GoPro Competitors | 4K Action Cameras that Aren’t GoPros

GoPro carved out the action camera niche and turned it into a multibillion dollar industry. But they’re no longer the only game in town. Here are some others 4K action cameras worth a look.

GoPro carved out the action camera niche and turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry. But they’re no longer the only game in town. From established brands like Sony, Garmin, and Nikon that bring innovative features, to clones that come in at a much lower price, GoPros now have some real competition.

Here’s a rundown of some of the main GoPro competitors and their distinctive features to help you decide which is the best GoPro alternative for what you’re after.

I’m focusing here on 4K action cameras. There are others that do lower-resolution video and some that shoot 360° footage, but I’ll cover those separately. So these are some of the main 4K action cameras that make a case for being good GoPro alternatives.

DJI Osmo Action

DJI is best known as the market leader for drones. They’ve also produced some very good gimbals, as well as cameras to go with both of those product categories.

And now they’ve taken direct aim at GoPro by launching an action cam. Overall, it’s a very strong first action camera product from DJI, and there’s a lot of overlap between this camera and the GoPro HERO7 Black. They have very similar specs, and they’re similar prices, and it’s hard to say which is clearly better. The DJI Osmo Action has a second front-facing screen that’s useful for when you’re in the frame, and the HERO7 Black has better in-camera electronic video stabilization. There are many more smaller differences once you dive into the details, which I’ve done here. Overall, the Osmo Action is the most direct apples-to-apples competitor here for the current flagship GoPro model.

Distinctive Features. The Osmo Action has a front-facing screen that can be used as a live view when the camera’s facing you. And it has a higher video encoding bitrate than the HERO7 Black.

DJI Osmo Action - 4K Action Cam 12MP Digital Camera with 2 Displays 36ft...
  • Dual Screens: Osmo Action’s dual screens allow you to capture it all with the touch of a button. A...
  • The RockSteady technology combines EIS with complex algorithms, delivering stable, shake-free footage no...

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Akaso EK7000 Action Camera

If you want a camera similar to a GoPro but don’t want to spend that much, this is a very good place to start. It’s hard to beat in terms of value for money. There’s now a lot of GoPro clones out there. This is one that’s taken off and become very popular, and after having played with it for a while now, I can see why. It doesn’t have all the features of the latest and greatest GoPro like video stabilization and voice control, but it’s a decent clone of the GoPros a couple of versions back.

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera Ultra HD Waterproof DV Camcorder...
  • 4K Ultra HD action camera. Professional 4K 25Fps & 2.7K 30Fps video with 12MP photos at up to 30 frames...
  • Wireless wrist remote control sports camera. With a wrist 2.4G remote, you can capture the world in an...

It shoots video up to 4K25, 2.7K30, and 1080p60 and still photos at 12MP. It comes with a waterproof case that’s rated down to about 100 feet (30 meters). There’s a 2-inch screen on the back for live view, playback, and using the menus.

Distinctive Features. Its killer feature is its price. It costs only a fraction of most of the other cameras here but is an impressive clone of the GoPros a couple of models back. It also includes a splash-proof remote control and a spare battery.

I’ve been testing these out have had a chance to post my detailed review. If you’re looking for a GoPro alternative at a much lower price point and don’t need all the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest models, this one is well worth a look.

It comes in black, blue, or silver. They’re sold through Amazon.

Sony FDR-X3000 Action Camera

Sony’s flagship action cam looks more like an old-school camcorder rather than the boxy shapes of GoPros and the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30.

Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K, White
  • Ultimate image stabilization from Balanced Optical SteadyShot Professional 4K with ZEISS lens and Exmor R...
  • Splash-proof body or use incl. waterproof housing down to 197ft. Selectable viewing angle: Wide, Medium...

It’s a 4K action camera that shoots video up to 4K30, 1080p120, and 720p240 and 12MP still photos (in 16:9 aspect ratio). Battery life is similar to GoPros, with a maximum time a little over 2 hours in its most efficient mode (1080p30 with wifi off) and an hour or so in higher video modes. The body itself is splashproof and dustproof, but with the waterproof housing, it’s rated down to nearly 200 feet (60 meters).

Distinctive Features: Sony has incredibly deep technology when it comes to cameras, and they’ve leveraged some of it here. They’ve used a ZEISS Tessar lens and their own industry-leading sensor technology. Probably its most impressive feature that sets it apart is the way it does video stabilization. It uses an optical stabilization, which will often give better results than the digital stabilization that most of its competitors use. There’s also an unusual Motion Shot LE mode which is a single image comprises of multiple shots to show a sequence. You can also live stream. They’ve also enabled the option for unusually high bitrate recording with potentially much higher quality, up to 100 Mbps. And it comes with a remote control, which is a nice little perk rather than having it as an optional extra.

There’s another fancier remote available as an optional extra, the Live-View Remote, that is a pretty compelling feature by itself. It provides not just the usual controls but also a live view of what the camera is seeing. While you can do that through mobile apps with other cameras, there are times that having a dedicated, small viewer has its advantages.

The basic kit, which includes the camera and a waterproof case, has an MSRP of $399.99. There’s another kit with the Live-View Remote Kit with an MSRP of $549.99.

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Sony RX0

This is a brand-new camera from Sony that’s aiming for the premium end of the market and is priced accordingly. It’s Zeiss lens is wide angle, but not nearly as wide and distorted as the bulging fisheye on some other action cams (it’s equivalent to 24mm in 35mm full-frame terms). It has some impressive features that you can’t find on competitors, including super slow motion at up to 1000 frames per second and a shutter speed up to 1/32000. And it has a much larger sensor, which opens the potential of much better low-light performance and sharper images.

Sony 1.0-type Sensor Ultra-Compact Camera with Waterproof and Shockproof...
  • Unique performance and compactness for extraordinary applications
  • 1” (1.0-Type) stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with DRAM Chip

Despite those specs, there are some curious omissions. It can shoot 4K, but to do that you’ll need to get an optional external recorder. By itself, it can only natively shoot up to 1080p. And there’s no built-in video stabilization.

So it’s a GoPro competitor in the sense of it being a tiny rugged and waterproof camera, but its emphasis is on some different areas, so it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison.

Distinctive Features. It has a much larger sensor that promises better image quality, especially in low light. It has a less-distorted, high-quality Zeiss lens. And it has very fast shutter speeds and fps rates. But it also lacks some key features that others have.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action Camera

It’s a 4K action camera that can record video up to 4K30, 2.7K60, and 1080p120 and shoots 12MP photos. It’s a similar size and weight to the non-Session GoPros, comes with a waterproof housing that’s rated down to 130 feet (40 meters), and built-in image stabilization (but not 4K or 2.7K), and has voice control. Its battery life is similar to what you get from a GoPro (ie. around 2 hours if you’re lucky, and significantly less in high-end video modes). It’s also compatible with wireless control from a mobile app.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Action Camera
  • ULTRA HD VIDEO - Crystal clear 4K/30fps footage, 1080p/120fps, or slow motion capability at 720p/240fps
  • G-METRIX - Built-in GPS and external sensors with connectivity to Garmin devices to capture performance...

Distinctive Features: There’s built-in GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and altimeter sensors that provide data overlays like temperature, speed, and elevation as well as activity-specific measures like hang time for snowboarding and cadence for cycling. It also has a photo burst mode of up to 60 frames per second, which is unusually fast.

The base model’s MSRP is $399.99 and you can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Nikon KeyMission 170 Action Camera

Nikon has joined the action cam party a little later than some others, and after a very delayed rollout, they now have three cameras in their current action camera range. The others are the KeyMission 80 and the KeyMisson 360; the numbers refer to the angle of view in degrees. The KeyMission 170 is the closest competitor to most of the GoPros.

Nikon KeyMission 170
  • Equipped with a bright ultra-wide-angle NIKKOR lens of F2.8 with 4K video
  • Electronic camera shake correction

In terms of specs, when they announced it, it seemed cutting edge with a built-in waterproof enclosure and video stabilization. But after a very delayed rollout, by the time it hit the market, GoPro had released the HERO5 Black that stole much of that thunder and other manufacturers were releasing their own innovations.

So it lags a little behind many of the other action cameras above. It records video up to 4K30 and 1080p and 8.3MP photos. It has built-in stabilization and wireless compatibility with the SnapBridge mobile app ecosystem. Its battery life isn’t great–around 60 minutes of shooting.

It’s a similar shape, size, and weight to the GoPros. It’s waterproof (100 feet / 30 meters – IPX8) and dustproof.

You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo, and I have more detailed comparison between the GoPro HERO5 Black and the Nikon KeyMission 170 here.

Ricoh WG-M2 Action Camera

It shoots video up to 4K30 and 1080p60 and still images at 8MP. It’s waterproof without a separate housing, rated down to 65 feet (20 meters) and has built-in digital stabilization. It can be controlled via wifi with a mobile app.

RICOH Waterproof Action Camera WG-M2 4K Video Super-Wide-Angle 204 Degrees...
  • File format (still image): JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF2.0 compliance, PRINT Image Matching III correspondence /...
  • Record number of pixels (still image) :( 4: 3) 8M: 3264x2448, 5M: 2592x1944 / (16: 9) 6M: 3264x1840, 4M:...

Distinctive Features. The layout of this camera is a bit different. The screen is on the top, which can be a more useful way to see it if you’ve got the camera mounted below you such as on a bike or snowboard.

Something I’ve long admired about Ricoh is that they like to think outside the box. Sometimes that results in a hit–the Theta spherical cameras and the GR series of high-end compact cameras come to mind, both of which I use regularly–but sometimes it results in misses. I’ve had a WG-M2 since they were released. I wanted to like it, but while it has some innovative features and ideas, I’ve been underwhelmed by the image quality and some aspects of the basic functionality and ruggedness.

They make them in orange and silver, have an MSRP of $299, and you can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

TomTom Bandit Action Camera

These look quite different to most of the other current action cams. Rather than a rectangular box, it’s a tube. They’re a slightly older model now, but you might still be able to find new ones around. It has some innovative features but has never quite taken off like some of the other cameras here.

TomTom Bandit 4k Action Video Camera
  • 4k HD video camera provides the highest resolution action footage
  • Long battery life allows for 3h of nonstop filming with cable free batt stick

It records video up to 4K15, 1080p60, and 720p120 and photos at 16MP. It’s waterproof, rated down to 130 feet (40 meters). It has built-in sensors for things like GPS and acceleration.

Distinctive Features. It’s quite a different shape to most of the other current generation of action cams. The tube shape allows it to use a kind of cartridge approach, where slide out the battery stick. It has a longer-than-average battery life of up to 3 hours.

It has a revised MSRP of $249.99, and you can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Olympus TG-Tracker Action Camera

The Olympus TG-Tracker is part of Olympus’s Tough range and looks like a miniature old-school video camera. It shoots video up to 4K30, 1080p60, and 720p240 and still images at 8MP. It’s waterproof, rated down to about 100 feet (30 meters). There’s built-in digital stabilization and activity sensors for things like GPS, temperature, and acceleration.

Olympus TG-Tracker with 1.5-Inch LCD (Black)
  • 4K 30P Video capture
  • 204 Degree Extreme Angle f2.0 High-Speed Lens

Distinctive Features. It has an unusually wide field of view, at 204°, and a built-in LED headlamp.

It’s made in black or a bright green, and you can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Other GoPro Competitors

There are other action cams coming out all the time, and I’ll do my best to keep this page updated as they’re released.

There are also other action cameras that shoot HD video (1080p) but not 4K (UHD) video–cameras like the Polaroid Cube, for instance. You can even get versions designed for young kids. But I wanted to focus here on 4K video models in the hope it’s useful in deciding which is the best GoPro alternative for your needs. Stay tuned for a separate post on the best GoPro alternatives that aren’t 4K cameras coming soon.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-02-25 at 02:53. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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This post was last modified on January 16, 2021 12:04 pm

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  • The one that first comes to mind isn't really a GoPro alternative at all, even though it shares a lot of similarities. It's the Sony RXO (or newer RXO II). It's small and waterproof and has much better stills photos quality (including RAW and manual controls) and features. It's also at a much higher price point, although the RXO has been out for quite some time now and is an older model, so you might be able to find them at very reasonable prices. I've posted a review and sample photos with the RXO. I have the RXO II too but haven't gotten around to posting on that (it's very similar with respect to taking photos; the key differences don't really come into play with that much). But for the use that you describe, they're hard to beat.

    In the closer price points, the HERO8 Black and DJI Osmo Action are the best at still photos of the ones I've tried. They have their quirks and shooting with manual control (or part-manual) can be more tedious than it should be, but you can get some great shots out of both of them. One area I've been disappointed with both of them is that I find it difficult to squeeze much more out of the RAW files than you get with the camera-generated JPGs.

    I've been underwhelmed by the photo quality coming out of the cheaper options--their emphasis tends to be on video, and they rarely offer much if any manual control or RAW.

    • Thanks David for the detailed reply. Cool, yeah they were the options I’d boiled it down to in my research too. The Sony Rx0 seems great, but a bit out of my budget, for what it is. But maybe I’ll keep an eye out for a bargain.

      Thanks again for the info!

  • Hi there,

    Good article. Just wondering which Gopro alternative you would recommend for still photography only? I'm looking for RAW and as much manual control as possible.

    Thanks! :-)

  • Any chance of a comparison grid shows the main features / prod / cons for each camera ?

    I shoot music concerts so low light shooting is the most important feature for me

    • Good suggestion, thanks. But unfortunately probably won't be able to get to it anytime soon.

      The only one of these that I'd seriously consider for low-light work would be the Sony RX0 II (it's the newer version of the one I've listed on this page--I'll update it). While it shares some of the core characteristics of action cams, it also has performance and features that you get in much larger cameras. So it's kind of in a category by itself. The low-light performance on the others I'd rank from mediocre to poor. It's not that you couldn't get some great shots out of them in those conditions, but it would be hard to do it consistently.

  • did someone try the yi 4k plus camera?
    any suggestion for a travel camera not to expensive and special for photos?

    • I haven't tried that specific one, but have tried some of their earlier models. Will add this one to the queue. In terms of GoPro models as travel cameras, I've put together some ideas here. There are ones I think are even better in some ways, like the Sony RXO, but that's significantly more expensive again. I have new SJCam and Akaso models sitting here on my desk to try out, but I haven't had a chance to get to them yet.