Best action camera: 9 compact action cams for extreme photos and epic video

Whether you're tombstoning or gardening, these action cams go anywhere and capture it in extreme detail

There are an awful lot of action cameras out there, though, so it can be tricky to find the one that's right for you. Are you more focussed on the quality of the video? How well it'll survive in extreme conditions? Or are you just looking for something basic that you can use to keep a nice visual record of your holiday? Luckily for you, we've got the best action camera to suit any situation.

There's something for everyone, with big names like Sony and GoPro, as well as lesser known companies like Veho and Olfi. Our selection of cams ranges from affordable-ish, to quite expensive.

So, let's crack on...

1. GoPro Hero5 Black

There is only one name when it comes to action cameras - GoPro.

If you’re looking for a powerful, fully comprehensive action cam, then look no further than GoPro’s newest addition, the Hero5 Black. It’s now waterproof to 10-metres without the casing, and it’s equally as durable, which means it will survive in even the harshest of conditions.

Video can be recorded all the way up to 4K at 30fps, and it’ll also take 12MP RAW photos. Battery life varies depending on what settings you’re using, obviously, but GoPro estimates you’ll get one-three hours of use.

For the first time, GoPro’s flagship model features a 2-inch touchscreen on the rear which makes changing setting easier, GPS to capture your location, and the action cam now features video stabilisation for smoother shots.

More experienced photographers can also go into the photo settings to alter settings like white balance, image sharpness, and the ISO. As with all GoPro cameras, the Hero5 Black connects to a smartphone app for remote control, image previews, and video playback. There’s also micro USB, micro HDMI, and a microUSB port.

£349.99 | GoPro action cameras | Buy the GoPro Hero5 Black from Amazon

2. TomTom Bandit

If you thought TomTom only made sat navs and running watches, you're wrong. Just. Plain. Wrong. They also make this rather brilliant action camera named the Bandit. It's the perfect, low-profile, shape to be strapped to the side of your helmet.

TomTom's software makes a stab at automatically editing the footage (using GPS and a motion sensor). It's quite heavy, but it's easy to use and captures great footage, and is even compatible with GoPro mounts.

£240 | TomTom action cameras | Buy it from Amazon

3. Veho Muvi K2 Pro

The Muvi K2 Pro is Veho's latest and most advanced action camera, it packs a new XA-9 processor capable of capturing 4K video at 15fps, 2.7k at 30fps, or 1080p at 60fps.

Unlike GoPro, the Muvi ships with a load of accessories, such as a rugged carry case, various mounts, and an LCD touchscreen. There's a G-sensor built in, and the large 1,500 mAh battery lasts for up to 3 hours of recording.

£280 | Veho Muvi action cameras | Buy it from Amazon

4. Garmin Virb Ultra 30

The original Virb introduced GPS and motion sensors to the action camera pie, and the Ultra 30 builds on that with 3-axis image stabilisation, a 1.75-inch touchscreen, high-quality microphones, and a G-sensor.

The key feature here is voice control, so you can tell you cam to start, stop and pause recording, as well as “remember that” to make finding events easier.

Video quality is good with 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps, and the Wi-Fi connection and compatible app is well designed.

£369.99 | Garmin action cameras | Buy it from Amazon

5. Olfi One.Five

The Olfi One.Five offers amazing 4K HDR video recording at a very reasonable price of £149.99. That’s not all this impressive little action camera offers - there’s also a rear LCD screen, super slow motion 240fps video mode, and gyro stabilisation. That’s awesome value for money.

We’re really fond of the design, and branding as well, and it comes with a great hard case, and selection of mounts. Although this is a budget device, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap.

£149.99 | Buy it from Olfi action cameras

6. GoPro Hero 5 Session

This is the second version of GoPro’s smallest and lightest action camera, the Session. The tiny cube measures just 1.5-inches each way. It’s waterproof up to 10 metres, has a simple one button system, captures 4K video, takes 10MP photos, an adjustable mount for multi-angle filming, and a two-hour battery life.

This year’s Session packs voice control, to make operations a bit more simple.

£249.99 | GoPro action cameras | Buy it from Currys

7. Sony FDR-X3000 4K Action Camera

Another 4K offering, this time from Sony. The 4K Action Camera promises to be three times more stable than previous Sony action cams thanks to advanced Steadyshot systems, and the ZEISS lens will ensure that your video is sharp and free from glare.

One big advantage is that it has built-in measure that reduces wind noise, so the audio on your videos should be nice and clear when the time comes to play them back. It also has a waterproof case, micro HMDI output, micro USB, and a microSD card slot.

£499 | Sony action camera | Buy it from Jessops

8. Polaroid Cube+

This isn't a camera for extreme sports, but the cute little Cube+ is a great little action cam. It takes 8MP stills, and 1440p HD video. It takes a microSD and connects to smart devices with Wi-Fi.

£130 | Polaroid action cameras | Buy it from Amazon

9. HTC Re Camera

The HTC Re might not have the most compact design compared to other action cameras, but it does offer some handy features for a very reasonable price. It’s designed to work one-handed, leaving you with an extra hand to get things done, and automatically turns on when you pick it up thanks to a grip sensor.

16MP photography is controlled by a single tap of the button, and 1080p video can be recorded with a long press. To top it all off the camera is waterproof, has smartphone synchronisation, and a bunch of cool effects like slow-motion filming.

£99 | HTC | Buy it from Amazon

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