After testing a lot of products, we have selected the 8 best sports & action cameras for 2018 which are mentioned below. In our experiments, we have found these products most consistent in performance and true value for the money.
GoPro HERO5 Black
Ruggedized and ready for adventure, the GoPro HERO5 Black action camera can be taken to the skies, over rough terrain, and even underwater without flinching, recording 4K videos and 12MP photos along the way. The sealed rubberized chassis allows the HERO5 Black to be taken to depths of 33′ without the need for an external housing. So whether your escapades take you to the lands of concrete, sand, dirt, snow, or water, the HERO5 Black is prepared to record with a single button press. Once you have finished recording, use the touchscreen to playback and even edit your footage right on the camera.
It’s hard to speak about… the versatility of the HERO5 Black and not mention the mounting possibilities available through the included and separately available accessories. The Frame is included with the HERO5 Black and not only adds another layer of protection, it provides an interface to the world of 3-prong accessories. To get you started, a mounting buckle quick-release for The Frame and two adhesive mounts (one curved and one straight) with quick-releases are included. Other accessories such as handlebar mounts, selfie sticks, suction cups, and dive housings for creative placement of the HERO5 Black are available separately.
Not only is it more versatile than previous generation HEROs, it’s also easier to use. A touchscreen graces the rear surface, displaying a revamped user interface, while the front screen combined with the top and side buttons offer a more traditional one-button control experience. If the camera is off, pressing the record button will power it on and immediately start recording. Hands-free control is also possible using the built-in Voice Control feature. Speaking simple voice commands can control various functions inside the camera, including start/stop video recording, photo burst, and more.
Samsung Gear 360 Real 360° High Resolution
That life ended earlier this year when Samsung announced and released the new Gear 360. It’s a taller, slimmer version of the Gear 360 that’s easier to hold in your hand, captures better quality videos and photos, and fixes most of the many little problems that made its predecessor frustrating to use. It also now works with iPhones, though the compatibility stops there.
The new Gear 360,… which costs $229, doesn’t magically answer the question “what good is 360-degree imagery for?” any more than its predecessor, or any other 360-degree camera for that matter. It’s still a solution looking for a problem. But it makes that search a little less painful.
These are all symptoms of the weird sort of limbo 360-degree currently exits in. It’s rather different from where (and when) traditional digital cameras are currently at in terms of development. Most DSLRs and smartphones have more than enough megapixels when you consider that the infrastructure we use to distribute and watch digital video — whether it’s a phone’s screen, or a computer monitor, or cellular data speeds — is largely still catching up to accomodate 4K resolution.
YI 4K Action and Sports Camera
The Yi is almost exactly a GoPro. It looks exactly like a GoPro. Everybody I showed it to thought it was a GoPro. Even the font in its menu system is suspiciously familiar, as is the latch on the waterproof housing. It can shoot at the same high speeds as the Hero4 Black. The pattern of beeps for starting and stopping recording is the same. So what’s the difference? The Hero4 Black costs $500, and the Yi 4K costs $250. But wait, there’s more.
When GoPro made the Hero4 line,… it decided that the mid-tier Silver edition would have a touchscreen on the back, but that the top-tier Black edition would not. The Yi 4K basically took the Black edition and put the Silver edition’s screen on it, but it’s larger (2.19 inches versus 1.5 inches), higher resolution (330 pixels per inch), and more responsive than GoPro’s.
The catch is that the Yi 4K has only one button. You tap it to start/stop recording and you hold it to power up/down. If you want to change modes or tweak settings you have to do it through the touchscreen (or paired smartphone app for Android and iOS). This is all fine and good if you’re inside, but the screen is nearly impossible to read if it’s bright out. It also means you can’t change modes or settings if you have it in a waterproof housing. (There’s a workaround for alternating between photo and video, but it’s kind of a pain.)
SOLOSHOT3 + Optic65 Auto Tracking Camera
The SOLOSHOT3 with Optic65 Camera from SOLOSHOT is a robotic camera and tracking system that allows you to capture yourself at resolutions up to 4K UHD as you move through the scene, with no cameraman required. Simply wear the waterproof and shockproof Tag transmitter using an included armband and clip, and the SOLOSHOT3 Base automatically pans, tilts, and sends zoom and focus commands to the included Optic65 camera to keep you in the shot and in focus at distances up to 2,000′ away.
The SOLOSHOT3 Base has a load… capacity of 1.5 lb and accepts either an optional Camera Adapter plate to support lightweight cameras, or the custom-designed Optic25 and Optic65 cameras that clip directly to the top of the Base. This bundle includes the Optic65 camera, which features a 12.4 megapixel 1/2.3″ backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that supports 4K UHD video at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps, and 720p up to 240 fps for slow-motion playback. It is equipped with a 65x telescopic optical zoom lens that provides a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24 to 1560mm, making it perfectly suited to tracking a SOLOSHOT3 Tag-wearing subject, even over long distances.
Designed for quick-and-easy setup, the entire SOLOSHOT3 system can be fired up in under a minute. Just attach the Base to your tripod head via the 3/8″-16 threaded hole and clip in the Optic65 camera. Unlike previous generations of SOLOSHOT systems, no calibration is required, and it can even be moved at anytime and it will continue to automatically track the subject. The system can be controlled using a built-in touchscreen display or remotely over Wi-Fi on your smartphone or tablet.
360 Camera, Xiaomi Mijia Mi Dual-Lens Sphere Action
The Yi 360 VR can shoot 5.7K 360 video, which is the highest resolution video of any 360 camera under $1000 (along with the VIRB 360). Larger resolutions are good for 360 videos because they require more pixels to look sharp, but lens quality is still very important. The Mi Sphere features some very good optics and has been proven to provide excellent dynamic range and light balance. When the Mi Sphere was first released it could only shoot 3.5K resolution video, but a software update has upgraded this to 4K which brings it in line with most modern 360 cameras.
The Yi is great at shooting high quality,… detailed video. 5.7K at 120mbsp results in huge files but the video looks amazing for a consumer priced device. The one issue I have with the video coming out of the Yi is overexposure, which is quite severe in some places, but this can re rectified by changing exposure settings.
So the Yi 360 pretty clearly outclassed the Mi Sphere when it came to video, but photos are a different matter. The Yi 360 can shoot 18 megapixel photos, which is fairly average for a 360 camera. The photos look fairly good, but this resolution is not really enough to ensure sharpness, especially on larger screens.
MADV Madventure 360 Camera
There’s a MicroSD card slot and USB port on one side, while the power, Wi-Fi, and record buttons are all up top. You’ll find a standard 1/4-inch screw thread on the bottom for attaching to a tripod (a miniature one comes in the box), along with electrical contacts so you can control the camera from the included selfie stick.
You can change between still and video… modes by tapping the power button (hold it to turn the camera on and off). Hidden lights on one face of the camera indicate which mode you’re in, and a battery indicator light lets you know when you’re running out of juice or if the camera goes to sleep.
Like other small 360 cams, you can control the Madventure from your smartphone (iOS and Android). The app is simple enough to navigate, but it definitely feels unfinished, with plenty of bugs and glitches. Video playback was marred by occasional stutters and audio static on an iPhone 7 Plus. In one instance, the thumbnails of clips we had downloaded were replaced with the thumbnails from MADV’s included sample videos. Some UI elements and buttons don’t always show up, or load beyond the borders of the screen where they can’t be accessed.
360-degree video cameras are a bit like smartwatches. The novelty of the technology gets us excited, even if we’re unsure how that technology fits into our lives or if it brings tangible improvements over our existing devices. Manufacturers tout these products as the next big thing, but have continually fallen short on their promises to deliver another technological revolution.
In this analogy,… GoPro is like Apple. It wasn’t the first company to put a piece on the board, but now all eyes are on its next move. We want to know if the Fusion 360 camera can finally reveal the true potential of immersive video, something that has escaped most of the other industry players. We’re looking for a reason to want this thing, just as we looked to Apple to give us a can’t-live-without-it smartwatch.
While it’s debatable whether or not Apple succeeded with the first-generation Watch, a common refrain among reviewers and users was, “It’s great — for a smartwatch.” Our praise for the Fusion is similarly reserved: It has the potential to be the best 360 camera out there, but it’s still a 360 camera — if you didn’t need one before, you probably still don’t. But unlike most 360-degree cameras, we can make a more compelling argument for why you would want a Fusion.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action Camera
Ultra HD 4K resolution video at 30 fps, 3-axis video stabilization, voice control, GPS capture, 12MP photos with up to 60 fps burst frames, high-sensitivity mic, color touchscreen, live streaming to YouTube, 130 ft waterproof case, and easy-to-use one-touch operation — the VIRB Ultra 30 from Garmin is a cutting-edge action camera suitable for up to the most professional applications, and it’s sleek and stylish to boot. Other video recording resolutions include 1080p at up to 120 fps and 720p at up to 240 fps.
Attach it to one of the many available support accessories,… and command it what to do hands-free, such as “start recording” or “take a picture,” or “remember that” to tag footage for later recall, and capture all your adventures. You can set your videos to automatically get stabilized in-camera using built-in electronic gyroscope stabilization, so that you don’t have to apply stabilization in post-production to get smoother footage. And the built-in sensitive mic ensures that sound is recorded clear and not muffled — and this is so whether the camera is in or out of the waterproof case. (Stabilization is applicable in Full HD 1080p60 resolution only.)
When you’re up there on that mountain, and want to document the height you reached, or how far you went, or how fast, just hit the GPS feature and the camera will take note of everything, of all the relevant performance data, which you can later use as proof. You can even overlay graphs and gauges over this data. Pair the VIRB Ultra 30 with the appropriate Garmin heart-rate monitor and you can even document your heart rate up on that mountain.