For those that are thinking about whether or not to buy an action camera, I can comfortably say that they deliver ample fun to use. Whether you are thinking about recording your practice sessions for sports, record excellent footage of your vacation, want to get into action sports, or even want to do moto vlogging, action cameras will do you plenty of justice. Even if you want to just shoot some photographs or videos from a different perspective, these action cameras will do a better job than your smartphone camera.
However, if you are shopping in the budget range, or let’s say that you are looking at action cameras under $100 you are in the right place. As today we will check out the complete buying guide to getting the best action cameras under $100. We will check out the top picks, what is an action camera, factors to consider before buying one and so much more. Now without further ado, let’s get a closer look.
The Top 5 Best Action Cameras Under $100
5. Campark ACT74
We are going to start this list with the Campark ACT74, which is one of my favorite 4k action cameras in this price range, because it doesn’t offer millions of features but what it does it perfectly.
The design of the Campark ACT74 is pretty simple with the rectangular body and great textured sides that are pretty good for gripping it properly. It is small as well as it measures about 2.3×1.6×1.1-inches and it weighs about 58 grams.
The battery life is average on this camera, but it can get the job done. Its battery life isn’t as long as the Akasos or Apeman Trawos, but it should be more than enough for short trips.
There are also tons of accessories in its body and it makes itself a great camera for moto vlogging. It was a waterproof case which is pretty good considering its price. The video quality of this device comes from the AllWinnder V3 chipset and the Sony IMX179 sensor. It delivers 4K resolution at 30 frames per second with interpolation and 1080p at 60fps natively.
4. AKASO EK7000 4K
Moving on with our list we have a pretty good 4k action camera coming in from Akaso, the EK7000 4K. This camera is pretty cheap and has some amazing features that are pretty surprising for its price. Then again it doesn’t have some features to make it a viable model for long time action camera users.
The AKASO EK7000 4K is a pretty generic looking action camera with its rectangular body that is pretty similar to other action cameras in its range.
It is small measuring about 2.3×1.6×1.1-inches in total in its plastic chassis that has rubberized sides for grabbing it more securely. Accessories are plenty though as it has great ones that are pretty surprising, with plenty of mounts, and chargers. It also comes with a waterproof case, which will get you through a rainy day without a problem.
The biggest selling point of the AKASO EK7000 4K is that it can record videos at 4K resolution at 25 frames per second, but you should know that it is an interpolated resolution, not a native one. It is 2.7K natively from which the processor does its magic and surprisingly it delivers some pleasing footage. Surprisingly, this camera also has remote control capabilities, which is something rare for cameras in this price range. Just because it has remote control capabilities, i think it’s worth considering.
3. Dragon Touch 4K
As you might have seen the action camera market is full of GoPro wannabees, but some do it better than the others, for example, the Dragon Touch 4K which is a super cheap yet exemplary 4k action camera that will deliver you amazing features and performance, it is worth taking a closer look.
The biggest selling point of the Dragon Touch 4K is that it comes with tons of accessories that include a car mount, two batteries, a charger for those, a pair of helmet mounts, a handlebar mount, helmet side mount and so much more which makes this one a perfect model for those that want to be ready for action.
If you have both batteries on you, you can get about 180 minutes of footage which is great and with the waterproof case of it, you can go down to 100 feet underwater. The 4K recording is not the best out there, but it is pretty good, but I was more inclined to use the Full HD 1080p with 60 frames per second here for better results.
2. APEMAN TRAWO A100
The runner up on this list is a superb action camera that comes in the under $100 price, but it delivers some extremely desirable features and some great accessories in its package, the APEMAN TRAWO A100. While it is not the most advanced action camera in the market, it will give you a great set of features and performance to record some great videos.
This is the only touch screen camera I was able to find under $100. Touch screen cameras are usually found on GoPro’s and other high-end action camera models. For some, the touch screen might be a gimmick, but for some its a necessity.
The most impressive thing about the APEMAN TRAWO A100 is that it can record 4K video and capture 20MP still images which is amazing. On top of that, it has also image stabilization features, WiFi connectivity, and waterproofing down to 40 meters underwater that is great for those that want to explore depths. All this is powered by 2 1350mAh batteries, which makes the battery life in this model great.
Some great shooting modes will help you out thanks to their amazing Sony sensor and great processing engine. The modes consist of video, time-lapse, and still images. This action camera is pretty light as well and it has waterproof housing in the package so you don’t need to spend more to get the feature.
1. AKASO Brave 4
On top of our list, we have the Brave 4 which is one of the highest-rated budget range 4k action cameras out there, for great reasons as well. It has some excellent features that make things smoother than ever, such as its great chipset, lightweight body, quality sensor, and 4K video recording abilities, this model has hit the sweet spot. Let’s take a closer look.
Brave 4 has the classic action camera design which is rectangular and small. It has textured sides that make it easier to hold and it is effective and simple overall, nothing confusing overall. On the back of the device, you will spot a small display as well and the whole thing measures about 2.34×1.65×1.19-inches in total and weighs about 61grams.
This action camera has a great Sony CMOS 20MP sensor and the superb Allwinner V3 chipset that can record native video at 1080p at 60fps. However, it can also deliver 4K and 2K video with interpolation.
The battery life is also worth mentioning. It comes with two rechargeable batteries, which the company claims that each of them can record up to 90 minutes of footage. Most action cameras under $100 are have a very weak battery life that runs out before you could even complete your trip, but the this model seems to be very generous in the battery life department.
The image quality is great overall and it delivers 24fps at 4K and 30 fps at 2K and has some anti-shake features that will make your job easier. Just like the EK7000 we talked about earlier, this model also has remote control. Great overall.
What is an Action Camera?
There is not a correct definition of what is the action camera since it is a relatively new invention that has been made popular in the last few years by the GoPro Hero series. These cameras are also frequently called sports cameras or even onboard cameras. These come in relatively small and portable, and can sometimes deliver better image quality than a regular camcorder. These days all sorts of smaller cameras coming in the GoPro Hero shape are called action or sports cameras.
They have some excellent qualities that make them fan favorites and extremely useful for a wide range of scenarios. First of all, they are extremely easy to use and can be set on in different places such as the handlebars of your bike or motorcycle, helmet, or anywhere else, so you can go on with your activities without any hassle that comes with operating an action camera.
There are different models however delivering different qualities and features, depending on the manufacturer and the price you are paying for it. If you are on a budget, you don’t need fancy features such as voice control, but as long as the model you get is a 4k action camera, it should be good enough.
Things to Know Before Buying an Action Camera Under $100
Like I said in the last section action cameras come with different qualities and features depending on the brand and their price. So there are a few things to know before buying an action camera under the $100 price, and if you stick with the tips that I will provide, you will get the best one in your price range. The top picks section is a great starting point though, as there you will spot the very best options out there.
There are different models out there with different resolutions, and the resolution that your action camera can record in is maybe the most important factor you have to consider.
Nowadays, there are a lot of 4K models out there and you will also spot action cameras with 2K resolution, Full HD, and even HD. 4K resolution is the very best out there for a wide range of reasons, even if you do not have a device that can display your 4K videos, because you can alter your video or rescale it to HD which will mean a good image quality.
So there is that, but then again even Full HD models can be quite good if they have desirable complementary features. The higher the resolution you record your video in, the more advantage you have when it comes to editing and retouching your videos to get better results.
After the resolution, your camera can record in the second thing you should take into consideration is the processor. It is essential to check out the processor, as that part is responsible for processing the data that your sensor collects, and it will significantly affect the results that you see. It will also affect the operation speed of your action camera and models with weaker processors don’t deliver the best results out there.
The lens of your action camera is also an important factor to take a look. Some even consider it the most important thing in your action camera. However, in the action camera market, there is not a lot of variety in the lens compartment and most of them are pretty much the same, especially in the under $100 price range.
But then again you still need to take a look at it before buying so you are not faced with any surprises. Most of the models out there have wide-angle 170-degree lenses with a fixed aperture of f/2.8.
Another thing i would look for is a camera that is able to capture photos and videos in wide angle. Cameras with a wide angle lens and wide recording capabilities are definitely much better at capturing your surroundings.
Size and Weight
While most of the models out there when it comes to action cameras are pretty lightweight and compact, it is still better to keep an eye out for models with lighter and smaller bodies. However, it is not all about dimensions and weight, but you have to take a look at the shape as well, as there are different models out there that might suit better your needs. For example, if you are into moto vlogging you will need a camera that is as small and possible, an action camera that won’t obscure your vision and give you difficulties while riding.
The image stabilization features of your camera are also an important thing to consider before buying an action camera. As their name implies using these action cameras for sports and similar activities will result in some shakes, and if your camera doesn’t have any in-body image stabilization features it will result in unpleasant results.
Nobody wants to watch a shaking screen without any clarity and a lot of blurs. You want your footage to come out as smooth as possible. There are generally two image stabilization systems, electronic image stabilization, which relies on software to correct the shakes and vibrations and optical image stabilization systems that rely on mechanical axes to deliver results.
Frames Per Second
If you are familiar with slow-motion videos, you know that the more framerates your camera can record the smooth the image is and you can create slow-motion videos that are very visually pleasing. But you don’t always need a lot of framerates.
For example, if you want to create cinema-style footage 24 frames per second are more than enough to deliver a superb motion blur effect. However, 60 frames per second are better for action shots as it delivers clarity and realism, the higher the better though. Most high-end action cameras are able to record in 4k@60fps.
To conclude, I can say that you can easily find a lot of great action cameras under the $100 price tag. It won’t be extremely easy but you can do it with a bit of research and caution.
Never settle for models that don’t deliver your desired features though, and if you have something specific in mind, it is better to wait out a little more and invest in that model.
Read reviews and check out the top pick section to get a better idea about the best options under the $100 range. Whichever camera you buy though, you will have plenty of fun, and don’t worry about the results focus on enjoying the moment.