What are the best GoPro camera alternatives?
The GoPro has been the gold standard for action cameras for a while now. It has quality features and impressive functions. However, it has recently seen some stiff competition from lower cost action cameras. So why would you consider a lesser brand action camera than a GoPro. Well cost certainly comes into it. You can buy an alternative action camera for a quarter of the price of a GoPro. Limit of use is also an issue. You may only want to use an action camera now and again so cannot justify the price tag of a GoPro. So if you don’t want to splash out on a GoPro, here are some low cost choices.
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Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is a great alternative to a GoPro. It features an excellent construction, which is small in design, features an excellent tough shell and an excellent resistant touch screen. The body is not waterproof on its own but once it is in its water resistant housing it will stay water tight up to a maximum depth of 131 feet. The touch screen will also continue to work with the water proof housing still attached.
The video quality of the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is good too. It will record up to a resolution of 4K at 30 frames a second. Other recording options include 1080p up to 120 frames a second and 720p up to 240 frames a second. The image quality has rich colours with a good standard of sharpness. Some would say it has better image quality than some of the recent GoPro models.
The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 also includes voice recognition that you can use to control the camera. You will also find it has WiFi connectivity and this will connect with your Smartphone so you can stream live videos to YouTube. Garmin’s G-Metrix system will overlay your videos with your heart rate and the distance you have travelled. Image stabilisation also does a reasonable job of removing any bumps you may incur. Battery life is good but you will get less time when shooting in 4K. You can remove the batteries to charge them and swap them out with new ones if you need too.
Price: $320.00 £260.00 €291.00
Sony FDR X3000R
The Sony FDR X3000R is a higher price GoPro alternative but it makes up for it with its list of features and excellent performance. It shoots up to a resolution of 4K and includes excellent image stabilisation to give you superb crisp and smooth images.
It does not have a square body like a traditional GoPro but rather a bullet shape design. It also includes a built in tripod mount, this will be compatible with most GoPro accessories. So you will have plenty of options to mount the FDR X3000R. The body itself is splash proof but to make it waterproof you will need to put it into its waterproof case. This will protect the camera up to a depth of 197 feet.
The Sony FDR X3000R comes with a Live View Remote accessory. You can mount this screen on a nearby surface like a bike handle. This gives you the choice to be able to live view what the camera is seeing. You can also achieve this feature by connecting the Sony FDR X3000R to a Smartphone with WiFi. You do this by installing the PlayMemories app on your Smartphone. With this app installed you can control the camera in a similar fashion to the Live View Remote. Battery life on the Sony FDR X3000R is reasonable and you can remove the battery and replace it with any spares you may have with you to continue shooting video.
Price: $398.00 £322.00 €362.00
Yi 4k +
The Yi 4k + will give any GoPro a run for its money and is available to buy at nearly half the price. The video quality is excellent and you will get crisp and clear images from it. In fact, it is equal to many models from the GoPro range. As the name suggests it will give you a shooting resolution up to 4K with a frame rate of 30 frames a second. When shooting at 720p is can achieve 240 frames a second. Handy if you need some slow motion shots. It does also have image stabilisation, but don’t expect miracles at this price point.
The Yi 4k + will allow you to take still images and these are of a reasonable high-quality and don’t suffer from many image defects. The camera preserves this quality with in camera corrections to adjust the final image. The Yi 4k + is about the same size of a standard GoPro and is small and tough to take any knocks that may happen to it. It has a large touch screen on the back and it is here that you can adjust the many different camera settings. These can sometimes be difficult to see in bright light but in general it does an excellent job.
The Yi 4k + has impressive battery life that easily competes with rival GoPro models. You should be able to achieve up to 90 minutes recording time filming in 4K from a single battery. The Yi 4k + does not come with any accessories. So if you need an external waterproof housing, you will have to buy it separately.
Price: $399.00 £323.00 €363.00
Garmin VIRB 360
The Garmin VIRB 360 is a superior action camera that shoots in 360 degrees to give you a true all around view. So if you are looking for new and exciting VR shooting experience, you could do far worse than the Garmin VIRB 360. It has quality optic lenses that can shoot up to 5.7K in resolution. This far outperforms GoPro’s rival Fusion 360 degree camera. It will also shoot at 4K at 30 frames a second and at 720p at a 120 frames a second. The image quality is also good and it won’t disappoint you by the results.
The 360 videos you create with the Garmin VIRB 360 stitch together in the camera via multiple captures. It does this in the body of the camera or you can achieve this with the companion software. Unfortunately, you have to stitch 5.7K videos using the companion app because of their high resolution.
The build quality of this camera is exceptional and it is waterproof up to 100 feet without the need of a waterproof housing. It also tough and rugged and will put up with any knocks you may give it. You control the functions of the camera with a series of physical buttons and an LCD screen for accessing in camera menus. The Garmin VIRB 360 comes with several sensors that will record various data metrics like your speed and GPS coordinates.
Price: $499.00 £405.00 €454.00
Xiaomi Fimi Palm
The Xiaomi Fimi Palm is a low cost 3-axis gimbal with a similar design to the DJI Osmo Pocket, but at nearly half the price. Although it is not strictly an action camera, I have included it as mini portable camera gimbals are becoming popular with those doing outdoor pursuits. The Xiaomi Fimi Palm includes an integrated touch screen display and a five-way joystick to make using the mini gimbal as easy and comfortable as possible.
You charge the battery with the USB-C connection and you also use this port for any data transfers. It also includes Bluetooth and WiFi so you can connect it to a Smartphone or the internet. You can easily record video clips in just a few steps using the available app, which includes templates, music and effects. You can also view your videos on the built in 1.22 inch display, which has touch screen choices.
The Xiaomi Fimi Palm has many intelligent recording functions. It includes Smart Tracking, Timelapse, Motion Lapse and Hyperlapse. It also has multiple gimbal modes that include Pitch Lock, Follow and All Locked. At the bottom of the handle is ¼ inch tread, which means you can mount it on a boom pole, selfie stick or tripod. It also weighs very little with a respectable weight of only 120 grams.
Inside the handle is rechargeable 1000 mAh battery that should give you up to 240 minutes of operational use. It has a maximum resolution of 4K at 30 frames a second and will also shoot in standard 1080p HD at a 100 Mbps. Its field of view is 128 degrees with the wide angle lens. This makes it ideal for recording action sports.
Price: $229.00 £185.00 €229.00
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