Ever since GoPro dropped their first model more than a decade ago, action and sports cameras have become a huge hit, not only for professional filming of activities but those who want a different spin on a video camera. They’re quite versatile when it comes to the exact application and many would consider an action camera a necessity if you’re into capturing the many memories you’ll have, particularly partaking in your favorite sport or action-based hobby. We’ve seen GoPro basically dominate the most popular best sports and action camera articles, but what about some others that not only provide a different, lesser-known brand tag but also something that we can actually afford without breaking our wallets?
How to choose your sports and action camera
- Your exact budget – Even the most popular action cameras out there that rival the GoPro series are over a few hundred bucks. Even in PC Mag’s best action camera article, there’s only one out of ten listed at under $100. With that being said and as another comparison to help, Gizmodo’s action camera list has GoPro’s lower model, but even that retails for $130. So how much do you have to spend? $50? $75? The amount will steer you in a particular direction.
- Do you need accessories? If you’re new to the action cam market, many of these call for some additional pieces of gear and accessories. As you can see in the photo above, some have “housing” (the clear case to keep the actual camera in), while some do not. It is always recommend to keep the camera protected. There are also types of “mounts” that you will use to attach the camera to whatever your heart desires. With all of that covered, we recommend grabbing a bundle or additional accessory package so you can use your camera properly (keep that in mind when factoring in your budget as well).
- Be careful of fakes! We provide links to Amazon because they’re trusted with the products they sell. Of course these brands will be quite unknown. Some GoPro heads will call them knockoffs, but what do you expect? Some of us can’t afford $400 action cameras or even need the whopping additional features we’ll never use.
The best POV action cams under $100
Here’s one of the best action cameras under $100 for a few great reasons — it has an HD screen to use when shooting or watching video, is portable, space-saving and also handy with its small size. It is ideal for sports, home, travel, action or adventure applications, but like we said previously, we’ve even filmed our dog hiking with ours. It has sensors that ensure a crystal clear image and a 170 degree HD wide angle lens with a 4x digital zoom (most directions are covered in an effortless manner and it is able to capture the big shot). It can film in 1080p and holds a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor that rivals many of the popular action cams well-above the price range. It has a 900 mAH rechargeable battery and can record over 70 continuous minutes for each charge. It also conveniently comes with a series of mounting accessories, and this includes the waterproof casing with multiple mounts so if you needed those alongside your camera you are covered here. The Albegrid SJ5000 is a solid action camera for well under $100 — read the user reviews yourself.
Xiaomi YI 88001
This action cam under $100 is capable of capturing high quality video wherever you want to go in the world. It features a backside with an illuminated Sony Exmor R CMOS Sensor and the camera can record up to 1080p video using 60fps and 720p video at 120fps on micro SD memory cards. You’re also getting 16 megapixels, so if you were concerned with camera quality, this is a bit higher than the rest for under 100 bucks. It has been equipped with an ultra wide lens and it offers a 155’’ angle for its view in order to capture most that it is found at the front of the camera. The camera comes with a single LED-backlit button on the front and it can activate the recording which makes the camera easy to use. The Xiaomi YI 88001 also comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity built-in so that it can pair up with a smartphone in a remote manner. It’s one of the higher quality action cams in here and although up there when it comes to the price range, brings you some better overall construction and quality than the others if you have the money.
This another one of the best sports and action camera under $100 which uses a ‘NOVATEK original chip’ and it has up to HD 1080p with solid quality and vision. It has powerful and fast capture with high quality 12 MP photos of speed of over 30fps. Other resolution options of this action camera include up to 1080p/30 and over 720p/30 boating of the immersive 170’’ wide angle lens. It is waterproof and durable and has been designed to withstand most environments and conditions you may face. It is mountable and wearable, which helps in the immersive self-capture in all the user’s favorite activities. The Lightdow LD4000 is a bit similar to the previously listed model but a bit cheaper if you wanted to save some money (has some color options, too). It is backed with Lightdow’s warranty for free returns and replacement when it has quality related issues. However, physical damage, exposure to the extreme heat or cold, water damage, negligence or misuse is not included in the warranty so keep that mind.
SJCAM Original SJ4000
This action camera under $100 also has a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor and comes with an HD wide-angle lens like the others. It comes with a water-resistant casing and allows filming of even water sports if that’s what you fancy. It has a Wi-Fi function and the user may use it to review pictures using an iOS or Android device. The camera has a mini appearance and it offers diversified colors. It has a high-definition screen and it clearly and easily replays and displays videos recorded. It supports an HDMI output function as well as a web camera function. It can be used with storage cards up to a 30 GB maximum and the micro SD card, but these are not included. Check out the SCJCAM SJ4000 for another competitor among these budget-friendly sports and action cams under 100 bucks.
Last but not least, this action camera under 100 dollars is reliable in terms of construction due to its excellent engineering and design. We recommend this one if you need numerous accessories in your camera package (you get 20 pieces in the kit). It has an ‘action pro-x build’ and has a shell made with lightweight aluminum to ensure nice durability. It is dustproof, shockproof and waterproof. It uses the average camera technology for this price range, including a 12 megapixel sensor and a 170 degree wide-angle. The HD lenses are able to shoot at the full 1080p resolution of 30fps. The ActionPro X can capture stunning high quality photos with awesome clarity. It lastly has HDMI and Wi-Fi capabilities that are built-in to ensure wireless connectivity with smart devices. Check out the ASX ActionPro-X for a great bang-for-your-buck camera and accessory bundle.