Action Camera Buying Guide

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Travel Writer

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Explore this guide to learn how to and potentially find the best action camera for when you travel.

I’ve always wanted to find the best action camera. That led me to build this guide on finding the best one.

While reading, you’ll find the following:

Here’s where the fun begins.

1. Durability

A durable camera withstands rough handling and harsh conditions. It means you’ll have a reliable companion to capture every adventure. A durable camera also saves you money by lasting longer, giving you more memorable experiences.

For instance, opt for a camera with high waterproof depth if you’re around water. The feature determines how far underwater your device can handle before it fails.

You’ll usually find cameras with a max depth of 30 ft (9 m). However, some can sink to 150 ft (45 m).

If you want extra durability for your action camera, consider investing in accessories like cases.

2. Resolution & Frames

Resolution matters when shopping for an action camera for traveling. Higher resolutions deliver clearer, more detailed images.

ResolutionBest for Recording
720p (HD)Casual videos, social media
1080p (Full HD)General use, sports
4K (Ultra HD)Professional quality, detail
Different action camera resolutions and their best uses.

From casual videos to professional quality, finding the right resolution ensures your memories look great.

  • 24 FPS: Ideal for a cinematic look, but not for fast-paced action
  • 30 FPS: Standard video frame rate, suitable for most uses
  • 60 FPS: Smooth motion, great for sports and faster action
  • 120 FPS: Slow-motion capability, captures high-speed action in detail
  • 240 FPS: Extreme slow motion, perfect for capturing very fast movement

You have two subcategories in this factor. Resolution and frames per second (FPS).

Resolution is the quality of your image. While frames per second are the number of images your monitor displays per second.

The more frames, the smoother the video playback that you’ll have.

With most action cameras, you’ll find that the maximum resolution and frames combination available is 4K resolution at 30 FPS. If you don’t mind recording in 1080p, you’ll get up to 120 FPS on many cameras.

The final call on whatever quality you need depends on your preference.

However, you’ll need to remember that some cameras only support video stabilization up to a specific resolution.

3. Action Camera Battery Life

Battery life matters when choosing the best action camera for traveling.

A longer battery life lets you record more adventures without stopping to recharge. You won’t miss out on capturing special moments.

A lot of cameras offer interchangeable batteries, which makes this factor less relevant. However, if you don’t want to blow money on extra batteries and haul extra equipment, consider a camera that has longer battery life.

Most action cameras have between 1–3 hours of battery life when recording video. Factors like FPS, resolution, and others will further impact how long it lasts.

4. Connectivity

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity matter when shopping for the best action camera for traveling.

These features make it easy to transfer photos and videos to your devices. You’ll share your adventures with friends and family faster. These connections also let you control your camera remotely, adding convenience to your travels.

5. Available Accessories for Action Cameras

Choosing an action camera that supports accessories makes recording easier.

Some useful accessories include:

  • Mounts secure your camera to bikes or helmets, capturing hands-free footage
  • External microphones improve audio quality, enhancing your videos
  • Waterproof cases protect your camera while swimming or diving

It’s important to get a camera that supports accessories to maximize its potential. With the right add-ons, you’ll capture better footage and have more fun on your travels.

6. Ergonomics

Ergonomics matters when shopping for the best action camera for traveling.

A well-designed camera is easy to hold and operate. You’ll capture great footage with less effort. Good ergonomics also helps reduce hand fatigue, making your travels more enjoyable and comfortable.

Devices, like those that Garmin offers, will give you fabulous features like voice control. That way, you could have a hands-free experience. Also, if you want a device with a great user experience, consider the touch screen interfaces the camera offers.

If you’re able to connect your camera to a smartphone, then you may not have to worry about this factor as much.

7. Image Stabilization

Image stabilization matters when shopping for the best action camera for traveling. It helps keep your videos smooth and steady, even during movement. Image stabilization reduces blurriness and ensures crisp footage.

  • Electronic image stabilization (EIS): Uses software to correct shakes, making videos more stable without extra equipment
  • Manual Image Stabilization: Involves using accessories like gimbals to stabilize the camera, offering precise control and smoother footage

Let’s dive further:

Pros and cons of Electronic Image Stabilization:


    • EIS is built into the camera
    • Doesn’t add weight to your setup
    • Typically less expensive than manual stabilization


    • May not be as smooth as manual stabilization
    • EIS could reduce video quality slightly
    • May struggle in low light or with fast movement

And here are the pros and cons of Manual Image Stabilization:


    • Offers more precise control and stability
    • Works well in various conditions, including low light and fast movement
    • Preferred by professionals for high-quality videos


    • Requires accessories like gimbals
    • Adds weight to your setup
    • Manual stabilization gear can cost a lot


The following are frequently asked questions about action cameras and their various applications.

Who Is GoPro’s Biggest Competitor?

Some of GoPro’s biggest competitors are Sony, Akaso, OCLU, and Olympus.

What Are Action Cameras Used For?

Manufacturers designed action cameras as durable and waterproof. That way, they can withstand harsh environments and stress. These traits come in useful when you want to record action shots.

What Is the Difference Between an Action Camera and a DSLR?

DSLRs have better shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and other important qualities for advanced photography. Action cameras are more durable, making them ideal for action shots.

Can I Use an Action Camera for YouTube Videos?

Due to their wide-angle lenses and high video quality, action cameras make some of the best cameras for YouTube—depending on the types of videos. For instance, if you want first-person perspective videos, it’s almost mandatory to invest in an action camera.

Wrapping Up

While GoPros come with many great features, if you don’t want to lock yourself to their brand, there are plenty of alternatives on the market. However, don’t forget to save the action camera shopping guide, that way, you’ll remember what you need in an action camera in the future.

Want to find more gadgets to help you with traveling? Check out my other guides.

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Theodore began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Theo