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If you are an outdoor sports enthusiast, when you first buy an action camera, what will you pay more attention to, brand? price? Or performance?
If your first idea is the GoPro just because it makes almost all headlines, you should reconsider. Other brands pack a powerful punch regarding video quality and durability, and it would be a shame to overlook themOther brands pack a powerful punch regarding video quality and durability, and it would be a shame to overlook them.
For instance, if you pay attention to the detailed Campark X30 features analyzed by photography experts, you will learn some surprising things. Why this camera in particular? It comes with a 170-degree wide-angle lens to satisfy even the most sophisticated adrenaline junkie who wants full immersion. Moreover, it is probably the best action camera in its price range, spoiling its users with impeccable design and control.
While the GoPro is famous, other action cameras offer plenty on various selection criteria. Let us analyze today the most important factors to consider when you want to buy an action camera. Do you want some tips on how to make the best of it? We have got you covered!
It is a crucial point in your purchasing decision. The video quality and resolution of your action camera should allow you to capture clear, crisp, and immersive footage or still pictures. Go for the highest resolution available today – 4K – but only if it suits your needs.
The best action cameras on the market feature 4K video (GoPro, Campark Akaso, SJCAM, etc.), but you need to consider its costs. As a beginner, you might do well with lower video quality to learn how to exploit the camera and then upgrade to a more professional model.
For best videos, you also need to factor in the place where you mount your camera (head, bike, chest, etc.) Specialists recommend you even consider a 4K portable monitor to enjoy a full experience.
Unless you’re buying an action camera simply for the sake of owning one, video resolution is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a specific brand and model. At present, 4K resolution is the highest video quality available on most high-end action cameras, followed by 1080p and 720p. The right video resolution for you depends on what you’ll be using your camera for and on what devices you foresee yourself using to view your footage. If you don’t own a 4K TV or computer monitor, getting an action camera with 4K is pointless.
Some shapes are more convenient for certain applications than others. Most action cameras are box-shaped, making them ideal for chest mounting. Others have a bullet-shaped design, which some people prefer for helmet mounting.
As for size and weight, it is best to go with the lightest and most compact model for maximum portability.
If you plan to use your action camera in rain, snow, or underwater, look for words like “waterproof” and “weatherproof” when looking at a certain model’s list of features. Some action cameras have a water-resistant exterior, while others need to be placed inside a waterproof case.
Field of view (FOV) is the area that your camera can capture at any given moment. Most action cameras have a wide-angle FOV, while others allow you to choose between wide, medium, and narrow. The camera’s FOV may or may not be critical in your decision, but you should remember that wide-angle footage shot with action cameras can sometimes look a bit distorted and have that fisheye effect.
If you are planning to use an action camera for taking still photos, you may want to take the camera’s image quality into consideration—the higher the megapixels, the higher the photo resolution. But in any case, you can still optimize your image to suit your needs.
Most action cameras offer only about one to three hours of continuous use before their battery runs out of juice. Of course, this will vary depending on usage—shooting higher-resolution videos drains your battery faster, as does having Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other connectivity features turned on.
Most people often choose devices with the longest battery life. But sometimes, a camera with a longer battery life might be more expensive, or may not have the features you are looking for. If longer battery life is not an option, make sure to look into the cost and availability of spare batteries from the other brands that you are considering.
It is ideal to have quick and easy methods to upload or transfer your video footage and images to the web, your computer, or smartphone, particularly if your camera doesn’t have a screen for preview and playback. Also, connectivity features allow you to use your camera with other add-on accessories that require Wi-Fi or other connectivity options.
You’ll need the fastest memory card you can afford to get the best performance out of your action camera. A card that doesn’t have fast enough write speed will cause dropped frames, resulting in jerky footage.
A Class 10 card, therefore, is the minimum you’ll likely need. Preferably the camera you choose will support the UHS-II standard, giving you write speeds of up to 312MB/s in the most high-end cards.
If you are planning to use your camera for surfing, you’ll need the right mount to secure your camera on your surfboard—and not all brands will have that type of mount or the proper accessories you may need.
Check each brand’s website (or the store you are buying from) to see what accessories and mounting options are included and which ones are available as add-ons for each brand and model you are considering. That way, you won’t end up buying a camera and finding out later that you cannot buy a certain accessory that is crucial for the sport or activity you’ll use it for.
Consider each of the factors above, read reviews online, and most of all, do your research. As long as you do them all, you should be able to pick the perfect action camera for you.