Technology makes it easy to capture all of life’s exciting adventure, but you definitely need the right video camera if you want your extreme adventures to look and sound great once you’re ready to watch them and relive the moment.
Below, we help you compare and contrast brands, features and styles so that you can find the best video camera for sports and fast-paced action.
Look out, GoPro, you have some stiff competition!
Things to Look For When Buying a Camera for Shooting Sports
Before you select a video camera, consider the following:
- Your Sport. It’s always a good idea to get a waterproof camera. Say you ride your mountainbike down a hill, gain some air by riding up a ramp and then flying into the local pond? And you can’t just tell people about snorkeling with Nemo and Dory along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, you need to show them. Figure out the type of sport or action that you need to capture and research which cameras that people with similar interests have had great success with.
- Who You Will Film. It’s great when you can mount the camera on your surf board, snow board or helmet as you jump out of an airplane, but if you want to film someone else, you need to determine if you’ll be better off with a mounted camera or a hand-held camera.
As we mentioned above, think about how and where you’ll use the camera before you select one.
- Helmet. If you plan to mount the camera on your helmet, a bullet camera is an excellent choice (check out number three on our list).
- Chest. Opt for a square/rectangular camera if you want to mount it on your chest.
For everything else, it just depends on what you need. These cameras usually come with plenty of accessories, and you can always purchase additional mount clips if needed.
Just remember: the more features, the higher the price. We have some great options on our list for those on a budget as well as those who don’t mind spending a bit more.
5 Top Video Cameras for Shooting Sports
1. DBPOWER EX7000
GoPro power with a friendly price tag. That’s what we’re talking about!
The DBPOWER EX7000 Sports action camera will capture videos at 4K Ultra HD resolution and feature a 1x optical zoom. It features building Wi-Fi and performs just as well as the some of the top-of-the-line cameras for half the cost.
It comes with plenty of accessories, including bicycle mount, helmet mount, camera clip, multi-function clip, waterproof case and the waterproof case clip.
To capture all of your (or your friends’) extreme sports action, try this out. It’s great as an entry-level sports cam and you’ll get plenty of use from it if you decide to upgrade later on! It definitely earns its spot as best video camera for sports on our list.
- Half the price of very similar competitors
- Excellent video quality
- Durable build
- Comes with a comprehensive arrangement of accessories
- With built-in WiFi connectivity
- Easy to use
- Compact, perfect for sporting activities
- Waterproof up to 148 feet with the waterproof shell
- Waterproof shell not included
- Small screen
- No built-in storage; requires an SD card to work
- SD card not included
2. GooKit WiFi 12MP Full HD Sports Action Camera
Coming in at number two is the GooKit Sports Camera.
It has an awesome wide-angle lens (a full 170°) and large LCD screen that shows you crisp, clear images. The kit comes with all of the accessories you’ll need (clips, mounts, tripod mount, extensions, and a buoyant handle for shooting in water) and has a Wi-Fi connection so you can connect to the camera’s free app.
It shoots up to a 1080p resolution video and although it’s waterproof, the case covers the buttons (making them hard to push) and the sound quality decreases slightly inside the case.
Overall, for a budget action camera, the GooKit is pretty awesome!
- Comes with a waterproof case
- Waterproof up to 30 meters
- Display visible even under direct sunlight
- Has two rechargeable batteries
- Simple and durable construction
- Includes several mounts and accessories
- Offers wireless connectivity
- Incredibly affordable
- Does not perform well in the dark
- Small two-inch screen
- Long charging time
- Needs some improvement in video quality
3. Sony HDR-AS200V
Stepping it up a notch in price and quality we have the Sony AS200V/W Action Cam.
This camera can be operated remotely from your mobile or a remove (purchased separately) and it’s packed with useful features that make shooting a video effortless.
The Highlight Movie Maker setting automatically chooses the best moments of the video so that you won’t have to bother with any post-production editing once you’re done. You can even upload music to play along with the finished video (“Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf would be perfect).
It offers live streaming when you’re connected to the internet and it has a built-in stereo microphone to improve sound quality.
This has more bells and whistles than some of the other sports cams, but if you’re serious about your extreme sports action, it’s well-worth the investment.
- Excellent stereo mic performance
- Versatile remote control options
- Includes a waterproof case
- Splashproof without the waterproof case
- Allows Near-Field Communications
- Great value for the money
- With WiFi and GPS
- With Sony Steadyshot image stabilization
- Includes a 24P cinema mode
- Midrange video quality
- The waterproof case is only waterproof up to 16ft
- Larger than competing sports action cameras
- The screen is for settings only, no playback
4. GoPro Hero4
The GoPro Hero4 Silver belongs to a long line of GoPro devices designed to capture life as every person lives it. GoPro provides a better way of filming and capturing action-packed moments by creating small, compact, and mountable devices.
Although the Hero4 Silver cannot provide you with the features of more advanced GoPro models, it still stands as one of the best action cameras. It has a few technical shortcomings, but overall, it comes with amazing features.
First off, it only measures 1.61 by 2.32 by 0.70 inches, yet it includes a 1.7-inch full touchscreen LCD. With it, you can change settings, do quick playbacks, and scan through your various captured images.
The Hero4 Silver offers up to 12 megapixels of image clarity and up to 4k video resolutions at 15 frames per second. It lets you choose from different fields of view, including Narrow, Medium, Ultra-Wide, Limited Super View, and Linear.
The only drawback of the Hero4 Silver is its price tag. Alternatives such as the DBPOWER EX5000 come cheaper, and they can provide the same results. However, when it comes to durability and versatility, the Hero4 Silver pretty much wins the mark.
- Touchscreen LCD
- Excellent 4K image quality
- Excellent video quality
- Includes wireless connectivity
- Lots of accessories to choose from
- Extremely durable
- Simple design yet feature-packed
- Includes a waterproof case for protection up to 40 meters
- Splashproof without the waterproof casing
- With time-lapse functionality
- Small display
- More expensive than most competitors
- The display is not so visible under highly bright conditions
- Inadequate battery life
- No GPS
- No external mic input
- No slo-mo recording
5. Sony HDR-AS30V
The Sony AS30V is a point-of-view (POV) action video camera preceding the HDR-AS15V. Its highlights include Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization, WiFi and NFC connectivity, GPS location plotting and telemetry calculation, and six video modes. The 4x slo-mo modes and 1080/60p HD are great additions to the six video modes.
This camera uses an ultra-wide 170-degree Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens and an Exmor R CMOS sensor for low light functionality. With these components paired with the Sony SteadyShot, live-action images come out crisp and full of detail.
It comes with a waterproof case that has a universal tripod mount. This enclosure is rated to go as deep as 200 feet, which is better than the GoPro Hero4 Silver. You can use it while scuba diving and mount it onto water vessels for marine life observation.
Nevertheless, Sony has yet to pave its way into the POV camera market, which is still extensively dominated by the GoPro product line. However, when it comes to functionality, the AS30V is more straightforward than the Hero4 Silver.
Its menu system is easy to pilot through, and it does not require much tweaking before you get it going. The built-in LCD is quite small, and you can’t view photos and videos through it. Nevertheless, it offers all the information you need to know its current running settings.
- Produces great quality videos
- Allows slow-motion recording
- Long battery life
- Solid construction
- Easy to use
- Has a 24P cinema mode
- The quality of stills is good
- Comes with a waterproof case
- Can survive depths of 60 meters for up to 30 minutes
- Splashproof even without the case
- Bundled app needs some improvement
- Limited photo modes
- Bulky with its waterproof case
- Waterproof case more than doubles its weight
- Small LCD purely for changing settings
- Waterproof case muffles audio
The best video camera for sports tends to be the one that can bring durability into play in almost any setting. Among our options, we find that the GoPro Hero4 is the most durable.
Aside from being compact and highly portable, the Hero4 is dustproof, splashproof, and waterproof up to depths of 40 meters. Additionally, the case protects the device from shocks resulting from accidental drops, which are pretty common in many sporting events.
That said, the durable build and quality put into this device can take a toll on its price tag. It comes more than double the price of very similar products from other manufacturers. If you need something very cheap to start with and help you capture moments of your action-packed adventures pronto, the best choice is the DBPOWER EX7000.