GoPro might be the leader in action cameras, but there are plenty of other companies trying to get in on the action with competing products. Sony and JVC have both recently introduced cameras with a similar form factor, and of course, there are a few other players like Contour that have a number of models. Gizmodo recently got a few of the major brands together all on one rig, and put them to the test. Check out the comparison video below.
These were the four cameras tested (with a selection of the possible frame rates):
- Drift HD Ghost ($400): 1080p to 30 fps, 720p to 120 fps
- Sony Action Cam ($270): 1080p up to 30 fps, 720p up to 120fps
- Contour+2 ($354): 1080p up to 30 fps, 960p up to 60fps; 480p up to 120fps
- GoPro HERO3 Black ($400): 4K up to 15fps, 2.7K up to 30fps, 720p up to 120fps
Here's a little bit from their conclusion, with the HERO3 topping out at number 1 of the 4 cameras tested:
It's always a relief when there's a clear winner, and this is it. Image quality is simply in its own league. It's just way, way sharper. Color reproduction is very good, and it handles motion well. Not only can it shoot 720p at 120fps like the Sony, but it's the only one that has the horsepower to shoot 1080p at 60fps, for full-frame slow motion. It can also shoot 1080p at a cinematic 24fps. It was the best in low light, and images had very little noise. Pros will appreciate the option to record raw video at a high bitrate, which allows serious post-production tweaking. Audio quality is very good.
Image wise the HERO3 definitely comes out on top for me. While it was a bit darker than the others, the colors and dynamic range resemble a much higher quality camera than the others do. What was a little surprising to me was how wide and distorted the Sony Action Cam was compared to the others. The edges were noticeably blurry in a few shots. Certainly that lens is wider than the rest, but with how wide the lenses on the other cameras already are, I don't necessarily see it as an advantage.
In lowlight, the GoPro had an edge over the rest, as the image looked the least noisy and the sharpest to my eyes. This is a major benefit, especially if you aren't always shooting in perfect daylight conditions -- it definitely makes the camera more versatile, and keeps you from having to spend too much time in post cleaning up the image.
What do you guys think? Which camera looked best to you?
Be sure to head on over to Gizmodo for the full write-up.