Action cams are cameras that specialize in fast movements, especially small and handy, that can be worn on the body, held in the hand or mounted on a tripod. They are used to create particularly immersive, exciting and dynamic videos from special angles. They are particularly robust and are intended to be there in every situation to capture the best and most exciting moments. The action cameras are particularly suitable for capturing impressive videos and pictures on your hiking trip or on your next mountaineering tour. The cameras are also very robust, so it doesn’t matter if your camera drops or falls into the water.
Why an action camera?
As mentioned at the beginning, an action cam, such as the popular GoPro series of cameras, is aimed particularly at adventurers and self-actors. Now that’s not meant negatively, because who doesn’t love to keep their best moments?
If you are a mountain biker, for example, you can capture your exciting tours and fast descents from a first-person perspective, for example with a mounting kit for the helmet. You can also experiment especially. What would it be like to experience the downhill from the perspective of your pedals? This is surely an insight because you or your friends haven’t had one yet.
But it doesn’t always have to be life-threatening white water rafting (but it can be) or the daring ascent to the nearest mountain wall. An action cam is also particularly suitable for holidays, on the beach where it is hot and humid, or off-road. They are small, handy, tough, robust things that can handle almost any situation.
Areas of application and benefits
At this point you can surely already guess: The areas of application for an action cam are diverse. Since there are some special, waterproof models, or waterproof housings are available as accessories for most brands, you could take your Action Cam directly to the next dive. Or in the wet rainforest, or for the next, particularly muddy rally.
Many enthusiastic hikers and adventurers always have their cameras with them and capture everything so that they don’t miss any exciting moments. And there is also the special use of an action cam. You just let it go, do your thing and find the best moments afterwards. Maybe you put together an impressive action video, share it with your friends or via YouTube with the whole world.
The areas of application actually range from grassroots sports to hiking to model sports. Ever had the idea to strap an action cam onto a remote-controlled gasoline model car and see the whole thing from a first-person perspective? No? You are welcome!
Many happy owners of an action camera often speak of being motivated and inspired by the camera. They were just looking for new exciting moments and situations to get new material for their camera.
In order to produce particularly impressive clips from the raw data of the video camera, you also have to deal with video editing. After the first successes, this can also become a fulfilling hobby, which many owners of an action cam like to follow almost every day. The possibilities to experiment and create something impressive and new are almost unlimited.
What does 4K mean?
4K denotes the resolution with which the videos are recorded. Based on the FULL HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) – quasi 1K – corresponds to 4K four times the FULL HD resolution. This means that details and distant or smaller objects are recorded much better and ultimately reproduced (provided a 4K player is required). 4K thus corresponds to a resolution of approx. 4096 x 2160 pixels, which corresponds to four times the resolution of FULL HD in terms of area.
However, processing 4K image information is hard work for the image sensor, the processor and also the memory card in the camera. Therefore, your battery should always be fully charged and a particularly fast (UHS1, Class 10) memory card inserted in your camera.
With a full 4K resolution, fewer frames per second are usually possible than in a lower resolution such as 2K or FULL HD. You will find detailed information on this below and also in the documentation for your camera.
How does the 4K camera work?
The 4K camera basically works like any other digital camera or camcorder. The light – and thus the image information – falls through the lens in the lens onto the image sensor. With the Action Cams, however, a lot of emphasis is placed on a fast and high-resolution image sensor in order to show all details at a sufficient speed. Because the typical area of application for an action cam is fast recordings, such as in sports.
A fast memory card is recommended so that the camera can write the data to the memory card sufficiently quickly. Particularly fast memory cards are labeled “Class 10” and “UHS-I”. Such as.
Since the cameras are usually “unstable” mounted, either in hand or on a selfie stick or attached to helmets and bicycles, they also have a sophisticated, combined system of either digital or optical image stabilization. This prevents the typical “blurring” and leads to calm, smooth shots with particularly high refresh rates.
Cheaper cameras do not quite achieve the 4K resolution when stabilizing the image.
What action cameras types are there?
The basic action cameras are all very similar, mostly differing only in the recording resolution and in the functions and different recording modes. Most cameras with a separate housing are suitable for underwater use. A few are without an additional housing.
An action camera is typically small, light, robust and has good image stabilization.
There is one big distinction: 2D and 3D.
The 2D action cameras are the “standard cameras”. As you’d expect, these cameras record the footage as a normal video file, just in the direction the camera is looking.
It is different with 3D action cameras (or also called 360 ° cameras). They constantly record everything that happens all around. Also on the vertical axis. In special processing programs you can then change the viewing angle and the viewing angle of the camera. Mounted on a selfie stick, these 360 ° cameras produce particularly impressive shots. In the higher price range, these cameras can even calculate the selfie stick or tripod used and give the impression of a floating camera.
4K or HD – what’s really worth it?
This is literally in the eye of the beholder. The four times higher resolution offers only advantages.
– better detail display
– More “air upwards” for image sections and enlargements
– bigger, better sensor
Of course, a 4K video recording requires a lot more hardware than one in just FULL HD. This is also the reason why higher frame rates (for example in slow motion recording) are only possible in lower resolutions.
The entry-level class of action cameras often doesn’t even get 25 frames per second at 4K. It becomes really fluid from the age of 30. 60 would be ideal. Everything about it is necessary for particularly spectacular shots. Cameras in the higher price range can record well over 200 frames per second at 720p resolution.
So what if the final output format will only be 1080p, FULL HD anyway?
It is clear that you can output 4K content on FULL HD screens and TVs, but they are then automatically down-calculated to the lower resolution. So why use 4K if you don’t plan to present your videos in 4K resolution?
The answer is a very simple one: 4K cameras can also do FULL HD very well.
Since they are intended for the higher resolution, they have better lenses, lenses and also the sensor, which ultimately digitally processes the light that falls into the camera and converts it into an image, is considerably larger in a 4K camera than with a FULL HD camera.
That means in plain language: You can still scale down from 4K when editing your video. You can also reduce the resolution directly when recording, but you can record with more frames per second – which can lead to spectacular effects. The battery life is also extended.
Another consideration would simply be the advancement of technology. 8K is already in the starting blocks for the players (i.e. TVs and monitors). FULL HD will soon be completely replaced by 4K and later (some years) by 8K.
In addition, you don’t really save much if you forego a 4K camera for cost reasons and choose a FULL HD model.
The range of functions, the flexibility and the better image quality, even at a lower resolution, clearly speak for a 4K camera.
Connection with the smartphone
The connection with the smartphone works in a similar way on most Action Cam models. Simply load the associated app from the respective app store and follow the instructions in the app.
Most of the time it is enough to put the smartphone and the camera in the same WLAN and follow the on-screen instructions. In this way you can transfer pictures and videos and usually also share them.
Most cameras allow you to use your smartphone as a remote control for the camera.
A few years ago, action videography was reserved for well-known youtubers, extreme athletes and self-actors. But technology is getting better, memory cards are getting faster, and cameras are becoming cheaper – even professional devices like the GoPro HERO7 Black. But it doesn’t always have to be the expensive GoPro, the cheaper alternatives are usually at least as good. Why always pay an extra $ 50 for the brand name 😉
Getting into the matter is currently easier and cheaper than ever. Thanks to the diverse areas of application of an action cam, many models can also be used as a car camera. Because they are very robust and can put up with a lot, they are also suitable as a camera for holidays and the beach, where a smartphone or an expensive system camera should rather stay in the hotel room.
They can therefore not only be used strictly for daring stunts, but also to hold on to the hike together, or the round on the archery course. When it comes down to it, most of the cheaper models do what you’d expect from an action cam. So … why not make your own action videos? There is really nothing wrong with it!
The accessories situation has also improved enormously in recent times. Suitable accessories have not only become cheaper and more available, but are usually sold directly with the camera in a set.
Maybe an action cam will accompany you on your next vacation.