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Best Action Cameras for Summer 2015

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There is a big difference between action cameras and the average cameras that you get in the stores these days. Action cameras are basically designed to provide more functionality, higher resolution and the finest quality in situations that other cameras would definitely struggle to impress.

From the moment you decide to get an action camera, you need to rest assured that everything else about your experience will be about finesse. These cameras deliver quality resolution like no regular camera can. At the moment there are so many such cameras in the market that even deliver 4K resolution.

When summer comes by, there are lots of activities that entice a lot of people. School is over and there is a lot of fun going around. With this in mind, it would be a good idea if you had one of the best cameras with which to capture some of these moments. For the ultimate fun lover, the action cameras are a welcome addition to your arsenal when you are planning some fun activities for the summer.

Thinking of activities that involve surfing, speed cars, helmets, jumping off tall buildings, bungee jumping, that rollercoaster ride? Well, leave not your action camera behind while you are packing. The following are some select few that are popular in the market so far.

GoPro Hero4 Black Review

GoPro Hero4 BlackGoPro Hero4 Black has always been considered the best ever action camera in the market. Backed by lots of innovation and intuitive ideas, there are very few cameras that can compare against the GoPro Hero4 Black. From as early as 2004 GoPro has been delivering some of the finest action cameras especially for those who are cut out for high adrenaline activities. It does not come as a surprise that they were awarded the Best Technology and Engineering in 2013 at the Emmy Awards.

With GoPro Hero4 Black, you are able to get 4k footage (full frame), and all this at an incredible 30 frames per second – take note that this is something giants like Nikon are yet to achieve, even with Nikon 1J5 which is a mirrorless camera.

One of the main reasons why the GoPro Hero4 Black and all the other cameras in the GoPro line of 4K cameras are a heartthrob to many is because they are specifically built to be inconspicuous, almost invisible. While they have managed to achieve this, it is incredible how they still manage to maintain the desirable ergonomic dimensions for the users. As a matter of fact, GoPro Hero4 Black in comparison with the predecessor Hero 3+ still share similar sizes, at 41x59x30 millimeters.

For all the performance that is built into it, the GoPro Hero4 Black comes in at 88 grams, but with the waterproof case this shoots up to slightly over 150 grams. In the event that you are going to use the camera in different locations, it is important for you to carry this housing.

There are two LED indicators that are built next to the LCD screen, to indicate the status of wireless connectivity and the other acts as a battery indicator and an indicator for the status of the camera. The shutter button is built just atop the camera and a settings button to the left side of the camera. This is a slight difference from what was available on Hero 3+, but the concept is to make access and use of the program more convenient.

The camera is designed with a 12 megapixel 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor. You also have an ultrawide angle lens with an F2.8 aperture. GoPro Hero4 Black can record footage to 3840 x 2160, and record 1080 pixel videos at 120 frames per second.

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HTC RE 16.0MP Waterproof Digital Camera

Labelled the camera that looks like a periscope, HTC really outdid themselves with the HTC RE 16.0 MP waterHTC RE 16.0MP Waterproof Digital Cameraproof digital camera. With the incredible features that are built into it, the camera surprisingly retails at less than $200. Of course you cannot expect it to be a beast like GoPro, but rest assured that you will be surprised at how much you can do with it. It is one of an increasing number of cameras that come with Wi-Fi enabled, but there is a twist to this – you do not necessarily need to have a phone to use this function.

With stiff competition all over the place, there are a lot of models that are currently just copying one another and adding a few features to their latest releases. However HTC RE is a different story altogether. It really works well, not like you would expect of an average camera though. It feels as though it is a perfect combination between an awesome smartphone and a functional camera.

Interestingly enough this camera does not need/have a power button. Well, that’s something new, huh? In short you no longer need to wait some time for the shutter to open up or wake up for you to take a shot. How many incredible moments of magic have passed you by in this way? Well, with HTC RE all you have to do is to shoot, and keep shooting. As long as it is in your hands, it is ready to go. Apart from that, when you are using the HTC RE, you will be able to shoot without using any viewfinder. In terms of control you can get some power to the camera through your iOS or Android device. This feature allows you to hold your phone and take shots without necessarily struggling to fumble with your hands to get the best frame for the shots.

The lens of the HTC RE is built slightly wider than you might think it is when you see it at first sight. As a result, it will take you some time to adapt to the 146 degree shooting angle – even some of the best photographers in the world have admitted to struggling with this. However once you get used to it, there is so much fun that you can have with this camera.

Since there is no viewfinder on the HTC RE, you will get awesome shots if the scene you are shooting is closer to you. However, in the event that you are taking shots from so far, you must be prepared for some sort of distortion.

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Panasonic HX-A500E

Panasonic HX-A500EBefore we venture into anything else about this camera, we have to mention the fact that this is actually the first ever 4K action camera designed by Panasonic. Of course it wasn’t the first ever in the world, but a first and surely an incredible entry into the market for Panasonic. While we are at it, the first ever 4K action camera was GoPro’s HERO3 Black Edition.

The Panasonic HX-A500E is specially designed, making it a class above all the other action cameras. It is practically divided into two sections. One section has a fixed lens, mono microphone assembly and the other has a recording system. The recording system on this camera has a 1.5 inch LCD screen, complete with control buttons. There is a navigation joystick to make the work of the user a lot easier.

Based on the IPX8 standards, the Panasonic HX-A500E is waterproof, but only up to 3 meters. On the other hand it is also resistant to dust under IP5X. So far there has not been any specifications labeled on this camera with respect to impact resistance, so when you are using it, you need to be really careful. However, we must not forget to mention that the camcorder is well-built, complete with a plastic cover to protect the LCD screen from damage.

The Panasonic HX-A500E camera is also designed with a special power-saving feature which forces the screen into automatic shutdown when it has not been in use for a while. When you are using this camera, you can record up to 3840 x 2160 pixels. This is possible at 25 frames/second. This means that you are actually recording at 4X the normal resolution when you are using full HD. While others would refer to this as 4K, it is technically Ultra HD, especially since this amounts to 4096 x 2160 pixels against an aspect ratio of 19:10.

Sadly, with the quality you are milking out of this camera, it operates at 72 MB/second. This basically means that with a 32 GB SD card, you might only be able to fit perhaps an hour or less of a film.

You are however free to choose to record at different resolutions, from Full HD, 720p or whichever other resolution you fancy. Ideally you have in your possession a camera that you can use to record some action for all situations, even capturing stills to a resolution of 5376 x 3024, which might perhaps require some interpolation.

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Garmin VIRB Elite

Garmin VIRB EliteThe Garmin VIRB Elite is one of the best action cameras in the market this year, especially with the ANT + sensor and remote connectivity. Apart from that, the designers have also placed an emphasis on connectivity, with Wi-Fi connectivity built into the model. While we can admit to the fact that you will get really good image quality, recording Full HD images up to a speed of 21 Mb/sec perhaps is something worth looking at. The recording on this camera is stored by default in MP4. The screen is a 1.2 inch CMOS offering 16M pixels.

The wireless connectivity is a very good feature, and it gets better due to the fact that you can use your smartphone as a remote controller. This actually works for Android and iOS devices. However, in the event that you are looking for a camera that allows internet streaming live, the Garmin VIRB Elite is not the one for you. If lack of live internet streaming irks you from owning this camera, wait till you learn that you cannot zoom on it either – what kind of a camera does not offer zoom functions?

The target market for the Garmin VIRB Elite according to their marketing and advertising personnel is to aim for those individuals who might already own any of the outdoor activity products that are designed by Garmin. The design of Garmin VIRB Elite is rugged, at least that conforms to most of the other models that are available in the market at the moment. Besides that, it is also waterproof up to IPX7.

For the action enthusiasts, there are mounts that are available on the camera, which can be so helpful when you need to attach the camera on to equipment such as a helmet.

We must also notice the fact that they have done something that is not so common in the market so far, providing a Chroma display of 1.4 inches. This is a feature that is only available with the likes of GoPro HERO3 and JVC ADIXXION GC-XA2. In as much as the screen is an incredible concept, as a buyer you have to understand the fact that this will certainly come at the expense of the battery life. In an attempt to solve this however, Garmin managed to build a screen that is not backlit. Therefore the screen uses up less power than a normal LCD screen.

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Of these cameras, different users have different preferences. It is close to impossible to make an ultimate choice for an individual, considering that the choice of which camera to purchase will depend on lots of things such as your budget or your preferred brand of choice.

At the same time, we must also mention that this is not an exhaustive list, with lots of other brands available in the market from which you can make your pick. Either way, what we know for sure is that when you are getting ready for your summer holiday you will not want to leave your action camera behind. With all the fun that you will have when you take time off with your friends and family members, be sure to tag along your favorite action camera to capture every single magical moment.


About Michael

Michael has been an enthusiastic freelance writer since 2008. He enjoys writing reviews and sharing ideas on discussion forums on some of the latest gadgets and devices in the market. When he is not writing, he likes to spend time with his family. Last but certainly not the least, he is an avid dog lover !!

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