10 Jan

Review: Taking a look at the three best Action Cameras money can buy.

OVERVIEW: In this article I set to explore the advantages of the latest action cameras, describing how in this day and age creating professional memories to store for life has never been easier.Featuring the latest action cameras from three of the major manufacturers I'll provide details and thoughts to help in your choice if looking to make a purchase.   

INTRODUCTION:Gone are the days when we used to carry around bulky video cameras to create home movies.We are now in an era where capturing memories of our exciting trips, beautiful places we've visited or thrill seeking action sports has never been easier!.Whilst smartphone cameras have come on leaps and bounds, providing phenomenal picture quality, the new breed of action cameras do offer some very useful advantages whilst bulging in technology.Apart from their very small size allowing them ideal to take along for any occasion, most are fully waterproof, have incredible stabilisation, easy to mount anywhere such as crash helmets, mountain bikes, vehicles or even rucksacks!We've all seen unbelievable clips of people soaring the skies from a birds eye view, swimming deep under the oceans with a vast array of marine life, or simply stunning landscapes exploring our beautiful world!In most cases, you'd hardly notice but many of these clips have simply been created using an action camera costing no more than a few hundred pounds.After hours and hours of review studying, You Tube watching and reading articles, I finally took the plunge and purchased the GoPro Hero 12 Black as an ideal addition to creating mini films for my hobby of videography, posting out on my social media pages and adding to my YouTube channel.I am absolutely over the moon with the Go Pro Hero 12, the video quality is exceptional, battery life great and with so many features and shooting modes, this camera I can honestly say is everything I need at the moment.With so many great cameras around it was a very difficult decision which one to go for but so far my GoPro purchase seems to be the right one for me.Scroll down further to see how the three main players: GoPro Hero 12 Black, Insta 360 X3 and the DJI Action Osmo 4 stack up against each other.


Go Pro Hero 12 Black :With resolution up to 5.3k, HDR, frame rates of up to 120fps at 4k enabling incredible slow motion shots and its class beating stabilisation this latest offering from Go Pro is arguably difficult to beat. 

Product Details:  Includes HERO 12 Black camera, Enduro Rechargeable Battery, curved adhesive mount, mounting buckle + thumb screw and USB-C cable HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video + Photo for more vivid images Longer runtimes, including 1.5 hours at 5.3K30 and over 2.5 hours at 1080p30² Optional Max Lens Mod 2.0 lens accessory enables ultra wide angle, 177-degree field of view in 4K60 New Bluetooth audio support for AirPods + other Bluetooth audio devices for wireless sound recording and voice control 5.3K60, 4K120 and 2.7K240 video resolutions Hyper Smooth 6.0 video stabilization with 360° Horizon Lock³ Large image sensor captures ultra wide 156° field of view in 8:7 27 megapixel photos with 24.7 megapixel stills from video Waterproof to 33ft + legendary GoPro ruggedness New Timecode Sync to wirelessly synchronize multiple HERO 12 Black cameras at once GP-Log and LUT support A microSD card is required, but not included. 

Conclusion:Being a user of this camera I have found it to be a pleasure to own.With so many shooting modes such as time lapse, waterproof to 30ft, and cinematic quality this has been a game changer for me.To be able to put it in my pocket with ease and be able to capture those special moments at any time in fine detail with a simple one click to shoot button is a no brainer! .. Thoroughly recommended.

Insta 360 x3 :Insta's latest offering is another camera up there with the best!With this camera an incredible 360 degree field of view footage is able to be created at an astonishing 5.7k resolution HDR to reveal better highlights and shadows also helps to create great films.

Product Details:Aperture F1.9 35mm Equivalent Focal Length 6.7mm Photo Resolution 72MP (11968x5984) 18MP (5952x2976) Video Resolution 360: 5.7K: 5760x2880@30/25/24fps 4K: 3840x1920@60/50/30/25/24fps 3K: 3008x1504@100fps  Single Lens Mode: 4K: 3840x2160@30/25/24fps 3.6K: 3584x2016@60/50/30/25/24fps 2.7K: 2720x1530@60/50/30/25/24fps 1080P: 1920x1088@60/50/30/25/24fps Photo Format INSP (can be exported via mobile app or desktop Studio) DNG RAW (Pure Shot photos must be edited on desktop) Video Format Single Lens: MP4 360: INSV Photo Modes Standard, HDR, Burst, Interval, Star lapse Video Modes Standard, Active HDR, Time-lapse, Time Shift, Bullet Time, Loop Recording, Pre-recording Colour Profiles Vivid, Standard, LOG Weight 180g Dimensions (W x H x D) 46.0x114.0x33.1mm Run Time 81min Max Video Bitrate 120Mbps Gyroscope 6-axis gyroscope. 

Conclusion:Unlike the GoPro Whilst I don't have any first hand experience with the Insta 360 x3 it was very high up on my potential purchases!.For me the ability to capture 360 degree videos was highly tempting but the extra price over the Go Pro was an issue and with the proven durability I reluctantly refrained from purchasing this excellent camera.


 DJI Osmo Action 4 :Last but not least the DJI Osmo Action 4.With a large 1/1.3-inch sensor this camera scores highly at capturing great low light footage from dawn to dusk.Along with 4k resolution at 120 fps, 10-bit and D-Log M capture performance, the DJI scores highly on the colour front, allowing rich, golden beauty during sunsets and sunrises.

Product details:Dimensions 70.5×44.2×32.8 mm (L×W×H) Weight 145 g Waterproof 18 m without the Waterproof Case, 60 m with the Waterproof Case Before use, close the battery compartment cover and the USB-C port cover, and tighten the Glass Lens Cover. It is recommended to install the Waterproof Case for long-duration underwater shooting or in environments with high water impact pressure. Osmo Action 4 and its Waterproof Case have an IP68 waterproof rating. Do not use the camera in hot springs or extreme underwater environments, or let it come into contact with corrosive or unknown liquids. Number of Microphones Touchscreens Front Screen: 1.4-inch 323 ppi 320×320 Rear Screen: 2.25-inch 326 ppi 360×640 Front/Rear Screen Brightness: 750±50 cd/m² Supported SD Cards microSD (up to 512 GB)   Camera Sensor 1/1.3-inch CMOS Lens FOV: 155° Aperture: f/2.8 Focus Range: 0.4 m to ∞ ISO Range Photo: 100-12800 Video: 100-12800 Electronic Shutter Speed Photo: 1/8000-30 s Video: 1/8000 s to the limit of frames per second Max Photo Resolution 3648×2736 Zoom Digital Zoom Photo: 4× Video: Max 2× Slow Motion/Timelapse: Not available Still Photography Modes Single: Approx. 10 MP Countdown: Off/0.5/1/2/3/5/10 s Standard Recording 4K (4:3): 3840×2880@24/25/30/48/50/60fps 4K (16:9): 3840×2160@100/120fps 4K (16:9): 3840×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60fps 2.7K (4:3): 2688×2016@24/25/30/48/50/60fps 2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512@100/120fps 2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512@24/25/30/48/50/60fps 1080p (16:9): 1920×1080@100/120/200/240fps 1080p (16:9): 1920×1080@24/25/30/48/50/60fps Slow Motion 4K: 4× (120fps) 2.7K: 4× (120fps) 1080p: 8× (240fps), 4× (120fps) Hyperlapse 4K/2.7K/1080p: Auto/×2/×5/×10/×15/×30 Timelapse 4K/2.7K/1080p@30fps Intervals: 0.5/1/2/3/4/5/6/8/10/15/20/25/30/40 s Duration: 5/10/20/30 mins, 1/2/3/5 hours, ∞ Stabilization EIS: RockSteady 3.0 RockSteady 3.0+ Horizon Balancing Horizon Steady EIS is not supported in Slow Motion and Timelapse modes. Horizon Steady is only available when the video resolution is 1080p (16:9) or 2.7K (16:9) with a frame rate of 60fps or below. Horizon Balancing is only available when the video resolution is 1080p (16:9), 2.7K (16:9), or 4K (16:9) with a frame rate of 60 fps or below. Pre-Rec Pre-Recording Duration: 5/10/15/30/60 seconds Max Video Bitrate 130 Mbps Supported File System ex FAT Photo Format JPEG/RAW Video Format MP4 (H.264/HEVC) Built-in Storage Capacity The camera does not have built-in storage, but storage capacity can be expanded by inserting a microSD card. Audio Recording 48 kHz 16-bit; AAC Battery Type LiPo 1S Capacity 1770 mAh Energy 6.8 Wh Voltage 3.85 V Operating Temperature -20° to 45° C (-4° to 113° F) Charging Temperature 5° to 40° C (41° to 104° F) Operating Time 160 minutes Tested at room temperature (25° C/77° F) and 1080p/24fps (16:9), with RockSteady on, Wi-Fi off, and screen off. This data is for reference only. 

Conclusion:At the best priced of the three and with the large sensor for low light this camera made for a very difficult decision in my choice of the GoPro or the DJI.So many reviews are on YouTube which add to the dilemma of which is best.At the end of the day my choice in the GoPro was mainly down to its popularity, good value for money and its reputation over many years with constant improvements in its evolution that swayed it.

Click on link for footage captured on my GoPro Hero 12


Verdict:  And so there we have it!

Three of the best action cameras money can buy.Never an easy decision which to go for and a search over the web on any of the three main contenders will without doubt send your head in a spin.Each one has its own individual advantages or disadvantages with small tweaks in features.They've all built up fierce reputations as providing first class cinematic film qualities.With that in mind, I don't think you'd be disappointed parting with your hard earned cash with any of the three cameras I've featured.At the end of the day its personal choice and plenty more information is available with a simple web search offering some great reviews.(Further information on each product is available with a click of the link on each item above and this review is solely my own personal view after my own experience and a great deal of sourcing information whilst making my own decision for purchase).

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Thank you for reading.

Martin Coward      

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