If adventuring in the outdoors is something you do on the regular, documenting it can be a fun way to make a log. No matter how and where you get your adrenaline rush, in order for a camera to help you record the most thrilling moments, it needs to be hands-free. This is where an action camera can come in quite handy.
You just need to mount it on your chest, drone or other RC vehicle and start recording. While documenting all the fun you’ll have exploring a cave or riding a BMX through a sand dune is a piece of cake with the right piece of equipment, finding said piece of equipment requires a lot more than just pressing a button. Sure, you can just go for a Go Pro, but is it always worth the investment?
Is Action Camera Worth Buying?
An action camera is definitely worth the buy. However, not every HD action camera tag you see listed on a product is going to deliver the results you want. For this we have to delve deeper into the specifics of action cameras and what makes one ideal for you.
What to Look for
This largely depends on the resolution it is able to record in. If you want to record 4K video, then go for a camera that can output 3840 x 2160 video. While this makes for a more expensive HD action video camera, it will deliver a crispier footage.
1080p and 720p action cameras are still a thing, but it is recommended that you go with 1080p as it has become the standard nowadays. You should also consider the frame rate at which the camera records the video. When it comes to flying though, it’s best that you go with 60 fps as it provides smooth video quality whilst 30 fps is a bit choppy.
Being able to record high definition videos demands a lot of memory. This is where you want to consider an action camera’s internal memory. You should also consider getting an SD card so you will be able to expand the storage of your HD video camera. With an SD card you can also transfer your recordings more easily to your laptop, smartphone or TV.
No matter how much memory you have or whether your camera can shoot 4K at 60fps, if it can only do so for a short amount of time it’s of no real use to you. You want to be able to document every bit of fun you have without having to switch your battery every half an hour. You can’t really do that while in the air. While cameras with longer battery life cost you more, the investment is worth it.
If you want your camera to work under all kinds of conditions, you need to take a look at its IP rating. This type of rating provides information on how dust and water resistant an action camera is. You also want a HD action camera that is resilient to wear and tear. This is where build quality matters. If the parts on the camera appear to be wobbly, then the build quality is probably low.
Wind Noise Reduction
When travelling at high speed in the air and trying to shoot a quick video, wind is your biggest enemy. Wind noise can be distracting and it can lower the quality of your content even if you’re shooting at 40k 60fps. Thankfully though, manufacturers have taken the advantage of dual stereo microphones to help filter out or reduce wind noise.
High speed movement can interfere with your footage too. Shaky and out of focus video is something that you should avoid as much as possible. The best way to do so is to get an action camera with image stabilisation. There are two types of image stabilisation – gyro and optical. The former is not as good as the latter as it relies solely on software. OIS or optical image stabilisation works by moving the lens itself to counteract the motion of the device.
Lens Distortion Correction
Action cameras usually use wide angle lenses. These provide more engaging and immersive footage but also come with distortion. The level of distortion depends on the angle of the lens. To eliminate this, manufacturers now include special algorithms into their devices. Whilst having this feature is a good idea, it isn’t always wise to enable it. Lens distortion correction takes away some field of view.
If you want to build a career on live streaming platforms such as Twitch, Youtube or Facebook, to have such a feature built in an HD action video camera can be quite beneficial. A live streaming option on your action camera allows you to start a live stream directly from the camera. This way, you won’t have to cast the footage to another device and then stream it to your platform of choice.