Capture all your thrills and spills with the best action cameras on the market. By Adam Turner.
Rather than just shoot video as a bystander, adventure-lovers can grab an action camera and jump into the middle of the excitement. These palm-sized devices are small enough to fit onto your helmet and stay put – whether you’re plummeting to earth, plunging to great depths or racing down a mountain. They keep things simple (some only have a single button to start/stop recording) but if you need more control you can often use a smartphone app to see the view from the camera, adjust your settings and easily share your videos online.
The 360fly stands out from the crowd because it shoots 360-degree video, which you can upload to Facebook, YouTube or the 360fly website. While you can turn around on the spot to look in any direction, the trade-off is the picture isn’t as sharp as that of other action cameras. The 360fly comes with a range of mounts to attach it to practically anything and is compatible with GoPro accessories. The camera is water resistant with a plug to seal the microphone hole and has a battery life of two hours. Price $500
GoPro Hero4 Session
The tiny Hero4 Session is the first waterproof GoPro and is good to a depth of 10 metres without any external housing. It’s compatible with GoPro’s range of mounts so it offers easy attachment. The Hero4 Session shoots full-HD (1080p60) video, with an optional wide-angle view, plus it captures eight-megapixel photos at 10 frames per second. The device does well in poor light and has two microphones to filter out wind. Its battery offers two hours of recording time. Price $300
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS50
Sony’s Action Cam is a great choice if you’re in for a bumpy ride. Its SteadyShot image stabilisation helps take away camera shake, which makes a big difference if you’re mounting it to the handlebars of your mountain bike. It shoots ultra-HD time-lapse or 1080p60 video, with an optional wide-angle view, and can capture 11-megapixel photos. The device is dustproof, shockproof and waterproof to 60 metres using the supplied underwater housing. The housing has a threaded tripod connector on its base and Sony sells a range of mounts. The battery is good for 2.5 hours and, like GoPro, Sony also sells a tiny wireless remote control as an alternative to driving the camera with your smartphone app. Price $299
Building on TomTom’s sat-nav heritage, the Bandit has built-in GPS along with a gyroscope, accelerometer and altimeter. These make it easy for the Bandit smartphone app to quickly put together a highlights package of your adventures to share online. Along with the base package, TomTom offers $579 Water Sports, Winter Sports and Bike packs, which include a range of extra mounts. The last two also have a basic remote control, while the Water Sports pack includes a dive lens cover that is waterproof to 40 metres. The camera shoots ultra-HD video but only at 15 frames per second so you’ll probably want to stick with 1080p60 video. The battery is good for three hours. ￼Price $368
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