Looking to buy the best action camera under $100 you can find on the market? You can use a product like this while going on a quick adventure or gift it to a favorite young person who shows interest in videography.
We’ve selected the top 4k action cameras that won’t bore a hole in your pocket. And we’ve also curled up a complete guide to help you make the best choice. So all you have to do is enjoy this quick read.
A Quick Overview
Our review of the 5 Best Action Cameras under $100
Best 4k action camera under $100 - Editor’s choice - AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera
To open our compilation of the best action cameras under $100 is a quality device designed from several improvements made on previous models. The AKASO EK7000 Pro has many great qualities that work because the manufacturers have honed their product quality and design over time.
What makes the EK7000 Pro stand out from the crowd of budget action cameras under $100? Most notable is the high resolution for both video and photos. It quickly passes as the best 4k action camera under $100. You can record native 4k footage at 25fps and 2.7k at 30fps, which are low frame rates. Though, with the full HD, you can record at 60fps, which is better for slow motion.
Shooting live action on the AKASO EK7000 Pro is quite intuitive. The camera comes with a 2-inch ultra IPS touch screen for changing camera settings, switching modes, and viewing playback and previews. Some shooting options here include burst photo, time-lapse photo and video, diving mode, and continuous lapse mode.
There’s also the option of remotely controlling using its WiFi connectivity. You can use the 2.4GHz wireless wrist remote control in the pack or by downloading the iSmart DV app on your smartphone. While it uses the micro HDMI and micro USB ports for file transfer, alongside the supported 64GB microSDHC Card.
Some additional features of the EK7000 Pro are its electronic image stabilization which smoothes out shakes during recording. And for users hoping to film underwater, the good news is that you can take this camera up to 131ft underwater with the waterproof casing.
Best for underwater use - Dragon Touch Vision 3 Pro
The Dragon Touch Vision 3 Pro 4k action camera is another quality piece among below-$100-cameras. The camera body is small and light, with a well-positioned lens placed beside the power button at the front. At the back is its 2-inch screen for controlling the camera.
One neat feature of the Vision 3 Pro is its underwater usage. Like other budget-range action cams, this camera allows you to record videos and snap sleek photos underwater. In addition, the waterproof case can stand underwater pressure up to 100ft.
Another reason why many low-priced cameras fail is their poor lens quality; that’s not this camera. Dragon Touch added a quality lens on the Vision 3 Pro. First, you get to adjust the lens angle up to 170°. You also can get up to 4x zoom on this camera, 16MP for the photo resolution, and 4k video resolution at a frame rate of 30fps. Otherwise, you can record 2.7k, full HD, and 720p for a higher frame rate.
The camera pack comes with a WiFi-enabled remote control. You can also control the camera with your smartphone by connecting via WiFi and with the XDV camera app. Other connectivity options are micro HDMI and USB. The battery quality is also impressive, with up to 180 minutes recording at 720p. You can also use up to 64GB microSD card on this camera.
Best microphone feature - ACTMAN ACT74A Action Camera
- Records smooth 4k ultra HD footage at 30fps evened out with advanced electronic image stabilization.
- Dual microphone options supported for clear voice recording: internal and external mics.
- The camera kit contains accessories like an external microphone, mounting kits, and an extra battery.
Next up on our list of the best 4k action cameras under $100 is the Actman ACT74A. This budget action camera packs impressive features that would prove helpful for action cam lovers who record more self videos. With its external microphone and internal microphone combination, alongside the precise ultra HD feed, live streaming just got better with this action camera. This camera has the features of some of the best video cameras for sports.
If you’re looking for a cheap camera for action vlogging, then the ACT74A is a proper gadget for recording live action clear footage for streaming online. The camera comes with advanced EIS stabilization technology, which makes it deliver better live feed than smartphones. You also get to record 4k ultra HD footage at a 30fps frame rate.
To make using this action camera more seamless, it’s made for easy navigation and control using screen touch controls, camera body buttons, remote control, and smartphone apps. Other perks of this camera include multiple preset recording modes, a waterproof case, an HDMI cable for transferring files, and charging.
Best voice control feature - AKASO Brave 6
- Records ultra HD video at 24fps and full HD video at 60fps for possible slow-motion recording.
- Excellent image stabilization with anti-shake technology anchored by the built-in smart gyroscope.
- Multiple camera function control options, including voice control, remote control, and smartphone control.
The Akaso Brave 6 is yet another premium quality action that you can just snag for under $100. With this action camera, you can record clear videos using the native 4k video resolution at a low frame rate of 24fps. And if you need higher frame rates up to 120fps, you can use the lower resolutions, including 2k, 1080p full HD, and 720p. This camera fits the benchmark for the best cameras for filmmaking on a budget.
The main selling point of the Brave 6 is its convenience of use. With simple voice commands like; “Akaso video start” or “Akaso take photo,” you can get the camera to perform specific actions. That’s a classy touch for vloggers, videographers, and filmmakers who have their hands full. You can also use the WiFi-enabled options of smartphone app control or wrist remote control.
Another excellent quality of the Brave 6 is the built-in anti-shake gyroscope, a quality form of electronic image stabilization. This helps to deliver crisp, clear, and smooth footage. In addition, this supports the other camera features like the wide-angle recording and underwater recording, which allow for the use of the camera in diverse scenarios.
Best value option - Apexcam M80 Air 4K Action Camera
Our best value option for action cameras in the low-budget range is the Apexcam M80 Air. This product has the lowest price on our list but isn’t any short on action camera features. So, if you’re looking to save a few more bucks without losing out on quality, this is the action cam for you.
The M80 Air action camera packs a quality lens that records up to 4k video resolution and can get high frame rates up to 120fps at 720p resolution. And it’s also enabled for super wide-angle image capturing. With this, you’ll get a view that’s well-rounded and looks very natural.
You also get to use this camera underwater for your swimming, skiing, and other water-based action events. The camera is made to IP68 waterproof standard, which can go 130ft deep. In contrast, the remote control can go as far as 49ft with the IPX6 waterproof standard.
To wrap it all up, the Apexcam M80 Air is relatively easy to navigate. The settings and modes are easily accessible on the 2-inch display screen. Other connectivity options include HDMI and USB. The camera also comes with two batteries that can last a combined 180 minutes of recording.
What differentiates a good budget action camera from a bad one?
Action cameras priced under $100 are generally regarded as budget cameras and are often associated with bad specs and low-quality videos and photos. But that story is fast changing. New action camera brands are springing up with quality products to give GoPros a run for their money.
How do these new action cams compare with the big names in the action camera industry? And how can you tell a good budget action camera apart from a junk product?
Here are the points to watch out for;
Native 4k action cameras
The first point to note about quality action cameras is that they have native 4k resolution. Native 4k means that the camera lens captures images with a dimension of 3840 x 2160, which is referred to as ultra HD. A camera that produces native 4k must have a quality lens and a good processor for it to work. That’s why most native 4k action cameras cost at least $100.
Non-native 4k action cameras
Technically, non-native 4k action cameras also produce 4k resolution videos. However, the camera lens doesn’t record at the 3840 x 2160 dimension; instead, it records full HD footage with a size of 1920 x 1080. But the manufacturers configure the camera processor to upscale the video into 3840 x 2160 when recording at 4k resolution. The effect is that the resultant 4k video appears more dispersed and contains less detail than a native 4k video.
Action cameras: Big brands vs. smaller brands
In today’s world of digital cameras, the term action camera is almost synonymous with GoPro: that’s how much authority GoPro has in this category of cameras. And if you’re not a fan of GoPros, you’re probably a fan of DJI or Xiaomi, which are the two other big brand names making action cameras.
Other makers in the action camera market, like Akaso, Dragon Touch, Apeman, SJCam, Apexcam, and others, can be tagged as small or upcoming brands. However, it then begs the question: Do the big brand names have an edge over the smaller brands?
The primary criteria to judge a product should be its specifications and component quality, not brand name or price, as many might mistake. While popular brands are often associated with quality and high-priced products, it doesn’t necessarily mean they offer the best value for money.
In choosing a good budget camera, your focus should be the product specifications and quality assurance of the device components.
Pay attention to product reviews and specification charts. When you see a product that matches your needs, you can then consider price and brand name.
How to choose the best action cameras under $100
In this section, I’ll take a run through the specifications and qualities to look out for when choosing the best action camera under $100. Here they are;
Most action cameras can now record video at 4k resolution, and the same goes for those under $100 as well. And make sure to choose the products that record native 4k videos for the best quality.
Action cameras are meant for capturing live action in rough conditions where you’ll probably not try using your smartphone or an expensive digital camera. In essence, a good action camera must record smoothly with disturbances around, which is what good image stabilization tech does. So look out for gyro or other forms of electronic image stabilization in your budget action camera.
What good is a camera that goes off shortly after you get into live-action? No good. That’s why you should only purchase an affordable action camera with a high battery rating or at least comes with a spare.
How seamlessly you connect other devices to your camera is crucial in how much you’ll enjoy using it. A budget action camera of good quality should come with WiFi, HDMI, and USB, and the ports must be compatible with common devices like an android smartphone, iPhone, PC, and Mac.
Controlling an action camera doesn’t have to be on the camera itself. With good WiFi connectivity, you can control your camera remotely using a smartphone app or remote control, which often comes with the camera kit.
Low light sensitivity
As action cams are designed mainly to be small, the lens apertures are also small, so the light level passing through is lower (1). Unfortunately, that also means these cameras won’t do well in low-light scenes. However, with a wide-angle lens setting, you can create a pan-focus that gives sharper images.
Camera modes are preset that users can choose to fit the type of event they want to shoot. Choosing an action camera with multiple modes allows you to shoot on the go without worrying too much about settings.
Many action camera users engage in watersports and related activities. Therefore, it only makes sense to use an action camera that won’t spoil when recording underwater for such occasions.
One of the perks of purchasing a budget action camera is that they can come with useful action cam accessories like helmet and bike mounts, extra battery, double battery charger, and tripod. So opting for a product with some or all of these saves you additional spending.
Currently, no new GoPro action camera sells for under $100. So if you need an affordable action camera within a $100 budget, you’d have to look at other brands.
Action cameras are cheaper than other digital camera types because they are smaller, use fewer components, and are often made from plastic instead of metal.
Yes, cheap action cameras are worth buying because they offer the basic camera needs for shooting quality images at the minimum price range.
Here’s the summary of this guide; you can get a quality action camera for under $100, but you have to pay attention to details in doing so. Be specific about resolution, battery life, connectivity, and waterproofing if you’d need that.
Going by these, you’d agree that the Akaso EK7000 Pro 4k action camera is easily the best choice for an action camera under $100. It packs a quality wide-angle lens that delivers native 4k footage, has excellent battery life, has functioning WiFi and HDMI connectivity, and performs well underwater.
What other action cams would you have on this list? And have you used any of our reviewed products? What has been your experience? Feel free to share with us below.
- Aperture value and expression. Panasonic Digital Camera Know-Hows. https://av.jpn.support.panasonic.com/support/global/cs/dsc/knowhow/knowhow06.html#:~:text=Aperture%20provides%20two%20main%20functions,adding%20softness%20to%20the%20background.