If you are looking for an action camera that delivers solid performance but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, set your budget to around $200. There are truly excellent budget action camera options in this range for cash-strapped users. I have compiled another list for the best action cameras under $100. This list is for what I call “moderate budget” users, who want an affordable action camera but not a dirt cheap one. For around $200, you can get good specs like the 4K that actually works. GoPro HERO session tops the list because of its overall features. Read ahead for a list of best action camera under $200:
10 Best Action Camera Under $200 – 2017
This rugged action cam comes with a camo skin. You can take it on trips to record you biking uphill, or you can hide this in the backyard to capture wildlife in action. Video is really clear at 1080p at 30fps. It can capture 14MP images as well. It’s waterproof up to 10 meters in water. The wide angle view is really remarkable and is well suited for capturing panoramic landscapes. I didn’t have high expectations for this, but it shoots well in low light conditions as well. It can shoot continuously for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is significantly more battery life than what you get with a GoPro. It’s lightweight, but the image stabilizer adds a bit of weight. This is definitely one of the best low-end action cameras money can buy.
Eken V8s is a reliable action camera you can buy for less than 200 bucks. It’s waterproof, and is one of the best budget cameras for underwater photography. It has a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer to stabilize images. This is quite useful when you take the camera on really shaky adventures like whitewater rafting. It has EIS anti-shake ability as well. The camera is well built to be very wearable and mountable. I wouldn’t expect high-quality video, but it is definitely one of the best in this price range.
This box-shaped camera can shoot 2k HD video with angle views of 120 and 170 degrees. It can also take 16MP pictures. This is more than you could ask from an action camera for the price. It has a Sony image sensor and a really worthwhile gyro sensor. The software continuously updates as the camera moves around so image quality never lapses. There’s an automatic feature for loop recording as well. I got the “pro edition,” which is so called because the package includes accessories and three mounts. Everything is good overall. As for downsides, there’s no audio on the camera. It has a mic, but you can only hear audio when you play footage on a computer or the TV.
This is one of the sturdiest cameras I have owned. It has gone through all manner of physical abuse and the camera still works. So, from the get go this camera gets high points for build and durability. The video is undoubtedly great and is quite like what you get with a GoPro Hero 4. It shoots 4K video at 15fps, so it’s not true 4K, but it will have to do for the budget price. Still, the 1080p at 60fps is more than enough for most of my needs. It’s well designed for mounting as well. I found it easier to mount on a helmet than a GoPro. This camera also has about 3 hours of battery life, which is remarkable for an action camera. Overall, I highly recommend this as a good GoPro alternative for cash-strapped users.
This camera can shoot panoramic footage with 360-degree ultra wide lens. It connects to VR headsets too, so this is one of the best budget action cameras for immersive experiences. This Banne has three modes basically: 2.7K at 25fps, 960p at 30fps and 4MP for photos. Unfortunately, there was no 1080p 30fps feature like the advertising claimed. Still, it’s great for shooting HD video in any action-y situation. The camera itself is very compact, so it’s no hassle to carry around. As for downsides, the cameras has an internal battery that cannot be swapped, and it’s not waterproof. But I think the ultra HD wide lens is worth it.
This action camera can shoot 4K video and is powered by an Ambarella A12s processor and a Sony IMX117 image sensor. It does shoot 3840×2160 Ultra HD 4K 30fps as advertised without an issues. Speeds can go high as 240fps, so you can use this cam with just about any sport. It has IPX8 waterproof housing, so you don’t have to worry about taking this snorkeling or whitewater rafting. There’s a corresponding smartphone app for the cam. I initially had some issues using the app, and I had to contact the manufacturer. Impressively, they got right back to be and fixed the issue. The only problem I had was with the firmware. The camera comes with outdated firmware that needs to be upgraded soon after unboxing.
This is one of the weirdest looking action cams I have ever owned. This Garmin looks like a fat flashlight with an LCD screen rather than a camera. Regardless of the looks, this is definitely an excellent budget substitute for a $400 GoPro. It has video quality in 1080p, 960p, and 720p. The 60fps 720p video is truly amazing. It can capture images in 16MP, 12MP, and 8MP. This is from Garmin, so of course there’s built-in GPS. In fact, this is one of the few action cams that actually do. It offers some level of image stabilization features as well. The battery lasted between 2 and 3 hours when I was shooting 1080p footage. The camera is highly durable, waterproof, and I totally recommend this when going on road trips.
This is definitely one of the best action cameras under $200 money can buy. This Sony is an older model, but it can stand toe to toe with a GoPro any given day. The quality of the video is truly impressive when shot while moving. This camera can shoot Full HD video with XAVC-S. What really makes it worth it is the SteadyShot image stabilization tech. It reduces blur in footage shot while in rapid motion. I’ve shot video using this when biking and driving, and there’s a noticeable difference in quality when compared to just about any other action camera in this price range. There’s little oscillation so the video is not nauseating to watch. The camera is a but bulky, but it comes with a waterproof case and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connections. Definitely well worth the money.
This is a tiny, but powerful camera. From the outset, the sleek design is notable. It looks like a neat little black box. This camera easily links to smartphones and tablets, so functionality level is high. It records 4K video at 30 fps, 1080 video at 120 fps, and 720p video at 240fps. So the specs are really solid. It can also take 12MP photos. I highly recommend this for landscape photographs, mainly because of the 155-degree wide angle lens with an F2.8 aperture.
The built-in touchscreeen has 640×360 resolution, which is quite high for camera screens. It’s powered by an Ambarella A9SE75 chip and a Sony IMX377 image sensor, so you know this is of the best quality the money can buy. Compared to GoPro Hero Session mentioned below, this one does have much contrast, but YI boots faster. Please note that this camera unfortunately lacks HDMI output.
Hands, down, GoPro HERO Session is the best action camera under $200 you can buy. This is my choice action camera to use. Hero was formerly known as GoPro Session 4, and it supports a variety of resolutions, including 1080p 60, 50, 30, 25 ultra wide, medium 1920 x 1080, 1080p SuperView, 720p SuperView, 1440p, and many more. You can find a full list of resolutions supported on the official GoPro website. Do not expect the same video quality as GoPro Hero Silver though.
The camera itself is very small and lightweight, so it’s highly portable. It’s very easy to operate as well. it has one-click operation, meaning video recording starts with a single press of the main button. It has an accompanying smartphone app as well. So, you can technically start recording with a handheld device as well.
I take the Hero Sessions on hiking trips frequently. It’s great for shooting field views of vast, horizontal landscapes. With about a 3mm angle, there’s a bit of a fisheye effect, but it’s not too bad. It’s certainly not on the same scale as higher end GoPros, but it’s well suited for amateur videographers. Making clip videos is super easy with GoPro studio software. You can buy a host of accessories for this as well, like suction cup mounts for using in cars, boats, or bikes. Storage is expandable with an SD card.
I have to point out that this GoPro is remarkable durable and sturdy too. I have dropped it about twice now, and it got caught in rain once, and I even sat down on it once. But it works like none of this ever happened. If there’s a negative, I’d say the crappy Wi-Fi connection. It can take some time to set up and start working. Battery life could be a bit longer as well. Mine lasts about 2 hours on 1080p resolution.
Tips for Buying the Best Action Camera Under $200
Here are several tips to keep in mind when buying the best action camera under $200:
If you are willing to spend close to $200, then you are not going for a dirt cheap action camera. So look closely at the features on offer. A $200 camera must offer more than what you can get for a $100.
Do not expect true 4K for this price. Most budget action cams advertise 4k video, but it’s shot at a very low fps, like 15. In other words, not really 4k. What you should look for instead is the fps for 1080p. Most budget cameras mentioned above can shoot excellent 1080p 60fps video, which is really all you need for truly great footage.
Do not a buy the action camera if the max field view is below 140 degrees. The higher the field view, the wider the footage will be. It’s best to understand various camera specs so you can make the best buying decision. Here is a useful guide.
Not all budget action cameras are waterproof or water resistant. So make sure the camera has waterproof features before buying if you need it.
Buy your action camera from seller with good ratings for customer support. You may need to replace parts or upgrade software, which you will have to rely on the seller for. Therefore, it’s important to go with a good one.