Action cameras are made to go where others can’t. Whether your adventures take you to the sea, to the mountains or to the sky, these rugged cameras will capture sharp and steady recordings of your action-packed adventures. Made to be tough and reliable, the best action cameras will capture action in just about any situation you’re immersed in. We’ve compiled a list of our best action cameras of 2023 to help you find the ultimate solution! Whether you’re a seasoned creator or just starting out, there's an action camera for you.
What to consider when choosing an action camera
Before we get onto our top picks, let's take a look at some of the key factors to consider when choosing an action camera.
- Video Quality: This will be the most important factor for most people. Most standard action cameras offer 1080p and this is the minimum you should aim for. Higher-end cameras will provide 4K resolution for maximum clarity and detail.
- Frame Rate: Frame rate is also important, especially if you're interested in slow motion video. Higher frames per second (fps) make high-speed action smoother when slowed down. 60fps is a good standard but for super smooth slow motion, 120fps or even 240fps can be useful.
- Durability: Action cameras are built to take a beating in many environments. Opt for a camera that is shock-proof, dust-proof, freeze-proof, and waterproof. Waterproof ratings are described in metres or feet.
- Image Stabilisation: Many cameras feature electronic image stabilisation which helps to keep footage steady when the camera is shaking. More advanced cameras might have optical image stabilisation, which generally results in smoother footage.
- Battery Life: Battery life can greatly affect an action camera's functionality. Ideally, you should look for one that can record for several hours on a single charge. Some cameras allow you to swap out drained batteries for fresh ones, while others don't.
- Photo Capabilities: Aside from video, most action cameras also take still photos. They normally range from 5MP to 20MP. Some models also have burst mode for rapidly shooting multiple images in quick succession.
- Mounting Options: Check what types of mounts the camera comes with. Ensure it comes with or can be used with various mounts to get the shots you want.
- Audio Quality: A good action camera will come with a built-in microphone that can record high-quality sound. Some cameras also accept external microphones for even better audio recording.
- Ease of Use: If you prefer a quick start, check if the camera has a one-button recording function. Some cameras come with OLED or LCD displays, which are easier to navigate.
- Extra Features: Extras like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC can make it easier to control your action camera, mark locations, and transfer files. Other features like an LCD touchscreen, voice control, and live streaming functionality may also be useful.
With these in mind, let's get onto our best action cameras!
1. GoPro Hero12 Action Camera
As GoPro’s most advanced action camera to date, it should come as no surprise that the GoPro Hero12 tops our list for Best Action Cameras. A compact, yet powerful camera, the Hero12 supports cinematic 5.3k video recording at up to 60fps, 4K video at up to 120fps, and 2.7K video at up to 240fps, along with 24.7 megapixel stills from video and 27 megapixel high-res photos. Beyond looking utterly crisp, video shots will also be buttery-smooth thanks to GoPro’s impressive Emmy® Award-winning stabilization tech – HyperSmooth 5.0 which features AutoBoost and Horizon Lock to ensure the smoothest shots yet.
The Hero12 also comes with a large image sensor that delivers an immersive, extra-large field of view, producing epic point-of-view shots that you won’t want to forget! Night effects will take your night shots to impressive levels too with effects that capture light strokes and trails to record stunning footage. Waterproof up to 33ft and built-to-last, the Hero12 is made to capture action in every scenario. Long-lasting endure battery improves camera performance in cold conditions, while extending recording times by up to 38% in moderate temps.
While its price is premium, if you’re looking for ultimate power, performance and versatility, the GoPro Hero12 is the go. If you’re set on GoPro but this is a bit out of your budget, why not consider one GoPro’s predecessors (Hero10 or Hero11) which are still fantastic actions cameras, only with slightly lesser features and video stabilisation.
2. DJI Osmo Action 4
DJI has long been a leader in drones and innovative camera technology and earlier this year, they released the Osmo Action 4 which earns a well-deserved spot on this list! This action camera was designed as the ultimate companion for adventure enthusiasts, setting a new standard in capturing and sharing your most thrilling moments. It has exceptional image quality thanks to a powerful 1/1.3" image sensor and wide f/2.8 aperture. It's capable of shooting up to 4K at 120fps and provides a 155° ultra-wide FOV.
With features like 360° HorizonSteady stabilization modes, including RockSteady 3.0/3.0+ for FPV footage and HorizonBalancing /HorizonSteady for horizontal shots, you can be sure that you'll be getitng stable and smooth footage in every scenario. Additionally, the 10-bit D-Log M colour mode provides over one billion colours and a wider dynamic range, opening up greater possibilities for post-production. An advanced colour temperature sensor also ensures true-to-life tones, whether you're shooting outdoors, indoors, or underwater, resulting in vibrant colors that leap out of the camera.
The Osmo Action 4 has an ultra-long battery life of over 2.4 hours. When it's time to recharge, the fast-charging capability will get you back up to 80% in just 18 minutes. Additionally, Osmo Action 4's battery is built to withstand low temperatures with a freeze-resistant design. With up to 150 minutes of recording time in temperatures as low as -20°C, you can confidently embark on your adventures without worrying about battery performance.
3. Insta360 Ace Pro
Spicing things up in our third spot is the new Insta360 Ace Pro – a real showstopper if you're looking for top-notch action cams. It's the first-of-its-kind action camera that proudly waves the 8K video-output flag, scoring big brownie points over its rivals. The large 1/1.3" 48MP image sensor captures more light and offers a superior dynamic range, ensuring high performance in every scenario. Additionally, PureVideo, powered by a 5nm AI chip, offers a unique, dedicated low-light shooting mode that uses a custom-trained AI neural network to denoise the footage for a clearer image in real time. Meanwhile, that big, beautiful sensor on Ace Pro captures huge levels of detail with impressive stabilization, even at night!
Its standout feature is the impressive 8K video resolution - that’s 400% more resolution than the other cams on our list! In 8K, it is capable of recording 24fps. If you’re concerned about super smooth slow-mo shots, don’t worry, you can still get crisp ultra-high-definition slow-mo here! In 4K, the Ace Pro is capable of recording up to 120fps. It also utilises Insta360's cutting-edge FlowState Stabilisation technology, ensuring your videos remain incredibly smooth, no matter how intense the action gets. Additionally, built-in Active HDR is especially helpful for shooting scenes with both bright and dark areas, providing more details in the highlights and shadows and more vibrant footage.
Want to vlog, take selfies, or experiment with angles? The robust 2.4" flip touchscreen makes composing shots a breeze. Beyond its impressive features, the camera is waterproof up to 10 metres and with an optional dive case, it can handle the pressure up to 60 metres deep. It also has a run-time of up to 90 minutes. Need some extra charge? No worries! The Ace Pro comes with fast charging. The battery charges to 80% in just 22 minutes (full charge in 46 minutes), ensuring you spend more time capturing the action and less time waiting.
4. Insta360 X3 360° Camera
Insta360’s X3 camera is a top contender when it comes to 360° cameras and it brings a lot to the table. This pocket-sized powerhouse is a nice addition to Insta360’s action cam lineup and everything is bigger compared to its predecessors – a bigger display, bigger camera sensor, and a bigger battery. The price is a bit bigger too but with all that it offers, this should come as no surprise.
With a new ½” 48MP camera sensor, the X3 has top-notch image quality and dynamic range, allowing it to capture sharp and colour-accurate footage that’ll do any scene justice. The dual 360 lens can capture 5.7k video at up to 30fps and 4K video at up to 60fps; while single-lens shooting can record 4k up to 30fps, 3.6k and 2.7k up to 60fps, and 1080p up to 60fps. For the best video quality, crisp and high-res footage won’t cut it alone. Rest assured, the X3 also delivers ultra-smooth and stabilised footage thanks to its 6-axis gyroscope and FlowState stabilisation technology. It also captures 72MP images with ease!
Additionally, the X3 has some impressive features that’ll help keep the creativity flowing. New recording modes such as 8K 360° time-lapse, 4K slow-motion at 120fps, loop recording, pre-recording lets you capture the most of your adventures without missing a beat. Insta360’s AI-powered software – available in App stores – is full of creative effects, modes, and functions that let you turn your footage into something more.
It has a rugged IPX8 design, waterproof up to 33ft, and has a built-in rechargeable 1800mAh battery for an increased shooting time. Safe to say, the X3 will showcase your adventures to the fullest, with the ability to capture everything around you, in every direction, in an impressive fashion.
5. DJI Osmo Pocket 3
While the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 isn’t technically an action camera, it shares many advantages - such as it's lightweight, compact, and discreet nature - so we thought it deserved to make the list anyway. The Pocket 3 is a complete stabilised video platform that is lightweight and compact, and perfect for content creators who want to capture the entire day. The camera sits on top of a dedicated 3-axis gimbal stabiliser for super smooth and steady shots, and easy pan-and-tilt control – superior to digital stabilisation but without the bulk that comes with a motorised stabiliser.
It features a 1-inch CMOS sensor and an ultra-wide 20mm f2.0 lens that can shoot in 4K at up to 120fps at 100 Mb/s. ActiveTrack 6.0 ensures your subjects say centered, utilising follow modes like Face-Auto Detect, Dynamic Framing, and more. Full-Pixel Fast Focusing will lock a subject into focus, even while moving. There’s a number of other smart functions and shooting modes that let you create more compelling footage, such as time lapse/hyper lapse, panorama, Story Mode, and more! Additionally, D-Log M and 10-bit color depth enabels you to effortlessly record up to one billion colors and achieve stunning visual effects during post-production.
Unfortunately, the Pocket 3 isn’t waterproof on its own, but a waterproof housing can be purchased separately. Otherwise, if you’re primarily vlogging and/or prefer taking your action to the forest or mountains (i.e. you don’t need the waterproof ruggedness of an action camera) the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is a great pocket-sized and extremely portable choice.