Best Action Cameras 2018

Editor's choice

Best Overall

GoPro Hero6 Black

GoPro's newest flagship camera looks the same as the Hero5 (waterproof to 33 feet; rear 2-inch color touch-screen LCD; voice control) but a new GP1 processor lets the camera capture 4K video at 60 fps, and 1080p video at 240 fps.

Product Use case Rating
GoPro Hero6 Black Best Overall 9
Kodak PixPro SP1 Best Budget Action Camera 9
GoPro Hero5 Session Most Compact Action Camera N/A
Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Best for Data Junkies 8
Best Budget Action Camera
Kodak PixPro SP1
Most Compact Action Camera
GoPro Hero5 Session
Best for Data Junkies
Garmin Virb Ultra 30

Action cameras aren’t just ruggedized and protected against the elements, they offer ultrawide viewing angles to capture the full experience of ski runs, skateboard tricks, snorkeling adventures or just pet antics (several companies make harnesses for your dog). And after testing a number of action cameras in a variety of conditions, including a mountain biking trip and a rafting adventure, we have action cam recommendations for every budget.

The GoPro Hero6 ($399) is our pick for the best action camera overall, because it offers the best video quality, is waterproof to 33 feet without requiring a protective shell, has a built-in touch screen and responds to voice commands. If you're looking for something a bit less expensive, the Kodak PixPro SP1 is our current favorite budget action cam. For half the price of the Hero6, the PixPro SP1 features full HD video recording, the ability to shoot 14-MP stills, and the same 33-feet of water resistance. You may also want to consider the Hero5 Session, which is $20 more, but can record 4K video.

Looking for a camera that can capture everything around you? Check out our best 360-degree cameras.

Latest News & Updates (March 2018)

  • GoPro has a new budget action camera. Simply called the Hero, this $199 camera has the same design as the Hero5 and Hero6 Black (including a color touchscreen, voice control, and water resistance to 33 feet), but shoots at a max resolution of 1440p/60 fps and takes 10MP stills.
  • If your video footage leaves your viewers with a feeling of motion sickness, it’s often due to the fact that most action cams aren’t great at counteracting jitter, the shaking you’ll see when shooting hand-held video. Removu, which makes a variety of accessories for GoPros and other imaging devices, has come out with the K1, an action cam that comes with a gimbal, a powerful stabilizer accessory pros use to capture smooth, jitter-free footage. The new all-in-one action cam/gimbal can shoot 4K-resoluion video (at 30fps) with its f/2.8 lens and captures footage on a 1/2.3-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor. In addition, it can capture 1080 slow-motion video (120fps) as well as time-lapse movies, burst photo modes, panoramas, and more. It also has an LCD, a 3.5mm mic input, can connect to a mobile app, and unlike most action cams, includes a variety of buttons and controls to quickly changes settings on the action cam. The K1 costs $429.
  • Sony's DSC-RX0 combines the features of its RX-series cameras (a 15.3 MP6 Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, BIONZ X processor and a wide-angle ZEISS Tessar T 24mm F4 fixed lens) in a compact (2.4 x 1.6 x 1.2) case that weighs 3.9 ounces. The camera can record super slow motion (up to 960 fps), and can capture images in RAW format. It's waterproof to up to 33 feet, and can be dropped from as much as 6.5 feet. But it won't be cheap: The RX0 costs $700.

MORE: Which GoPro is Right For You?

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  • sudragor6
    What about the Xiaomi Yi? Are they considered better or worse than Gopro?

    I've heard conflicting things abvout low light shooting and overall perfromance and thinking of buying one.