Action Cam Test 2021: current models from well-known manufacturers are tested

An action camera differs from a regular camera in that it is small and handy, yet has a lot of power.

The perfect companion for capturing epic moments and moving images, no matter what situation (air, land or water) you are in.

Additional properties can be:

  • waterproof or moisture resistant
  • High quality technology in a small package
  • Excellent photo and video recordings despite the low price
  • shockproof
  • especially stable at high temperatures

Of course, the best GoPro camera with its extremely powerful mini cameras is especially popular with manufacturers. The GoPro Karma drone is equipped with a gimbal GoPro camera and provides very cool video recordings.

First of all, we would like to clarify a few important points.

All of the built-in microphones in action cameras are not high-end microphones like those found in real cameras. They are characterized by the fact that noise is often heard in complete silence. This cannot be avoided and it simply has to do with the construction of the action camera.

The focus of an action camera is definitely good photo and video quality, not capturing all the ambient noise in perfect quality.

GoPro Hero 5 test image in Norway in the snow

You should also be aware that you only have a few zoom settings with action cameras. This is also a criterion to consider when buying.

When we weren’t as deep into the subject as we are now, we bought a GoPro 5 and thought about the rather mediocre sound and the impossibility of zooming in.

Of course, this is clearly not a feature of the action camera. For example, you can find out how the sound of a GoPro microphone sounds in our GoPro hands-on test below.

We’ve thoroughly tested the GoPro Hero4 and Hero 5 for you. Both action cameras differ in detail, so you need to take a closer look at them to highlight the similarities and differences.

But first, we want to give you some parameters with which you can narrow down your choices and thus pre-select.

The following parameters should be considered when purchasing an Action Cam:

  • price
  • Photo and video quality
  • Image stabilizer
  • Package and hardware (waterproof, scratch-resistant, etc.)

Budget for buying an action camera

We have good news for everyone investing: Action cameras are already available at a very low price of 60 euros. There are even models that already know how to record in 4K (Ultra HD) resolution. Below we will also show you in detail what this value means and what it looks like to record in Full HD or 4k.

High performance (good video quality) for little money is also typical for action cameras. This is also due to the lack of scaling, since otherwise much more complex hardware would have to be installed.

Comparable 4k film cameras cost double or even more.

The price ranges from 30 to 500 euros (GoPro Hero 6).

Depending on how high your requirements are, you can get the best models that can create fantastic photos and videos for € 100.

The quality of movies and photos from action cameras

Many action cameras provide excellent video results for little money and capture exceptionally clear images.

However, we would like to briefly introduce you to the different levels and their differences.

Below we provide you with various videos so that you can understand in detail what the settings look like.

Full HD is the most common video format with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16: 9 display. If you watch Pro7 or other TV channels (if you haven’t bought the 4k extension), they are usually transmitted in this format. The picture is good, but the depth of field is not always brilliant.

This short video clip shows a DJI Spark flying, which has a Full HD camera.

2.7k resolution with a total size of 2704 x 1520 pixels, also with a 16: 9 display. The difference between film and DVD is clearly visible. Detail is much sharper at a distance, so almost every pixel can be seen (on a corresponding large screen!).

This short excerpt is taken from a 2.7k DJI Mavic Pro that flew along the river in the best weather.

The highest resolution available for action cameras is currently 4k (Ulta-HD) with a video resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (also a 16: 9 display). Most action cameras can record this format, but there are still quality differences. Therefore, if you are a little more demanding, it is absolutely necessary to take a close look at the video quality.

The following video shows 4K footage at the beach with the Phantom 3 Professional.

In addition, it is necessary to distinguish between the recorded images per second, which make the film look either normal or slightly smoother and more dynamic.

The action cameras feature the following levels:

  • 24.25 FPS (frames per second): This is the lowest frame rate commonly available. By default, the movie in our cinemas runs at 25 frames per second.
  • 30 FPS: This standard is represented in both simple and professional cameras. Almost every film from television
  • 60 FPS: At 4k, this frame rate is the absolute maximum that the best action cameras (like the GoPro Hero 6) currently have. The image looks incredibly dynamic, and fast changes of direction or sudden stops in the film feel incredibly smooth thanks to 60 FPS.
  • 120fps: This mode is available with select Action Mini Cameras with Full-HD resolution for recording in slow motion.
  • A decent action camera should be equipped with at least Full HD and 30 frames per second. As you will see shortly, many manufacturers are already offering 4k and 30FPS for a low price.

    However, it should be noted here that not everything written on paper is actually that good.

    Image Stabilizer – Various Options

    If you’re wondering if an action camera is a must for an Image Stabilizer, we’d definitely say YES! There are a number of reasons for this.

    On the one hand, your recordings are most likely not from a stable tripod, but rather in the form of restless jerking that captures your bungee jump, dive or snowboarding.

    Without a stabilizer, the video will then be very sharp, and a usable recording is only created if you stabilize or edit the image using video software. If you can use this technique: no problem! Otherwise, you can almost throw your records away.

    Therefore, it is highly advisable to buy an action camera with image stabilization. Many models have this technical feature and give very good results. There is often a difference, for example, day and night, whether the picture was taken with the stabilizer with a little shake or just jerking back and forth in the pictures.

    However, there are of course quality differences again in the types of IS / software used.

    Here you can see the recording with and without image stabilization.

    The difference is really huge and visible to everyone, no matter if they are a beginner or a professional.

    All GoPro models have a good gimbal that does the job well. But not only expensive models, but also cheaper cameras, such as the SJ5000X Elite, have a gyro sensor that automatically compensates for camera movements, providing more stable results due to frame displacement.

    Action cameras up to 150 euros more

    Jeemak 4k

    The Jeemak 4k Actioncam is an absolute hit with a price tag of just over € 60 and has a much larger scope of supply compared to other models.

    This includes a waterproof protective cover with which the camera can be carried up to 30 meters.

    Two batteries with a recording time of 80 minutes each provide enough power for longer video recordings.

    4K video resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) is possible at 30 frames per second and delivers really great images for the price.

    You can read the detailed test report here.

    SJ5000X Elite

    Another action camera is the SJ5000X Elite, which costs just over € 100 and is in the mid-range entry-level action camera for action scenes.

    4k is also possible for videos, but only at 24fps. Sometimes it makes the action footage feel a little harsh and less dynamic. Nevertheless, for such a price, you can definitely see it.

    The camera is equipped with a gyroscopic image stabilizer, so film recordings are not as blurry, and turbulent scenes can also be captured perfectly.

    We checked the camera. You can read our Actioncam SJ5000x review here.

    Action Camera TecTecTec WiFi

    The successor to the previous model, the Xpro2, has a waterproof housing and can, for example, also be taken with you for diving up to 20 meters.

    Movies are recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second or 720p at 60 frames per second. 12MP image quality with 170 ° wide-angle lens for stunning photos.

    You can easily connect the camera to your mobile phone via Wi-Fi and control it remotely. This is useful if, for example, you have photographed the northern lights, and it is so cold outside that it is better to wait in the car, where it is warmer. Your friend will thank you 😉 Click here to view a detailed TecTecTec Actioncam test report.

    APEMAN 4K Sports Camera

    4K video quality at 24 frames per second delivers exceptional clarity for photos and videos, which can also inspire professional filmmakers. Unfortunately, slow motion recording is not possible because 30 and 60 frames per second are available in Full HD.

    With a 20MP camera lens, the camera is even better than the GoPro Hero 4 and 5, each with 12MP (and that costs over € 400!). The photos are incredibly sharp and the detail is really good.

    The supplied action camera body is waterproof and holds the camera tightly down to 30m, so some care is required and in our experience, you should not dive deeper than 20m.You can read Apeman’s detailed test report here.

    Practice Test Professional Action Cam

    GoPro Hero 4

    The GoPro Hero 4 Actioncam was released in 2014 and could record 4K video at the time. The frame rate was limited to 25fps, however, and the built-in microphone was a bit dull compared to the GoPro Hero 5.

    However, the GoPro 4 is an excellent action camera that is already available for just under 330 euros. I took the GoPro Hero 4 with me for diving and took some really great pictures.

    To do this, I bought an underwater box with a headlight, two more batteries, a selfie stick and a sturdy bag. The case does its job well and still keeps the camera completely waterproof even at 30 meters.

    You can read what Actioncam can do in our GoPro Hero 4 review.

    GoPro Hero 5

    The GoPro Hero 5 is the direct successor to the just introduced model and is a really great action camera. The camera can record videos at 4k and 30FPS and has an improved microphone than the GoPro Hero 4.

    In addition, the Image Stabilizer has been significantly improved, making videos significantly quieter.

    The real killer feature of the camera is voice control, which really works perfectly. Even during dog sledding, GoPro listened to our commands without any problems.

    Also, the GoPro App (formerly Capture) is a great feature for some situations. For example, for a selfie or if you want to take a photo of the northern lights and your girlfriend is too cold.

    We used this to photograph the Northern Lights in Norway. We got into the car very relaxed and put a tripod in front of the car. We then comfortably controlled the camera from the driver’s seat using a mobile phone.

    The built-in microphone is good, but the GoPro 5 is not suitable as a selfie camera, for example, to capture how you tell a story for YouTube. To do this, you will definitely need an additional microphone, which you can easily connect to the microphone jack.

    The price for the Action Cam is currently around 385 euros.

    Go Pro Hero 6 in practice test

    The GoPro Hero 6 is currently not only the flagship leader in terms of high tech, but also the current flagship of the GoPro leader.

    Ultra HD can be recorded at 60 frames per second. Voice control and water resistance up to 10 meters are no surprise.

    Especially impressive, however, are the incredibly smooth videos and the very well-performing IS. Even very shaky images are perfectly stabilized.

    You can also see the recordings of images. Even night shots are possible and they look really good.

    The only drawback is, from our point of view, a reasonable price and a somewhat short battery life. However, this high-end action camera will satisfy even the most demanding operator.

    New flagship: action camera GoPro Hero 7

    A few weeks ago, GoPro introduced the new high-end GoPro Hero 7 camera with innovative new features.

    GoPro Hero 7 on Phantom 3 Professional

    This includes gimbal-like image stabilization, which ensures that tape recordings will not jitter, even with very shaky and hectic videos. We’ll show you how it looks in detail in our Hero 7 test video. GoPro calls this Hypersmooth feature, which is available even at the highest resolution in Ultra HD at 60fps.

    It is also possible to make frame-by-frame recordings using the time-lapse function. GoPro uses built-in software to create a 20 minute high speed short film from a 20 minute video. This can be used to create really cool movies.

    Overall, I am very happy with this action camera and can only recommend it to everyone, provided the budget allows it. For me, this is the best action camera at the moment.

    YI 4k Plus 4k camera at 60fps

    YI 4K Plus Action Cam Stands Upright

    The Yi 4k Plus should be a real killer Go Pro Hero 6 and convince with a very good value for money.

    Yi is currently an unknown manufacturer in the action camera market in this country, but is slowly but surely gaining popularity. This is why the more important it is to find cheaper models than the best dog, and to look closely at the quality.

    We’ve tested the action camera both above and below water and will show you if it’s worth buying! Read our review here!

    SJ8Pro Actioncam: 4k 60FPS – GoPro competition?

    The latest model from SJ-Cam enters the market with a declaration of war. 4k at 60fps, so far only the Hero 6 or Yi 4k Plus could handle it well.

    The 12MP sensor is powered by the high quality Ambarella H22 chipset and therefore can produce very cool photos and videos. Even up to 240fps is possible with HD, so you can use it to create really cool slow motion recordings.

    Battery life of almost 40 minutes at 4K resolution and maximum frame rate is a really good value indeed. The touchscreen display works reliably and without lag. Find out in my detailed test report (click!) What the camera is really good for.

    Sony HDR Full HD mini action camera in its toughest test

    Sony Action Cam Outdoor Practice Test

    Sony sells a variety of technologies and cameras, among others, that are especially suited for spectacular maneuvers.

    The Sony HDR Full HD camera is very high quality and comes at a price. As the name suggests, the camera can record Full HD video at up to 60 frames per second.

    We took a close look at the model and checked what characteristics a small, muscular man can actually provide. Find out here if the purchase is really worth it.

    Denver 4k Cam: a lot of quality for little money?

    4k Denver action camera outdoor test on grass

    A small and very cheap action camera, it promises high quality Ultra HD movie recording at 25 frames per second. In addition, images must be clear and detailed.

    We attached an action camera to our P3 Pro and used it to take cool action shots from the air.

    You can find out in our test if the quality is really as good as promised.

    Braun Champion 4k II Review

    Brown action camera packaged in a meadow

    The successor to the Braun Champion 4k has double the megapixels for still photography and improved battery life.Plus, the 4k II is up to 40% cheaper.

    30 FPS Ultra HD videos should be incredibly clear and rich in detail. All this for less than 100 euros is actually impossible.

    We have thoroughly tested the camera while riding the hoverboard and will tell you what you can expect from this camera in practice. Read the test report here!

    AEE 4k Actioncam for 25 € – a great deal?

    Good action cameras have grown like a weed for little money, but not all of them keep their promises. The camera with AEE technology is offered at an unbeatable price of 25 euros and promises to record movies in Ultra HD.

    AEE Action Camera

    Full HD videos show beautiful and clear images, but is high quality 4k photos and videos possible for the price? In our detailed AEE test, we’ll show you what you can expect from this product in practice.

    Rollei Minicam 530 universal talent

    The Actioncam 530 from Rollei is the top model in the Rollei series, offering Ultra HD video recording at 30 frames per second.

    Rollei 530 packaging test

    The scope of delivery is very large and includes, among other things, a practical remote control with which the camera is located up to 10 meters away. This opens up many new possibilities in photography and filmmaking.

    The Rollei 530 Action Cam is also great for snorkeling. We dived in Croatia and dived up to 50 meters. Find out in our Rollei hands-on test and video review what a mini camera really can do!

    GoXtreme Barracuda 4k: Inexpensive Action Camera for Snorkelers

    Like the GoPro Hero 5, the GoXtreme Barracuda is inherently waterproof up to 10m without the need for an additional underwater housing.

    This means you can simply pack the Action Cam onto the included tripod and take it straight into the water. The touchscreen display on the back also works underwater.

    This allows you to be flexible while snorkeling and create beautiful photos and videos. Find out in our test report how good this portable camera is in practice!

    Lamax X7.1 Actiokamera: a lot of technology for little money

    The Lamax X7.1 is the only action camera in this price range that comes with a handheld joystick that can be used in a variety of ways, both above and underwater.

    This small mini camera can record 4k video at up to 25fps and also has image stabilization. A small action camera for only 80 euros offers a lot of technology for little money, at least on paper.

    You can find out in our video review and test report whether it is really worth buying and where is the very good price for this compact model.

    Conclusion to the Action Cam test

    As you can see, there are already models from fairly little-known brands at a great price. The devil is often in the details, so it depends on your personal requirements for photos and videos.

    The GoPro series is definitely at the top of the market and offers the best in terms of technology and quality currently available on the market. In our opinion, the GoPro’s price is unambiguously justified.

    However, we were convinced by the cheaper models like the SJ5000X Elite or the APEMAN 4K sports camera. Of course, there are some areas where compromises have to be made, but if you’re looking for an action camera that captures great vacation moments, this camera will suffice.

    The market is diverse and offers a suitable model with more or less completeness for any budget.

    We hope we can help you make the decision to buy the right action camera.

    If you have any questions, please use the comment box, we will be happy to help you!

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    Overall rating 5/5