So You Want to Buy an Action Camera


It wasn’t that long ago that filming your outdoor adventures meant lugging around a large video camera and hoping you could stage a decent shot. The desire to capture the action has driven technology and today we live in the era of the action camera—small, high quality cameras that bring home those amazing memories. What these cameras can do is simply amazing. What’s better is how user-friendly they have become. It’s now easy to get in on the action.

Going GoPro

It’s no secret that the biggest name in the action-camera world these days is GoPro. You’d probably be amazed at how much of your favorite television programming ends up being shot on one. The versatile cameras have been proven to work in the harsh environments adventurous living often provides.

The $299.99 GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition Camera packs a ton of features into a small camera housing. The Hero3+ shoots full 1080p HD video with sound, and can shoot 10mp digital stills at 10 frames per second. With the included housing, the camera is waterproof to 131 feet, meaning you can get some killer footage of that fish as you bring it to the boat. The Hero3+ also has integrated wifi that lets you playback your video on a smartphone or tablet.

The $399.99 GoPro Hero4 Silver Action Camera steps things up a notch by incorporating an LCD touchscreen control that optimizes playback and viewing options. Another big step is an improved lens. One of the main secrets to GoPro’s success comes in the lenses. The Hero4’s lens shoots in ultra-wide high definition. This lets in more light, increasing color, contrast, and overall quality of the video and images.

So how do you improve on the already tiny GoPro cameras? Make them smaller and even more clear, obviously! The $299.99 GoPro Hero4 Session Action Camera is the smallest, lightest camera GoPro makes. With a new waterproof housing, there is no need for an external case to keep the elements out. The camera shoots 1440p30, 1080p60, and 720p100 HD video and 8MP digital photos. The even more compact design, combined with extreme ease of use, make the Session an excellent choice for beginning videographers and seasoned professionals alike. Seriously, there is so much this camera can do that you’re going to just want one. At 2.6 oz. you may have to remind yourself that you have it.

For the pro on the go

Genuine GoPro accessories make placing the camera in a unique spot easier. Ever want to know what your dog is doing while on the duck retrieve? How about when it’s on point during an upland hunt. The $59.99 GoPro Dog Mount safely secures the camera on the back of your dog via a strap system. Nothing like getting your trusted hunting buddy to pull double-duty as the camera dog, too.

Want to film yourself but stay hands-free? For$39.99, the GoPro Chest Mount Harness mounts a camera front and center, perfect for a fishing or hiking trip.

One of the more versatile mounts is the $49.99 GoPro Jaws Clamp Mount lets you clamp the camera to objects up to two inches in diameter. You can either attach the camera to the clamp, or to the adjustable neck. If you’ve ever seen those sweet videos of an ATV going through mud and it looks like the camera is floating along next to the tire, this clamp is how those shots get made. A great way to clamp a camera to your treestand too!

Not the only game in town

While GoPro may be the big name in the game, they are not the only one. The amazing $259.99 Garmin VIRB Elite Action Camera also boasts an incredible, high-quality lens and the ability to shoot stunning, high-definition video and still images up to 16MP. The VIRB also incorporates a color LCD display and wifi connectivity. Plus, given that it’s a Garmin product after all, there is a sensitive internal GPS system for adding mapping components to your videos. What’s even better, the VIRB is compatible with most GoPro-brand mounting systems. The VIRB is definitely a contender.

And don’t count out the $349.99 Spypoint Xcel HD2 Hunt Action Camera that was designed by hunters. The camo Xcel has many of the features you’ll find in other adventure cameras, and a few you might be surprised by. The camo-housed camera has a remote control and three modes that let you capture full HD video, 12MP still images, or a cool time-lapse feature. The Xcel also lets you zoom up to 4X to bring objects closer than they appear. If you’re a hunter, you might want to take a long look at the Spypoint.

A final tip: be sure you have plenty of SD cards on-hand when you take one of these cameras into the woods. The last thing you want to do is do something totally epic, only to find out your camera ran out of memory earlier while you were snagging lunch or something. Don’t be that guy!

This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.

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