Best Action Camera Under 200
Today we’re counting down our top picks for the best action camera under $200.
If you travel a lot or engage in adrenaline-fueled sports and always find yourself wishing you could capture the epic moments you experience, then you need an action camera.
While the term action camera has become synonymous with the GoPro brand, there are other great options too, so it’s worth shopping around to see what suits you best.
The main reason to invest in one of these nifty little cameras over a point-and-shoot is that they afford the necessary image stabilization and video recording capacity for capturing fast-moving action and emerging scenes.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best action camera under 200
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Action Camera Under 200
Best Action Camera Under $200 Reviews
GoPro Hero7 (👑 Best of the Best)
In our view, you can look no further than the GoPro Hero7 when your goal is to find the best action camera under 200.
This sleek, silver action camera comes in just under the $200 price tag, and provides a wealth of excellent features for those looking to record fast-flowing action. There’s a good reason why GoPro has an untouchable reputation as the top brand for action cameras, and it’s because all of their models do exactly what you’d want an action camera to do. The Hero7 is no exception; providing quality and functionality in equal measure, and proving that you don’t have to pay a premium for premium quality action footage.
Let’s start with the best feature of the Hero7 – the quality of video it can put out. This compact camera is capable of recording in stunning 4K at a respectable 30fps, allowing you to capture moments of glory, anguish, and humor in great detail. This is backed up by GoPro’s top image stabilization, which helps keep the footage steady and stable regardless of what it is you’re doing. You can even shoot time lapse videos with this camera too, so if you want to turn a scene like the sun setting into the water as you surf into a short video, then you can. And yes, it is possible to surf while wearing the Hero7, just as you can go kayaking with it too, since it is built with a rugged, waterproof shell making it perfect for just about any activity you can think of. Specifically, the casing of the camera is waterproof up to a depth of 10m.
But aside from the durable design and crisp video recording of this camera, what else sets it apart from the competition?
We’d argue another one of the camera’s best traits is its intuitive interface, decreasing the learning curve for the beginner and making it more convenient for those with plenty of experience. The intuitive design can be divided up into two separate features: the touch screen, and the voice control. The touch screen of the Hero7 makes it incredibly straightforward to switch between capture modes, with swiping and tapping being the only motions you’ll need to make to get the settings you want. But the voice control is perhaps even more useful in certain situations, as it lets you go hands-free with the device, which is essential in a lot of fast-moving situations where you don’t have time to adjust it with your hands. After all, an action camera is meant to be something that captures action on the fly, and you’re not going to want to be holding it as you use it so it’s nice to be able to operate it through verbal commands.
The Hero7 is set up for shooting in all lighting conditions, which makes it as useful for daytime shoots as it does for nighttime adventures. This is thanks to the Wide Dynamic Range, or WDR, which balances out photos and retains all of the detail without overcompensating or making the image look unnatural. Finally, the user will have access to GPS performance stickers which will show up on screen and give you valuable information such as speed, distance, and elevation.
- 4K at 30fps
- Waterproof to 10m
- Touch screen operation
- Voice control
- Various shooting modes
- Wide Dynamic Range
- GPS performance stickers
- Wi-Fi enabled
DJI Osmo Action (🥈 Runner Up)
It’s hard to compete with GoPro’s Hero7 for the title of best action camera under $200, but the DJI Osmo Action is a worthy challenger.
This compact device is available for a similar price to the Hero7, but goes in a slightly different direction in terms of the features and functionality it has to offer. If you’re curious about alternatives to the GoPro series of action cameras, and you’re on a tight budget, the DJI Osmo Action could be the way to go.
The first noteworthy feature of this camera from DJI is the dual screen design, which lets you capture the action with the simple press of a button. The front screen lets you know exactly what’s in frame, so all you have to do is set the camera up with either a selfie stick or mount and you’ll be able to see what you’re recording at all times. The back screen provides a responsive, clear display too for when you want to take footage of a subject other than yourself. This makes the DJI device suitable for those who want to capture footage of themselves and others, while being able to control how it looks at all times.
The camera has RockSteady technology built-in, which as you might have guessed, provides valuable image stabilization for when you record video. The technology combines Electronic Image Stabilization with the company’s own complex algorithms in order to serve up stable footage for fast-flowing action. It’s also suitable for slowing down breathless action too, since it comes with 8x slow motion, allowing you to capture every move you make with crisp quality and detail. The slow motion feature records at a resolution of 1080p and a framerate of 240fps, and there’s also a time-lapse shooting mode too if you want to condense the footage into a shorter video.
This camera is also waterproof to a depth of 11m, as well as temperature resistant to an ice cool -10°C. The watertight seal and hydrophobic coating on the back of the touchscreen give it further protection from water and cool conditions. Even when you’re in cold climes, you’ll have no trouble capturing clear footage with the DJI device. This makes it a worthy companion for snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
- Dual screens
- RockSteady technology
- 12 Megapixel image sensor
- Wide angle 145 degrees
- 8x slow motion
- 11m waterproof
- Includes adhesive mount
AKASO Brave 6 (⭐ Best Underwater)
While it may seem like the budget action camera market belongs to GoPro, the Brave 6 from AKASO is worthy of consideration too, especially if you’re drawn to water sports.
First and foremost, this camera is significantly more affordable than the Hero7, which makes it the more budget-friendly of the two devices. Yet, even for having such a low price tag, this action camera punches well above its weight with some top features and a user-friendly design.
If you were expecting lower video quality with this camera, then prepare to be surprised. Matching the quality offered by the GoPro Hero7, the Brave 6 from AKASO boasts 4K video resolution at 30fps. In addition to that, this camera has something the Hero7 doesn’t: a 20 Megapixel image sensor to capture crisp images as well as stunning video. This is a big deal, especially if you want to capture snapshots of action alongside video footage. 20 Megapixels is impressive too, and makes this camera rival many point-and-shoot models.
The video and camera of this device are backed up by a wealth of extra features, making this a highly versatile action camera. First, there’s the 2 inch LCD touch screen and voice control which make it incredibly easy to get to grips with the Brave 6, even if you have no experience using action cameras. It’s imperative that you can operate the camera hands-free if you’re looking to take on adventurous activities like kayaking or surfing, since you’ll need to focus all your energy on staying in control of your movement. There are 6 simple voice commands to master, and each serves a function which will help you capture video and photos with ease.
Then there’s the waterproof casing of this camera, which can take you to profound depths. This is one of the most compelling reasons to invest in the AKASO BRAVE 6, since it’s the best for taking underwater and capturing breathtaking aquatic footage. If you’re at all interested in surfing, swimming, diving or any other water sport, then this is one of the most reliable action cameras you’ll find on a budget. What makes it so suited to maritime activity is the incredible 39m depth it can be taken to, which blows the competition at this price range out of the water (pun intended).
Throw in electronic image stabilization, 8x zoom, and adjustable view angle, and the result is a highly competent camera worthy of capturing any fast-flowing action. The image stabilizations keep things steady, while the 8x zoom and adjustable view angle provide the user with various options as to how they shoot the footage or photos. These features make it possible to experiment with the camera in order to get the best results for the type of video you want to shoot. Finally, the Wi-Fi connectivity allows the user to connect to the AKASO GO app to control the device remotely as well as experiment with various capture modes.
- 4K video at 30fps
- Voice control
- 2 inch LCD touch screen
- Electronic Image Stabilization 2.0
- 8x zoom
- Adjustable view angle
- Waterproof to a depth of 39m
- Wi-Fi enabled
To find the perfect budget action camera for your needs, it’s worth knowing what you can expect in terms of features and functionality.
While you might expect a cheap action camera to be limited in what it can do, you may be surprised when you start to explore the better devices.
Here are some of the most important features to factor into your decision-making process.
Since across the board in this guide you can expect 4K video recording at 30fps, video quality isn’t actually the most important factor to bear in mind.
However, the quality of the video is only determined by the resolution and framerate you can record in.
For example, the type of image stabilization used will to a large extent determine how well the footage will come out. And this is especially important given that you’ll likely want to capture fast movement with your action camera.
As well as image stabilization, consider the view angle too. The wider it is, the more you’ll be able to fit into the frame. If it’s adjustable, like it is with the AKASO Brave 6 then that’s even better.
The features of a budget action camera are what will really tell you which device you should go for.
There are so many features, so we’ll focus only on those we believe add the most value to the user.
It’s no secret that one of the main purposes of an action camera is to capture sports in motion, and few more so than water sports.
Surfing, kayaking, white water rafting… There are so many water sports that lend themselves well to action camera footage.
But, in order to feel comfortable taking your camera out onto the water, you’ll want to make sure its waterproof.
Generally 10m is a good depth, but some like the AKASO Brave 6 allow you to plunge to depths of 39m, making it a top underwater pick.
Slow motion and time lapse are two capture modes enjoyed by many action camera users.
With all of the footage out there, it can be hard to make yours stand out, so having various capture modes lets you experiment with different styles.
Slow motion is great for slowing down the moment a skier turns and sends white powder in all directions, whereas time lapse is great for capturing a sun sinking into the sea as you catch a wave.
The interactivity of an action camera is hugely important, since you’ll want to focus on the activity you’re engaged in.
To this end, it’s worth finding a camera that has either a touch screen or voice control, or both.
If you have a touch screen a simple swipe or push with a finger will suffice, whereas if you have voice control you can operate the device hands-free.
Both contribute to a much more user-friendly design, and both will free up more of your attention to focus on either capturing the footage as it unfolds or on whatever activity it is you’re doing that’s worth recording.
Voice control is especially useful as some activities such as kayaking will require that you mount the camera on the kayak, in which case it could be out of reach.
Frequently Asked Questions About Action Cameras Under $200
What is the best cheap action camera?
It’s our opinion – and that of many others – that the GoPro Hero7 is the best cheap action camera.
There’s no two ways about it: GoPro is the dominant action camera brand, and the quality of its cameras speaks for itself.
The Hero7 is just one of many stellar products put out by GoPro, featuring 4k resolution video recording at a smooth framerate of 30fps and a robust waterproof body.
Are cheap action cameras any good?
Yes, there are many cheap action cameras that demonstrate it isn’t necessary to break the bank to capture fast-moving action.
Whether it’s the fantastic all-round GoPro Hero7, or the water-suited DJI Osmo Action, there is a cheap action camera for all preferences.
Arguably the best feature in any action camera is the ability to record in 4K, and that’s something which many more affordable models can still provide for the user.
Which GoPro is the best for the money?
We’d argue that it’s the Hero7, our top pick, that is the best GoPro for the money.
If value for money is defined as having top quality features at a low price, then the Hero7 fits the bill perfectly.
It’s an action camera worthy of any adventurer’s backpack, as it’s packed full of useful features to capture the action as it unfolds.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Investing in an action camera is a great idea if you play sports or move around a lot and want to capture the motion as it happened.
If this is your first foray into the world of action cameras, then a cheap one is a wise choice to begin with, since you’re less likely to be disappointed.