Today, the best digital cameras are fast, lightweight but tech-heavy, and more affordable than ever. Action cameras are one of those cool yet practical accessories that transform your shooting style. Unlike filming with your phone, an action camera is built to withstand the drops and dings that come with downhill skiing, jumping off waterfalls, gliding downhill on a skateboard, and following your kids around on the playground. Ready to get in on the fun? These are the best action cameras available this year.
GoPro is the reigning leader of action cams. The GoPro Hero9 has a streamlined design that is more pocketable than ever. Smooth video, live streaming to social media, and distortion-free wide and SuperView captures are all a big part of GoPro's recent update. Other features we love include 5K, Hypersmooth 3.0, Timewarp 3.0, and available mods. If you want gimbal-smooth footage in a rugged, waterproof build, go with GoPro.
A budget model
It comes with a 16-megapixel camera and a 170-degree wide-angle lens, and it's known as the Dragon Touch Vision 3. This wallet-friendly camera comes with a remote, two batteries, and a ton of mounting accessories. The Vision 3 is a 4K action camera complete with a 4X zoom. When used with the waterproof case, you can take this bad boy down to 100 feet in any body of water without fear.
We're big fans of everything DJI puts out. You'll capture every angle and detail with the Ultra HD DJI Osmo Action. The DJI's 1/2.3-inch sensor pulls in stunning dynamic detail while RockSteady delivers shake-free footage, whether you're biking, sailing, or running. We love the voice control on the DJI. Use five commands to film, snap photos, or perform other tasks without the need to move your hands. This action camera shoots at 60fps and is water-resistant down to 36 feet.
New kid on the block
The new GoPro HERO10 Black hit the market with a fresh GP2 engine that makes it snappier to operate and gives you more responsive touch controls. You'll get double the frame rate, 23MP photos, and 5.3K video resolution that shoots at 60fps. If you want the latest and greatest, toss the GoPro HERO10 in your cart now.
An underwater dream
When in its casing, the AKASO EK7000 is waterproof down to 30 meters. This affordable action cam shoots 4K at 25fps and takes 12MP photos at up to 30fps. You'll get two batteries with the cam and a wrist remote that lets you control the camera from a distance. The batteries on this model last 90-minutes, and there are two included. If you shoot at the beach, surfboard, or on a boat, this is the best action cam for you.
The handheld Insta360 ONE X2 is a unique action cam that outputs 360-degree footage in 5.7K. This wide-angle action cam has built-in stabilization, a bright touchscreen, shoots up to 50fps, and has IPX8 waterproofing. If you're looking for one camera that can do it all on land and in the water, pick up the Insta360.
Ready for anything
We gave a thumbs up review of the DJI Pocket 2, extolling its small size, pro image output, and 4K video. If you want a pocket-sized, affordable shooter, this is one of the best action cameras around. It has a battery life that exceeds two hours, fits in the palm of your hand, and has built-in 3-axis motorized stabilization. The Pocket 2 is a versatile cam that does everything from vlogging to action filming well.
A cam for kids
Learning how to shoot steady action footage is a breeze with the tiny PROGRACE cam Available in five colors, the PROGRACE has a 1.77-inch LCD on the back, shoots 1080P video, and takes 5MP photos. The included rechargeable battery holds out for two hours and records everything on a micro SD card. Best of all, the PROGRACE is waterproof when used with the included case.
Shoot on land and in the water
The AKASO Brave Ultra HD takes ultra-sharp 4K footage and 20-megapixel photographs. It's also waterproof up to 100 feet and shockproof so that you can go right to the heart of the action without worry. Built-in anti-shake technology produces smooth video on land, under the water, or from your bike's handlebars. The AKASO shoots wide-angle, as well, giving you the ultimate creative control.
Capture all your memories
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What's the best action camera out this year? For everyday shooting, we can't say enough good things about the GoPro HERO9. From the streamlined design to the available mods and accessories to the smoothest shooting experience available today; this is one of the best action cameras on the block.
If you want a starter action cam for kids, grab the PROGRACE waterproof digital camera. It shoots beautiful videos and stills and is waterproof when used with the included housing.
And if you want an all-purpose camera, we recommend the DJI Pocket 2. It has pro-level video output, 3-axis stabilization, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. She's a freelance writer for iMore, Android Central, and Windows Central.