To capture a thrilling, adrenaline-infused moments, you need a solid action camera that can withstand rough handling. The rugged action cameras are no longer confined to professional photographers. Nowadays, everyone from professional snowboarders to cute pets who can’t stand still wears action cameras to capture breathtaking moments.
Thanks to this widespread popularity, there are plenty of action cameras that are highly affordable for budget users. You really don’t need to spend more than $100 for a good action camera with great features for home use. For example, consider the EK7000, one of the best action camera under 100 ever made. For detailed information, refer to the list below:
Best Action Camera Under $100 List – 2017
When people ask me what’s the best action camera under 100 is, this is the one I recommend. Akaso is a relatively unknown brand, but the company’s action cameras are getting more and more popular. The EK7000 is one of the newest from the brand, and it’s making a splash in the industry thanks to the affordable price tag and the amazing features on offer considering the affordability. Here are some of the best features about the camera that I liked:
Akaso EK7000’s defining feature is video quality. Don’t falter thinking that you get minimum quality considering its cheap price. It’s the opposite rather. This camera can shoot 4K videos. I compared the video quality to a Nikon I have and it’s basically the same. The camera can also handle lower quality Full HD and 2.7K formats as well. However, I would not say that the 4K video shot using Akaso is exactly the same as using a higher-end camera. The issue is that this camera has a low 25 fps for the 4k format. As a result, the video footage is not as stunning (but still looks good though). What this camera is really good at it Full HD video. Fps for HD is an incredible 60, so the footage looks quite stunning. So, if you want truly stunning 4K video, this may not be the camera. But if you want really good HD video at an affordable rate, this is the best choice.
Hardware is standard build so there’s nothing to complain. I’ve used this camera for two years and I have yet to encounter any physical issues. It looks like it’s build to last. I know a friend who has used this camera for five years now. So, you can relatively depend on the camera to last several years, or at least until you can afford a more expensive one.
Connectivity and Storage
This camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi. If you remember from a few years back, cameras with Wi-Fi were crazy expensive. That’s not the case anymore thanks to cheaper modules. This camera is highly compatible with a number of handheld devices. Thanks to the fast Wi-Fi module, you can connect this camera to smartphone or a tablet in a matter of seconds. The range is between 10 to 15 meters, which is pretty standard for devices of this type. There is no corresponding app however, so you will have to download a generic free camera app. I had to test this camera with several until I found one that was compatible.
This camera has built-in HDMI as well for viewing high-res video. As for storage, you will have to buy a microSD card separately. Keep in mind that you will need one of those “express” SD cards for transferring high-quality video.
This camera is waterproof up to 100 feet underwater. The camera is waterproof in case you spill a drink on it. The casing in IP68 water resistant, so you can take it rafting or surfing without worrying. You can take the camera swimming as well, but just don’t take it diving.
This camera is equipped with two 1050mAH batteries. A 1050mAH battery can last up to 120 minutes. I usually get around 4 hours of shooting time with this camera. Of course, battery life can depend on the format you use. When shooting in 4K or Full HD, it’s easy to drain the battery quite fast. But I highly commend the developer’s decision to include two batteries. One of the biggest issues with cheap cameras is that the battery is basically crap. You won’t encounter such issues with this camera. However, for longer trips, I highly recommend taking a power bank just in case.
In addition to the pros mentioned above, this camera also comes with tons of accessories, like carrying case and lens cloth. It’s also compatible with GoPro mounts. Having this camera is like owning a budget GoPro. Features like double battery life definitely make this worth every penny. There are features this Akaso has that even cameras that cost more don’t have. Overall, this is a great action camera that offers excellent value for the price.
This amazing bundle is perfect to capture 12MP still phones, and fast, high-quality video. If you don’t have the 4K equipment, this is the next best action camera to have. I got this bundle for very low price, which is practically a steal. Here is a list of things l liked and disliked about this action camera:
For a cheap and small camera, Lightdow LD4000 delivers truly remarkable video quality. This is not a 4K camera, and you could never buy a really good 4K camera for this cheap. This camera can record in full HD. Picture quality is truly amazing largely thanks to NOVATEK Original Chip – NT96650. This is a tech that remedies common distortions in video capture so you can get better quality videos. Also, it can give a camera greater vision, so the user knows exactly what to capture. I have used Full HD cameras without this technology and I can definitely say that video and picture quality is always better with the chip solution.
This camera can capture 1080p to 720p quality images at 30fps. I was not impressed with the fps rate, but it is rather standard. However, I have seen cheap HD cameras with better fps rates, like the Akaso mentioned above. The camera has 170° wide-angle lens. This type of lens is best suited for shooting images with a broad field view, like landscapes. But with an action camera you are not exactly taking portraits, so the wide angle is necessary to capture motion as soon as it occurs. I’ve found that the lens is truly helpful when engaging in watersports activities. I shot some footage while surfing using this camera and the images came out really great without missing any action.
I also shot some good pictures using the 12MP camera with 30fps. It’s of course, not overly impressive but the camera is definitely better than the standard smartphone camera.
Hardware and Build
This camera is built to be able to withstand extreme environmental conditions. The exterior is quite durable despite appearances. Plus, it’s designed very stylishly. This camera looks like a little box with a detachable battery. I wouldn’t say that it’s ergonomic per se, because it’s not build to make holding it easier.
The camera is wearable and mountable of almost all GoPro mounts. I didn’t experience any wear-ability issues. If you find a good mount, the camera can be used while engaged in any extreme activity like whitewater rafting, kite surfing, snorkeling or swimming. The camera is also resistant to shock, so you can drop it once or twice and still rely on it afterwards.
Dimensions are 2.6 x 0.9 x 1.6 inches and the Lightdow weighs only about 1.1 pounds. So it’s quite portable. Carrying is a no issue and it feels feather light in hands, compared to other cameras. It also comes in seven different colors: black, blue, gold, yellow, white, pink and silver. You can choose an eye-popping color if you like.
This camera is sometimes marketed as an “underwater” camera. It’s not. The camera is highly water resistant. It’s waterproof and can be submerged up to 30m of water. You can take pictures in that range. However, this is not an underwater camera in the sense of a diving camera. It’s not build to withstand underwater pressure. Consider it to have standard water proof ability of action cameras. Do not dive with it because you will break it.
The biggest downside of this camera is the battery life. The battery has only 900mAh capacity, which gives a shooting time of only about an hour. That’s really dismal considering battery capacity of most cameras. Even smartphones can shoot for longer. While all the other specs are great, the battery leaves a lot to be desired. The camera is all right for shorter trips, but for longer journeys you might want to pack an additional battery or a power bank.
Lightdow LD4000 is one of the best affordable cameras that you can buy. It shoots excellent full HD footage and is great for taking pictures with a sweeping field of view. It’s waterproof and durable too. The only downside is the one-hour battery life. If you can find a workaround for that, this camera will be great.
You probably won’t find that many other products offering a price value similar to this with exceptional features. I would not hesitate to describe this camera as one of the between GoPro knockoffs. It comes with a 12MP camera, ultra-wide angle lens and a 14MP Panasonic CMOS sensor. All combined, it’s a great budget choice for a GoPro.
The video quality is really solid considering the price. The camera specifies 1080p video, and it delivers without any issues. In addition to the wide angle lens, this camera also has fish eye lens. This type of lens is well suited for capturing outdoor action. Wide angle lens capture more of the field of view. Fish eye captures the motion. It’s great for capturing action and activities just like many high-end cameras. I would say that this camera is not suitable for capturing portraits. Still photos I took only churn out great if it involves a vast landscape. If you want better portraits, you will have to buy a good DSLR.
I was impressed by how well the colors turned out. I expected the resolution to suffer, considering how cheap the product is, but the colors came out really great in my videos. Even colors in low light conditions looked quite sharp. That’s definitely a plus for those who want truly high-res video. The camera has a 2.0 inch LCD display screen to playback video and view photos. The screen is really good and displays graphics vividly.
This camera also has built in Wi-Fi to stream content. Keep in mind that this camera needs an uninterrupted connection to connect. For example, if your smartphone is connecting to the same network, the camera won’t. Wi-Fi works fine otherwise but the corresponding FinalCam app is a bit slow and glitch. It’s possible that the latest updates have improved the app.
Hardware and Build
The camera looks very sleek, like a neat little box. You would never be embarrassed to take it anywhere. It definitely doesn’t look like you only spent a few dollars on it. The camera comes with a slew of accessories, including mounts, clips, stickers, belts and a cable. Everything is of good quality. The accessories fit well together and are easy to assemble. Well, except for the battery compartment perhaps. It’s really stiff and I had to use a ruler to pry it open the first time. I don’t open it often because I’m afraid it might snap.
The mounts that come with the camera are really great. I got a bicycle mount, a multi-function clip, camera clip, and a helmet mount. Basically these are all the mounts you need when outdoors. You can also equip this camera with GoPro mounts. I found that this camera is compatible with almost all GoPro mounts.
This camera does not come with a microSD card so you will have to buy one on your own. I strongly recommend buying a new microSD card intended for action cameras and GoPros. Because the camera records HD video, it needs SD cards with fast data transmission capabilities to send video files from the card to another device. So, get a good card or you may face issues copying video.
This camera comes in a waterproof casing. You can take it underwater for about 30m below. But don’t keep it submersed. I’ve used this camera on a board, windsurfing and kayaking. I once dove off a board with the camera attached and it wasn’t damaged in any of these instances by the water. The waterproof casing is genuine as it not a counterfeit product as I initially suspected. I’m really happy that I didn’t have to buy a casing separately.
This camera comes with an extra battery, so the total number of lithium-ion batteries you get are two. Each battery lasts about 90 minutes when shooting, so you get a total of 180 of shooting time. This is quite a bargain considering most budget action cameras barely last an hour.
This camera can shoot sharp and gorgeous footage and comes with a fisheye lens to capture even more action. It has an extra battery giving the user more power. Plus, there are loads of mounts included with the package. It has built-in Wi-Fi, a stunning LCD screen and a sturdy waterproof casing is included. What more could you ask for in a budget action camera?
This surprisingly cheap action camera can capture amazing video during sports and similar activities with involving a lot of fast movements. The video and still photography are great considering the price. This camera mounts onto basically anything thanks to the unique shape. It’s lightweight and doesn’t feel uncomfortable to wear. Plus, it also comes with an extra battery and a second charger. That’s very convenient when going on trips with the camera. Unfortunately, this camera is not waterproof, so a waterproof case is required. The manufacturer provides one in the package, but I didn’t find it satisfactory and purchased one separately.
This is a special children’s action camera. It’s the perfect camera to teach kids about photography. I got one for my niece and she loves recording using this when she’d riding bikes and playing with pets. The camera is highly durable and versatile. I’d say it’s near indestructible. It works in the air, underwater, on the ground everywhere. In the pool, it floats too. It mounts well on bikes and skateboard. The 640 x 480 resolution video is not bad either. The camera has a recording time of 2.5 hours. About 240 minutes of video can be recorded. I highly recommend this as a holiday gift for kids between 6 to 12 years.
If you plan on being near water for a good amount of time on your action-adventure trip, then this is the best action camera under 100 you can take with you. It doesn’t require special waterproof casing and is specifically designing for activities such as surfing, whitewater rafting, boating, some snorkeling and so on. It supports diving down to 30m of depth. It has a video display, video recording, audio recording, and photo shooting capabilities. Of course, you can take it on other outdoor activities as well. Multiple recording formats include 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps. The 720p video is more accurate, but 1080 is better detailed.
This camera comes packed with impressive features like 4k video. It can shoot video in 4k with 25 fps, 2.7k with 30 fps, 1080p with 60 fps, or 720p with 120 fps. The graphics indeed are very sharp, precise, and lacks any distortions. Photo is 12MP max. While some people might be disappointed with the MP count, keep in mind that this comes with a powerful chipset and lenses so images are captured beautifully. The camera has additional features like built-in Wi-Fi and HDMI. It’s also waterproof up to 30m in water. So this camera is great for water sports enthusiasts. Overall, I was impressed with both the performance and the price.
There is no doubt that SOOCOO C30 is a sleek and stylish action camera. It cost me a reasonable amount which was a bargain for a 4K action camera. It’s also easy to use and comes with different view angles. It’s equipped with an impressive Novatek 96660 chipset, a CMOS image sensor, and focus lens that can provide a range between 12cm and infinity. The wide angle lenses are whipping 170 degrees. There’s, of course, a gyro stabilizer to keep the camera steady when using while active. There were some issues I experienced, mainly with white balance. In direct sunlight, photos come out in very high contrast. The mounts were not very steady either. However, given the other specs and the budget price, I’d say this is a great action camera to own.
This is a neat sports camera that is mountable on a variety of surfaces and comfortable wearable, even on the wrist. It even mounts well on motorcycle helmets, which is notoriously difficult for many other action cameras save for GoPro. It can capture 4K video and vivid 12MP still photos. It can also shoot 1080p video at 60fps or 30 fps. So, even if you don’t have a 4K compatible TV or a computer, you can use this camera in case you buy one in the future. The lens is wide angle and is largely accurate. Though in some instances, the captured were not that perfect. That’s largely a problem with the wide angle lens, not the camera. The camera comes with a useful wireless wrist remote, which is waterproof (but do not use underwater). My order came with a wonderful shockproof carrying bag.
This is a surprisingly cheap high-quality camera that can shoot 4K video. Still photos get and amazing 16MP quality. It also has time lapse and slow motion capabilities. The body is very compact and easy to carry. The camera is not water or weather proof, but a sturdy casing is provided. With the casing, the camera is waterproof and can stand extreme environmental conditions. It’s easy to wear and doesn’t feel like anything when engaging in any activity.
How to Buy a Budget Action Camera
When people think of action cameras, they think GoPro. This is not the only brand available out there. So, be open minded and be willing to learn to get the best action camera under 100 that suits your needs. Do not discriminate based on the brand name. Discriminate based on the features offered against the price.
Video resolution is very important when buying an action camera. Otherwise, you can do with just about any smartphone camera. Currently, 4K is the highest action camera resolution available. Next come 1080p and 720p resolutions. To stream top-quality 4K video, you need compatible TVs or a computer. If you don’t, go for the 1080p and 720p resolutions, which is compatible with almost all TVs and computers.
Size and shape of the camera also matter. For example, box-shaped action cameras are the best for chest mounting. Bullet shaped ones are the best for helmet mounting.
If you need a highly portable action camera, choose the most lightweight one.
Most action cameras have rugged exteriors to last long. However, do pay attention to features on offer like waterproof and weatherproof. If you plan on taking your action camera near a body of water, make sure it doesn’t require a waterproof casing.
The field of view (FOV) offered in action cameras matter when it comes to how a moment is captured. Action cameras offer wide angle, medium and narrow FOVs. Wide angle is the most common, but it alco commonly causes distortions in the angle.
You need to consider the megapixel level offered by the action camera to take still photos. The higher the MP is, the better the photo resolution will be, just like in smartphones.
Expect that battery life will depend on usage level. If you shoot high-res videos, have Wi-Fi on, the battery will drain faster. So, don’t take the battery life on the label too seriously as it can vary depending on usage.
To avoid jerky footage, get an action camera with high memory capacity and fast writing speeds. A Class 10 memory card is enough for average needs.
You may need to buy extra accessories to use your action camera for certain activities. For example, if you need surfing footage, you will have to buy a special mount to fix the camera onto a surfing board. Not all cameras can be accessorized in that manner. So, before you buy, carefully consider your needs. When buying, make sure the camera can be accessorized the way you want to for special needs.