Best Action Cameras For 2023 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Action Cameras For 2023

Whether you're on top of a mountain, neck-deep in a glacial lake or mountain biking through the wild Scottish Highlands - here are 10 items that'll ensure you never miss a shot

When you think about how far action cameras have come in the past few years, it’s really quite astounding. Even just a quick Google search of ‘old action cameras’ will show you images of clunky SLRs strapped to helmets using duct tape. Though, admittedly, there’s something pretty hardcore about the cyborg-camera-helmet look, it’s also pretty cool to see how many people can now film their outdoor adventures for all to see.

Related: Best Camera Backpacks 

Aside from being a bit more accessible than DSLRs / mirrorless cameras, actions cams also have some amazing technological abilities. Nowadays, you’ve got features like in-camera image stabilisation, waterproofing up to 30ft or more, 5K video quality, built-in GPS tagging, as well as top-notch image quality, tough outer casings and more. Essentially, they’re built to endure anything the great outdoors will throw at them.

Photo: iStock/bingokid

From bikepacking and thru-hiking to alpine mountaineering and deep sea cave diving; it’s now possible to document your travels in some of the most far-flung corners of the world. And all in a very small yet sturdy package.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best action cameras on the market right now. Including products featured in our Outdoor 100 product guide and in the Whitelines 100 and Ski 100 by our sister titles Whitelines and Mpora. Here’s a breakdown of our favourites.

Best Action Cameras 2023 | Our Favourites

  • GoPro Hero 10
  • GoPro Hero 9
  • Insta360 One RS 1-Inch Edition
  • DJI Action 2
  • Akaso Brave 8
  • Insta360 Go 2
  • GoPro Max
  • DJI Pocket 2
  • Apeman Seeker R1
  • Oclu Action Camera


GoPro Hero 10

Our team testing the Hero 10 in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: Michael Drummond

Price: £529.98
Weight: 153g
Video: 5K up to 60fps
Stills: 23MP

Starting with the video and photo output quality, this is where the Hero 10 sees its biggest updates largely thanks to the all-new GP2 processor. It allows the camera to shoot 5.3K video at double the frame rate, it can produce 23MP photos with enhanced low light performance, and it also steadies all the footage thanks to GoPro’s notable Hypersmooth 4.0 software.

There’s also the addition of super slo-mo 240 FPS shot in 2.4K on an extremely wide field of view lens, along with the touch-compatible front-facing screen with a larger rear-facing screen that spans the full height and width of the camera.

The whole of the camera is wrapped up in a toughened rubber casing and is fully waterproof and shockproof. GoPro have kept their ‘fingers’ that flip down to allow the camera to be mounted to a huge range of mounts and cases, or that can be flipped up to be kept out of the way.

We particularly liked the Media Mod and ‘Shorty’ extension pole (both purchased separately), which offer various improved capabilities to boost the video, audio and mounting locations of the camera, essentially turning the device into an on-the-go studio ideal for adventure and outdoors vloggers.

Selected for our Outdoor 100 2022/23 – read our full GoPro Hero 10 review.

Full Specifications

New GP2 processor / 5.3K video / 23MP photos / enhanced low-light performance / HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilisation / cloud connected / waterproof to 33ft / TimeWarp 3.0 8x Slo-Mo / Quik app compatible / compatible with over 30 mounts and accessories / dimensions: 71.8 x 50.8mm.



GoPro Hero 9

Images taken from out Outdoor 100 2021/22.

Price: £329.98
Weight: 158g
Video: 5K 30fps,  4K 60fps
Stills: 20 MP

Though the Hero 10’s predecessor, the Hero 9 still packs a hell of a punch.  Most notably, it gives you the option to shoot in 5K at up to 30 frames per second for when you want to capture as much detail as possible. It can also shoot at: 4K 60, 30, 25 & 24 fps; 2.7K 120, 60, 30, 25 & 24 fps; and 1080p 240, 120, 60, 30, 25 & 24 fps. 

There’s also the ability to remove and swap out lenses which not only makes for easy repairs on the fly, but it also gives you the option to change your field of view via the ‘Max Lens Mod’. This is an ultra-wide angle 155˚ FOV (that’s really wide) lens for enhanced perspective and improved depth of field, making this ideal for immersive photography and videography as it lets you capture as much of that epic mountain scenery as possible.

Thanks to improved processing power, and a slightly larger and heavier battery, the Hero 9 is also able to claim a 30% improvement in battery life over the likes of the Hero 8.

Selected for our Outdoor 100 2021/22 – read our full GoPro Hero 9 review.

Full Specifications

5K video / 20MP / HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilisation / durable waterproof design to 33ft / detachable lens and mod compatibility / 2 screens (front display and rear touch display) / TimeWarp 3.0 8x Slo-Mo / Quik App compatible / compatible with over 30 mounts and accessories / dimensions: 71.8 x 50.8mm.



Insta360 One RS 1-inch Edition

The ONE RS 1-inch has some impressive low-light capabilities.

Price: £499.99
Video: 5.7K/ 4K 60fps
Stills: 19MP

Whilst GoPro are the brand that most people think of when they imagine action cameras, there’s actually some stiff competition from other brands on the market at the moment. Insta360 are one such company. They’ve most recently produced the One RS 1-inch edition in collaboration with iconic camera brand Leica. Famous for their high-quality lenses, this collaboration enables the ONE RS to produce some mighty fine video footage with stunning optics throughout.

The ONE RS 1-inch additionally has a 1-inch sensor – impressive for its size – giving it enhanced low light performance, particularly in the shadow detailing, and an excellent dynamic range. In fact, the ONE RS has a specific Starlapse mode for capturing stunning time-lapses of the night sky, as well as an AquaVision mode for clear and balanced underwater scenes.

Other neat features include: a reversible touch screen, voice control, Flowstate gimbal-like stabilisation, HDR photos, impressive slow-mo capabilities, waterproofing for up to 16.4ft (5m), a shock absorption design, and  much, much more.

Full Specifications

1-inch sensor / voice control / reversible touch screen / Flowstate stabilisation / HDR photos / impressive slow-mo / Night Shot and AquaVision modes / Horizon Lock / Invisible Selfie Stick mode / 360 view available / works with ONE R app / GPS data available / 3.5mm mic adapter / aperture: f/3.2 / manual shutter options: 1/8000s to 120s / ISO: 100-3200 / JPEG, RAW and MP4 files / 1445mAh battery / optional auto-AI editing software / livestreaming option / dimensions (WxHxD): 78.7mm x 53.8mm x 47.2mm.


DJI Action 2

Weight: 56g (excluding extra mounts)
Video: 4K 120fps
Stills: 12MP

Though perhaps best known for their drones, DJI also incidentally make some pretty neat action cameras. This example, the Action 2, is built with a magnetic locking design to enable cool customisations. Think: selfie sticks, a tripod, a remote control extension rod, a macro lens and even an extra monitor.

Related: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Review

There’s also a magnetic lanyard that you can wear around your neck (or place underneath your shirt for a more discrete look) and then attach the camera to. Modular adapter mounts likewise enable you to attach the camera to the likes of a bike, a surfboard, or even your dog’s collar. In this sense, the DJI Action 2 is both portable and wearable, and very discrete.

Another impressive feature is its audio locking capabilities. Thanks to the 4-mic Matrix Stereo, the Action 2 can pick up on the smallest of sounds whilst still focusing its efforts on the noises of your camera’s subject (otherwise known as directional audio). This gives it that ‘real-life’ effect, transporting you back to the scene. The sound even heightens as you zoom towards your subject.

Full Specifications

Magnetic locking design / 4k 120 fps / wearable / lightweight aluminium alloy body / aperture:  f/2.8 / lens FOV: 155° / ISO: 100-6400 / max photo resolution: 4000×3000 / shutter speed: 1/8000s to 30s or limit of fps / HorizonSteady built-in stabilisation / drop-proof and dust-proof / waterproof to 10m (60m with casing) / 32GB storage / AI editing options / dimensions: 39×39×22.3 mm.



Akaso Brave 8

Weight: 114.8g
Video: 4K 60fps
Stills: 48MP

At 48 MP, the Akaso Brave 8 boasts some of the most impressive image quality on this list, in part thanks to the 9 pieces of glass that have been intricately designed to fit into the lens. It also has the ability to shoot time lapses in a whopping 8K, or alternatively you can slow scenes down by up to 16x more than real time footage.

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the Brave 8 doesn’t have the highest frame rate per second for a 4K video – though 60 fps is still very solid. Other cool features include: AI face metering, SuperSmooth image stabilisation, hands-free voice control in up to seven languages, and a battery life of up to 90 minutes, to name a few.

Full Specifications

4K 60fps / 48MP / 8K time lapse / super wide angle / 16x slo-mo / AI face metering / dual colour screens / ½ inch CMOS sensor / waterproof to 10m (33ft) or 60m (196ft) with casing / voice control in 7 languages / 1550mAh battery (90 mins) / aperture: f/2.5 / ISO: 100 to 3200 (6400 for video) / dimensions: 63×36.5x45mm.


Insta360 Go 2

Weight: 26.5g
Video: 1440p 50fps
Stills: 16:9, 2560×1440; 1:1, 2560×2560 pixels 

Now this is one tiny action camera. So small, in fact, that Insta360 say it’s the smallest action camera in the world. And espite its size, the Go 2 can still film up to 50 frames per second at 1440p.

Though perhaps not ideal if you’re after super high image quality, or thinking of entering your videos into the oscars, this is pretty good if you want to document your adventures with very little extra weight or hassle.

You can also pretty much mount it anywhere, including on cars, around your neck, on your trail  running cap, on a skateboard, or probably even on your ear if you wanted to. With customisable colour options, and a whole host of accessories to choose from; there’s a lot to like about the Go 2.

Full Specifications

1440p 50fps / FlowState stabilisation / hands-free remote control option / mounts anywhere / 6x Hyper-lapse, 4x Slo-Mo / waterproof to 4m (13ft) / HDR colour boosting / 4-in-1 case / 30min charge time for 2.5 hours / controller works up to 10m (33ft) away / selfie stick compatible / Night Shot and AquaVision modes / FlashCut AI auto-editing option / customisable colours / accessories: easy clip, magnet pendant, lens guards, ND filter kit, mount adapters / aperture: f/2.2 / ISO: 100-3200 / shutter speeds: 1/800-120s / dimensions (WxHxD): 52.9×23.6×20.7mm.



GoPro Max

Images from our sister-site Mpora’s Ski 100.

Price: £379.98
Weight: 154g
Video: 6K (360 mode only), 5K
Stills: 18MP

Boasting the option to switch between using two lenses for full 360 mode, or a single lens for the regular ‘GoPro’ look (1080p), the Max offers a huge range of framing options, helping you keep your edits interesting and engaging.

The 360 field of view particularly comes into its own when you come to edit your footage. Say you’ve got a Max outstretched on a pole as you ski, you’ll be able to adjust the framing in post, making sure that the camera follows you, before flipping around and following your mates too.

Because of these extra features, both the body and battery are bigger than other models, the latter being said to give you enough juice for a day’s worth of shooting in 360 mode. All in all, this means that the Max comes in at 154g which – given the priceless footage you’ll get – ain’t half bad for a camera.

Selected for their Ski 100 2020/21 – read Mpora’s full GoPro Max review.

Full Specifications

360 and Hero-style footage options / 6 audio mics / Max HyperSmooth image stabilisation / waterproof to 16ft / 1080p live streaming / Quik app compatible / cloud connected / 4 digital lenses: narrow, linear, wide & max superview / compatible with over 30 mounts and accessories / dimensions: 69x64x25mm.



DJI Pocket 2

Weight: 117g
Video: 4K 60fps
Stills: 64MP

Another unique design from DJI. With a 3-axis motorised stabilisation system, the Pocket 2 action camera is particularly good if you’re after gimbal-like smoothness. The ActiveTrack 3.0 is additionally equipped to track faces, adding to this seamless production quality.

There are four microphones on the handle to provide surround-sound audio, including directional audio as you move with the camera, and audio zoom as you focus in on your subject. What’s also handy about the Pocket 2 is that most of the controls can be accessed using just one hand, giving you flexibility in terms of vlogging potential or general movement out on the trail.

Full Specifications

3-Axis stabilised camera / 1/1.7 inch CMOS sensor / pocket-sized / ActiveTrack 3.0 / AI Editor / DJI Matrix Stereo / Timelapse, Motionlapse and Hyperlapse options / black and white colour options / 180° FOV or 3×3 panorama / dimensions 124.7×38.1x30mm.



Apeman Seeker R1

Price: £429.99
Weight: 187.3g
Video: 4K 60fps
Stills: 12.3MP

If you’re a fan of all things cycling, the Apeman Seeker R1 might be the one for you. Its lighting system is made specifically with two-wheeled adventures in mind, including an inventive anti-collision laser bike lane (see picture above) as well as a 50 lumen tail light that surrounds the camera itself. In this sense it’s very much geared towards keeping you safe on the roads, though the bike mount can be removed if you want to use it elsewhere.

Related: Best Bikepacking Routes In The UK

Once connected to your phone and attached to the back of your bike; if you mount your phone on your handlebars, you can use the Seeker as a rearview mirror. It even measures statistics such as speed, distance, and directionality as you move.

Full Specifications

Anti-collision laser bike lane / 50 lumen tail light / 4k HDR / 5000mAh battery / works as digital rearview mirror if connected to phone / dual screen colour display / ultra wide 150° FOV / waterproof to 16ft / removable bike mount / shooting modes: vivid sport, 6x slow motion, time lapse and burst  / dimensions: 92.6×104.4×39.5mm.


Oclu Action Camera

Price: $199
Weight: 101g
Video: 4K 30fps
Stills: 12MP

The Oclu Action Camera  has a similar set up to the Insta360 Go 2, though is slightly heftier due to its increased features. At 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches, it’s still very aerodynamic, and can be attached to the likes of a bike helmet or trekking pole very easily.

Perhaps one of the coolest features here is the motion initiated recording abilities. This means that if, for example, you were wild camping and wanted to see what kind of wildlife walks by your tent at night; you can set up the Oclu to record as soon as it detects motion outside. And with the OcShell waterproof case attached, you won’t have to worry about it raining too much in the night either.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide To Wild Camping In The UK

Full Specifications

LiveCut technology / IPX7 water resistant / OcShell waterproofing case available / customisable shooting modes / OcSnap for magnetic charging and data transfer / one touch record / interchangeable battery / universal accessory mount / 1/4 inch tripod mount / motion initiated recording / wind reduction sound recording / GPS data recording / aperture: f/2.5 / 150° diagonal all-glass lens.



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