A Beginner’s Guide to Buying an Action Camera

June 6, 2018 by Thomas bryan

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The global action camera usage is set to touch 20 million units by the year 2019. When it was first introduced, it was heavily used by extreme sports enthusiasts like surfers, mountain bike riders, snowboarders etc. Now action cameras are bought by anyone from a globetrotter to a YouTube vlogger, anyone who enjoys filming themselves amidst experiencing the thrills of adventure. Action cameras like the GoPro have re-defined the way we shoot ourselves. Their highly sturdy nature and portability have opened a lot of possibilities.

So, What Is an Action Camera?

Action cameras are rugged, handheld digital cameras capable of producing high-quality images in any environment. They are usually square or rectangle in shape and can be fit anywhere, like on top of a helmet or in front of a vehicle using a mount. Such an arrangement allows free range of motion to the user and makes it possible to be used in many creative ways. Action cameras are easy to operate and are often used to capture the point of view of the user.

Want to Buy an Action Camera but Don’t Know Where to Start?

Most people who think of buying an action camera go straight for a GoPro action cam. This is because GoPro has made a very good brand name for themselves over the years. However, dive more in-depth into the research for the best action camera, and you will discover that there are several other brands to choose from. The number of action camera brands have increased rapidly over the last couple of years. This opens up a lot of options for selecting the best budget action camera. Some of the popular GoPro alternative brands are Garmin VIRB ultra 30 4K SJCAM SJ7 Star and Xiaomi YI 4K+. Understanding the needs, requirements and adjusting the search parameters accordingly can lead to finding the best action camera 2018.

Here Are Some of the Factors to Look For While Buying an Action Camera

Video resolution is one of the first aspects to consider while buying an action camera. There are some great cameras on the market which offer a 4K resolution. Most of the high-end cameras max out at 4K followed by 1080p and 720p cameras.

Durability is another prominent factor that varies based on how you plan to use your camera. Cameras like GoPro are typically water resistant and can be used to take cool underwater photos. If preparing for activities like deep sea diving, biking, or any action sports, it is wise to purchase a camera with high durability to withstand extreme weather conditions or unsafe environments.

Connectivity also is a specific category to pay attention to while getting these fantastic gadgets! Easy connectivity option allows an instant upload of the amazing shots taken on the camera to a phone or laptop through WiFi. This comes in handy when the camera doesn’t have any playback features.

Additional Points to Remember:

Like all gadgets, action cameras have their fair mix of cons to balance out the pros, and these are the things one should keep in mind while purchasing an action camera.


  • Ruggedness: Action cameras are built to last. Found usually in the shape of a box, these objects are built to be extremely sturdy. This allows rough usage where the user doesn’t have to worry about damaging the device. They are often used to capture cool moments in adventure sports for this exact reason. The fact that they don’t break while slipping off a bike or when circuits get fried is what makes it a favorite tool for an adventure enthusiast!
  • Compactness: These objects are lightweight and hence, not difficult to carry around. You can mount them on your helmet, chest, and hand or to a vehicle and you are set to start shooting!
  • Quality: It is necessary to have an action camera that keeps up to its name and stays firm on its stance in the middle of all the chaos. Many such cameras have a 4K resolution which means that the quality of the image/video is very sharp and clear.


  • The footage quality: While the resolution provided touches as high as 4K these are essentially hand-held cameras. The amount of shake and vibrations might sometimes ruin the video or image.
  • Battery life: This is a crucial factor since action cameras do not run for long durations of time. The batteries usually run out of power in three to four hours. The additional need of power banks and charges adds to the inconvenience.
  • The fisheye lens effect: Most of the action cameras show a wide-angle field of view which makes the video look like a fisheye lens effect. This might not be preferable to many. They also come with a fixed lens and lack zooming capabilities.

Choose the Best Action Camera Accessories

Any best budget action camera is always accompanied by a number of accessories. The action camera accessories kit should contain the appropriate mount and holsters. The choice of mounts usually depends upon the buyer’s needs. The helmet mount is used by cyclists, rock climbers and hikers while deep sea divers and bikers use the wrist mount. Additionally, a waterproof casing is used to protect the cameras while being used underwater. Sometimes the waterproof casing, mounts, and the memory card come with the package while the extra battery packs and lights must be bought separately.


Action cameras are amazing gadgets which bring a unique and personal touch to the way we see our world. Whether it is used to capture an exciting trek along the mountains or a mundane family vacation these cameras allow us to see the beautiful moments we create in a new and innovative manner which was never possible before. Action cameras are more than just an accessory for extreme sports. It has become a much more personal device to offer a peek into the unique point of view of whoever wields it.


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