April 20, 2014

Epic Battle of the Action Cameras: Gizmodo Compares 6 of the Best on the Market

Action Cam testOver the last several years, action cameras have exploded in popularity, becoming the go-to piece of gear for many extreme athletes and adventurists, as well as filmmakers. Though it is considered the best, as well as the preferred action cam for most, the GoPro isn't the only one  out there, which is why Gizmodo put not one, not two, but six of Spring's leading action cameras head to head in this comparison video. Find out how the GoPro Hero 3+ Black, the Sony Action Cam 2 (HDR-AS30V), the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2, the Garmin VIRB Elite, the Drift Ghost-S, and the Ion Air Pro 3 performed.

Not only did Gizmodo's Brent Rose test each camera individually, but he also built an "ugly but effective" frankenrig to capture footage with all 6 simultaneously by attaching them to a flat-surface mount, which was then attached to a piece of 3.5-inch by 0.5-inch wood -- which was then attached to a bike helmet with velcro straps.

Rose evaluated each camera's versatility, ease-of-use, form-factor, battery life, apps, available mounts, extras, and price for the test. Here's a bit from Gizmodo's post that gives a little bit more detail on how the test was conducted.

The raw video footage was evaluated on a professionally calibrated monitor, as well as on a 46-inch 1080p Samsung LED TV, and several laptops. Bear in mind when you watch the above video that there is some quality lost to compression for internet streaming. All of the daytime clips were shot in the cameras' widest field of view option in 1080p at 60 frames per second (except for the Garmin Virb, which only goes as high as 30FPS), and night clips were taken at 1080p/30fps. For the surf test, cameras that required a waterproof housing were in one, and for all other tests the cameras were fully exposed, without cases. For the battery rundown test, all cameras shot at 1080p/30fps with all bells/whistles (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, screen, etc) turned off.

Check out Gizmodo's action camera test below, but take note that they had to retest the Garmin Virb thanks to a firmware update that changed the field of view to narrow. (You can check out the redo video in Gizmodo's original post.)

Their conclusion isn't all that surprising, the GoPro Hero+ Black took the #1 spot, but Gizmodo did make it a point to say that none of these cameras "objectively suck." There isn't a camera that tests highest for every one of its features and capabilities -- one may have the best dynamic range (GoPro Hero3+ Black), while another may have the best audio quality (Action Cam 2). Gizmodo's post contains a detailed breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of each camera, so I highly recommend that you head on over there to get the full story.

What are your thoughts on Gizmodo's test? Which action camera do you think is superior for your filmmaking needs? What features would you like to see added (or improved) in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Link: The Best Action Camera: Spring 2014 Edition -- Gizmodo

[via Fstoppers]

Your Comment

35 Comments

Wow. The audio quality plays a bigger part than I thought it would depending on what capacity you use each camera in. Great test.

April 20, 2014 at 1:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Unless they're gonna test the most current equipment available, this review / comparo best taken with nothing more than a grain of salt. It's too bad they didn't include the brand new Sony AS100V. Had they, I'll bet GoPro wouldn't have landed in the #1 spot. Let's see, excellent image quality, image stabilization, Zeiss lens, Timecode (yup), XAVC-S codec, good sound, and other distinguishing features... yep, superior to the GoPro and everything else on the market. GoPro does have superior marketing though.

April 20, 2014 at 2:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff B

Only doing 1080p on the Sony is a major let down though. The higher res on the go pro and great codec are winners for me. So many more options in post.

April 20, 2014 at 7:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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GoPro HERO4 comes out in a couple months. What will the new Sony do then?

April 20, 2014 at 8:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Why is there so much Sony hate on this site?

April 20, 2014 at 11:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Who says it's hate? I don't hate Sony. I'm hoping to be using the Sony A7s.

April 20, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

dixter,

it's not only Sony that has little hope of competing with GoPro. It's all of the brands.

April 20, 2014 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

www.replayxd.com folks while all this is interesting here is the Prosumer leader

April 20, 2014 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It does make nice color. I like the image. Only $150.00. But it doesn't seem rugged. The add on monitor, w/replay feature, is $190.00. Kinda high. In the end I don't think it will threaten GoPro. GoPro is going to 4K at 30fps in the HERO4 coming out this summer. It's tough to beat GoPro. They are so aggressive to improve. You'd have to be ready for the fight of your life to take them on. And I don't think it's worth it to their competitors. I think others are all looking for their own niche for regular sales.

But with that cameras very low price, very nice image, 720p @ 60fps, clean output, there is good potential for live streaming as 4th and 5th cameras in a set up. BlackMagic has a media board that has 16 inputs. Having 16 inputs to work with these cameras could be set up in locations to get several unique angles of a conference or concert. So thanks for that link. I will be keeping track of that camera! :-)

April 20, 2014 at 3:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

What will Sony do ? They will sell another industry leading sensor to the GoPro company and make money from every single GoPro camera like they have done for years.

April 20, 2014 at 4:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juhan-i

+1 :)

Same like Microsoft have money from every single Android ;)

April 22, 2014 at 9:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kuk

The rumor on the gopro 4 is the ability to switch lenses. I think that will make much more of a filmmakers tool. I know someone who has claimed to have seen one. Who knows?

April 21, 2014 at 10:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve

GoPro lenses are glued in to keep them in place during the abuse of extreme sport. The rumor of having changeable lenses is very likely wrong.

April 21, 2014 at 10:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Not to include the Sony AS100V, is not just surprising, it is rigged.

April 20, 2014 at 5:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tulio

There's also a new Panasonic 4K action cam.

April 20, 2014 at 6:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Is that the wearable camera?

April 21, 2014 at 10:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

That's a mirrorless micro 4/3 camera, not an action cam per se. Though, I guess if you can afford a RED or Sony 4k camera, the GH4 could be considered a "disposable" camera with interchangeable lenses for times when the possibility of destroying a $65,000 camera isn't in the cards.

April 25, 2014 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan H

I'd like to see the phantom vision 2 plus introduced at NAB featured on this blog, I think offering a camera integrated into the gimbal and aerial platform is a very interested development. That aside the gopro 3+ still beats that camera and all the ones introduced above in every aspect, I wonder what the gopro 4 will bring us!

April 20, 2014 at 7:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Raul

GpPro HERO4 is coming out this summer. It will have 4K at 30fps.

http://dgise.com/post/62262921573/gopro-hero-4-specs-and-release-date-are-disclosed

April 20, 2014 at 7:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Guys & Gals ,

If any of you are truly serious about the Action Camera space then please come to www.replayxd.com and you will see a company that has been leading the toughest applications for over 10 years.

They released their partnership with Hyperion Lens at CES along with their new PrimeX model that out specs. everyone in the field .. You will see their cameras on Factory Yamaha Road Racing & Factory Yamaha Motocross plus Muscle Milk Cannondale , RenvaleRT Cannondale UK and every leading NASCAR , IndyCar , IndyLights team ect.

Please contact me directly if you want more details and are a serious or Pro shooter

Their 1080mini is the smallest , lightest 2oz and the kit with mounting is $199

Their PrimeX wifi version with Hyperion glass cinema lens is $299 with mounting

Regards,

Bradley

602.769.2470

April 20, 2014 at 1:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I had a guy on a shoot of mine trying to tote one of these things. His main selling point was that it wasn't a gopro, which made me want it less. He was also rather rude. I was nice enough to let him stick the camera on the end of my slider but it kept falling and he would futz with it, shaking my slider and ruining my shots. He definitely made me want to never buy one of these. I'm quite happy with my GoPro.

April 20, 2014 at 3:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jim

Jim,

I'm not clear if your comments above are aimed at me but I have no knowledge of any one rude on our sales staff or any idea what application or location you are describing but I can simply comment The ReplayXD products are the highest level in the Action Camera space and (we) ReplayXD compete head to head with any of the brands even yours you are happy with .. We have many professional shooters that use them day in day out where these other brands don't work or worse provide poor quaility results.

Please contact me directly - 805.480.9800 Ext 136 & I will be more than happy to help you.

Best regards,

Bradley Miller

ReplayXD Cameras

Ps. For any others that have Professional needs please call or
write me bmiller@replayxd.com we have solutions to your tough applications !!

April 21, 2014 at 3:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Not sure what's up with some of this footage, but for example at 2:17 that Hero 3+ footage looks awful. I use one as well, and I've never had anything look that bad. It looks like it was way overly compressed and suffers from significant detail loss and the "jaggies". So, having seen that, I'm not sure how much I can trust the images of the other cameras which I haven't used.

April 20, 2014 at 5:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hey, where is the Mobius camera?

It would be nice to see how all these cameras compare to a direct from China brand.

April 22, 2014 at 4:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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yirmi

I've tried a few of these action cams they're all just tablets, the gopro is the iPad, it's got the iconic design, the mounts, it's got the money for R&D excess to keep making it's awesome products better and better, why would I want to go from the cool to a pool of shit, with here today gone tomorrow action cams, GoPro reins supreme now and for the foreseeable future. Only a fool would invest in mounts for the next batch of contour cameras and try and mount anyone of those no GoPro cameras above on your wrist next time you're surfing.

April 22, 2014 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPatterson

Just another noob test.

April 22, 2014 at 9:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kuk

I didn't see this test, I'll say straight away, but there is no way this test can be objective with the two cameras out so far away from the center...just their placement on this rig will make the footage very different than the two cameras in the middle.

April 26, 2014 at 2:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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