6 Best Action Cameras for Your Dangerous Adventures (2019)

Choosing the right action camera used to be simple: Go with GoPro. It’s still good advice. The GoPro ranks high on our list, and would be our top pick for most people. But finally, we’ve found a few worthy competitors.

To figure out which camera is the best, we tried them all. We dove with them, climbed with them, biked with them, and handed them to reckless 4-year-olds on scooters. We found number of great options that will survive, and record, your future adventures.

If an action cam isn’t your speed, be sure to check out our picks for thebest compact cameras, ourfavorite mirrorless cameras, and ourfavorite instant camerasas well.

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  • gopro hero 8

    Photograph: GoPro


    Best Overall

    GoPro Hero 8 Black

    GoPro’s latest flagship action camera, theHero 8 Black (8/10, WIRED Recommends), is our favorite camera in this class—thanks to customizable menus, cageless design, and improved software. With HyperSmooth stabilization now available in all video modes, and the ability to capture RAW images even in time lapse, the GoPro produces results that simply aren’t possible with the other cameras in this list.

    The one complaint we have is that the lens housing is no longer removable. For that reason, we suggest picking up GoPro’s lens protector set to preserve your investment. It’savailable at B&H Photo.


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  • Photograph: DJI


    Best for Selfies

    DJI Osmo Action

    TheDJI Osmo Action (8/10, WIRED Recommends)is a newcomer to this field, but it arrives with all the pedigree of DJI’s drone cams behind it. The dual touchscreen display is a highlight, and one thing that might trump our top pick, depending on your circumstances. It makes framing selfies much easier—although to be fair, the GoPro Hero 8 Black does have a front-facing camera available as an accessory. The Osmo Action has excellent image stabilization and an HDR video option that opens up shadows in difficult, backlit shots. It’s also compatible with most action camera mounts and accessories.

    On the downside, it’s missing GPS support and doesn’t have the social sharing features found in the GoPro. It’salso available from DJI.


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  • Photograph: GoPro


    Best Value

    GoPro Hero7 Black

    TheHero 7 Black (8/10, WIRED Recommends)is a bit like Sylvester Stallone. It’s too old to be the top dog in the action world, but, like Rambo, it helped define the future of this genre (with it’s innovative in-camera software).

    It lacks the custom menu features of the Hero 8 Black, but the sensor and lens are the same. The lens housing is compatible with all kinds of useful third-party extras, like lens filters. Going forward, most accessories will likely target the Hero 8 Black. Still, the Hero 7 Blackregularly sells for $329, making it a compelling deal.


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