A person holding two action cameras on a deck.

Best Action Cameras in 2023 (ALL Budgets & Activities)

Discover the top action cameras suitable for every budget and activity, ensuring epic captures from every adrenaline-filled moment.

Action cameras are still the best way to get photo & video footage in extreme locations… or just in your backyard!

They’re also great for first-person-view ‘POV’ footage, which makes the viewer feel like they’re part of the action.

GoPro still dominates the action camera market here in 2023, but there are many good GoPro alternatives also available.


Incredible video and photo quality combined with excellent battery life and class-leading stabilization for buttery smooth footage.

The best action camera needs excellent image stabilization, waterproof housing, slow-motion, 4k video at multiple frame rates and stellar image and video quality.

Some models offer voice control, 5K, touchscreens, GPS, motion sensors, live streaming, 360-degree capture, replaceable lenses and social media connection.

Whether you’re looking for the top model or just a cheap action camera, this guide is all you need.

So, let’s dive into the recommendations.

What are the Best Action Cameras in 2023?

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageGoPro Hero12 BlackBEST FOR PHOTO & VIDEO
  • Revolutionary Processor
  • Unbelievable Image Quality
  • HyperSmooth 6.0
  • Fast, Reliable Connectivity
Check Amazon Price → Check GoPro Price →
shk2-table__imageInsta360 X3BEST FOR BIKES
  • FlowState Stabilization
  • 5.7K Video + 72MP Photo
  • IPX8 Waterproof
  • Numerous reframing options
Check Amazon Price → Check Insta360 Price →
shk2-table__imageInsta360 GO 3BEST FOR VLOGGING
  • Mount Anywhere
  • IPX8 Waterproof
  • FlowState Stabilization
  • Multi-Use Charge Case
Check Amazon Price → Check Insta360 Price →
shk2-table__imageInsta360 One RS 1-InchBEST LOW LIGHT 360
  • FlowState Stabilization
  • 6K Resolution
  • IPX8 Waterproof
  • Dual Leica Lenses
Check Amazon Price → Check Insta360 Price →
shk2-table__imageDJI Osmo ActionBEST FOR BEGINNERS
  • Dual Screens
  • 8x Slow Motion
  • UHD Image Quality
  • More Dynamic Detail
Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageGoPro Hero8 BlackBEST BUDGET GOPRO
  • Night Lapse Video
  • Live Streaming in 1080P
  • Waterproof
  • Rugged
Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageSony RX0 IIBEST FOR DIVING
  • Compact robust Design
  • Internal 4K Movie with Image Stabilization
  • Advanced BIONZ X Image Processing
  • 180° Tiltable LCD Screen
Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageAkaso Brave 4BEST UNDER $100
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • Smart Gyroscope for Anti-shaking
  • Waterproof
  • Edit and Share Videos Instantly
Check Amazon Price →


GoPro Hero12 Black | Best Action Camera for Still Photography and Video

A person holding up a gopro hero 4 black.

  • Video shooting in 5.3K
  • Best-in-class video stabilization
  • Scheduled capture feature
  • 27MP stills in RAW format
  • Automatic cloud backups
  • Durable & waterproof
  • Double the battery life of Hero 11
  • Larger body size
  • More expensive without a GoPro subscription

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s no shortage of excellent GoPro competitors on the market… and yet, the GoPro Hero12 Black takes our number one spot as the best action camera.

Why, you ask?

Firstly, there’s the camera’s undeniable reputation within the action cam market.

The GoPro Hero range is the most well-known for a reason: it’s been around the longest, meaning many iterations of research and development have made it what it is today.

That’s not to say the GoPro Hero is perfect, but the brand has banked up years of valuable experience with action cam technology, plus a great understanding of what its user base wants.

After numerous versions of the GoPro action camera, the Hero12 Black strikes an excellent balance between features, extreme ruggedness and price.

Firstly, you get the superb and now Emmy Award- Winning HyperSmooth 6.0 Stabilization system for ultra-smooth footage – a feature that works better than ever before by maximizing HyperSmooth AutoBoost performance with more stabilization and less image cropping.

A person holding a gopro and other accessories on a wooden floor.

Available with a host of GoPro accessories.

Skiing, biking, skydiving, or just running with your kids through the park? The Hero 12 offers silky smooth live video streaming through it all.

Horizon-leveling is also spookily good, meaning you’ll have way fewer issues getting straight footage, even after a camera mount mishap!

Then there’s the front-facing color display for vlogging and selfies and the sturdy body that’s waterproof to 10 meters  (33 feet), making this Hero great as an underwater camera, too – the hydrophobic coating means less water beading on the lens as well.

Video quality is excellent, with 5.3K High Dynamic Range video at 60 frames per second along with both 4K and 2.7K shooting. At the Hero 12‘s top resolution, you can pull high-quality stills out of your footage when you don’t have the chance to shoot both video and still shots.

If you dial in the best GoPro settings, the Hero12 is the best action camera for stills photography as well as for video recording.

You can even get 120fps at 4K, meaning your slow-motion footage is razor-sharp and also offers the ability to be heavily cropped in post.

Images grabbed from videos come out at a crisp 24.69 megapixels, in comparison to the camera’s (also excellent) 27.13-megapixel still photography capability. Either way, you can snap some excellent still shots as well as videos at the same time.

Need professional color features? The Hero 12 has you covered. Another feature of this latest Hero cam is GP-LOG capture and LUTS for better post-production and editing control of color grading in video.

If you want to start the camera rolling at times, you can’t be there to press the button; engage the scheduled capture feature – perfect for nabbing a timelapse of the sunrise while you’re still snuggled up in bed!


Other shooting additions in the Hero 12 flagship camera are support for a new Max Lens Mod 2.0 accessory that allows for a 177-degree FOV.

This comes in three settings: Max Wide, Max SuperView, and Max HyperView. Together, these give its lens a 36% wider and 48% taller recording field.

With the Hero 12, GoPro has also truly opted for a dramatic boost in battery life over that of previous Heros. In this edition of the action camera, you shoot for twice as long overall compared to the Hero 11.

This means shooting times of up to 70 minutes at 60p for 5.3K video and just under 100 minutes of 5.3K at 30p. This bumps up even further to 155 minutes in 1080p resolution at 30p.

Add to all of the above some spectacular shooting modes like TimeWarp 3.0, LiveBurst 8x Slo-Mo, and other accessories, and the GoPro Hero12 Black proves itself well worthy of being named the best action camera on the market right now.

It also finally comes with a built-in tripod mounting thread, a first in the Hero line of cameras, and a useful addition for solo content creators.

Insta360 X3 | Best Action Camera for Motorcycle & Cycling

A person holding up a phone with a camera attached to it.

  • Compact body, Powerful dual cameras
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • 5.7K video, 72MP stills
  • Waterproof
  • 8K time-lapse shooting
  • Numerous framing options
  • Invisible selfie stick is incredible
  • Heavy
  • bulky build

This compact, waterproof 360-degree action camera offers up 5.7K HDR 360 video that lets you reframe your shots from your favorite angle after shooting a sequence.

That’s right – with the X3 (and all the best Insta360 cameras), you can point the camera in any direction you like and hit record, then come home and use the Insta360 app to adjust the angle of the shot.

For motorcycle riders and cyclists in particular, (who can’t easily alter the angle of the action camera while in motion) this is an extremely useful feature unavailable in non-360-degree action cameras.

Check out the video below to see how one motorcycle rider mounts his Insta360 X3 to great effect.


The X3 delivers its handy reframing options thanks to the AI-powered Insta360 app that’s refreshingly simple to use.

To achieve its ultra-high-resolution 360-degree footage, the Insta360 X3 comes packed with not just one but two ½” 48MP sensors on its front and back.

Insta360 camera with app and selfie stick

Insta360 camera with app and selfie stick | Marc Bergreen

With these in place, it not only allows for crisp, colorful shots in low light but also lets you shoot 72MP still photos and 8K timelapse videos among other kinds of video through its numerous shooting modes.

If you need the X3 to do single-lens shooting, it can deliver that too with its 4K Single-Lens mode from either of its two lenses at 4K30fps.

You can also widen the angle of this single-lens video even further to 170 degrees by setting the X3 to MaxView. This lets you enjoy wide-angle 2.7K footage without switching all the way over to 360 degrees.

Pair the Insta360 X3 with the “Invisible” Selfie Stick (pictured above) that ‘disappears’ from the video edit for some truly mind-blowing aerial and third-person footage without the need for a second shooter or a drone.

Other handy shooting modes in the X3 include 4K120fps or 3K180fps slow-mo and the ability to work as a dashcam by recording continuous video but only saving specific minutes of footage at preset intervals.

The Insta360 X3 also comes with seriously robust image stabilization. This makes it the best action camera for MTB, especially in rough downhill descents.

This includes Flowstate stabilization and 36o Horizon Lock, which both work with the camera’s internal algorithm to deliver superbly smooth video in almost any shooting scenario.

riding snow mobile

The X3 offers a truly unique first-person view which can be adjusted after shooting | Marc Bergreen

With its dual cameras and heavy recording power, the Insta360 X3 is a slightly bulkier action camera than usual. However, it’s still pretty easy to carry around in any situation. The X3 tops off at just 7.1 ounces with dimensions of 0.91 x 1.81 x 4.49 inches.

Finally, for aquatic adventures, the Insta360 X3 is wonderfully resilient, being able to sink down to 33 feet or 10 meters right out of the box.

If you need even more depth endurance, an available Dive Case lets the X3 handle depths of up to 50 meters or 164 feet.

For some of the most flexible action shooting options and angles available on the market, the Insta360 X3 is genuinely hard to beat with its rich range of features.

Insta360 GO 3 | Best Action Camera for Vlogging

A person holding up a camera with a small lens.

  • Compact body, Tiny camera module
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Expanded battery power in case
  • Waterproof
  • Unlimited clip length
  • Includes touchscreen
  • No 4K video
  • Could use tougher build

The successor to Insta360’s extremely popular Go 2 camera is the Go 3 and it comes packed with even more features.

This newest edition in the Go series of cameras improves considerably on the best features offered by the Go 2 while including a bunch of new technologies.

The unique design feature of the Insta360 Go 3 (which it shares with its predecessor) is that the camera module itself can be separated from the Action Pod which contains its control options and main battery component.

This makes the tiny camera itself extremely versatile for shooting in all kinds of field situations.

With a weight of no more than 1.25 oz or 35g, the actual camera unit is one of the smallest you’ll find in the action camera niche. The Action Pod it attaches to is however also exceptionally tiny at 3.4 oz or 96g.

A person holding up a small camera with a person's face on it.

The action pod makes the Go 3 particularly useful for vlogging.

This combo weighs more than the Insta360 GO 2 did, but with the bump in size, you get new features, improved battery power and an entirely new 2.2-inch flip touchscreen that offers live previews and silky smooth remote control options.

The battery power of the Go 3 lets it run longer than its predecessor could. This applies to both the camera module itself and to its Action Pod, which now offers 100mAh and 170mAh more than the Go 2 did.

In terms of video recording, the Go 3 is also much better than the Go 2. It shoots crisp, clear 2.7K video as opposed to the 1440p of the older mode and offers several new video moods with its higher resolution.

With the Go 3, you can capture your action footage in Timed Capture, Loop Recording, and Pre-recording modes while still having the modes offered by the previous Go 2.

A group of small electronic devices on a wooden table.

The Insta360 Go 3 included accessories allow you to mount it pretty much anywhere.

Possibly best of all, the Go 3 can shoot clips of unlimited length as long as it’s kept charged. The Go 2 on the other hand was limited to only short video segments.

For audio, the Go 3 includes 2 different microphones and is also capable of responding to over a dozen different voice commands in multiple languages.

The Go3 comes with a range of unique accessories (pictured above), our favorite of which being  a magnetic pendant which you wear around your neck beneath your t-shirt to ‘invisibly’ attach the Go 3.

Overall, the Insta360 Go 3 is a robust successor to the Go 2 and a very useful action camera across the board.

If you prefer a small and versatile magnetic device that you can mount in any nook or cranny or even use as a hidden spy camera with live-streaming, this is one to beat.

Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 | Best Low Light 360° Action Camera

A person holding a small camera in front of bushes.

  • 1-inch sensor – great low-light performance
  • Superb video quality for a 360° camera
  • Uses Leica lens craftsmanship
  • 6K resolution
  • Robust, durable design
  • Ideal for real estate
  • Expensive
  • Unimpressive battery charge
  • Too heavy

Insta360 makes some fantastic action cameras, and the One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is no exception. In fact, it’s one of the brand’s single best cameras for sheer picture quality.

What sets it apart is its rugged, hefty build and its superb ability to capture 6K videos thanks to a massive 1-inch Leica sensor that gives the One RS 1-Inch 360 even better video quality and versatility than you can get from a GoPro Hero camera.

This is of course also a 360-degree camera, so aside from being able to take standard-format and wide-angle action shots, you can stretch them all the way out to 360-degree panoramas, but with a resolution that possibly no other 360-degree camera can offer.

A person is holding up a camera with a lens on it.

Dual 1-inch sensors combined with Leica lenses produce stunning video and stills quality.

Using the 360-degree module, you can capture stunning Super 6K resolution videos that are sharp, vivid and clear. Accompanying this is a video editing module that lets you edit and adjust your impressively rich videos with surprising ease.

Video recording in the One RS 1-Inch 360 is unfortunately available only up to 30fps in 6K resolution but the camera can capture beautiful 21MP still shots from its footage while also offering 3K video at 50fps.

Insta360’s proprietary Flowstate Stabilization and 360 Horizon Lock are truly excellent at keeping videos silky-smooth, and the horizon leveling on the One RS 1-Inch 360 works brilliantly.

We also love the simple yet powerful AI editing that’s available with the Insta360 app.

Other features worth mentioning include an invisible selfie stick, AI-powered subject tracking, real-time playback, a new PureShot HDR mode for superior photos and videos, and a range of modes like StarLapse, Slow-Mo, TimeShift and NightShot.

A couple of niggles of the One RS 1-Inch 360 are that it’s pretty bulky and heavy for an action camera and that its out-of-box waterproofing isn’t quite perfect, but If you’re using the waterproof case (which you may need for rougher water conditions), that last issue isn’t a problem.


The One RS 1-Inch 360 also definitely compensates for its size by delivering the best 360-degree video you’re likely to find among action cameras.

All things considered, this not-quite-so-little action cam has pretty much all the features you’d want for truly professional 360 and wide angle footage, with the versatility of both 360 spherical video and wide-angle views.

The One RS 1-Inch 360’s ability to pull out stitched 21MP photos from its massive video resolution is also a very useful workflow bonus.

If you’re who needs truly excellent 360-degree video footage, the One RS 1-Inch 360 could well be the best action camera for you. If you can’t stretch to the price, check out the aforementioned Insta360 X3 instead.

DJI Osmo Action | Best Action Camera for Beginners

  • Super rugged & waterproof
  • Great value for money
  • Colour displays on both sides
  • Voice control works well
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • No live streaming
  • No tripod socket
  • No stabilization in HDR mode

If you’re looking for the best action camera on a budget, check out the DJI Osmo Action.

Coming in at under US$200, it’s considerably cheaper than options like the GoPro Hero while still maintaining a high level of quality.

One of the best things about the Osmo Action is its durability. This little camera is ready to accompany you on your most daring adventures.

Capture underwater scenes or climb snowy mountains: the DJI Osmo Action is waterproof to 11 meters (36 feet) and survives in temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F).

The 2.25-inch rear screen is touch-sensitive and has a waterproof, fingerprint-resistant, hydrophobic coating.

\There’s a second (1.4-inch) colour display on the front that isn’t touch-sensitive but is great for vlogging and selfies.

Video resolution isn’t the highest but it’s not at all shabby either: you get 4K footage at up to 60fps and 1080p slow motion at up to 240fps.

On top of that, DJI’s RockSteady electronic image stabilization keeps footage smooth, and a series of voice commands means you don’t even have to touch the camera to start and stop recording, change screens, take pictures, or power down.

You can also use your smartphone to operate the camera remotely via the DJI Mimo app (available for Android and iOS).

If you’re looking for an action camera that offers solid build quality and nifty features at an affordable price, do yourself a favour and check this one out.

GoPro Hero8 Black | Best Budget GoPro Action Camera

gopro Hero 8 in hand

Marc Bergreen

  • Great value
  • 4K at 60FPS looks great
  • Doesn’t require special housing for mounts
  • Great horizon levelling
  • Touch LCD
  • Side access to battery & card
  • Not as rugged as earlier models
  • No front-facing live view
  • Slow wi-fi video transfer

You might be wondering why we’ve skipped from the Hero10 to the Hero8 in this guide to the best action camera in 2023.

There’s no doubt that the Hero9 is a great action camera, and one that’s worthy to be here, but thanks to its 2 more recent successors, the Hero8 represents the perfect sweet spot in the GoPro lineup.

You can check our handy GoPro comparison chart for the details, but let’s look first at what the Hero8 has to offer.

First, video and photo specs: the Hero8 records up to 4K in 60FPS and can shoot 12MP HDR and RAWs in all modes.

gif of gopro hero8 footage

Marc Bergreen

Hypersmooth 2.0 and in-app horizon leveling keeps your footage straight and buttery smooth, and you even get live streaming and a webcam mode for when you’re stuck in lockdown! (Neither of these features was present on the Hero7 compared to the Hero8.)

The front LCD screen shows your status (as opposed to a live preview like on the Hero9 and 10), and TimeWarp 2.0, Time Lapse and Night Lapse Modes give you plenty of creative shooting options.

For around $300, you’re getting one powerful little action camera with the Hero8 Black – many users don’t even need the Hero9 or 10, and can save hundreds of dollars by going with this older model.

So, what if you do have the budget and can invest another 100-or-so bucks in the Hero 9… what do you get over the 8?

Well, aside from the aforementioned front-facing live view LCD, the Hero9 shoots up to 5K video at 30fps (4K at 60fps), and captures 20MP RAWs too.

snow covered rocks

GoPro Hero 8 Sample Image | 1/2100 f/2.8 ISO 100 | Marc Bergreen

The already-amazing Hypersmooth is updated to v3.0 and the battery life is slightly better, but on the flip side, the size of the GoPro9 is marginally bigger than the 8.

If you don’t really have a need to shoot in 5K (most YouTubers definitely don’t!), our money would be with the Hero8, which is why we’re calling it the best budget action camera right now.

Sony RX0 II | Best Action Camera for Diving

  • Pocketable size
  • Tactile buttons
  • 1″ CMOS sensor
  • 180° Tiltable LCD Screen
  • Zeiss lens for sharp images
  • Waterproof, shockproof & crushproof
  • Expensive
  • Inferior image stabilisation
  • Small, cumbersome controls

Sony billed the RX0 II as the world’s smallest 4K video cam, and it’s certainly won a lot of hearts (or should we say pockets?!) with its compact shape and size.

The body of the RX0 II features a nifty flip-up screen that helps with framing the shot or shooting vlog-style videos. This leaves more room for the 1″ CMOS sensor and ZISS lens for great image quality.

One downside is that the screen isn’t a touch-screen. Given the tiny size of the camera’s controls and the fiddly settings menu, touch functionality would make operating the camera easier.

However, some users (divers in particular) prefer having actual physical buttons to press, which are definitely more responsive, especially when using the RX0 II with gloves.

This little action camera has plenty going for it for diving and other nautical spots – a tough body that can handle dives to 10 metres (33 feet), drops from 2 meters (6.5 feet), and a crushing force of 200kg (440 lbs).

Then there’s the 1-inch, 15.3-megapixel sensor which makes for far better low-light performance and dynamic range over that of competitors (bearing in mind that most of the best action cameras have 1/2.3-inch sensors).

You can also attach an action camera flashlight to help shoot movies at night.

The Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 lens is high quality and produces crisp, clear images. Anyone who’s used a Sony Alpha camera can attest to the quality of Zeiss glass, which has achieved a cult-like status among photographers and videographers.


One thing that limits the RX0 II as an action camera is its image stabilisation, which doesn’t cut the mustard in comparison to other cameras in its class – we recommend mounting it to your chest (as opposed to fixing it to a vehicle, for example), so your body can provide some additional dampening to the footage.

Whether this is the right action camera for you will come down to how bumpy you intend to get with it. As a pocketable device for vlogging or travel, it has plenty to offer and is our pick of the best action camera for diving of the bunch.

Akaso Brave 4 | Best Action Camera Under $100

  • Cheap
  • 4K video & 20MP images
  • Adjustable view angle
  • 19-piece accessory kit included
  • Inferior stabilisation
  • Poor audio quality

Looking for the best budget action camera under $100? Say hello to the Akaso Brave 4.

The form factor is clearly derived from the GoPro Hero range, with a boxy design and two screens (rear IPS screen and a small front-facing screen that shows recording stats and battery life).

The camera has a 20MP sensor, with 4K video resolution and a built-in gyroscope – pretty crazy for under 100 bucks!

However, while the image stabilisation and gyroscope do smooth out camera shake somewhat, they’re definitely not up to the level of more expensive alternatives.

Still, image quality is good for what you pay, and you can definitely have plenty of fun with this affordable device.

The Brave 2 comes with a number of modes including Video, Photo, Burst, Time-lapse, Loop, and Underwater.

Another neat feature is that the view angle of the camera is adjustable, with 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70° views to choose from.

The Akaso Brave comes with a wrist strap that acts as a wireless remote. While the strap isn’t waterproof, it does make it super easy to start and stop recording from afar.

The camera isn’t waterproof either, but with the included waterproof housing you can go diving up to 30 meters (100 feet).

The Akaso Brave comes with a bounty of accessories, including two rechargeable batteries that give you a commendable battery life (you can shoot an hour of 4K video).

Overall, the video and sound quality of the Brave 4 won’t rival those of the best action cameras from brands like GoPro, but it’s a fun, entry-level product for an extremely affordable price.

Edit: since this review was written, we discovered the Akaso EK7000 – a similarly-priced low budget action camera that’s slightly better than the Brave. Read our Akaso EK700 review to make your own mind up.

Oclu ActionCamera

oclu action camera

  • Amazing value for money
  • Sleek, low-profile design
  • LiveCut feature for editing on the fly
  • Easy to mount
  • Interchangeable batteries
  • Magnetic charging
  • Glitchy mobile app
  • No 4K image stabilisation
  • Mediocre battery life

The Oclu Action Camera is a small, adventure-ready device that makes for a great budget alternative to the GoPro Hero.

In fact, you can grab it right now for under US$200! That’s a pretty great deal, considering all it offers.

Spec-wise, you get 12MP still images and 4K video (maximum frame rate of 30p). Using the action cam’s full HD video mode, you can shoot super-slow-mo at 120fps.

You also get a bunch of shooting modes like timelapse, burst mode, loop recording, and a motion-sensor mode. The latter is great for when you only want the camera to start rolling when the action happens.

The OCLU has a unique feature called LiveCut that allows you to remove unwanted footage on the fly. It’s a great way to save memory card space and come home with only the parts of the action you know are worth keeping.

Two gripes with the OCLU Action Camera: the battery life runs down quickly when using particular functions, and the image stabilisation is only available at 1080p (in other words, 4K video isn’t stabilised).

On the plus side, image quality is clear and bright with vibrant colours, and the size and shape of the camera makes it easy to mount on your body and less likely to be knocked out of place.

There’s also a useful magnetic battery charging function, although we couldn’t get the file transfer to work via the magnetic cable and had to use an SD card reader instead.

The OCLU Action Camera has an IPX7 standard waterproof rating (1 meter for 30 mins). Add the OcShell waterproof case (sold separately for approx. US$39.99), and you can take it to depths of 50 meters (164 feet).

All in all, if you’re looking for a great action camera for an affordable price, the OCLU is a great pick.

Dragon Touch 4K

  • Ridiculously cheap
  • 4K video
  • Wireless remote controller
  • Waterproof housing included
  • Good battery life
  • No image stabilization
  • Not Mac compatible

On a really tight budget? How about an action cam that costs less than US$70?!

Sure, it’s never going to perform as well as the others on our list of best action cameras, but that’s a compromise you make for the ultra-low price.

Still, you get 4K video (limited to 30fps) and 16MP stills. One thing you don’t get is image stabilisation.

Like other action cameras, the Dragon Touch 4K has multiple modes – driving mode, image rotation, time-lapse, loop recording, and slow-motion among them.

The Dragon Touch 4K comes with a waterproof housing (rated for 30 meters/100 feet), a wrist strap-style wireless remote controller (not waterproof), and a bunch of mounts, clips, tethers and other accessories – amazing for under $70!

The camera body features a 2-inch LCD display on the back but no front screen – you might remember that it wasn’t long ago that no action camera models featured a front-facing screen!

Battery life is good, with two rechargeable batteries that last up to 90 minutes each. Use them together for a combined 180 minutes of run time.

Bottom line: This action camera won’t nab you the smoothest footage, but if you’re looking for a fun camera at a bargain price, it’s worth a look!

Olympus Tough TG-6

  • Extremely tough build
  • Superior underwater performance
  • Fantastic macro capabilities
  • Image stabilisation
  • Advanced features
  • Not as small as other action cams
  • Unintuitive menu system

We tend to think that the best action cameras have to be the smallest, but that really depends on how you intend to use them.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is comparatively large – it’ll fit in your palm much like a small point-and-shoot. If that’s not a dealbreaker, read on: it has plenty to offer.

First and foremost, it really is built tough. It’s waterproof to 15 meters (50 feet), freezeproof down to -10C (14F), shockproof from drops of 2.1 meters (7 feet), and crushproof to 100kg (220lbs).

It’s also arguably the best action camera for shooting underwater, due to its larger maximum lens aperture.

Beyond being waterproof, it performs well in low light thanks to that f/2 lens, shoots in RAW, and has superior white balance and colour management.

(It’s a dedicated camera, after all – not an action camera that’s trying to be as small as possible, sacrificing some image quality in favour of tiny dimensions.)

You can also finely control saturation, contrast, sharpness and noise reduction in-camera, which makes a huge difference in the quality of your shots.

Considering that you get 4K video, built-in image stabilisation, and exceptional build quality, the TG-6 is worthy of being considered one of the best action cameras.

How do I Choose an Action Camera?


Credit: Lucas Favre

Really, the best action camera is the one that’s best for you. So what do you look for, and how do you determine which action cam suits your needs?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Video resolution

Resolution and frame rate are two of the terms you’ll hear the most when on the hunt for an action cam. Not surprising given you want to get clear, usable footage from your investment!

Video quality keeps improving: 4K video is about the minimum you can expect from an action camera in 2023.

As for whether you need more than that, it depends. If your concern is getting pro-grade footage or buying the best possible specs so your action cam keeps you going for years without an upgrade, look for 5K video quality and above.

Otherwise, 4K video will serve you well.

Frame rates vary across cameras depending on which resolution you choose to shoot at, but as a general rule, 30fps is a good minimum to aim for.

Higher frame rates will allow you to slow down your footage, which can be handy for shooting fast-paced action.

2. Durability

Action cameras are made to be tossed about, dropped and dragged through the mud. That said, not all are created equal when it comes to durability.

With that in mind, look for one that matches your needs and interests.

Want to take it scuba diving? Check the waterproof rating.

Want to mount it to your helmet while you go cross-country skiing? Check what temperatures it can withstand, etc.

3. Form Factor

How and where do you intend to mount your action cam?

Action cameras come in all shapes and sizes. Boxier, bulkier action cams work well with helmet or chest mounts; bullet or oblong-shaped ones can fit well on handlebars, seats and a range of unconventional places.

When deciding where to mount it, think about the story you want to tell and the perspective you want to give the viewer.

Also bear in mind that the smallest action cams have to sacrifice something to achieve their tiny size. That sacrifice may be on battery life, front and/or rear displays, or something else.

It’s up to you to decide what matters to you most.

4. Battery Life

Even the best action cameras are nothing impressive when it comes to battery life. That’s simply a result of the size and type of camera we’re dealing with here.

Still, some action cams give you more juice to run off than others.

If you know you’ll be travelling or doing activities where you won’t have the opportunity to recharge, consider checking battery life before buying – or at least finding out whether you can purchase spare battery packs.

5. Extra Features

Which action camera features are non-negotiable in your eyes?

Maybe you want the best video stabilization possible so you can get smooth footage of your adrenaline-fuelled adventures.

Or maybe you want a camera with exceptional time-lapse capabilities, superb image quality for stills, above-average audio quality, or a front-facing screen so you can vlog to your heart’s content.

There are so many different features available in action cams nowadays.

Our advice? Write a list of the ones that appeal most to you and use it to quickly and easily filter through the options.

Frequently Asked Questions about Action Cameras

Which action camera is best for beginners?

Any action camera with an Auto setting will suit beginners, but if budget is a consideration, the GoPro Hero8 Black represents the perfect sweet spot in terms of bang for your buck,

Are action cameras worth it?

For shooting fast-paced action and adventure sports or capturing first-person ‘POV’ footage, action cameras are definitely worth it. Their size, durability, mounting options and feature set make them especially suited to these uses and they’ll far outperform a smartphone.

What are action cameras good for?

Action cameras are perfect for capturing immersive action shots, hence why they’re popularly used for action sports. Beyond that, they’re also great for vlogging, creating travel videos, as dash cams, or even for mounting to pets or taking fun family footage with the kids.

Final Words on Action Cameras

illustration of surfing girl using an action camera

With so many action cams on the market, it can be difficult to choose the best action camera for you. Hopefully, this guide helped you narrow it down!

If you have any questions, leave them below and we’ll do our best to help you out. Also, feel free to share your own recommendations and experiences!


Incredible video and photo quality combined with excellent battery life and class-leading stabilization for buttery smooth footage.

Shotkit Founder, Editor, Writer & Reviewer

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer and editor of Shotkit. When he’s not taking photos or reviewing the latest camera gear and software, Mark can be found cycling around the northern rivers.

Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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