7 Best Action Cameras in 2023

Action Cameras

There is currently no better way of “catching the moment” than with an action camera. Sure, you may use your phone, your camera, or even old-school film to shoot videos; but if your goal is to get the most detailed video possible in real-time with POV shooting, nothing beats an action camera.

Action cameras are rugged, extremely portable, and can be mounted virtually anywhere. Due to how compact they are, action cameras allow you to shoot in a wide variety of difficult locations. They also allow you to record anything while you’re moving at high speeds–making them perfect for activities like skydiving, skiing, surfing, wakeboarding, and other extreme activities. And, as most modern action cameras feature incredible video resolution (for their size), they’ve also become the weapon of choice for most vloggers and short-form content creators.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I say not all action cameras are created equal. And even though there are one or two brands that have largely dominated the market, there are other action cameras out there that might better suit your needs. As such, we’ve done the research for you and compiled our list of the best action cameras in 2022.

Dive in and find out which one is the best to catch you in action!

The Top 5 Action Camera in 2023

All the Action Cameras We've tested

For diving in the sky or below the surface with a scuba unit, the GoPro 11 can compete with the best action cameras on the market. Some features make YouTubers choose this–price and quality, first and foremost–and it’s worth noting what additional accessories need to be bought for specific purposes.

It’s the latest GoPro, armed with the same sensors as the 10 and the same waterproof profile–good down to 33 feet. Red light filters add color correction and, with 5.3K resolution, records impressive video at depth.

What the newest version offers, versus other brands, is the versatility to be a very great underwater camera and the most user-friendly action camera for all kinds of sports at a price that’s extremely compelling. With GoPro’s software, some of the challenges of editing are also removed from the process. Read more about it.

Specs & Features

  • Sensor: 1/1.9" CMOS
  • Processor: GP2
  • Photo: 27 MP
  • 8-bit+10-bit color
  • Waterproof: Up to 33 ft without housing

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Things we like:

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    New sensor allows for capturing 8:7 footage
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    10-bit color video captures more details and allows for more flexibility when color grading in post
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    Has the best stabilization among GoPros
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    Already comes with a rechargeable Enduro battery
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    26 grams lighter than its predecessor

Things we don't like:

  • check-markDespite the bigger sensor, the HERO11 still doesn’t perform well under low-light conditions
  • check-markPricey
  • check-markIf you don’t care for better vertical field of view, the HERO10 may offer better value
Read full review

Where to buy:

Gopro Hero11 Black Product Image

GoPro HERO11 Black

Still Awesome

The GoPro 10 is still an amazing action camera that rocks on top of a ski helmet as much as it does skating or as an underwater camera. The 10 build upon the previous model by increasing the processor two times and going up to 5.3k video from 4k.

The increased image stabilization features also improve the experience underwater or for capturing slow-motion footage of really fast sequences.

Compatible with the accessories of its predecessor, the GoPro 10 can use all the amazing housings and mounts. The scuba housing with flip up, red filters makes visuals from the GoPro 10 color corrected. For the price, and compared to more expensive underwater cameras of similar quality, this older GoPro is still very relevant.

The image quality and software backup combined with the amazing and easy experience, make the GoPro 10 a pretty compelling action camera (still).

Specs & Features

  • Sensor: 1/2.3" CMOS
  • Processor: GP2
  • Waterproof: Up to 33ft w/out housing
  • Photo: 23 MP
  • Battery: 1720mAh Lithium-Ion

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

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    Noticeably faster and smoother than its predecessors due to its new GP2 processor
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    Increased frame rates with better noise reduction than its predecessors
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    Excellent video stabilization
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    Has a water-shedding lens cover

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSome consider it to be only marginally better than the HERO9 Black
  • check-markAlthough it's compatible with the HERO9's batteries, it's not compatible with batteries from older GoPro cameras
Read full review

Where to buy:

Gopro Hero10 Black Product Image

GoPro HERO10 Black

Best GoPro Alternative

While not necessarily a budget option, the DJI Osmo Action 3 is an ideal choice for those looking for a slightly more affordable (but just as reliable and feature-packed) alternative to the best GoPros.

Moving away from its predecessor’s modular design, the DJI Osmo Action 3 goes back to the conventional design of the first Osmo Action. The similarities with the original end there though, with the DJI Osmo Action 3 sporting a lot of the same features as the upgraded Action 2, albeit with a few more improvements. It has the same 155-degree lens as the Action 2, with an f/1.8 aperture and a 12 MP sensor. It also deals with heat better and has better battery life.

The Action 3 has a convenient Quick-Release Adapter Mount, excellent audio quality, and an updated RockSteady 3.0 EIS that all make the camera ideal for vlogging and a wide variety of outdoor sports.

Specs & Features

  • Sensor: 1/1.7" CMOS
  • Max Bit Rate: 130MBPS
  • Waterproof: Up to 16m (~52.4ft) without Waterproof Case, 60m with Waterproof Case
  • Microphones: 3
  • Stabilization: RockSteady 3.0

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

3.2

Things we like:

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    Robust build with class-leading waterproofing
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    Reliable even in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius
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    More expansive FOV than most of its competition
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    Superior battery life than its predecessor
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    Excellent mounting system and dual touchscreens make it great for vlogging

Things we don't like:

  • check-markDoesn't perform well under low-light conditions
  • check-markVideo and image quality isn't as good as most of its competition
Read full review

Where to buy:

Dji Osmo Action 3 Product Image

DJI Osmo Action 3

Best Value for Money

While the expression “out with the old, in with the new” may hold water in most cases, there are a number of reasons why the GoPro HERO9 Black is still a viable choice in 2022. The most obvious one is this: it’s basically the HERO10 minus the GP2 processor. As such, it’s a great option for those who want a feature-packed GoPro but aren’t necessarily looking for the highest frame rates (which, unless you’re a professional sports videographer, is overkill in most cases).

The HERO9 features better 4K and 5K video than the HERO8, as well as improved battery life. While it still uses the GP1 processor, its HyperSmooth stabilization is still top-notch (inferior only to the HERO10’s and HERO11’s). It’s also just as waterproof as the HERO10, making it ideal for a wide variety of watersports and other outdoor activities. Moreover, the 1.4-inch, front-facing color display makes it a great vlogging camera.

Specs & Features

  • Sensor: 1/2.3" CMOS
  • Processor: GP1
  • Waterproof: Up to 33ft w/out housing
  • Photo: 20 MP
  • Battery: 1720mAh Lithium-Ion

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

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    Does most of what the HERO10 can do at a significantly lower price
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    Has strong app support
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    With its larger battery, the HERO9 performs better than its predecessors in low temperatures

Things we don't like:

  • check-markAt 5.6 ounces, it has some heft to it
  • check-markWith its GP1 processor, it's not as responsive as the HERO10 Black
Read full review

Where to buy:

Gopro Hero9 Black Product Image

GoPro HERO9 Black

In a crowded market of action cameras, where does the Insta360 One RS stand? Like the earlier version, the One R, the newer One RS is a modular camera that can record 360 degrees of footage or in 4K wide angle.

All previous lenses from the One R are compatible with the RS as is the invisible selfie stick.

The upgraded 4K boost lens is a noticeable improvement in terms of video. Likewise, the boost in pixels gives photos both sharp images and contrast as well as decent color. The RS can also take photos in Raw format too.

HDR and 6K widescreen recording is also within your options.

And working in the software (app), creating reels by activating the AI editor is easy. There are more features to be described in depth, as well as a few drawbacks when making the inevitable comparison to the GoPro.

But the Insta360 RS is a great upgrade at a reasonable price. Our in-depth review of Insta360 One RS will detail more.

Specs & Features

  • Sensor Type: 1/2” Type CMOS Sensor
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2 to 2.4
  • Battery: Removable/Rechargeable 1445 mAh
  • Run Time: 75 mins. to 85 mins.
  • USB Port: Type-C

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Things we like:

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    One R mods work on this one
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    Faster Wi-Fi and file transfer than before
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    4K boost lens is a noticeable improvement
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    You can use AirPods as a microphone
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    Allows HDR video recording

Things we don't like:

  • check-markThe Camera sometimes freezes where all video is lost
  • check-markDiving with the 360 and dive case it not good
Read full review

Where to buy:

Insta360 One Rs Twin Edition Product Image

Insta360 One RS Twin Edition

Best 360 Camera

Arguably the best 360 camera on the market today, the GoPro MAX is an ideal action camera for users who want 360-degree capture capabilities without losing the versatility of a single-lens action camera.

As GoPro’s second-generation 360 camera, the MAX is a much-improved version of its predecessor, the GoPro Fusion. The MAX is lighter and more compact than the Fusion and is similar in size to GoPro’s HERO series cameras. The GoPro MAX also features a full touch screen LCD screen and can shoot 5.6K footage at 30 frames per second.

If you want to use it as a single-lens action camera, the MAX has a HERO mode that allows users to shoot  non-360 1440p videos at 60 frames per second. Moreover, the front-facing LCD screen of the GoPro MAX can also double as a camera. This, coupled with a much-improved 6-mic setup, HyperSmooth 2 stabilization, and an impressive 1600 mAh battery, makes the MAX an ideal camera for vlogging and casual outdoor activities like skateboarding (GoPro recommends the MAX Grip + Tripod for shooting 360 footage without the grip in the shot).

Specs & Features

  • Sensor: 1/2.3" CMOS
  • Max Bit Rate: 78MBPS
  • Photo: 16.6 MP
  • Stabilization: HyperSmooth 2.0
  • Waterproof: Up to 5m

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Great stabilization
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    With in-camera stitching and the capacity to shoot 360-degree videos up to 5K resolution, it is one of the best 360 cameras on the market
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    Decent audio

Things we don't like:

  • check-markStruggles under low-light conditions
  • check-markLacks conventional 4K video capture, unlike some of its rivals, such as the Insta360 ONE RS
Read full review

Where to buy:

Gopro Max Product Image

GoPro MAX

Small in size but huge in features and performance, the Insta360 GO 2 camera is ready to take on any adventure and action you can think of.

Weighing in at only 27 grams and boasting a thumb-size body, this is the world’s smallest action camera. But don’t let its tiny size fool you, it can still capture clear and detailed ultra-wide angle shots just like any ordinary action camera minus the bulky and inconvenient equipment.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm (2.08 x 0.93 x 0.81in)
  • Weight: 26.5g (0.93oz)
  • Aperture: f/2.2
  • Storage: 32GB

Our Overall Review

4.6

Things we like:

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    Practical and convenient
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    Unbeatable stabilization
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    Long-lasting battery
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    Great image quality for such a small camera
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    Many cool features

Things we don't like:

  • check-markLow light situations is not the best
  • check-markWhen it’s not attached to an accessory, it’s very easy to drop it and lose it
  • check-markAudio recording accessories needed
Read full review

Where to buy:

insta360-go-2-product-photo.jpg

Insta360 GO 2

Best Budget Option

The OCLU 4k is a new take on action camera design. It’s designed with sports and water activities in mind and packed with cool features and accessories to improve the user experience that the almost standardized segment has.

It boasts an aerodynamic, lightweight, and compact body—half the height of a GoPro—that can easily fit in your pocket, together with a sturdy rubberized finish for improved grip and durability.

This innovative action cam will appeal to athletes and active enthusiasts of outdoor hobbies who don’t like the form factor of the GoPro design. The Oclu 4K has won awards recognizing the merits of its low-profile design.

Additionally, the amount of accessories included with the Oclu as well as it’s smartphone app will also be appreciated in the hands of users.

Specs & Features

  • Dimensions: 2.4” long, 2.4” wide, and 1.1” thick
  • Screen: width: 1.25”, length: 1.0”
  • Resolution: 4k 30 FPS, 1080P 120FPS
  • Camera: 12MP

Our Overall Review

3.9

Things we like:

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    Robust construction
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    Low profile is less obtrusive than standard action cams
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    Front-facing LCD info screen
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    One-touch recording with preset customization
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    Good video quality in daylight

Things we don't like:

  • check-markStabilization doesn’t apply in the highest resolution
  • check-markFear of losing the unique charging cable
  • check-markAudio leaves much to be desired
  • check-markLow-light capability not too great
  • check-markPlastic clip on underwater house prone to break
Read full review

Where to buy:

oclu-action-camera-product-photo.jpg

OCLU 4K

Related Reviews

Buyer’s Guide to Action Cameras:

Intended Use

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying an action camera, but the first thing you should consider is its intended use. Do you need one simply for vlogging or recording your travels? Or do you need one for outdoor activities such as skydiving, snorkeling, kayaking, rock climbing, or mountain biking?

While most action cameras are ruggedly built and compact, not all action cameras will have the same intuitive apps for easy recording or mounting systems suited for high-speed activities. Moreover, not all action cameras are built with the same waterproofing (and you might have to buy extra accessories just to make your action camera more waterproof).

If you want something for skiing or whitewater rafting, you might want to look into action cameras capable of recording fast frames,  2.7k or 4k video at 60 frames per second or more. Conversely, if you need something just for vlogging, 24 or 30 frames per second will usually be enough. In general, the more frames per second, the smoother the footage will look, but the difference is hardly noticeable if you’re not recording anything at high speeds.

Design

How the action camera is built is also something one needs to consider. Depending on how the camera is built, you might have to buy extra accessories if you want more out of it. For instance, the DJI Osmo Action 3 is more waterproof than the GoPro HERO10, but it’s still not suitable for scuba diving at depths of over 100 ft without a Waterproof Casing. It is, however, perfectly suitable for recording during rainy days or for shallow dives.

360-degree Capture Capabilities

360 action cameras are considered a niche within the action camera community. If you want to take 360-degree videos or take 360-degree panoramic photos, you might want to look into cameras such as the Insta360 ONE RS Twin Edition or the GoPro MAX. How 360 cameras work is that they use two or more lenses to capture a 360-degree view. These lenses are usually fisheye lenses that capture around 180 degrees or more each. Combined, there’s usually some overlap which is then “stitched” by either a built-in feature (such as in the GoPro MAX) or by external software.

Video/Image Quality

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an action camera is video/photo quality. While GoPro is generally considered the king when it comes to video and image quality, depending on your needs/editing skills, you might want something that has decent video quality but is more affordable than a GoPro, such as the DJI Osmo Action 3.

That said, if you’re really keen on getting a GoPro, it’s best to consider what you’re getting at the price. As mentioned above, the HERO9 is basically the HERO10 without the GP2 processor, and it can still get great 5k footage at 30 fps, which, for most people, is more than enough. GoPro’s latest offering, the HERO11 Black, features an updated 1/1.9-inch sensor and is capable of taking 27 MP stills, as opposed to the HERO10’s 23 MP. With only a $50 difference, the HERO11 might be worth considering over the HERO10 (but then again, $50 is $50, and don’t forget the HERO9 is still a great performer at an even more affordable price).

User Experience

You might not consider this at first, but subpar user experience can break an otherwise great camera. For instance, the GoPro Fusion is known to offer incredible value for money, but it was rather difficult to use. It had no automatic 360-video stitching and only featured an LCD screen with manual controls. It also made use of its Shutter button not only for video recording and taking photos but also to select modes and preferences–which made it quite confusing for the average user. Conversely, the GoPro MAX is very easy to use thanks to its touchscreen interface and automatic 360-video stitching (which allows users to automatically preview their footage).

Moreover, something as simple as a front-facing display may prove to be a big plus for vloggers or content creators who need to constantly frame themselves in front of the camera.

Action Camera Accessories

Another thing to consider when buying an action camera is the accessories that come and don’t come with it. Most action cameras can only record at 5k or 4k resolution for a few minutes, and you might need more than a pair of extra batteries if you plan on using your action camera for a full day.

Moreover, if you’re into activities such as spelunking, or night photography, you might want to get a head mount or a tripod mount, respectively. Additionally, if you want extra insurance during your water sports escapades, you definitely have to get a waterproof casing for your action camera, even if they’re rated to be waterproof up to a certain depth. As mentioned above, if you’re using your action camera for your underwater escapades, it’s best to invest in a floating handle to make sure your camera doesn’t sink if it accidentally slips from your hand (these usually come with a strap to ensure that your camera is always safely tethered to you).

For activities such as biking and snowboarding, you’ll want to look into helmet mounts, protective lens covers (if your action camera does not already come with one), or chest mounts. If you’re not yet sure what you’ll use your action camera for but nevertheless want to save up on extra costs associated with buying extra and/or aftermarket accessories, most action cameras are sold in packages that already include a wide range of accessories.

Editing

While you can still edit your footage on a separate editing software (some of the more serious editors may prefer doing their color-grading on Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve), most action cameras do have their own editing software.

There are a lot of benefits to using an action camera’s recommended software.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is convenience. These apps are designed to make editing as easy as possible. For instance, Insta360’s AI-assisted Short Lab app makes use of a range of templates that you can just insert your video into; and GoPro’s Quik app allows users to automatically create a highlight video, and with the subscription they can automatically upload their footage to the cloud while they’re charging their GoPro. Moreover, most of these editing apps already come with your purchase, which makes them a practical choice if you’re not already using dedicated video-editing software.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What is the best action camera?

The best action camera depends largely on your needs. If you want something that simply does the job, and you don’t necessarily need ultra-high resolution or popping colors right off the bat, it’s probably better to get the DJI Osmo Action 3 over the GoPro HERO10 or GoPro HERO11. If you want something with 360-degree capture capabilities, the best 360 camera, especially for beginners, is the GoPro MAX.

To see how each of these cameras stack up against each other, check out our list above of the best action cameras in 2022.

What is the easiest action camera to use?

While the ONE RS offers more creative options, the GoPro HERO9, as well as the GoPro HERO10, are considered very easy to use. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an easy to use 360-action camera, the GoPro MAX is widely regarded as the easiest to use 360-action camera on the market.

Why is GoPro better than others?

In general, GoPros tend to have better video quality and support higher frame rates than other action cameras. That said, some action cameras do offer better value for money and work just as well as a GoPro in most situations, such as the DJI Osmo Action 3.

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