If you’re into biking, hiking, skateboarding, skydiving, parkour or any other such activity, chances are you’ve felt the need for a small ultra-portable camera which will work without much fuss. Action cameras are made primarily to cater to this need. These are compact, rugged and oftentimes waterproof, so that you can stretch your imagination for getting the perfect shots. There’s quite a big market for such devices in India, so here we are with a humble list of the finest action cameras you can buy in the country.
The Hero 5 Black is the top-of-the-line action camera from GoPro; its main appeal being the fact that it’s waterproof without any special casing. This tiny camera can shoot breath-taking 4K videos at 30fps. Its 1440p videos can stretch up to 80fps, whereas its 1080p clips can go up to 120fps, enabling smooth slow motion. On top of this, the camera also has support for electronic image stabilisation. These impressive specifications aside, the Hero 5 Black also kicks in GPS support for location tagging, while it even bears a touchscreen display which is sort of a rarity in the action camera segment.
This is a very highly rated action camera mainly due to the fact that it’s so affordable. And it doesn’t stop at just that, for it even offers you a great image quality. This Xiaomi camera’s 4K videos are shot at 30fps, while its 1080p videos can be captured at 120fps. It also grabs a relatively big 2.19-inch LCD screen for previewing its content. One area where it definitely beats the GoPro is in the battery life area, primarily because it has a bigger one. The Yi 4K is not waterproof by itself, and the case which makes it so is sold separately, unlike GoPro cameras.
The Hero 4 Black was released by GoPro in 2014, and with its successor already in the market, its price has gone down by quite a margin. It deserves a place in this list because it’s still a solid competitor to the Hero 5 Black, with its stellar image quality and advanced recording options which include 4K at 30fps, 1440p at 80fps, and 1080p at 120fps. The Hero 4 Black is missing a display at its back, and is waterproof only when housed in a special case which comes with it. But the GoPro Hero 4 Black has tremendous value for money, even without options like GPS and voice control excluded.
The SJCam is an action camera which has also been built to be used as a dash camera for your car. This is why it comes with a loop recording function, which overwrites earlier files when the memory is full. It’s an inexpensive GoPro alternative which comes with 4K support and a number of video resolution options including 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. The makers of this product have also pushed inside it a built-in gyro sensor which minimises shakes. There’s a 2-inch LCD screen onboard, apart from Wi-Fi. This small action camera is waterproof, but it needs a case for it to be so. The SJ5000X Elite shoots good quality footage, which makes it quite a value for money proposition.
Regular GoPros are already very small, but if you want something even tinier, there’s the Hero 5 Session. This tiny cube can capture 4K videos at 30fps, 1440p videos at 60fps, and 1080p clips at 90fps. These framerates can be a let-down for some, but the video quality surely tries to make up for that. Plus, this shooter is waterproof without a case, and comes with similar mounting options as the other GoPros. Voice control is possible on this camera as well, while it even offers electronic image stabilisation for smoother video capture.
HTC released its inhaler-shaped RE camera way back in 2014, but it’s still relevant thanks to a number of things. Prime among them being its shape and size which makes it incredibly easy to carry around in your pocket. It’s a little waterproof device with a 16MP sensor, but it does not feature a display. Connecting it to a smartphone turns the latter into a viewfinder as well as a control centre. Its video resolution caps out at 1080p and 30fps, but it does offer slow motion support at 720p and 96fps. The biggest advantage of the RE is that it’s ready to shoot as soon as you pick it up, as a motion sensor tells it to come out of its standby mode as soon as it moves.
Marketed as a lifestyle action camera, the Polaroid Cube+ is a tiny shooter which can act as an entry-level option for those with a small budget. Dressed in attractive colours, this device shoots 1440p videos at 30fps, but its 1080p videos are also capped at 30fps. Slow motion 120fps clips can only be shot at 720p resolution. It has electronic video stabilisation, and although a waterproof case is made for it, it isn’t included in the box. In fact, a number of different mounts are made for it, but all of them need to be bought separately.
Action cameras are all about portability, and it’s hence very important that the right mounts are provided with them. You might want to use your device for a very specific scenario, in which case you will need to search beforehand if an accessory supporting such mounting is available.
The factor of resolution and frame rate is also pretty important. For instance, if you want to shoot smooth slow motion videos, an action camera with a high frame rate (120fps) option is the best choice. At the same time, you must also look at the resolution at which this fast frame rate is accessible.
Remember to take under consideration the kind of battery life which is offered by the camera, as most of them do not come with removable batteries. For those that do offer changeable batteries, buying extra ones is always a good option.
|GoPro Hero 5 Black||26,990||9||9||9||8||7||8.6|
|GoPro Hero 4 Black||43,290||8||9||8||8||6||8.3|
|SJCam SJ5000X Elite||8,999||8||8||8||8||8||8|
|GoPro Hero 5 Session||24,999||8||8||8||8||7||7.8|
We’ve curated this list based on our own expert reviews, overall user reviews from shopping websites like Amazon and Flipkart, and expert reviews from trusted websites like CNET, Trusted Reviews and Digital Trends.
As far as the weighted averages of our final expert scores are concerned, the split is: 50% for expert reviews, 25% for expert reviews from our trusted websites, and 25% for user reviews.
For example, in this list, the GoPro Hero 5 Black — our favourite action camera by far — had a score spilt of:
Expert review: 8.5/10
Expert reviews from trusted websites: 9/10 (CNET and Trusted Reviews)
User reviews: 8.5/10 (Amazon and Flipkart)
Overall expert score: 8.6/10 (rounded off)
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