Action Cam, sports cameras... Whatever the name was chosen, these small video cameras have enjoyed a certain success, which was a bit of a surprise at first, but which has not wavered, and which was initiated by GoPro. But the competition has grown since then, and many brands have adopted this format. Indeed, these cameras have the advantage of compactness, they can also resist shocks or even be completely waterproof.
This makes them a great choice for filming your sporting exploits or simply your holidays.
What definition and recording rate?
Video quality, with the possibility or not of filming in Ultra HD / 4K or in simple Full HD and the different recording rates are at the top of the list of criteria that must condition your choice. We advise you to avoid products that film at less than 24 frames per second as jerks will be visible.
Today, you should expect a product capable of filming in 4K at a minimum of 30 frames per second, or in Full HD at 120 fps.
Small and light, they are easy to use, and can be attached almost anywhere and to anything thanks to a wide range of accessories. The number of accessories is an important criterion of choice, because each practice has its own accessory.
For road cycling, you will need a compatible attachment system, depending on the terrain on which you are going to film. For example, for a road trip, a grip under the speedometer is perfect because you can't see the handlebars or the front wheel.
For mountain biking, it is necessary to test but a grip on the helmet may be preferable because of the shocks due to the terrain.
For running, a stabilizer on which you will hang your camera will be preferable in order to have perfect stabilisation.
What type of stabilisation?
Most often, action cameras rely on electronic image stabilisation, sometimes backed up by optical stabilisation in the case of Sony for example. However, it should be noted that image processors and correction algorithms now offer powerful stabilisation.
Remember, however, that a good stabilisation system is essential, and that since it is generally electronic stabilisation, it requires real expertise in terms of software, and not all brands are equally gifted in this respect.
The new GoPro, from the GoPro 8 Black and GoPro 9 Black onwards, offer very interesting stabilisations.
For running, if you have the GoPro 9 Black, you can try filming without an external stabiliser, but with the other cameras, it is better to have a stabiliser in addition in order to smooth out all the parasitic gestures.
What kind of battery life?
Action cams generally have a fairly short battery life, which is the counterpart of such a compact format. They tend to run for about an hour or so depending on the quality of the image.
In any case, make sure you have a removable battery so you can use a second one if necessary.
It is important, if not essential, to have several removable batteries in order to compensate for this short autonomy. In addition, there are battery extensions that can be added to your camera (example on the GoPro 8 Black here: GoPro Battery).
You can then, triple your recording time.
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