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Best GoPro alternatives in 2022: action cameras that might be cheaper or better!

Best GoPro alternatives: DJI Osmo Action
(Image credit: DJI)

With the best GoPro alternatives, you can often find a more affordable version of the famous action cameras that have become a household name. GoPro aren't the only people making cameras that are tough, tiny, waterproof and capable of capturing high-quality stills and videos. A number of challengers have entered the arena. 

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Which to pick? There are alternative action cameras available from the likes of DJI and Insta360, as well as ultra-cheap budget offerings from manufacturers like Akaso. We've included all these on this list, but have also tried to think more broadly about the kinds of applications people use GoPros for. So, there's also a tough compact from Olympus in the mix, as well as a super-stabilised gimbal camera for shooting smooth video. We've even included a drone!

Read more: The best GoPro accessories

Our team of expert reviewers have personally vetted every camera on this list, and all the models on here are ones we think are one hundred per cent worth their asking price. You can save a bundle here compared to the asking price of a GoPro, so it's well worth taking the time to have a close look. If you want to know more about the key features we look for when picking GoPro alternatives, scroll to the bottom of this article where we've put together a quick primer. 

Otherwise, scroll on as we count off the best GoPro alternatives you can buy. 

Best GoPro alternatives in 2022

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
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This versatile action camera offers 4K video and dual touchscreen

Specifications

Weight: 61g
Waterproof: 40m (with case)
4K video: 25fps
1080: 60fps
720: No
Stills resolution: 16MP
Battery life: Up to 90 minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Use compact or with combo unit
+
Dual touchscreen interface
+
Live streaming 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks 5K video
-
Limited without extra mods

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. 

Read our full DJI Action 2 review (opens in new tab)

DJI Osmo Action 3

(Image credit: Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)
Does DJI’s 3rd generation action camera have what it takes?

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

+
Dual touchscreen control
+
Good vlogging tool in vertical or horizontal
+
No module confusion (compared to Action 2)
+
Extreme batteries included as standard
+
Cheaper than GoPro
+
No subscription payments required

Reasons to avoid

-
12-megapixel images and 4K maximum video resolution
-
No period of cloud backup included
-
We’d like to see a start and stop timer
-
Vertical format use requires frame
-
Voice control somewhat spotty

For most adventurers, the Osmo Action 3 is the perfect balance of quality and price. Stabilized 4K video looks great and the camera can take a lot – not just rough and tumble but temperature extremes. It isn’t cheap, but the RRP is comfortably less than a similar GoPro and won’t push you towards a subscription after 12 months.

while it is a little sad to see the modular design seemingly abandoned, the Action 3 is easier to manage and more capable. The only sacrifice is the larger size and weight, but even then it still has the GoPro beat. 

The EIS remains excellent from the previous generation; RockSteady and HorizonBalancing both produce smooth video from aggressive action. For most 4K is the ideal resolution for action, especially with up to 120fps. 

The fact the Action 3’s isn’t interwoven with subscription software is one we appreciate

Read our full DJI Osmo Action 3 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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Powerful stabilization literally in your pocket – this is vlogger’s dream

Specifications

Weight: 117g
Waterproof: No
4K video: 60fps
2.7K: 60fps
1080: 60fps
720: No
Stills resolution: 16MP
Battery life: About two hours (est.)

Reasons to buy

+
Creator Combo great for vloggers
+
Small size, excellent stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Issues in low light
-
No waterproofing

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. 

Read our full DJI Pocket 2 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: James Artaius)
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An impressive underwater camera that can take a bit of rough and tumble

Specifications

Weight: 253g
Waterproof: 15m
4K video: 30fps
1080: 120fps
720: 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 340 shots (CIPA)

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely hard-wearing
+
Optical zoom lens

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey for a tough compact
-
Bulkier than a GoPro

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 our full Olympus Tough TG-6 review or Read Best waterproof cameras (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Insta360)
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If you're after a 2-in-1 action camera and 360 camera this is your best option

Specifications

Weight: Not specified
Waterproof: 4.87m (housings are available)
5.7K video: 30fps
4K video: 60fps (with optional module)
1080: 200fps
720: No
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Highly customisable
+
RAW shooting available
+
AI-powered shooting modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen

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 our full Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition review (opens in new tab) or Read Best 360 cameras (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)
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Another great GoPro alternative for vlogging on a budget

Specifications

Weight: 555g
Waterproof: 1m (housings available)
4K video: 30fps
1080: 60fps
720: 120fps
Stills resolution: 20MP
Battery life: 2-3 hours (est.)

Reasons to buy

+
Handy front-facing screen
+
Effective 6-axis stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling frame rates
-
Minimal waterproofing without housing

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.  

Read our full Akaso Brave 7 LE review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
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Capture all your action adventures from above

Specifications

Weight: 570g
Waterproof: No
4K video: 60fps
2.7K: 60fps
1080: 240fps
720: No
Stills resolution: No
Battery life: Up to 31 mins

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 4K 60fps video
+
Agile flight

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty pricey
-
Limited internal storage

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 our full DJI Mavic Air 2 review (opens in new tab)or Read Best drones for beginners (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
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GoPro's true rival offers 4K video, a front facing screen and excellent stabilization

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

+
Excellent value
+
High-quality stabilised footage
+
Useful front-facing screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Getting on a bit
-
Becoming hard to find

When DJI announced it would be released an action camera, it would have to be really good to get close to competing with GoPro's. Luckily, the Osmo Action did just that and the better news is it's even cheaper than a GoPro. Its RockSteady stabilization system provides extremely smooth video whether you're cycling, white water rafting or climbing. It doesn't matter what type of adventure you take it on, you can be sure it'll capture high-quality, professional-looking videos that you can share with friends and family. A handy front-facing screen means you can see exactly what you're shooting, it can shoot 4K60p video and produce 12MP stills.

The only downside to the Osmo Action? It's the unfortunate fact that it's a few years old now, and is getting quite hard to find with no like-for-like upgrade in sight. While some retailers still have stock, this isn't common, and is likely to stay that way. The second-hand market is also worth keeping an eye on if you're set on getting this camera rather than the great but quite different Action 2.

Read our full DJI Osmo Action review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Akaso)
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If you're on a really tight budget, this is the best GoPro alternative

Specifications

Weight: 61g
Waterproof: 40m (with case)
4K video: 25fps
1080: 60fps
720: No
Stills resolution: 16MP
Battery life: Up to 90 minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Good 2-inch touchscreen
+
Great value for 4K

Reasons to avoid

-
SD card sold separately
-
Struggles in low light

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, as we found when we subjected it to a full review, shooting pretty impressive 4K footage and sporting a handy 2-inch touchscreen – though it's worth being aware that you can’t use the touchscreen when it’s in the waterproof case, which can make control a little fiddly. 

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 our full AKASO EK7000 Pro review (opens in new tab) or Read Best budget action cameras (opens in new tab)

How we test cameras

When it comes to action cameras like the best GoPro alternatives, our team of reviewers tests them out in real-world conditions to get an idea of how well they perform. We test out all the different photo and video settings to get a feel for the kind of imagery the camera is capable of capturing, and also assess the user experience, as well as the usefulness of any connectivity features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS. Read more about how we test and review at Digital Camera World (opens in new tab)

The best GoPro alternatives: What to look for

When we put together our guide to the best GoPro alternatives we considered the weight and size of models, along with the price and actual camera features.

1. Weight and size: GoPros are small, unobtrusive and light by nature. This is so that they can be mounted in all sorts of positions when you're adventuring, and so that they don't get in the way of whatever activity you're doing. We've therefore stuck to very compact models that are versatile.

2. Price: GoPro lead the way when it comes to creating cameras for active lifestyles, but they can often be relatively expensive when first released. In this guide the models chosen should be under the price of an equivalent GoPro camera, offering you more value for money when you ditch the GoPro branding.

3. Camera features: The most important part of a GoPro alternative is that it still has decent camera specs. We looked at stabilization systems, resolution, video functions and battery life to ensure that any alternatives are up to the task.

Also read:
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Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.