Best Action Cameras of 2024

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The world of action cameras continues to impress with each passing year. As 2024 kicks off, the latest crop of rugged, portable cameras packs upgraded features into innovative forms suitable for all types of adventure-seekers and action-loving users. Join us as we highlight and review the cream of the crop – the action cameras that stood out from the pack thanks to their capabilities, quality, and value.

Insta360 Ace Pro
1
Insta360 Ace Pro

GoPro HERO12 Black
2
GoPro HERO12 Black

Insta360 GO 3
3
Insta360 GO 3

DJI Osmo Action 4
4
DJI Osmo Action 4

GoPro HERO11 Black
5
GoPro HERO11 Black

Insta360 X3
6
Insta360 X3

1. Insta360 Ace Pro

The first one on our list is the Insta360 Ace Pro. The new Insta360 Ace Pro action camera has made quite the entrance into the world of wide-angle videography. Sporting some impressive specs like 8K video resolution, a big 2.4-inch flip screen, and killer video quality, this newcomer looks poised to give the competition a run for their money.  

One major feather in the Ace Pro’s cap is its partnership with renowned camera company Leica. The Ace Pro is rocking one of Leica’s 1/1.3-inch sensors, which teams up with an AI-powered processing chip to deliver some truly stellar video and photos even when the lighting gets tricky. You can capture stunning 8K footage or 48MP still images, setting a new high bar for resolution.

The magnetic mounting system and various included mounts add tons of versatility for action sports lovers. Whether you’re cycling, diving, or surfing the Ace Pro has a compatible mount for smooth footage on the go. And the multi-mount is a nice feature, letting you easily attach the camera to a tripod or use it handheld.  

Props to Insta360 for the 2.4-inch flip screen on this puppy. Being able to see what you’re capturing on a screen that size is a big advantage the Ace Pro has over its rivals. It’s a bit heavier than some other action cams, but that extra bulk actually helps with heat management, addressing an annoying issue these cameras often face.

When it comes to actual image and video quality, the Ace Pro shines in low-light situations with minimal noise and grain. The HDR modes handle highlights fairly well, especially in photo mode, though there’s still some room for improvement on the video side.  

All in all, the new Insta360 Ace Pro is an absolute powerhouse, serving up 8K capabilities, creative mounting options, and rock-solid performance that has the likes of GoPro and DJI looking over their shoulders. This feature-packed camera is ready to make a splash!

Pros

  • Good stabilization
  • Decent face detection/tracking
  • 8K video recording

Cons

  • More expensive than rivals
  • On the heavy side
  • Mediocre battery life

2. GoPro HERO12 Black

Next up, we have the GoPro Hero 12 Black. GoPro’s latest action camera, the Hero 12 Black, impresses both rookie users and video editing gurus with its versatility and array of capabilities. While not a huge leap forward hardware-wise from the previous Hero 11, some key new features make the 12 a handy tool for content creators.  

In terms of looks, the 12 keeps the familiar GoPro aesthetic of the 11 with some subtle style updates like a cool blue speckled-on-black finish and a new rear 1/4-inch tripod thread mount. Being able to easily attach the camera to tripods and mini pods via the tripod mount is awesome for flexibility.  

Video modes are where the 12 really shines, introducing the game-changing ability to shoot HDR video up to 5.3K resolution. This unlocks way more dynamic range to play with compared to standard video in tricky lighting. There’s also a new GoPro “log” shooting mode for increased editing potential, though low-light performance still has some catching up to do.  

Veteran users will be pumped to see the latest generation of GoPro’s industry-leading HyperSmooth video stabilization – now upgraded to version 6.0. It’s even smoother than the already gimbal-like 5.0 from the Hero 11, with handy touches like Horizon Leveling to keep your shots perfectly balanced. 

Beyond that, you get LED upgrades for tasks like syncing multiple cameras, improved battery life, and refinements to classic GoPro essentials like their mobile app connectivity. One sacrifice was axing the GPS feature, but that frees up precious battery runtime – a worthwhile tradeoff.  

All told, with best-in-class stabilization, HDR breakthroughs, and more on a tried-and-true foundation, the Hero 12 Black feels like an inspiring step forward. For both weekend warriors and video editors alike, this cam remains a gold standard in marrying performance and versatility.

Pros

  • Great stabilization
  • Versatile mounting options
  • Bluetooth audio support

Cons

  • Similar to Hero 11 Black
  • Disappointing low-light performance
  • Mediocre battery life

3. Insta360 GO 3

The Insta360 Go 3 is on our list as well. The newly released Insta360 Go 3 could be a game-changer of an action cam thanks to its tiny size yet big performance. This bite-sized camera pulls off a nifty trick – instantly switching from an ultra-portable pendant cam to a versatile action shooter when magnetically snapped onto its included charging case, dubbed the “Action Pod”.  

While minuscule on its own, the Go 3 becomes a pint-sized powerhouse when paired with the Pod. The case’s flip-up touchscreen allows for shot monitoring and framing, while its dual microphones noticeably boost audio quality. Together, they open up a whole new world of shooting flexibility compared to traditional fixed action cams.

The biggest leap over the previous Go camera is that reinvented charging case. Transforming the standalone Go 3 into a diminutive vlogging machine, the rugged Pod also pumps up battery life substantially so you can shoot for hours without being tethered to an outlet.  

The Go 3 gains a bit of weight, but that extra bulk comes with the perks of those add-ons that really up its usefulness. And while the camera itself isn’t waterproof, it magnetically locks onto the Action Pod with reassuring rigidity, even if things get bumpy. Monitoring shots is a breeze thanks to the responsive 2.2-inch touch display.

Resolution got boosted to 2.7K, and welcome shooting modes like timelapse and still photos make this 3-in-1 rig ready to capture all kinds of content. Long recordings, better battery efficiency, and no more overheating are also handy upgrades over the previous generation.  

It’s not perfect – built-in storage would be nice given the lack of a microSD slot, and the Action Pod likely won’t survive any splashes. Image quality, while solid, can’t quite match the latest GoPro’s ultra-crisp footage.  

But for what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in spades with unique versatility. The magnetic modular design means this punchy little camera can adapt to shoot in ways much larger action cams simply can’t. For creative flexibility out in the real world, the pocketable Go 3 is a compelling option.

Pros

  • Versatile, ultra-compact design
  • Good looking 2.7K video
  • No recording time limit
  • Loads of accessories in the box

Cons

  • Lower resolution than the competition
  • Lacks 4K recording
  • Action Pod misses out on waterproofing

4. DJI Osmo Action 4

Next up, we have the DJI Osmo Action 4. DJI’s new Osmo Action 4 has really impressed me as a versatile high-performance action cam that can more than keep up with both professional and hobbyist drone videography. It blends great ease of use with killer image quality and stabilization for buttery smooth footage.

I love its simple, minimalist design centered around dual touchscreens – a 1.4″ display up front plus a larger 2.25″ screen on the back for crystal clear monitoring and intuitive control adjustments on the fly. Just about all you need is the power button on the side and the record button on top. It stinks that there’s no built-in storage, but high-speed microSD cards are pretty affordable these days to augment it. 

This rugged little camera can take a beating out in the elements! Waterproof down to nearly 60 feet deep and operational even in frigid -4°F temps, the Osmo Action 4 has quickly become my go-to gear for aerial filming. The lens and sensor hardware shine, capturing rich 4K video at a silky smooth 60 fps – plenty of resolution for even larger racing drones. 

The stabilization options completely blew me away with how well they work. RockSteady and the Horizon Balancing settings produced incredibly fluid footage without any jitter or shake, even zipping through rocky rapids. Slow motion modes up to 240 fps at 1080p resolution also give you cool creative flexibility in post-production. 

And I’ve gotta hand it to DJI – their Mimo app takes the whole experience up another notch for remote monitoring, editing clips, and instantly sharing your latest reel out in the field. Between the smart magnetic mounting system, fast charging capabilities, and advanced microphones, the Osmo Action 4 is one killer action camera package!

Pros

  • Front and rear touch screens
  • Up to 4K120 slow motion
  • Works as a webcam

Cons

  • Could be cheaper versus GoPro
  • No 5.7K video resolution
  • Battery life mediocre

5. GoPro HERO11 Black

The next one on our list is GoPro Hero 11 Black. While the new Hero 12 Black may be soaking up the spotlight, its predecessor – the Hero 11 Black – remains a standout upgrade for adrenaline junkies and content creators alike. Packed with enhancements across the board, from image quality to stabilization, the 11 keeps raising the bar for action cams.

Front and center is a bigger 1/1.9″ sensor that widens the vertical field of view by 16% over past models. This unlocks new creative options like shooting in an ultra-immersive 8:7 aspect ratio that’s perfect for capturing action sequences or expansive landscapes. The new HyperView lens pairs nicely with this sensor to squeeze even more into every shot.  

Serious video shooters will also love the introduction of true 10-bit color. With over 1 billion shade options, footage displays dramatically improved gradients, vibrance, and detail with way less banding and artifacting issues. Combining this with the stabilized gimbal-like footage from the next-gen HyperSmooth 5.0 algorithm, the Hero 11 delivers stunningly smooth, rich videos even in rough conditions.

Low light performance sees a nice bump too with the new Night Effects mode for timelapses under the stars. Simply select one of three preset options and let the cam work its long-exposure magic. Battery life has been boosted 38% as well, hugging an hour of 4K/60fps footage, to keep you shooting longer in the elements.  

While the new mini version omits a display, the full-fat Hero 11 Black rocks a responsive touchscreen for easy control. Overall usability stands out too with simplified setup flows and a drag-and-drop style Quicken editing interface so you can create shareable clips right in the app. 

All in all, between the enhanced image quality, beefed-up stabilization, and extended battery, the Hero 11 Black brings enough firepower to make it a tempting upgrade. The lack of a built-in zoom is a bit limiting, but overall this cam still has the performance to make your footage shine.

Pros

  • Larger sensor
  • 10-bit mode a boon for color grading
  • Includes Enduro battery as standard

Cons

  • Indicator noises can be confusing
  • A bit pricey
  • Lowlight video isn’t great
  • Mounting doesn’t best DJI’s magnetic system

6. Insta360 X3

The last one on our list is Insta360 X3. With the release of the X3 on September 2022, Insta360 has dropped an impressive upgrade on their single-lens 360 action cam line. Sporting upgraded tech across the board, from a way bigger touchscreen to beefed-up image quality, the X3 shows this nimble shooter has some new tricks up its sleeve.  

Gone are the days of squinting at a tiny display, thanks to the 2.29-inch touchscreen that takes up the entire backside of the candy-bar-sized body. They’ve kept the slick minimalist look, but the giant viewing portal makes interfacing with the cam a breeze instead of a headache.

Packing a pair of 48MP sensors, image clarity has been boosted too, capturing 5.7K spherical videos or regular 4K at 30 frames per second if you prefer. The Active HDR mode pulls way more highlight and shadow detail from high-contrast scenes. Single lens 4K footage is just a touch soft but still keeps up with, if not beats, the likes of the GoPro Max.

The handheld form factor still has that grippy, stick-like shape that just feels natural to hold and use on the fly without any mounts. Waterproof down to 10 meters, the X3 can take a splash or two as well. Battery life clocks in around 80 minutes for max resolution 360 captures, respectable for the class.

New goodies like FlowState anti-shake and Direction Lock for keeping the frame level when moving to expand the usability, but Insta360’s acclaimed editing suite is likely the biggest asset for creating mind-blowing shareable content. Intuitive tools make slicing and dicing the 360 footage easy for awesome fly-throughs, tiny planet pans, and more.

A slightly slower boot-up time and the occasional software hiccup seem like small tradeoffs for the X3’s jack-of-all-trades flexibility. Delivering premium 360 image quality in a compact water-resistant body with that awesome screen, the X3 checks all the boxes for an everyday action cam.

Pros

  • 5.7K30 HDR video
  • Compact, waterproof build
  • Larger image sensor
  • Loads of capture modes

Cons

  • Video must be processed before editing
  • Too bulky to mount on helmet
  • Mobile editing app limits resolution

Conclusion

In our roundup of the latest and greatest action cams, we cover everything from rugged 4K models with gimbal-like stabilization to 360 cameras that immerse you in the moment. Whichever features matter most for your action-packed lifestyle, these cameras set a new bar for detail and durability when every frame counts.

When your adventures demand bleeding-edge performance, image quality and resilience, the top action cameras of 2024 let you record treasured memories without missing a beat. Pushing boundaries is what they’re built for.