Are you thinking about filming your own action videos? Chances are you don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on equipment at the moment, so you’re looking for some budget action cameras.
Contrary to popular belief, budget action cameras work great. And when compared to more expensive models, such as GoPro, the video quality is about the same. In this article, we’ll be reviewing some of our favourite budget action and sports cameras. Whether you want to make videos for a personal hobby or for business, these cameras are worth looking into.
It’s also worth noting we chose these cameras not only for budget buyers but also because they have about the same features as you would find on brand name action cameras. Of course, these are lesser-known brands, mostly from China, but the features rival the major camera brands, for a fraction of the price.
Budget cameras and lower price range
Our selection of the best action camera available in the UK market in 2019!
Action Cam Buyers Guide: What You Need to Know
I know, narrowing down your options is a struggle. That’s why I put together this quick buyer guide section to help make your decision easier. Now, before you buy an action camera, there are a few things you need to consider…
Planning a vacation and already have some activities lined up? You’ll want a camera that works well for those activities. For example, if you’re planning on scuba-diving or going deep into the ocean, then you’ll need a camera with a good waterproof depth. Consider what you’ll use the camera for before you buy it.
Narrow it Down by Features
In order to save money, it’s best to choose a camera that has the features you’re planning to use. For example, if you’re a vLogger, then you should consider a camera that can support external microphones and selfie sticks.
Similarly, if you’re a fan of slow-motion shots, look for cameras that have that feature, or at least can shoot at frame rates higher than 90 frames a second. Really think about the features you need, otherwise, you might spend more money on a camera with extra features, but you won’t even use half of them. One feature you might want to look out for is video stabilization, it can make a big difference in your videos.
One of the biggest concerns regarding cameras is battery life. The last thing you want is to run out of battery and miss capturing a once in a lifetime shot. Most budget cameras use AA batteries, and I found these to be convenient because you can quickly swap them out.
But if you get a camera with their own unique batteries, you’ll either have to buy extra batteries or make sure to charge them whenever you’re not using the camera. It’s also important to keep in mind battery capacity doesn’t always equal longer battery life, some cameras just consume more power than others. Generally, keep an eye out for cameras that have a good battery life, as that will make your life a lot easier.
Good Customer Support
You’re probably worried that most of the budget cameras won’t have good customer support. While that can be true, I noticed there’s still always some level of customer support. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research into the company to see if people are satisfied with the customer support. The last thing you want is to order a product that doesn’t work and there’s no way to get a replacement.
Action Sports Camera FAQ
Are All Action Cameras Water-Proof?
When it comes to action cameras and water, it’s always important to assume most cameras are not waterproof unless inside a case. Although some models are waterproof as is, sometimes you might forget to tightly close the ports. Always use a case before you use the camera in the water.
Are They Better Than GoPro?
While I wouldn’t say any of these models are better than GoPro cameras, during a side by side comparison of image and video quality, it’s almost impossible to tell a difference. In fact, some people said the colours on budget cameras are better than GoPro. Of course, GoPro does include some extra features, such as support for higher frame rates. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about which one is better, but rather which one has the features I need, at a reasonable price.
What Type of Mounts and Accessories Can You Use?
The good news is most budget action cameras include several accessories, and most of them are compatible with GoPro and other famous brands. In other words, accessories designed for GoPro cameras, such as helmet mounts, bicycle bar straps, and whatnot, will work with these cameras too. To be safe, it’s always best to check first.
What About Companion Apps?
Most of these cameras can be controlled remotely through an app, but the app is more like a universal app that works with most Wi-Fi cameras. For example, iSmart DV app works with most of the cameras mentioned in this list. In short, don’t expect the best app experience.
What SD Card Do You Need?
Generally, the majority of action cameras will use mini-SD cards with a maximum supported size of 32 GB. The exact SD support varies depending on the model, some can support 64 GB SD cards or more, but most of them only support 32 GB.
Can I Use a Microphone with The Camera?
While most of the models mentioned here don’t have microphone support, one does, the AKASO EK7000 and other models in this product line. But you need to know there’s no way to use a microphone while underwater or in a case, it has to be open, which adds a damage risk. Overall, if you’re not planning to do anything too crazy and the camera is fastened in place, the risk should be minimal.