At its core, a GoPro is a small camera the takes the best qualities of point-and-shoots and camcorders and packs them into a rugged frame that’s smaller, waterproof, and virtually indestructible. Inside the cuboid design is an image sensor, processor, ultra wide-angle lens, and up to three microphones for recording audio in different conditions. The users interface is made up of just two or three buttons, and the Hero5 Black and Hero6 Black models feature touchscreens for more control.

The GoPro Hero 5 is a fantastic underwater camera. However, there is a catch. The device cannot submerge on its own. Rather, it requires a Super Suit Dive Housing (also from GoPro) to get wet. Even so, that accessory turns it into one of the best diving cameras around. The device is able to go down to 196 feet and comes with a bright 2-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use while swimming. The ultra-wide angle lens, 4k recording capabilities, and 12MP image resolution bring it all together.
Though the Hero 8 Black has all the latest and greatest features, in the end it's not a huge leap forward from what you'll get with the less expensive Hero 7 Black. It's last year's model and has almost all the same features -- including HyperSmooth image stabilization, the killer feature for this model. There are a handful of other differences like a better user interface, more shooting options such as 1080p at 240 frames per second, vertical video and livestreaming straight from the camera. That said, the differences between the Hero 7 Black and discontinued Hero 6 Black aren't that great either, so you might want to keep an eye out for deals on that as the holidays approach. Read our GoPro Hero7 Black preview.
But it’s not only the lens lending credit to the impressive video GoPros capture. GoPro’s new Hero6 Black captures 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps) and Full HD 1080 at up to 240 fps. This isn’t just impressive for such a small camera — few interchangeable lens models have achieved 4K/60, with the $2,000 Panasonic Lumix GH5 being the first. As for still photography, the Hero6 shoots 12-megapixel images with features such as WDR (wide-dynamic range, GoPro’s lingo for high-dynamic range or HDR) and RAW file capture. And a new image processor — a first for GoPro cameras — helps improve performance and image stabilization. GoPro has managed to put all of this into a camera that’s not much larger than most DSLR batteries.

What is a good cheap action camera?


Much like Band-Aids or Kleenex, GoPro makes products so good that their brand name is synonymous with the product itself. GoPro’s portable video cameras set the standard for action cameras: they’re durable enough to withstand just about any outdoor activity, they’re easy enough for anyone to use, and they include features typically reserved for far pricier cameras.

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For a company known for its camera drones, DJI got a lot right with its first action cam. One of its stand-out features is its front color screen. It might be small, but it's enough to make sure you're centered in the shot when the camera lens is facing you. The view can be switched with a voice control. It's also waterproof and rugged with removable lens covers, it has great electronic image stabilization, shoots HDR video and has customizable presets so you can get to the shooting modes you want without diving into menus. Read our DJI Osmo Action preview.
The Hero 7 Silver also has a lower-end 10-megapixel sensor. Its 4K footage doesn’t look as sharp to detailed as the Black models, and that’s down to the quality and size of the sensor, not just its resolution. You also miss out on RAW photo capture, the Black series’ super-effective HyperSmooth stabilisation (it does have electronic stabilisation, though) and 60fps 4K shooting.
Some GoPro cameras have user-replaceable batteries, and some don’t. If you need a camera for camping or several days away from home, you’re going to want the former. If you buy a GoPro camera with a swappable battery, you can keep extras with you, so you’ll never miss filming the perfect moment. On the other hand, if you’ll only be using your camera for an hour or two at a time, you can save money by getting a model without a user-replaceable battery.

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The reason I ask what you will be using it for is to determine which set of features you need. If you're going to be using it for simpler activities, don't go all out for a Black edition with a 60fps, 1080p cam (all HERO3's are 1080p, anyways). The reason the Black Edition is so expensive is because of the crazy quality it has, and if you're using it for a more simple basis I wouldn't worry about the difference. The Silver or even White is perfectly fine for you. The main difference between these two is the white's camera has a 5 megapixels with 3fps burst while the silver is 11 megapixels with a 10 fps burst -- is that worth $100 to you?
And sure, those options could include your waterproof and crack-resistant smartphone, but keep in mind that the best action camera is designed for this kind of shooting. Plus, just because your phone is tougher, it doesn't mean you should risk losing or damaging the thing that keeps you connected to work, family and friends. It's also way easier to mount one of these to your body, car, bike or anything else than your phone. 
The GoPro Hero 5 is a fantastic underwater camera. However, there is a catch. The device cannot submerge on its own. Rather, it requires a Super Suit Dive Housing (also from GoPro) to get wet. Even so, that accessory turns it into one of the best diving cameras around. The device is able to go down to 196 feet and comes with a bright 2-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use while swimming. The ultra-wide angle lens, 4k recording capabilities, and 12MP image resolution bring it all together. 

What is the best action camera?


Nearly as good as the GoPro Hero 7 Black in features and video quality, but it's just $220 with a waterproof dive housing included. Its electronic image stabilization isn't quite as good as GoPro's HyperSmooth, but it's definitely better than nothing. You also get shooting options like 4K video at 60 fps (with image stabilization at 30 fps), slow-motion video at 1080p at 120 fps or 720p at 240 fps, time-lapse photos and videos, live streaming and raw photo capture. You don't get anything more than the camera, a battery, the housing and charging and external mic cables, but if your main concern is getting good photos and video for less than a GoPro, this is a safe bet. Read more about the Yi 4K Plus.

Which is the best GoPro?


I have been getting a lot of questions about which type of GoPro camera one should buy if interested. I first think it is great that you're looking into finally getting one, especially after watching the latest events on TV and all of the great camera angles they were able to capture of the professionals. I've had mine for 2 years and could not be any happier. Just last weekend I attached it to my dog on our hike and posted it to Facebook and got some likes from a few cute girls (because likes mean everything, right!?). I'll post the video later this week. I digress, and provide you with some tips when deciding to purchase your GoPro. We also highlighted the difference between the GoPro Hero 4 and 3+ cameras, so be sure to read that for some more help!
The brand new Hero 4's are even more powerful, hence the hefty price of 5 bills with the HERO4 black. They come in either a Black or Silver Edition; however, there's also a new budget-friendly choice called the "HERO" which has some essential features to work with at around $130. I love the fact that GoPro brought this into the market to give us a choice -- i'll be buying a few of my friends one for Christmas.
Although not necessarily the most important component, a defining element of a GoPro is its lens. Rather than using a standard lens, GoPros — like many other action cams — use an extremely wide lens. What this does is increase the amount of scenery you capture in the frame, making it easy to frame your shot. Mount it to your handlebars or the side of your helmet, and you can rest assured that it sees just about anything that happens in front of you.

But it’s not only the lens lending credit to the impressive video GoPros capture. GoPro’s new Hero6 Black captures 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps) and Full HD 1080 at up to 240 fps. This isn’t just impressive for such a small camera — few interchangeable lens models have achieved 4K/60, with the $2,000 Panasonic Lumix GH5 being the first. As for still photography, the Hero6 shoots 12-megapixel images with features such as WDR (wide-dynamic range, GoPro’s lingo for high-dynamic range or HDR) and RAW file capture. And a new image processor — a first for GoPro cameras — helps improve performance and image stabilization. GoPro has managed to put all of this into a camera that’s not much larger than most DSLR batteries.
Much like Band-Aids or Kleenex, GoPro makes products so good that their brand name is synonymous with the product itself. GoPro’s portable video cameras set the standard for action cameras: they’re durable enough to withstand just about any outdoor activity, they’re easy enough for anyone to use, and they include features typically reserved for far pricier cameras.

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