Best Action Cameras | 2024

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The best action cameras are a fantastic thing to have, for any photographer or videographer. Light enough to slip into a pocket, powerful enough to capture fantastic content, and tough enough to stand up to incredible punishment, these are incredible do-it-all cameras. Perfect for adventurous types, the best action cameras are waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof.

Many these days capture 4K video and high-quality stills, giving you a range of options for what you shoot. Recent models have also started to include stabilisation software, for smoother footage and sharper stills, and many also have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity that allows them to hook up to a smart device for file transfer or even remote control.

There are loads of great action cameras out there from manufacturers such as DJI, Sony, Insta360 and more. Some use the standard wide-angle lens that is often associated with action cameras, while others can shoot 360-degree content to truly immerse your viewers. We’ve included a broad swathe of types in our guide to the best action cameras you can get right now.

To help you navigate the world of action cameras, we’ve divided our guide into sections. Click the headings below to jump straight to your section of choice.

Best action camera

These are the action cameras that offer the best all-around experience. While we’ve divided the rest of this guide up into categories, featuring cameras with different strengths and specialities, we’re starting off with the cameras that are simply good for everything.

A good action camera should be small but mighty. Diminutive enough to fit in the palm of a hand, but capable of capturing high-quality footage in resolutions of 4K and greater. It should be at least somewhat waterproof, potentially with the ability to extend the waterproofing via compatible housings, and hardy enough to survive being dropped, squashed or hit with a sudden impact.

There are also some more recent features that have become essential on modern action cameras. A big one is stabilisation – since the footage captured using action cameras tends to involve a lot of motion, an optical stabilisation system that makes it smooth and pleasant to view is a must. Here are our picks of the best action cameras right now.

GoPro HERO12 Black

£299.00 View

Pros: 

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) video & photo
  • Double the battery life!
  • Offers LOG for colour grading
  • HyperSmooth 6.0

Cons:

  • Not as many upgrades as you might want

Yes, GoPro takes centre stage once more on the best action cameras list. The GoPro HERO12 takes on the great features of its predecessor and steps it up with some new additions. Along with HDR video and photos and the option to colour grade with LOG, the HERO12’s biggest upgrade is it offers double the battery life. Naturally, this is perfect for you action enthusiasts who just need that bit more time to capture what’s in front of you. 

We also have GoPro’s HyperSmooth 6.0 image stabilisation and AutoBoost that offer and genuinely unbeatable image stabilisation - it’s pretty incredible. The HERO12 maintains the stunning image-capturing capabilities of the 11 including the 27MP 1/1.9-inch size chip that can shoot the hugely versatile 5.3K video in an 8:7 aspect ratio. 

GoPro HERO11 - Black

£249.00 View

Pros:

  • Larger, upgraded sensor 
  • Versatile 8:7 aspect ratio
  • Class-leading stabilisation

Cons:

  • Not great in low light
  • DJI has better mounts

While it may have felt inevitable that this would top our list, the GoPro HERO11 is not a run-of-the-mill incremental update. Still available for a tempting price, the HERO11 is a savvy buy for anyone who wants to make a saving on a top-quality action camera. GoPro has made some clever upgrades to its winning formula of a waterproof cuboid action camera, and while the basics are the same, under the bonnet there are a fair few differences worth paying attention to.

Chief among them is the new sensor. The 1/1.9-inch size chip sports a resolution of 27MP, which is great for stills, but one of the most interesting upgrades is its 8:7 aspect ratio, compared to 4:3 on the older models. You might think this doesn’t sound too exciting, but 5.3K video in 8:7 is a hugely versatile format – very easy to crop into for TikTok-friendly vertical videos. Elsewhere, you’ve got HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilisation with a new Horizon Lock feature – much improved compared to the previous HERO10. Eleven models in and still innovating, GoPro continues to come out on top.

DJI Osmo Action 3 Standard Combo

£209.00 View

Pros:

  • Comprehensive waterproofing
  • Fantastic magnetic mounting system
  • Front-facing touchscreen

Cons:

  • Video res tops out at 4K
  • And stills at 12MP

After an experimental phase with the modular DJI Action 2, the Osmo Action 3 represents something of a return to basics. So the form factor will be familiar to anyone who’s ever encountered a GoPro, as will the general look of the footage you get from it. But this is no bad thing, and indeed the Osmo Action 3 offers a fair few things that a GoPro doesn’t.

For starters, it’s got some of the best waterproofing in the business. Natively waterproof down to depths of 52 feet (15.8m), it considerably outstrips the HERO11’s 33 feet (10m). Furthermore, we love the clever quick-release magnetic mounting system that DJI has devised for its action cameras, which makes it super-easy to attach and detach at a moment’s notice. Finally, it’s a small point, but the front-facing screen being touch-sensitive is hugely helpful for vlogging – this is another feature the HERO11 lacks. 

Best 4K action cameras

Long gone are the days when 4K video was solely the province of professional filmmakers. Nowadays, users of all experience levels can get in on the action, with 4K resolution more accessible and affordable than ever. Action cameras have been no exception to the 4K boom, and it’s practically obligatory that a contemporary action camera will shoot video in at least 4K – and potentially even higher resolutions like 5.3K and beyond.

Therefore, for this section, we’ve picked action cameras that not only shoot 4K but are generally well-optimised for the videographer. With gorgeous video quality, smooth stabilisation, sophisticated audio setups and more, these are the action cameras for those who want to wow people with their footage.

So, for the adventurous videographers and intrepid filmmakers, these are our top picks of the best 4K action cameras you can buy…

Pros:

  • Outstanding video quality
  • Excellent in-camera stabilisation
  • Exciting modular concept

Cons:

  • Small screen
  • Stabilisation not as good as GoPro or DJI

The Insta360 ONE RS is proof of concept for Insta360’s clever modular action camera system. Swappable modules allow the user to easily transform the ONE RS from a 360-degree camera to a straight action camera with serious 4K chops. 

You can buy the camera in different configurations according to what you want to shoot – here, we’ve recommended the Insta360 ONE RS Boosted 4K Edition. You get a 48MP 1/2-inch sensor that can produce 48MP stills and 6K video, with the option of a classically cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

Flowstate stabilisation and in-camera horizon levelling help keep footage smooth. It’s not quite on the level of GoPro or DJI’s stabilisation systems, but still impresses. Also, even amid all the modular madness, Insta360 hasn’t forgotten that this is an action camera at heart. The Insta360 ONE RS has an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning it can dive down to 16 feet (4.87m), and its durable build with lens protection means it can absorb shocks and bumps.

DJI Pocket 2

£279.00 View

Pros:

  • Exceptionally good stabilisation
  • Sophisticated built-in mics
  • 4K 60p HDR video

Cons:

  • Requires separate case to be waterproof
  • Not shockproof or freezeproof

For filmmakers and videographers who like to keep things light, the DJI Pocket 2 is an ideal solution. It may not look much like an action camera, or for that matter like most cameras in general, but its unusual form factor is due to the fact that it’s a gimbal camera. This means it has a sophisticated 3-axis stabilisation system built in, meaning you can capture smooth hand-held video even while moving. For run-and-gun vlogging, this is perfect.

The Pocket 2 may be small in size, but there’s nothing small-time about being able to capture 4K HDR video at a frame rate of 60p. The built-in audio setup is surprisingly comprehensive too, with DJI Matrix Stereo technology that lets you capture surround-sound audio. Of course, if you do want to use an external mic for crystal-clear sound, the DJI Pocket 2 lets you connect a wireless one, or wire one in with a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter.

Ricoh Theta Z1 51GB 360 4K Camera

£1,029.00 View

Pros:

  • High-quality 4K 360° capture
  • Larger imaging sensors
  • Good app integration

Cons:

  • May be more tech than you need
  • No add-on storage options

This is the flagship camera in the Ricoh Theta series of 360-degree action cameras, with serious 4K capabilities. Equipped with the latest in image stabilisation technology, the Ricoh Theta Z1 51GB 360 4K Camera is able to produce super-slick 360-degree videos in pristine 4K. The results from this camera look absolutely incredible, thanks in part to its 1-inch back-illuminated sensor, which is notably larger than the 1/2.3-inch sensors you often find in action cameras.

While the original Z1 only had 19GB of internal storage, this beefed-up version boasts 51GB, which is much more useful for the high data demands of 4K and 360-degree content. With a 1.0-inch back illuminated CMOS image sensor, and dual wide-angle lenses with 14 elements in 10 groups apiece, the emphasis here is very much on quality. Use the THETA+ app and you can edit your content directly, for easy and immediate sharing.

Best for motorcycles

Shooting POV motorcycle footage is one of the most exciting ways to use an action camera. There are loads of different ways to mount them, including helmet mounts, chest mounts, handlebars and much more. Many of the cameras we’ve already listed would be perfectly suited for motorcycle shooting, and these are definitely worth a look if you’re aiming to produce this kind of video content.

Below, we’ve listed a couple more action cameras to suit the motorcycle shooter. These are affordable models that offer a comprehensive feature-set to suit biking, with plentiful mounting options, sophisticated stabilisation systems for keeping the bike-borne footage smooth and pleasing to watch. And of course, these cameras need to be tough – able to take a few knocks and not mind a spray of mud or rain. Here are our suggestions of the best action cameras for a motorcycle.

GoPro HERO12 Black

£299.00 View

Pros:

  • Excellent image quality with highly effective stabilisation
  • Better-than-ever battery life
  • Can connect to mic via Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Fairly minor upgrade over HERO11
  • Competitors offer more accessory options

Yes, it’s true. We have placed the HERO12 in this guide for a second time. But with good reason. The latest and greatest edition of the best action camera ever made, the GoPro HERO12 Black is an obvious choice for anyone looking to document their adventures, be it mounted on a harness or motorcycle helmet. It keeps a lot of the welcome upgrades from the HERO11, including the larger-format sensor that allows for easy cropping of footage into different aspect ratios. 

Upgrades to the HERO12 Black are fairly minor, but welcome, especialy for those using it on a vehicle. The Enduro battery has received a boost, and is now rated to last for up to 70 minutes of 5.3K video recording. Alternatively, you can drop the resolution to Full HD 1080p and keep the party going for up to 2.5 hours. The HERO12 Black is also now compatible with wireless Bluetooth microphones, and there’s a standard tripod mount. Serious video heads will also welcome the addition of 10-bit colour depth and a Log profile, but this may not be a concern when mounted to your motorcycle.

Insta360 X3

£399.00 View

Pros:

  • 6-axis gyroscope stabilisation
  • AI-powered automated editing
  • Clever use of 360° perspective

Cons:

  • Takes some getting to grips with
  • Videos require processing before sharing

One of the newer 360° action cameras, the Insta360 X3 is a very clever proposition for motorcycle and other action shooters – even if you aren’t all that interested in 360-degree image-making. This is because the big sensor captures 5.7K 360 video with Active HDR that can be easily cropped into – so you can navigate your 360° footage, identify the portion where the action is happening, and easily crop and process it into a TikTok-friendly 9:16 format, or a 4:5 ratio for Instagram. 

Choose the single-lens mode, and you have 4K footage at your disposal – sharp and ultra-wide, for dramatic views. If you want to make a timelapse of your motorcycle rides or whatever else, you also have plenty of options, with up to 8K resolution available. Loop Recording mode is another useful option for transforming the X3 into a dashcam.

Best cheap action cameras

Not everyone has loads of cash to spend on an action camera. With the cost of living getting higher, it can be harder to justify spending a wad of cash on something like an action camera. That’s why we’ve put together a few suggestions for the action cameras that won’t break the bank. There are a couple of different ways to pick up a cheap action camera. You can either look at entry-level models that shave off a few high-end features for a lower price tag. Or, alternatively, you can go back a few generations and pick up the flagship action cameras of yesteryear.

We’ve given you both options for this section. While the cameras we’ve listed are available new, another tip for saving some cash on an action camera is to buy Used. If you don’t mind the possibility of a few cosmetic scratches and dings, a used action camera can give you all the functionality of a new one at a fraction of the price. 

DJI Osmo Action 4 Standard Combo

£289.00 View

Pros:

  • Improved larger sensor
  • f2.8 aperture for great low-light performance
  • 10-bit colour and Log profile

Cons:

  • Lower top resolution than rivals

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is probably the biggest serious rival to GoPro right now, and there are many arguments in its favour as the best action camera you can buy. With an upgraded 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor and a lens with an f2.8 aperture, the DJI Osmo Action 4 addresses one of the problems that consistently plagues action cameras – low-light performance. While it’s not a match for a mirrorless camera with a much larger sensor, the DJI Osmo Action 4 does an impressive job of preserving detail when light levels get low.

Elsewhere, you’ve got classic DJI Osmo features, like that highly effective RockSteady stabilisation, impressive battery life and a huge range of compatible accessories. The top-end resolution is perhaps a touch low – 4K for video, 10MP for stills – but for most purposes, this is going to be just fine.

Best action camera accessories

When it comes to action cameras, the camera itself is only a small part of the experience! Every brand has a healthy range of accessories that allow you to customise your action camera according to your needs. From mounts to underwater housings, there’s plenty out there – so much so that we don’t have space to list everything. Instead, we’ve picked a few favourites for the major brands to give you an idea of what’s on offer. However, we strongly encourage browsing for yourself and seeing the kinds of action camera accessories that are out there. 

One thing to remember with action camera accessories is that compatibility is key. Things like housings tend to be quite specifically compatible with different makes and models of action cameras, so it’s worth checking and double-checking that an accessory you have your eye on will work with your specific camera. 

GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp

£54.00 View

Pros:

  • Useful quick-release functionality
  • Works with most GoPro models
  • Strong grip

Cons:

  • May vibrate on moving objects
  • Neck could be longer

A flexible, grippable mounting arm, the GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp is deceptively simple. It may not seem like there’s much to it, but it opens up possibilities for mounting your GoPro to all sorts of objects, like tree branches, poles, fences and more. The jaws themselves can grip on objects as wide as 5cm, or as narrow as 0.6cm – about the width of a pencil. 

The GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp works with pretty much any recent GoPro, including the newest HERO 11 models., and is backwards compatible with older cameras like the HERO5 and HERO5 Session. It’s also compatible with GoPro’s quick-release system, meaning you can quickly detach the camera from the mount if necessary. Be aware that movement may cause vibration in the arm, so it may not be one to use as a handlebar mount.

DJI Osmo Action 3 Multifunctional Battery Case

£55.00 View

Pros:

  • Incredibly useful multi-device charging
  • Stores extra microSD cards
  • Fast-charges three batteries at once

Cons:

  • Osmo Action 3 only
  • Extra batteries sold separately

The Multifunctional Battery Case is a hugely useful accessory for the DJI Osmo Action 3 – so much so that we’d strongly recommend anyone picking up one of these cameras should get the case along with it. Being able to store and fast-charge three batteries at once is such a useful contingency to have when you’re out on a shoot, and being able to also slot a couple of spare microSD cards in there too is the icing on the cake. Never running out of storage or power on a shoot? We can get behind that!

What’s more, the aptly named Multifunctional Battery Case can also charge up other devices like smartphones and tablets. This is a highly welcome source of peace of mind – there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a hard day’s location shooting and realising your phone is about to die.

Insta360 X4 Dive case

£97.99 View

Pros:

  • Amazing 50m depth rating
  • Anti-fog inserts
  • Structured for 360° shots

Cons:

  • Button functionality requires careful alignment
  • … but not much otherwise!

Radically extending the underwater capabilities of the excellent Insta360 X4, this dive case can go down to an amazing 50m of water depth. That's enough for serious scuba-diving, and makes the Insta360 X4 Dive Case an essential purchase for anyone with serious underwater photography or videography aspirations.

Thanks to its domed structure, the X4 Dive Case can be used to create seamless 360° imagery, with none of the issues and artefacts that can come from stitching images. The case comes with anti-fog inserts to prevent fogging of the dome, and it also compensates for water refraction to prevent warped images. Also, if you take care to align the camera in the case correctly, you can still make use of the physical buttons when underwater, making it much easier to use and operate the camera. Like all the best accessories, this case opens up a whole new world of possibilities with the Insta360 X4.

How do we decide?


Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers. We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media. And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy