Best action camera: A guide for those who can’t sit still

I never knew I need an action camera until I saw the amazing aerial and underwater footage from our Lang Tengah getaway. Our best action camera and drone photos and videos were stunning, even without using something as sophisticated as a GoPro Hero.

As someone who loves the outdoors, I’m surprised I don’t have a GoPro or similar action camera already. Creating this list was an eye-opener with all the hours of research and testing involved. Before you put your money down on an action camera, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

When do you need an action camera?

Do you want an action camera or do you need one? You should invest in the best one you can afford if you want it for:

  • Extreme sports – High-velocity sports and activities involving heights such as skydiving, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and skateboarding.

  • Underwater activities – An action camera is perfect for capturing rarely-seen footage of underwater seascapes.

  • First person perspectives – Activities where visuals are best experienced from the person’s point of view, such as bungee jumping, zip-lining or a roller coaster ride.

  • Drones – Non-camera drones are much cheaper – slap on an action camera and you get instant breathtaking aerial shots.

  • Off-roading – Whether from a car, motocross bike, quad or mountain bike, an action camera is the best way to capture every rumble and tumble in intimate detail.

  • Wildlife observation – Action cameras with motion detection are perfect for capturing footage of elusive wildlife without intruding on and disturbing them.

Do you need the best action camera?

An action camera is a digital camera with special features that make it better suited for capturing, well, action. These are some of the things you can expect from the best action camera:

  1. Durability: Action cameras are built to withstand shock, dust and water, making them suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.

  2. Compactness: Small and highly portable, they are easy to mount on various surfaces such as helmets, handlebars and vehicles.

  3. Wide-angle lenses: Most action cameras have wide-angle lenses to capture a broad field of view, which is ideal for immersive and first-person perspective shots.

  4. Electronic/Digital Image Stabilisation (EIS/DIS): Many action cameras have EIS and DIS to capture smoother and more stable footage even during frenetic activities.

  5. Waterproof: Some action cameras are waterproof even without additional housing, making them perfect for underwater activities like snorkelling and scuba diving.

  6. Mountable: Action cameras often come with a variety of mounting options, such as adhesive mounts, suction cups and harnesses for versatile on-body and on-object placement.

  7. Long battery life: Action cameras are designed for extended recording, making them suitable for activities that require continuous shooting, like time-lapse photography or long journeys.

  8. Simple Controls: They typically feature straightforward, one-button operation for quick and hassle-free shooting without complex settings.

Remember to look out for an action camera that comes with a range accessories as well as comprehensive warranty.

The best action camera to buy in Singapore

1. GoPro Hero 12 Black

The best gets slightly better

Action Camera - GoPro Hero 12 Black
Action Camera - GoPro Hero 12 Black
  • Resolution (video): 5.3K@60 fps; 4K@120 fps

  • Resolution (still): 27MP

  • EIS/DIS: HypserSmooth 6.0 with AutoBoost

  • Water Resistance: 10m

  • Battery Life: 155mins

  • Screen (front; rear): 1.4-inch colour LCD; 2.27-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$580 on Lazada Shopee

2. Akaso Brave 7 LE

The best balance of price and quality

Action Camera - Akaso Brave 7 LE
Action Camera - Akaso Brave 7 LE
  • Resolution (video): 4K@30 fps; 1080p@120 fps

  • Resolution (still): 20MP

  • EIS/DIS: 6-axis EIS

  • Water Resistance: IPX7 without case, 40m with case

  • Battery Life: 120mins

  • Screen (front; rear): 1.2-inch colour LCD; 2-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$249 on Lazada Shopee

3. Insta360 ONE R 1-Inch Edition

The best for night action

Action Camera - Insta360 ONE R 1 Inch Edition
Action Camera - Insta360 ONE R 1 Inch Edition
  • Resolution (video): 5.3K@30 fps; 4K@60 fps

  • Resolution (still): 19MP

  • EIS/DIS: Flowstate Stabilization

  • Water Resistance: 5m

  • Battery Life: 65mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 1.3-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$749 on Lazada Shopee

4. DJI Osmo Action 4

The best under the sea

Action Camera - DJI Osmo Action 4
Action Camera - DJI Osmo Action 4
  • Resolution (video): 4K@120 fps; 2.7K@120 fps

  • Resolution (still): 10MP

  • EIS/DIS: 360º HorizonSteady and RockSteady 3.0

  • Water Resistance: 18m without case, 60m with case

  • Battery Life: 150mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 2-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$549 on Lazada Shopee

5. Insta360 GO 2

The best ultra-light, ultra-small action camera

Action Camera - Insta360 GO 2
Action Camera - Insta360 GO 2
  • Resolution (video): 2K@50 fps; 1080p@30 fps

  • Resolution (still): 9MP

  • EIS/DIS: Flowstate Stabilization

  • Water Resistance: 4m

  • Battery Life: 150mins

  • Screen (front; rear): None

Buy now from S$604 on Lazada Shopee

6. GoPro Max

The best for 360⁰ video

Action Camera - GoPro Max
Action Camera - GoPro Max
  • Resolution (video): 5.6K 360⁰@30 fps; 1440p@60 fps

  • Resolution (still): 16.6MP

  • EIS/DIS: HyperSmooth

  • Water Resistance: 5m

  • Battery Life: 108mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 2-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$740 on Lazada Shopee

7. DJI Pocket 2

The best handheld action cam

Action Camera - DJI Pocket 2
Action Camera - DJI Pocket 2
  • Resolution (video): 4K@60 fps; 2.7K@60 fps

  • Resolution (still): 16MP

  • EIS/DIS: Hyperlapse

  • Water Resistance: 60m with case

  • Battery Life: 140mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 1-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$529 on Lazada Shopee

8. Olympus Tough TG-6

The most rugged action camera

Action Camera - Olympus Tough TG 6
Action Camera - Olympus Tough TG 6
  • Resolution (video): 4K@30 fps; 1080p@120 fps

  • Resolution (still): 12MP

  • EIS/DIS: Sensor-shift Image Stabilization

  • Water Resistance: 15m

  • Battery Life: 110mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 3-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$670 on Lazada Shopee

9. GoPro Hero 11 Black

The former best still makes the list

Action Camera - GoPro Hero 11 Black
Action Camera - GoPro Hero 11 Black
  • Resolution (video): 5.3K@60 fps; 4K@120 fps

  • Resolution (still): 27MP

  • EIS/DIS: HypserSmooth 5.0 with AutoBoost

  • Water Resistance: 10m

  • Battery Life: 137mins

  • Screen (front; rear): 1.4-inch colour LCD; 2.27-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$618 on Lazada Shopee

10.Insta360 X3

The best to just make the list

Action Camera - Insta360 X3
Action Camera - Insta360 X3
  • Resolution (video): 5.7K@30 fps; 4K@60 fps

  • Resolution (still): 72MP

  • EIS/DIS: FlowState, 360° Horizon Lock

  • Water Resistance: IPX8, 10m

  • Battery Life: 81mins

  • Screen (front; rear): N/A; 2.29-inch colour LCD

Buy now from S$603 on Lazada Shopee

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