The best GoPro alternatives challenge the notion that GoPro is the only name in action cameras. It sure does feel that way sometimes – “GoPro” has practically become a generic term, like “hoover” before it – but the fact is that there are loads of good rivals out there, and they’re worth considering if you want an action camera (or something similar) and don’t want to pay GoPro prices.
We’ll get this out of the way though – GoPros are great. There’s a reason that our guide to the best action cameras contains several of them, just as there’s a reason why our guide to the best budget action cameras contains none of them. They are class-leading in terms of image quality, video quality, toughness and extra features like stabilisation, but it all comes at premium.
There are lots of alternatives available, depending on what you plan to do, and we’ve covered the lot in this guide. If you just want a GoPro, but cheaper, we’ve got loads of budget action cameras. If you’re looking for something with good video features and aren’t too bothered about waterproofing, then we’ve included a camcorder and a pocketable vloggers’ camera. If you’re looking for a zoom lens then we’ve also included a capable tough compact, and for those who want to take to the skies, we’ve even found room for a drone.
So let’s get to the best GoPro alternatives!
The best GoPro alternatives
When DJI got into action cameras, it knew it would have to pull out all the stops to compete with GoPro. It managed it with the Osmo Action, a highly capable little action camera that’s packed with features. The RockSteady stabilisation system provides super-smooth video in all sorts of situations – perfect for bike-riding, white-water rafting and whatever other adventure you fancy taking your action camera on! Images and videos look excellent, with the 4K 60p footage particularly impressing. What’s more, the handy front-facing screen is great for vlogging.
The DJI Osmo Action has only got cheaper since launch, and is definitely worth the money. The only real trouble is that it’s been out a few years and features have moved on – the DJI Osmo Action was made to compete with the GoPro Hero 7, and we’re now up to the Hero 9 with no new Osmo Action in sight. Come on, DJI – let’s see an update!
• Read more: Best action cameras
Sony has come muscling in at the high end of the action camera market with its RX0 cameras, which are basically pro-grade GoPro alternatives. The RX0 II sorts out a few of annoying issues with the first one – most prominently, the fact that you couldn’t record 4K video without a recorder has been fixed, and the RX0 II does it natively. Footage looks great across the board, and the ability to shoot a super-slow mo speeds of up to 1,000fps, even in Full HD, is a major tick for the RX0 II. Its 1-inch sensor is also significantly larger than the sensors in any other action camera – the only real downside is that all this tech comes at a price.
There are a wealth of cheap GoPro alternatives out there, but it’s best to be discerning, as not all are worth your time. The Akaso EK7000 Pro is a good camera across the board, shooting pretty impressive 4K footage and sporting a handy 2-inch touchscreen, though you can’t use the touchscreen when it’s in the waterproof case. The sensor struggles a little in low light, but otherwise does a decent job, and for a price this good it’s hard to complain. Though it doesn’t come with the required SD card, so if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to factor that into your costs.
• Read more: Best budget action cameras
With GoPro dominating the mainstream of action cameras, it makes sense for rivals to innovate. The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition is one of the more intriguing releases of recent years – it gets its name by virtue of the fact that it’s two cameras in one, sort of. It has two lens modules that can be swapped at will, one of which is a 360-degree camera, and the other is a straight 4K-shooting action mode. If you want, you can also pick up the Leica-made one-inch sensor mode, for quality to rival the Sony RX0 II! AI-powered shooting modes help pick out the interesting parts of 360-degree footage, and this gives you real flexibility out in the field.
• Read more: Best 360 cameras
Akaso’s budget action cameras continue to impress, with the Akaso Brave 7 LE offering loads of great features for vloggers looking to keep costs down. It shoots 4K video and has a 6-axis stabilisation system that’s surprisingly effective for a camera at this price. The front-facing screen makes it good for vlogging, though it really is a tiny model, and will probably take some getting used to. The waterproofing without housing is also pretty minimal, so bear that in mind before plunging it into the ocean! Overall though, the Akaso Brave 7 LE is a great budget option for vloggers who want a GoPro-lite.
All right, the video specs on the Vivitar DVR783HD aren’t going to blow anyone away. It only gets to 720p video resolution, and its stills are a paltry 5.1MP. But look at that price! It’s the cheapest camera on our list, and it comes bundled with bike and helmet mounts, making it a great option for cyclists who want to capture footage of their rides. There’s even a little waterproofing, though not enough to take it diving, so it’s a fantastic inexpensive holiday camera. It even squeezes in a little 1.8-inch LCD screen, where many cameras of its class and price wouldn’t bother!
If you’re looking at a GoPro more as something affordable to shoot quick video on, rather than as an action camera, then a cheap camcorder might be a better choice! The Sony HDR-CX405 is a good place to start – aggressively priced to undercut other similar camcorders, it’s capable of producing good-looking 1080p footage in a lightweight, self-contained package. Easy to use and easy to take everywhere with you, the HDR-CX405 is a good, simple choice for basic video. If you want to do anything more advanced, you might start to chafe against the lack of 4K, or the lack of a port for an external mic. But in terms of basics, this will get the job done for a good price.
• Read more: Best camcorders
Another one for those who aren’t fussed about waterproofing – the DJI Pocket 2 fits a similar vloggy niche to GoPro cameras. Indeed, it can be bought as part of an excellent Creator Combo pack, including a Mini Control Stick, a case, tripod mount, wrist strap, wireless microphone, a dead-cat windshield, a wide-angle lens and a Do-It-All Handle with a mic-input jack. This, plus the class-leading stabilisation and pocketable form factor, makes the Pocket 2 one of the most potent little cameras for vloggers. It struggles a little with noise issues in low light, so that’s something to be mindful of, but otherwise it does a really impressive job in most conditions.
One of the main restrictions of GoPros is that they have a fixed wide-angle lens, so you are locked into that distinct GoPro perspective. The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a waterproof compact that is equipped with an optical zoom lens, a 25-100mm equivalent with a maximum aperture of f/2 at the wide end. It looks and handles much more like a traditional camera than anything else on this list, making it a noticeably bulkier choice than a standard GoPro. But if this doesn’t bother you, it’s an extremely tough camera that’ll stand up to some punishment and keep right on trucking.
• Read more: Best waterproof cameras
If you’re interested in GoPros for the fact that they can get extreme footage, and go where other cameras can’t, then why not consider a drone! The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a class-leading drone, blending smooth flying capabilities with outstanding video capture. Its sensor is a little larger than you normally get in a drone, improving the quality and dynamic range of its footage, and the specialist modes like ActiveTrack and QuickShots basically do the work for you. You do have to get it registered before flying, but once that’s done, you’ll be capturing spectacular footage and crisp stills in no time.
• Read more: Best drones for beginners