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The best action cameras in 2022: action cams you can take just about anywhere

Included in this guide:

best action cam
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once upon a time, the best action cam was pretty much just GoPro's but that is no longer the case. While it's true that some of the best GoPro cameras do dominate the market, there are lots of other brands out there that offer more affordable alternatives. DJI, Insta360 and Akaso have all released action cameras to compete with the GoPro and some of them will save you a pretty penny. 

Having said all that, GoPro action cameras are pretty unbeatable which is why they take the top two spots on out list. The GoPro Hero 10 Black is a tiny camera that packs a massive punch with 5.3K 60p video recording, it's waterproof down to 10m and it can pull 19.6MP Jpeg's from your video. It also has a front-facing screen which was a popular feature on the DJI Osmo Action and the GoPro Hero 9 as it makes it super-easy to record yourself.

DJI is not the only rival on the scene, however. There's a lot of crossover in this market with other areas like the best 360º cameras, and cameras from the likes of Insta360 are often capable of shooting in action-camera conditions. This company now makes the modular Insta360 One R Twin Edition, which includes both an action camera module and a 360 module. Of course, GoPro has hit back with its own 360º models, most recently the GoPro Max, so you really are spoiled for choice

The fact of the matter is that the best action camera will be different for most users. Depending on whether you need the most resolution, the best waterproofing, the hardiest shockproofing or just the lowest price tag, there's a wealth of choice out there. That's why it's great to have a good guide to the best action cameras out there, so you can make an informed choice.

We've scoured the internet for our favorite models. We've taken into account all sorts of different factors when making our picks, including price, so you can be sure you're getting a good deal. We'll never include a camera we don't think is worth buying. 

If you're more video-focused, you may also want to check out our guide to the best cameras for vlogging. Alternatively, we have a list of the best waterproof cameras for those who want more options for shooting under the sea.

But for now, let's get started with our top picks of the best action cams right now…

The best action cameras in 2022

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: GoPro)

The best action cam money can buy with 5.3K video and 23MP stills

Specifications
Weight: 153g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 60fps
4K video: up to 120fps
1080P: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 23MP
Battery life: 1-32hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Faster user interface+Increased frame rates+Hydrophobic lens coating
Reasons to avoid
-Incremental upgrade on Hero9 Black-Bigger than the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black-Not compatible with older batteries

Welcome to the newest and best GoPro around. Though launched without much fanfare and looking identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, the Hero10 Black is nevertheless a significant upgrade. That’s all down to its use of the all-new GP2 processor, which powers both a speedy user interface, doubles the frame rates and fuels the best image stabilization tech yet. 

The highlight is 5.3K video with 60 frames per second, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization – in all modes – alongside 23MP photos and best-ever low-light performance. Add a nifty cable for super-quick camera-to-app content transfer and auto-upload of videos and photos to the cloud while it recharges and the Hero10 Black was worth the wait. 

(Image credit: GoPro)

The 2019 version is now excellent value and it's still a pretty impressive camera

Specifications
Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: up to 30fps
4K video: up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Front-facing screen+20MP photos  +14.7 MP grabs from video
Reasons to avoid
-Larger physical size than other GoPros-5K video takes up a lot of memory

GoPro’s first action camera to feature a vlogging-style front-facing screen is now better value than ever. It allows you to frame yourself while vlogging, when used as a webcam, or just for selfies. The resolution got a boost too, with 20 megapixel stills capability and a 5K video shooting. The latter will be overkill for many, but it also allows 14.7 megapixel grabs from video, which could be hard to resist. 

It’s also got a larger 2.27-inch display than the older GoPro Hero8 Black, super-smooth Hypersmooth 3.0 video stabilization, TimeWarp 3.0 for handheld time-lapses, a travel case. There’s also a Max Lens Mod accessory that will bring GoPro Max-style features like 360º horizon lock and an ultra-wide 155º Max SuperView mode. 

• Read full GoPro Hero9 review

DJI Action 2

(Image credit: DJI)

The leading brand of drones make a pretty decent action cam too

Specifications
Weight: 57g
Waterproof: 10m (or 60m in housing)
4K video: up to 120fps
1080: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: Over 1 hour (compact), or over 2 (combo)
Reasons to buy
+Use compact or with combo unit+Dual touchscreen interface+Live streaming 
Reasons to avoid
-Internal storage in camera (microSD cards need secondary unit) -Secondary unit must be attached to charge or use memory cards

Leading drone maker DJI forced a re-think for GoPro by introducing a front-screen to their first action camera; a handy innovation for vloggers. The new Action 2 puts even more choice in the user’s hands, coming as a tiny 39x39mm square camera core which can be operated alone or attached (by a magnetic clip) to other units which offer more connectivity, battery life and a front-facing screen. The camera has a 1 / 1.7” sensor and RockSteady 2.0 and HorizonSteady image stabilization. Even paired, it is only around the size of a GoPro, though on the downside the rear touchscreen is only the size of the main camera unit. The modular system is strong, and has immense gadget value (though can get a bit hot when charging), while DJI’s Mimo app makes control via your phone painless. There is an interesting new world of accessories (as well as adaptors for the traditional ‘GoPro’ style ones), making this a hard option to overlook.

(Image credit: GoPro)

Released in 2019, the GoPro Hero 8 can still shoot 4K 60p

Specifications
Weight: 126g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate
Reasons to buy
+Super image stabilization+Crisp, smooth 4K video+Built-in acccessory mounts
Reasons to avoid
-Screen is smaller than DJI

It’s now over two years old, but if you’ve no need for 5K or a front-facing screen, the smaller, lighter GoPro from 2019 could be perfect for you. 

A key difference from its predecessors is that there are fold-out feet that means that you have a camera mount built-in. And then you can accessorize the Hero8 Black even more with a new series of beautifully designed optional extras called Mods; we like the Display Mod, which adds a second monitor that is perfect for vloggers (something built-in to both the Hero9 Black and Hero10 Black). These add-ons cost you more, but with a price-cut the Hero8 Black seems a good value option given its excellent 4K video and impressive image stabilization system. 

• Read full GoPro Hero8 review

(Image credit: DJI)

The original DJI action cam complete with a front-facing screen

Specifications
Weight: 134g
Waterproof: 11m
4K video: up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 1-2.25hrs (est)
Reasons to buy
+Front color LCD monitor is great for vlogging+Excellent image stabilization+Price
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't have all the accessory options of the GoPro range-The app needs some work

DJI is best known for producing some of the best drones around (and to a lesser degree for its handheld gimbal camera stabilizers) - but the Osmo Action was its first action camera. It looked and felt like it has been made to be a direct competitor to the GoPro Hero8 Black – and does a real good job of giving the GoPro a run for its money. We particularly like the addition of a full-color front LCD display – which makes it one of the best action cams for selfie sequences or vlogging - and making it an affordable rival to the GoPro Hero9 and GoPro Hero10.

(Image credit: Insta360)

An action cam and 360-degree camera all-in-one

Specifications
Weight: Not specified
Dimensions: 72 x 48 x 32.4 mm
Waterproof: 16 feet (optional housings also supported)
Stills resolution: Not specified
Video resolution: 5.7K
Memory: MicroSD
Mount: Bespoke mounting bracket
Battery life: Not specified
Reasons to buy
+4K and 360º lens options+RAW photos and 100mbps video+Optional 1-inch action cam mod
Reasons to avoid
-Small-ish touchscreen

Released at the start of 2020, the Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition is a very enticing proposition indeed, because it can be used both as an action camera and a 360 camera. Essentially it's called "Twin Edition" because it's two cameras in one, coming with two lens modules that are easy to swap between. One turns it into a straight 4K action camera, the other gives it 360º-shooting capability, and it's got loads of extra features too, including 5m of waterproofing (which can be extended with a special housing). AI-powered algorithms also augment the various shooting modes, and particularly impressive Auto Frame  mode, which can automatically find and pick out the action in a 360º video. There is also 1-inch Leica camera mod gives you another option – you can swap out the 360 module for a high-quality action cam. The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition is a great buy if you want to take your action camera footage in all sorts of different directions.

Read more: Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition review

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony RX0 Mark II

The RX0 Mark II gets much needed internal 4K recording

Specifications
Weight: 110g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: 30p
1080: up to 1000fps
720: up to 1000fps
Stills resolution: 15.3MP
Battery life: 60 mins
Reasons to buy
+Large Exmor 1-inch sensor+Super-slow motion available+Front-facing selfie/vlogging screen
Reasons to avoid
-Ridiculously expensive

The Sony RX0 II is expensive but comes with features that make it definitely worth considering. Being able to shoot short bursts of slo-mo video at up to 1,000fps is one of them – you certainly can't do that with a GoPro. And while the RX0 was capable of producing 4K UHD footage only to an external recorder, the RX0 Mark II can record 4K internally (and about time too). The 1-inch sensor produces beautiful images, whether shooting stills or video, expands the camera's low-light efficacy and provides gorgeous dynamic range. It's an expensive proposition to be sure, but if you need gorgeous slow-motion footage then there's nothing better and you're looking for ultimate image quality above all else, this is one the best action cameras to get right now. The Sony RX0 II also gets a flip-action front-facing screen, which makes it much more effective as a premium-quality vlogging and content creation tool.

(Image credit: Akaso )

A twin-screen action camera that won't break the bank

Specifications
Weight: 61g
Waterproof: 3ft/1m (131ft/40m with supplied casing)
4K video: At 30fps
1080p video: At 60/30fps
720p video: 240/120/60fps
Stills resolution: 20 megapixels
Battery life: Up to 90 minute per charge
Reasons to buy
+Front LCD screen+4K video capture+6-axis stabilization+Low price
Reasons to avoid
-Needs to be put in case to be fully waterproof

If you need a front screen for vlogging - or to ensure you stay in shot as you film yourself skiing down a slope with a selfie stick - then this is a bargain buy. It has the same killer feature found on the GoPro Hero 9 and the DJI Osmo Action, but the second screen comes at a fraction of the cost. You get 4K shooting and 20 megapixel stills - plus a capable 6-axis image stabilization system. There is a good range of accessories in the box too - including a second battery, mounts and an underwater housing. Note, though, that unlike with many rivals you need to use this housing before you take your action cam into the water.

Read more:

The 30 best GoPro accessories
The best waterproof cameras
The best 360 cameras
The best travel cameras

Jamie Carter

Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post, and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines. 


As the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Meteor Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and blood moon and more.


He also brings a great deal of knowledge on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.