GoPro makes some of our favorite action cameras on the market today. and has set the standard for what to look for when it comes to these rugged devices. Buying a GoPro will set you back quite a bit, but it’s thankfully not the only name in town anymore — a number of manufacturers have entered this burgeoning market with their own high-quality, low-cost action cams.
Summer might be winding down but there’s still plenty of time ahead for outdoor adventures, and cool and colorful fall weather is perfect for heading outside to enjoy Mother Nature. If you’re ready to jump on the action cam bandwagon but don’t want to shell out hundreds for something like the high-end Hero 5 Black, then we’ve picked out some excellent alternatives – including some 4K models – that won’t break the bank.
Kicking off our roundup of action cameras is this excellent wearable from Yi Technology. Yi is a true competitor with GoPro, and the company recently beat out GoPro for a contract for Google’s ongoing VR project. This action cam is capable of recording 4K video at 30 frames per second or 1080p at 120fps for true HD video quality. A 155-degree wide-angle lens captures all the action, while the 2.19-inch full-color touchscreen shows you everything as it happens. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity make it simple to sync the unit with your mobile device so you can manage your footage with the Yi Action App.
This 4K action cam from Yi is currently on sale on Amazon for a $59 discount, bringing the price down to just $190. You can also take 25 percent off of Yi action camera accessories with a limited-time coupon that can be redeemed on the Amazon product page.
If you’re seeking a super-affordable action cam, Yuntab has you covered. Although you’re not likely to find a 4K unit at this price, Yuntab’s camera still boasts impressive features with its 1080p video recording capability, 120-degree wide-angle lens, and vibrant 2-inch LCD display. The Yuntab action cam also utilizes a 5-megapixel sensor for shooting still and time-lapse photography. Included with the device is a durable protective case that is waterproof at up to 100 feet, which makes the Yuntab perfect for all of your underwater adventures.
At just $25 on Amazon after a $12 discount, the Yuntab 1080p cam is the perfect choice for those who want to dip their feet into the world of action cameras without spending an arm and a leg.
Sony has also gotten into the action cam game in recent years, and its lineup of wearable video recorders offers a unique and not-too-expensive alternative to traditional designs. The HDR-AZ1VR is purpose-built for mounting to a variety of outdoor equipment, from helmets to bikess. Unlike other action cameras that feature a built-in touch display, this Sony model comes with a live view remote that straps to your wrist, giving you a heads-up display and control hub so you don’t have to fiddle with the camera wherever its mounted. The HDV-AZ1VR also shoots video in crisp 1080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps, and utilizes a 12MP sensor for still photography.
A tidy savings of $180 brings the Sony HDR-AZ1VR 1080p action cam with live view remote watch down to $179 on B&H.
We featured the Ricoh WG-M2 in our roundup of the best action cameras, and it was our top pick for users who want a camera that’s tough as nails right out of the box. Unlike other units that require cases for waterproofing and additional shock protection, the WG-M2’s housing already has all of that built right in and is ready for whatever you throw at it. It’s waterproof at depths of up to 65 feet, protected against drops from up to 6.5 feet, and is resistant to cold at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Its video capabilities are also impressive — the MG-M2 can capture 4K footage at 30fps or 1080p footage at 60fps.
The Ricoh MG-M2 normally costs $300, but you can score this tough 4K action camera for just $240 on Amazon right now after a 20 percent discount knocks $60 off of the price.
Those who want to record videos for use with a VR headset should look into 360-degree action cameras, and for the price, the first-generation Samsung Gear 360 is a tough act to beat. This camera features a unique wide-angle lens capable of recording crisp 4K video in 360 degrees or taking still landscape photographs at 180 degrees with its impressive 30-megapixel image sensor. The Gear 360 is roughly the size of a tennis ball, making it easy to bring along with you pretty much anywhere. The included tripod doubles as both a stand for taking static videos, as well as a convenient handle for when you want to hold it and capture the action around you.
At just $109 from Amazon, the Samsung Gear 360 is a great way to start shooting VR videos and gives you a huge savings of $241, or 69 percent, off of its retail price.
Camera technology is only getting smaller and more affordable, and you no longer have to pay out the nose for 4K video-recording capability. Case in point is the Fitfort action camera. Its specs aren’t quite as impressive as the 4K Yi action cam, but the Fitfort is still no slouch. This little unit records 4K video at 25fps or 1080p footage at 60fps, and boasts a 12MP image sensor for photographs. Its super-wide 170-degree wide-angle lens ensures that this camera doesn’t miss anything, and the device comes with a handy pocket remote, padded storage case, and protective housing that is waterproof at up to 100 feet. It also features Wi-Fi for use with its companion iOS and Android smartphone apps.
The Fitfort action camera is already affordable at its normal price at $101, especially for a unit with 4K capability, but you can snag it for an even cheaper $64 from Amazon and enjoy a $37 discount.
Looking for more great deals on outdoor gadgets and other electronics? Check out our deals page to score some extra savings on our favorite tech.