You don’t need to be a daredevil in a wingsuit to make use of an action camera. You also don’t need to shell out top dollar for GoPro’s latest devices.
There are plenty of cheap GoPro alternatives, many of which have comparable features. The footage you’ll get from a GoPro knockoff won’t be quite as good as the real thing, and you may have to sacrifice some usability, but your wallet will thank you.
For capturing your hobbies, vacations, and everyday wide angles, here are six unique action cameras that won’t break the bank.
Best Cheap GoPro Alternative:
Dragon Touch Vision 3
The Dragon Touch Vision 3 is a solid choice if you’re looking for an affordable GoPro alternative. The camera treads the fine line between features and affordability. The camera captures 4K and 2.7K at 30 frames, plus 1080p at 60 frames. It can also shoot 16 megapixel photos too. The wide-angle lens captures up to 170-degrees, with four variable zoom levels.
You can control the camera using the included wireless wrist remote control. It has a range of around 10 meters—perfect if the camera is strapped to your head. On the back of the unit is a 2-inch LCD which you can use to frame shots or review your footage. The camera itself isn’t waterproof, but the included housing can withstand depths of up to 30 meters.
The Dragon Touch Vision 3 comes with two 1050mAh rechargeable batteries. Each cell provides around 90 minutes of 1080p footage, or an hour at 4K quality. While there is no electronic image stablization (EIS), at this price point, it’s hard to complain.
Best GoPro Alternative with Image Stabilization:
AKASO V50 Pro
The AKASO V50 Pro is another option for those looking at cheap GoPro alternatives. It records 4K and 2.7K at 30 frames, 1080p at 60 frames, and 720p at 120 frames. You can also shoot 20 megapixel still images and choose between four zoom levels. What sets the V50 Pro apart from the competition is the camera’s EIS.
EIS acts like a virtual gimbal, smoothing out your bumpy footage by dampening impacts and camera shake. It’s perfect for sports like mountain biking where the camera is constantly being thrown around. Another benefit to the V50 Pro is that it uses the H.265 video codec, preserving more details and resulting in smaller file sizes than H.264.
There’s a waterproof case included for protecting the camera from moisture and dust. You’ll also get two batteries included, a separate charger, a remote control, and a large collection of mounting aids. The camera itself has a touch screen on the back, and even supports external USB microphones.
Best GoPro Knockoff:
If your budget can stretch a little further, the Yi 4K+ might be the best GoPro knockoff on the market. The 4K+ has a Sony sensor that can capture 4K footage at 60 frames, 4K stabilized footage at 30 frames, and 1080p at 120 frames. All footage is encoded with the H.264 video codec.
Photos are snapped at 12 megapixels, with a lens field view of 155-degrees. On the back of the unit is a 2.2-inch Gorilla Glass touchscreen to change modes, frame shots, and review footage. The 4K+ is packed with features including voice control, RAW image capture, and external USB-C microphone support.
You can download the Yi Action Camera app for iOS and Android to shoot, edit, and transfer your footage to your mobile device. The camera itself isn’t waterproof, and you’ll need to buy Yi’s aftermarket waterproof housing if you want the added protection.
In our review of the the Yi 4K+, we said that it was everything you need in a 4K action camera.
GoPro Session Alternative:
Drift Ghost X
The Drift Ghost X is a great GoPro Session alternative. While the Ghost X lacks the square, cube-like design of the Session, its low profile design makes it a suitable alternative at a cheaper price point. The Ghost X captures 1080p footage at 30 frames, with enough battery to capture five hours of video.
You can mount the Ghost X however you like, then rotate the lens up to 300-degrees to perfectly frame your shot. This is ideal in instances when you can’t mount the camera perfectly flat. It means you can fine-tune your framing after mounting. You can also connect an external microphone, and purchase a waterproof housing that can withstand depths of up to 40 meters.
The Drift X can also be used as a car or motorcycle camera. The device records continuously and automatically replaces the oldest footage on the microSD card. There’s also video tagging, which allows you to tag specific moments as they happen, so you don’t need to rewatch hours of footage. The Drift Life app for iOS and Android lets you edit and transfer footage, or live stream directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Another great smart feature is Clone Mode. This allows you to sync up to 10 other Ghost cameras to the same Wi-Fi network then start and stop recording on every camera at once.
Also Consider: Drift Ghost 4K, a pricier version of the Ghost X with support for 4K video at 30 frames and 1080p video at 120 frames. Compared to the standard Ghost X, battery life drops to around three hours. However, you can use both the Ghost X and the Ghost 4K together in Clone Mode.
Best Cheap Action Camera:
Vemont Action Camera
The Vemont Action Camera is a budget action camera trades features for entry-level pricing. The camera shoots 1080p at 30 frames, with still images captured at 12 megapixels.
The battery is only 900mAh but can manage up to 90 minutes worth of recording. There’s a 2-inch LCD on the back of the unit for changing settings, framing, and reviewing footage. You can use a variety of shooting modes, including variable cyclic record, timers for still images, and motion detection.
You get a waterproof housing in the box which can withstand a depth of 30 meters. There’s also a few mounts, stands, and a USB cable for charging. Given its budget pricing, don’t expect great video quality, especially in bad light.
Unlike other models listed here, there’s no EIS, voice control, or app support. It’s also worth noting that the camera only supports microSD cards up to 32GB.
360-Degree GoPro Alternative:
360Fly 4K Action Camera
In recent years, 360-degree video has become extremely popular. If you’re after a GoPro alternative that can shoot 360-degree video, then the 360Fly 4K Action Camera is a great choice.
Many 360-degree cameras shoot at around 5K resolution. However, the 360Fly only manages 4K with its 16-megapixel sensor. The camera can capture your entire surroundings or be used in first-person mode like a regular action camera.
The unit itself is dustproof, shockproof, and water-resistant to one meter thanks to its sealed design. There’s 64GB of internal memory since there’s no microSD card slot. When your internal memory is full, you can connect to the 360Fly mobile and desktop apps to view, control, edit, and share your videos with the rest of the world.
The Best GoPro Alternative for You
Many GoPro alternatives are similar in design to the company’s popular devices. As a result, many action cam manufacturers now use the universal GoPro mount.
This is great because you can pick up all sorts of weird and wonderful GoPro mounts for as much (or as little) as you’re willing to spend.
If you like the sound of the 360Fly, you might also be interested in the best 360-degree cameras available today.