Action Cameras - What Are They and Why You Need One!

What is an action camera?

It’s quite like a normal camera that shoots photos and video but unlike regular cameras, action cameras come with a range of accessories that enable you to attach them to helmets, handle bars, take them under water and attach to practically anything.  What’s the point in this? Epic mini movies and unreal photos!  Action cameras make your photos and videos come to life – let your friends and family see exactly what you’re seeing as you zip line down a mountain or drive across surreal landscapes. In addition to this most action cameras have a wider lens so you can get more width to your images. 


Action camera photo while on a bike

What to look for in an action camera

Buying an action camera can be confusing as there are lots of elements that you need to know about. This blog post explains in simple terms what everything means and why it’s important. If you are considering buying an action camera there are a few things that you might need to know more about in order to make a decision on which action camera is right for you… 


Is it HD?

HD means High Definition, HD, Full HD and 1080p all mean the same thing.  This means that your videos can be played on TV’s, smartphones, YouTube, projectors and computers for example.  Most action cameras should come with this, it’s best to make sure it does so you know you have high quality video playback – the last thing you want is to have epic footage swimming with turtles only to find out the at the video quality is so poor that your recording is barely visible.  HD or 1080p generally gives you a resolution of 1920x1080.


Is it 4k?

4K is also known as Ultra HD, you get where this is going right?...Meaning it has an even bigger resolution so images are even clearer so they can be made really large without looking pixelated. 4K video footage could be used on digital television and digital cinematography.  It’s not essential but if you want very high quality video make sure the action camera is a 4K action camera.


How far can you use it underwater?

One of the great things about action cameras is that you can put them in their waterproof cases and take them pretty far underwater.  If you are a diver, should ensure your action camera can handle the depth you are diving to.  Our action cameras all go to at least 30 metres in depth but this underwater action camera one goes up to 50 meters.


What accessories come with it?

Think about the things you might use your action camera for and then you will have a better idea of what accessories you need for it.  The types of attachment that you can get will vary but our favourite attachments are:


  • Headcam attachment: this is great to record yourself zip lining, mountain climbing, racing, surfing, sandboarding, snowboarding, skiing, caving etc.

  • Handle bar attachment: If you ride a bicycle you can make some really cool movies with this.

  • Windscreen attachment: you can them make recordings of your car journey through spectacular mountains for example and put a time lapse on the video so your friends and family so see it in a quick, exciting 2 minute video.

  • Underwater cover: Take amazing footage of your snorkelling adventures or even in the pool having underwater fun.

  • Remote control: very useful so you don’t have to fiddle with the action camera while you are doing something that requires both hands



How many mega pixels?

As action cameras also take photos you should check that how many mega pixels the action camera has.  The average smartphone has around 8 mega pixels fi that helps.  We wouldn’t recommend any lower than that. 


How much storage?

You want to make sure you have a decent amount of storage as you don’t want to run out of space just as you are filming something amazing.  If you are going to be filming a lot (rather than just taking photos) this will take up more space on the SD card so it might be a good idea to get an action camera with a bigger capacity although it’s not essential as you could just take a few space micro SD cards so you can change to a new one when the exiting SD card is full. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to go for a 4K action camera the videos are higher definition which take up more room on the device.

This 4K Ultra HD 16MP Action Camera has a whopping 128GB storage capacity with a microSD card. As a rough calculation 1 minute of a 4K recording uses just under 400MB of space. With this camera and a 128GB microSD card you can record 5 hours’ worth of 4K video before you need to worry about moving anything to cloud storage.


Has it got WiFi or Bluetooth?

Without WiFi or Bluetooth you will need to take the SD card out and use a card reader to export your photos and filming onto your phone or computer.  This is fine but if you are travelling and want to upload something to Facebook or send a few photos to friends and family having WiFi is really handy. 

underwater action camera

Has it got a Fisheye lens

This isn’t a must but a fish eye lens can give you some cool effects.  A fisheye lens is a very wide-angle lens that produces a wide panoramic image.  It’s nice to have if you are getting an action camera as you can get more width into your images and video and it enables you to create some cool effects.


What FPS do you need?

What is FTP you ask, its frames per second.  Video is created by hundreds of still images that are consecutively taken to give the appearance of moving – just like animation.  The speed of the frames per second can therefore give you different effects, or if poor quality appear sluggish. The current industry standard is 24 FPS -that number was decided on for economic reasons rather than because that’s what looks best to watch.  With this in mind you ideally want something that is 24FPS or above.  Just so you know, a high FPS like 70 FPS won’t look really fast it just has more quality which means less strain on the eye.


Have much zoom?

This depends on how close you will be to whatever you are filming or taking photos of.  The more zoom you have the further away you can be.  Any less than a 3 x zoom is going to mean that you need to practically stand next to whatever you want to capture which is fine if you are filming people but if you are trying to capture and animal you are unlikely to be able to get up close to it.



You can spend hundreds on an action camera – but do you really need to?  If you’re not using it for professional reasons and you just want something that is a decent quality and easy to use then something like the this action camera is ideal as it gives you ultra HD, has huge storage, a fisheye lens, 16 mega pixels and it has WiFi. Easy.


Check out our affordable action cameras and start getting creative with your holiday snaps!