While many smartphones are great at getting selfies and making videos, there are times when you want something that’s just about helping you capture your adventures in the moment. An action camera is more than just some point-and-shoot digital camera. It’s about bringing photos and videos of your adventures to life, and if you want make the best of it, you have to know what to look for.
When mounting, your camera, size, shape and weight have to be considered, because not all mountings are the same. If you’re planning to mount it on a drone, for example, you want to make sure it’s light enough and can work with a proprietary mounting mechanism, if necessary. If you’re trying to figure out which types of cameras are easy to mount, remember a couple of rules of thumb. Box-shaped cameras work well as chest mounts, and a bullet-shaped camera may work better for helmet mounting.
Video resolution is a vital factor for consideration because there’s no point in getting an action camera if the images are grainy and dull. Higher-end cameras can handle 4K video quality, and that’s what many want. The problem is, unless you have a 4K TV or monitor, it doesn’t make sense to get a 4K action camera. When it comes to producing full HD videos with crisp pictures, a 1080p camera works with most smart devices, including phones.
Action cameras fall into two battery categories: removable or integrated. With an integrated battery, you’re going to have to recharge regularly. In some cases, battery life is about two or three hours, which can make you feel tethered. On the other hand, having a camera with removable batteries reduces the need to stay plugged in. If you get extra replacements that are rechargeable, you can swap out batteries at will, reducing interruptions and giving yourself more time to keep the fun going.
Whether you’re mountain climbing or scuba diving, the concept of durability differs. That’s why you need to look for words like weatherproof and waterproof in the list of features. Cameras that can handle extreme temperatures work for a variety of terrestrial conditions. However, those who engage in water-based activities want to pay attention to the depth rating of cameras, which can range from as little as 6 feet to over 100 feet inside a special waterproof case.
The ability to transfer images and video to a PC or phone is convenient, but being able to upload to a cloud could be useful for those cameras that may not have preview or playback modes. With built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity capabilities, it's easy to schedule when your footage can be safely uploaded, so it’s ready for editing and sharing when needed.
When planning your storage and memory, keep video and image quality in mind. Say you have a camera that records at 30 frames per second and has a 12MP camera. If you’re doing standard and HD captures, a 32GB micro SD can accommodate up to 4,000 photos or up to 40 minutes of HD videos. Producing 4K video requires about 60 MB per second read and write speeds, resulting in fewer pictures or videos on the same card. Make sure you get a micro SD with the right speed and enough space.
Usability is often a feature that’s the last to consider, but the first place a new action camera purchase can go wrong. Many cameras have integrated apps that need smartphone coordination, making them pretty sophisticated. Others need special types of mounting, which can be confusing for the less savvy. Choose a camera you can jump into using immediately.
When shopping for an action camera for kids at Walmart.ca, durability must be at the top of the list. A camera with a rugged chassis and waterproof housing protects against accidental drops and slams on multiple surfaces. For children under the age of 10, you want something that keeps them entertained about the process of photography, like the Ourlife kids camera. Finally, look for cameras with an automatic shut-off feature, which saves the battery, in addition to a secure wrist strap to keep the camera from getting lost.