The best GoPro alternatives are a great way to think outside of the box when it comes to action cameras. While GoPro may be a household name, and seem like the last word when it comes to hardy little cuboid waterproof cameras, there are actually tons of capable alternatives out there. Many of them are also available for a cut-down price, and considering that GoPro kit tends to err on the expensive side, this makes them a compelling prospect.
Depending on how you want to use your GoPro, there are different alternatives that are worth considering. In our list we've included plenty of action cameras that are essentially just cheap versions of GoPros, so if you're looking for a camera offering similar toughness and waterproofing, without the high price tag, you're in luck.
However, if you're more interested in video features and can take or leave the tough stuff, there may be other models worth a look. We've made sure to include on our list a capable camcorder and a pocketable camera for vloggers, to give you a breadth of options. If, conversely, you like the idea of waterproofing but want a zoom lens, we've put in a capable tough compact camera from Olympus that provides exactly that. Lastly, if you like the idea of a camera that can capture unique perspectives, you may want to consider a drone! We've included one on the list so that you can do just that.
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 – an innovation at the time, and one that GoPro wasted no time before stealing.
The DJI Osmo Action has only got cheaper since launch, and is definitely worth the money. It is perhaps a little old now, lacking a few of the exciting features of modern GoPro cameras, and DJI has gone in a different direction with its successor. The DJI Action 2, which you'll find further down the list, is a different beast altogether, a tiny cube of an action camera that forms the centre of a modular system. That may mean that we don't see another camera like the Osmo Action again from DJI – a shame, because it's really damn good.
• Read more: Best action cameras
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
Leading drone maker DJI forced a re-think for GoPro by introducing a front-screen to its first action camera, the Osmo Action. It took a while for the successor to arrive, but eventually, the Action 2 came along in 2021, and it was a bit of different beast. Far from just a straight Osmo Action upgrade, the Action 2 re-imagines what a GoPro-style camera can look like, starting from a tiny 39x39mm square camera and allowing the attachment – by a magnetic clip – of additional units for extra connectivity, battery life and a vlogging screen.
Its core cuboid body looks like a GoPro Session (if anyone remembers those) but its modular nature more resembles GoPro cameras like the Hero 8 onwards. The image stabilization options are also impressive, including a horizon leveller, and it has a larger 1 / 1.7” sensor to boot. Even when paired with an additional unit, it is only around the size of a GoPro (but only when paired do you get a USB socket or the option to add a microSD card).
Control is via a touchscreen; it’s a bit limited by the size of the main camera unit, though the front touch-screen attachment matches it perfectly, making vlogging easier. It's not exactly a replacement for a GoPro Hero camera, but it's a compelling alternative.
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 stabilization 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.
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
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