud­get, Hero9 Black is a good alter­na­tive. The func­tions of the mod­el abound for suc­cess­ful shoot­ing of a bicy­cle race, surf­ing, moun­tain climb­ing, hang-glid­ing, etc.

Main fea­tures of GoPro Hero9 Black:

  • weight: 158 g;
  • water resis­tance — 10 m;
  • Video for­mats: 5K up to 30 FPS, 4K up to 60 FPS, 1080p up to 240 FPS, 720p up to 240 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 20 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • slight­ly cheap­er than Hero10 with sim­i­lar para­me­ters;
  • con­ve­nient front screen;
  • 5K mode;
  • high-qual­i­ty pho­tos with one-click pro­cess­ing;
  • sim­ple inter­face.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • the body size is larg­er than sim­i­lar GoPro mod­els;
  • 5K video weighs a lot;
  • addi­tion­al lens­es, includ­ing wide-angle, are paid.

Insta360 Go 2

The Insta360 Go 2 is a portable 1440p cam­era. Pho­to: camera.ru

Action cam­era Insta360 Go 2 looks like a flash dri­ve. Its pur­pose is shoot­ing in con­di­tions where the tra­di­tion­al form fac­tor is not suit­able. Insta360 Go 2 is attached to the ele­ments of cloth­ing and does not attract atten­tion.

The cam­era impress­es with dynam­ic range wor­thy of the Go Pro series. The baby eas­i­ly rec­og­nizes light and dark details and shades. Pic­tures and videos are nat­ur­al, sat­u­rat­ed.

Extreme in the clas­si­cal sense is not for this mod­el. Her extreme pro­file is con­di­tion­al­ly hid­den shoot­ing, record­ing tricks on a skate­board, weight­less­ness and sim­plic­i­ty.

The cam­era can be mount­ed on almost any sur­face to record action scenes. Or attach to a back­pack strap. Pho­to: wylsa.com

The record but­ton and info screen are designed for tak­ing vlogs in self­ie mode. With Insta360 Go 2 you don’t feel like an extreme oper­a­tor. But as a sec­ond action cam­era or in urban extreme con­di­tions, the mod­els have few equals.

Key Fea­tures of Insta360 Go 2:

  • weight: 26.5 g;
  • water resis­tance — 4 m;
  • video for­mats: 1440p up to 50 FPS, 1080p up to 50 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 9.2 MP.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • minia­ture form fac­tor;
  • con­ve­nient charg­ing case with tri­pod legs;
  • remov­able lens cov­er;
  • good video detail, despite the tiny size.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • no pre­view screen;
  • not suit­able for swim­ming — only for immer­sion in water;
  • sta­bi­liza­tion is infe­ri­or to GoPro mod­els

Akaso EK7000

With the Aka­so EK7000, get­ting into the world of action cam­eras is cheap. Pho­to: techradar.com

Aka­so EK7000 remains in the shad­ow of the giants, but it occu­pies its own niche of action cam­eras cost­ing up to 6,000 rubles. His spe­cial­ty is 1080p video. Aka­so EK7000 will not sur­prise you with sur­round sound, but it will work 90 min­utes on one bat­tery. With a case, the mod­el can be tak­en under water to cre­ate pho­tos and videos. Slow motion or con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing, the EK7000 gives you the free­dom to be cre­ative.

Com­plete mounts are suit­able for bicy­cles, hel­mets. No extra invest­ment before shoot­ing. Pho­to: tomsguide.com

The cam­era for­mal­ly sup­ports 4K, but due to the lack of sta­bi­liza­tion, the videos are mediocre. But the mod­el has a built-in Wi-Fi mod­ule with the option of con­nect­ing a remote con­trol. Aka­so EK7000 does not require any seri­ous invest­ments or com­plex set­tings from the user. The “buy, turn on, enjoy 1080p con­tent” for­mat mod­el appeals to begin­ners.

Aka­so EK7000 can be com­pared with GoPro Hero6. Gross, but pos­si­ble.

Main char­ac­ter­is­tics of Aka­so EK7000:

  • weight: 59 g;
  • water resis­tance — 30 m (with case);
  • video for­mats: 4K up to 25 FPS, 1080p up to 60 FPS, 720p up to 120 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 12 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • sur­pris­ing­ly high-qual­i­ty videos in 1080p 60FPS;
  • clear inter­face with­out com­plex set­tings;
  • Comes with a replace­able bat­tery and mounts.
  • 5000–6000 rubles, which 100% pay for them­selves.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • video in 4K in motion of medi­um qual­i­ty;
  • the lack of sta­bi­liza­tion impos­es lim­i­ta­tions: the cam­era works bet­ter in a fixed posi­tion.

Apeman A100

The “king of bud­get action cam­eras” eas­i­ly han­dles 4K 30 FPS videos. Pho­to: tech4all.net

Ape­man A100 has a stur­dy plas­tic case, a microSD card slot and a 2‑inch LCD screen. Trite. The mod­el would remain unknown, but the man­u­fac­tur­er man­aged to imple­ment EIS — elec­tron­ic sta­bi­liza­tion. Thanks to EIS, 4K 30 FPS videos have become a real­i­ty — smooth and beau­ti­ful. And this is at a price of Ape­man A100 of about 15,000 rubles.

Ape­man A100 can be con­trolled man­u­al­ly or remote­ly using voice com­mands. Pho­to: thetechnologyman.com

In low light con­di­tions, Ape­man A100 los­es the qual­i­ty of pic­tures and videos, the screen of the mod­el is not touch. But the lack of a touch­screen saves bat­tery pow­er (auton­o­my reach­es 180 min­utes!), and shoot­ing on an action cam­era for 15,000 rubles. at dusk — naive.

The Ape­man A100 makes it easy to take a pho­to and share it instant­ly. You just need to install the Thi­EYE Cam appli­ca­tion on your smart­phone. Built-in modes will help improve the video: aqua, slow motion, long expo­sure, etc.

Main char­ac­ter­is­tics of Ape­man A100:

  • weight: 76 g;
  • water resis­tance — 30 m (with case);
  • Video for­mats: 4K 30 FPS, 2.7K up to 60 FPS, 1440p 60 FPS, 1080p 60 FPS, 720p 120 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 20 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • com­fort­able price;
  • gyro­scop­ic sta­bi­liz­er for 4K — video in this res­o­lu­tion at 30 FPS will be smooth, with­out image breaks;
  • clear and easy appli­ca­tion for a smart­phone;
  • very acces­si­ble inter­face: every­thing is clear and under­stand­able.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • the mod­el will have to be searched;
  • with­out a case can not be immersed in water;
  • GoPro acces­sories do not fit.

OCLU

OCLU is mov­ing away from the canons and chang­ing the rules of the game in the action cam­era niche. Pho­to: tech4all.net

Action cam­era with the form fac­tor of an auto recorder or a large power­bank. The mod­el was cre­at­ed for sports com­pe­ti­tions, races. Street rac­ing bikes, skate­boards — OCLU cap­tures the main scenes and stunts with an end cam­era. The cam­era has 4 cus­tomiz­able modes:

  • Live­Cut for quick con­tent removal.
  • Video mode.
  • Inter­val shoot­ing.
  • Pho­to mode.
The unusu­al arrange­ment of the screen pro­vides quick access to con­tent. It is enough to turn the skate over.. Pho­to: t3.com

OCLU videos and pho­tos are decent­ly bright. Col­or ren­di­tion at the lev­el of advanced GoPro mod­els. In the set­tings, you can select ISO, adjust expo­sure and white bal­ance.

The unusu­al lay­out of the screen and cam­era is not use­less. For out­door sports extreme OCLU is an action cam­era with a good design. In any sce­nario where it is con­ve­nient for the oper­a­tor to look down at the screen or not at all, OCLU wins.

Main char­ac­ter­is­tics of OCLU:

  • weight: 101 g;
  • water resis­tance — 1 m, 50 m (with a case);
  • video for­mats: 4K 30 FPS, 1080p 120 FPS, 720p 240 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 12 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • ergonom­ics 100% designed for mount­ing on bikes, skate­boards, etc.;
  • durable case is not afraid of falling;
  • filmed con­tent is delet­ed in 1 sec­ond via Live­Cut;
  • three but­ton con­trol;
  • the screen is locat­ed on top: skate­board­ers will be delight­ed.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • no sta­bi­liza­tion in 4K mode;
  • fast bat­tery dis­charge when the appli­ca­tion is run­ning;
  • the top posi­tion of the screen is not the solu­tion for any extreme tour.

SJCAM SJ8 PRO

SJCAM SJ8 PRO can replace GoPro in 4K 60 FPS mode. Pho­to: ixbt.com

SJCAM SJ8 PRO with 8x zoom will not miss any impor­tant detail. The pow­er­ful Ambarel­la H22 S85 chip and the SONY IMX377 sen­sor are respon­si­ble for the video qual­i­ty. The result of their work is high-def­i­n­i­tion videos with min­i­mal dis­tor­tion. Six-axis sta­bi­liza­tion adds smooth­ness to con­tent.

The mod­el is doing well with detail and dynam­ic range. Pho­to: http://elproducente.com/

SJCAM did not spare IPS Reti­na for the dis­play, so that the user can quick­ly and com­fort­ably set up the device, view the fin­ished con­tent. You can inter­act with the cam­era through the SJCAM Zone app. The trans­fer of mate­r­i­al is sim­ple — via Wi-Fi 2.4 or 5 GHz.

SJCAM SJ8 PRO lacks voice con­trol and water resis­tance with­out a box. But if video qual­i­ty is a pri­or­i­ty, the mod­el will not dis­ap­point even GoPro con­nois­seurs.

SJCAM SJ8 PRO Key Fea­tures:

  • weight: 85 g;
  • water resis­tance — 30 m (with case);
  • video for­mats: 4K 60 FPS, 1080p 120 FPS, 720p 240 FPS;
  • pho­to res­o­lu­tion: 12 megapix­els.

Rea­sons to buy:

  • full 4K 60 FPS with­out jerks with excel­lent detail;
  • 2.33-inch IPS touch screen — every­thing is clear­ly vis­i­ble;
  • works as a DVR in “car mode”;
  • USB Type‑C fast charg­ing;
  • record­ing on two micro­phones;
  • WiFi mod­ule.

What is impor­tant to know:

  • at the ini­tial stage — dif­fi­cul­ties with work­ing with RAW files on a PC;
  • There is no opti­cal sta­bi­liza­tion in 4K mode.

conclusions

In 90% of cas­es, the plan is sim­ple: there is mon­ey and a lot of enthu­si­asm — buy a GoPro. When there is not enough mon­ey or there is a spe­cial task, oth­er mod­els from the selec­tion will do. The main thing is to think over the for­mat of out­door activ­i­ties, scenes, loca­tions in advance. You need to choose acces­sories wise­ly: cas­es, mounts, spare bat­ter­ies.

There are no cam­eras in the top that shoot dis­gust­ing­ly. But the less the default cam­era helps in shoot­ing, the more inge­nu­ity and skills the oper­a­tor needs to use.

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