With the popularity of videos going viral overnight and photographed evidence of living your best life now being mandatory, many teens and tweens alike are purchasing action cameras. These square-shaped cameras are specifically made to capture action footage. Anything from rafting down the Colorado River to singing karaoke in your car is now video-worthy, and the market is catching on.
While these compact, impact-proof cameras at one time cost thousands of dollars, there are several models available now in all price ranges. For a few months’ worth of allowance, your teen or tween can now own an action camera to capture their wildest endeavors! For teens of driving age, these cameras can also be used as a dash cam which is an invaluable tool to have (so says my husband who works in the auto insurance industry). This article will explore and dissect some of the best action cameras available today.
Fun HD Action Cameras for Tweens and Teens
|Action Cameras for Teens||Features|
|HIGH END ACTION CAMERAS|
|GoPro HERO8 Black|
|GoPro HERO7 Black|
|Osmo DJI Action Camera|
|QUALITY ACTION CAMERAS|
|GoPro Hero 5|
|AKASO Brave 7LE Action Camera|
|Kodak PIXPRO SP1 Action Cam|
|MID-RANGE ACTION CAMERAS|
|AKASO V50 Pro Native|
|XTU Action Camera|
|Insta360 GO 2|
|BUDGET ACTION CAMERAS|
|Dragon Touch Action Camera|
|Apexcam 4K Action Camera|
|Prograce Waterproof Action Camera|
|Yolansin Action Camera|
Now that you know which features you want, let’s explore some of the best action cameras available. It’s important to note that these models do require a class 10 or higher formatted micro SD storage card with 8-64 GB of space. Some listed options do include an SD card, but others do not.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your lower cost action cameras that advertise as taking 4K video are usually using interpolation to achieve results that are almost 4K quality. Due to the stretched image, however, videos shot in 4K on the lower cost options can sometimes look grainy or pixelated.
These options are suitable for tweens or teens, although you will want to help them decide and be realistic about their abilities.
Action Camera Buying Checklist
My oldest son has been begging for an action camera of his own. He specifically wants one that he can attach to a selfie stick in order to make videos for his YouTube channel. We thought about having him just use a phone to record, but the more we learned about action cameras, the more we knew that was what we wanted.
As we began to shop around for an action camera, it quickly became evident that we needed to narrow down specific things we wanted, as these cameras come packed with features! Here are a few specs that you will want to check out before deciding which action camera to purchase.
- Video quality and FPS (Frames per second). Most action cameras offer 4K, 1080p, or 720p quality. The higher the fps (frames per second), the smoother the video quality.
- Megapixels. The number of megapixels determines the quality of photos taken with the camera. Like frames per second, the higher the megapixels, the better quality of photograph.
- Battery life. The battery life of action cameras can vary depending on how you’re using them. Some models come with an extra battery and charging cord, while others do not.
- Attachments. Action cameras are made to be hands-free. It’s important to know which attachments you want such as a waterproof case for underwater use, chest clip, selfie stick or gimbal attachment, helmet clip, drone attachment, etc.
- Remote capabilities. Do you want to be able to control your action camera from a distance? Then a wireless remote is a must. These can be anything from a wristwatch-style device to an app downloaded on a cell phone.
- User interface. Action cameras come with varying sizes of display screens to navigate the use of the camera. Some are touch screen while others are menu buttons. Decide which you prefer when shopping around.
- External storage. The whole point of an action camera is to be able to take the videos and pictures from the device and post them to albums or social media. Some cameras require an external micro SD card, while others come equipped with Wi-Fi or have a cord to connect to your phone or computer.
- Camera modes. Action cameras are used primarily for taking video, but it’s also important to decide if you want other modes such as dash cam mode, continuous loop, overwriting ability, underwater video capabilities, burst-style photos, or time lapse videos.
High End Action Cameras
If you have a teen who is serious about filming sports, stunts, or creating a blog, spending more for a high end action camera could be the right choice. These cameras are excellent quality and will last the test of time. Once you see these cameras, you might decide you need to borrow them!
1. GoPro HERO8 4K
If you want the best action camera for teens, the GoPro HERO8 is it. The newest version of the GoPro, this sports camera for teens has all the latest bells and whistles. With 4K video boasting 120 FPS, this camera will give professional quality videos. And with 1080p, live stream videos are amazing!
Three levels of stabilization mean get great quality. The Live Burst mode records 1.5 seconds before and after each shot and video so your teen make sure to capture all his adventures. With Time Warp 2.0, users can make exceptional time lapse videos.
The HERO8 is more impact resistant than previous models, and it can stand up to whatever exciting locations and tricks your teen has in mind. Photos are 12 MP, and this model has improved HDR for excellent photos. This camera is also waterproof up to 33 feet.
2. GoPro HERO7 4K Black
The GoPro HERO7 Black 4K Action Camera has long been considered top of the line in the action camera industry. If your teen or tween is ready to spend money for a higher quality action camera, this is a great option. The hyper-smooth stabilization makes for professional-level video quality, along with an impressive “true” 4K video with 60 fps. You can also choose to set it to slow or super slow motion mode at 120 fps to 240 fps.
The 12mp camera with built-in HDR and local tone mapping ensures photos will look like they were taken on a much heftier, more complex camera as well. The HERO7 Black is waterproof up to 33 feet. While many other cameras claim to be waterproof, most of them really aren’t. This camera is better underwater than its competitors. Features such as voice control and live streaming ability make this a popular choice for action camera users of all ages! You might decide to borrow it from your child and not want to give it back!
3. DJI Osmo 4K Waterproof Camera
If you are looking for excellent quality, the DJI Osmo 4K Waterproof Camera could be right for your child. It has 4K/60fps video. This camera is unique in that it features two screens, one on the front and one on the back. That way you can shoot from either direction and see what you are filming.
The voice control option on the DJI Osmo 4K works well. Video stabilization and HDR create exceptional video quality. The microphones work well, leading to good sound quality. There is no remote control with this camera, but it can be controlled with a smart phone. This camera is waterproof up to 11 meters.
If you choose to purchase the bundle, you will get the camera, a USB-C cable, a battery, battery case, mounts and screws, 32 gb Sandisk Extreme SD card, and a cleaning cloth.
Quality Action Cameras
Want to get a good quality camera with a smaller price tag? The cameras in this category have many of the same features as the more expensive options and have similar quality video. These aren’t quite professional quality, but that might be ok for your tween or teen.
4. GoPro HERO5 Black
The GoPro HERO5 Black is an earlier version of the HERO7 Black and is considerably less expensive. This camera takes fantastic 4K video and 12 MP photos. Image stabilization and telemetry overlay make this camera great for recording during high speeds (a motorcycle ride for example). It has several different modes including single, burst, and time lapse.
GoPro claims the HERO5 Black is waterproof right out of the box up to 33 feet (10 meters) deep, but that is not entirely true. You would be better off to buy a waterproof case for this camera rather than risk ruining the camera. With this camera, your kiddo can edit footage with the camera and the app. Bluetooth capabilities and voice control/ hands-free options make this a fun camera for kids. Unfortunately, the microphone on this camera doesn’t record clearly. If you choose to buy this camera, consider getting an external microphone for better quality sound.
5. Akaso Brave 7 LE 4K Action Camera
The Akaso Brave 7 is a stellar action camera that is weatherproof and has a host of features to meet all of your video and photo needs. Dual cameras provide ability to capture selfies as well as face outward to film your latest adventure. Dual color screens are included on both sides of the camera, so you always know what image you are capturing.
Video shoots in crisp 4k quality and 30 FPS, and photos are captured with an amazing 20 MP camera. The improved Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) provides a smoothing effect to video, creating stable images despite the roughest filming conditions.
An improved battery life and built-in Wi-Fi make this camera perfect for travel as well as everyday filming or vlogging. It’s great for kids who are learning to take pictures. The Akaso Brave 7 comes with several accessories including a remote control wristlet and waterproof case, making it a great choice for any action camera needs!
6. Kodak PIXPRO SP1 Action Cam
If you are looking for a compact camera for a teen, check out the Kodak PIXPRO SP1. Equipped with 1080p video with 10 frames per second, this camera helps kids make videos of their favorite activities. There is no zoom capability. Kodak claims this is waterproof up to 32 feet, but water tends to get in the camera so we don’t recommend using it underwater.
Included are the mounts and tethers needed to attach this camera to whatever kids want to use during filming.
While there are some good features with this sports camera for teens, for the money you would be better off going with another moderately priced option.
Mid-Range Action Cameras
At the mid price range, you can still get a nice action camera. These cameras are great for older tweens and younger teens.
7. AKASO V50 Pro Native
The Akaso V50 Pro Native Action Camera is sure to meet your teen or tween’s camera needs! This camera offers 4K video at 30 fps with an up to 20-megapixel camera for still photographs. The Electronic Image Stabilization helps ensure good quality photos no matter what you’re filming.
The included wireless wristwatch style remote is perfect for hands-free operation, and the mobile app ensures quick retrieval of all recorded videos and pictures through built in Wi-Fi.
Included are 2 rechargeable batteries. The kit also features several clips and mounts to ensure that whatever your 11-year-old wants to use it for can be achieved!
8. XTU Action Camera
At the mid-range price point, the XTU is a good option. This touch screen sports camera boasts 4K and 30 FPS for optimal quality. For still photos, this camera has 20 MP. Anti-shake capability makes it easier to get a good video, and lens distortion correction means photos and videos are clear.
Sharing capability is important for most teens and tweens, and this camera doesn’t disappoint. Use Wi-Fi, HDMI, or USB to share favorite videos and photos from the XTU.
Waterproof up to 5 meters without the waterproof housing and up to 40 meters with it, you can film even your water adventures with this camera.
9. Insta360 GO 2
The Insta360 GO 2 action camera is tiny but powerful! Measuring 1″ by 2.3″ and weighing only 1 ounce, this thumb sized device is the perfect size for kids on the go. This camera can be mounted anywhere or can even be worn by the user. The included case is also the charger, tripod, and remote control in one.
With video of 1440p and 50 FPS, this camera gives good video quality, although not as good as some of the others on this list. It is waterproof up to 13 feet.
The versatility and ease of use of the Insta360 GO 2 make it a great choice for teens.
Budget Action Cameras
For a younger kid just starting out with an action camera, a budget option can take decent photos. They are also generally pretty rugged, which can be good with kids who like to do crazy tricks.
10. Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera
The Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera is not only going to be a hit with your tween or teen because of the cool name, but this little camera gives pricier models a run for the money! Videos filmed in 4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps offer bright, crisp images even in rugged conditions.
The 16MP photo resolution is also a great feature, especially with the 170° wide angle lens. The 2” LCD display screen helps you navigate what you’re filming, and the built in WiFi and included wrist remote make it easy to transfer footage to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. While the 4K video is not as good as 1080p, it is still worth the price. The included waterproof case also makes this device perfect for scuba diving or just taking to a pool party!
11. AKASO EK7000 4K Action Camera
The Akaso EK7000 4K Action Camera is another power-packing camera. At a low price, this tiny camera is built to withstand the biggest adventures, while capturing it all in crisp, 4K video at 25 fps, or in 1080p at up to 60 fps. The included wrist remote means you can capture a picture or start a video with the push of a button while the camera is clipped on top of a helmet, or 30 feet in the air attached to a drone.
The Akaso EK7000 features a 2” screen for user interface. Many users commented that the Akaso EK7000 performed just as well as a much more expensive action camera in a side-by-side comparison. Two 1050 MAh rechargeable batteries are included and each offer 90 minutes of use per charge! You can’t go wrong with this kit, as it also includes several attachments for your child’s needs.
12. Apexcam 4K Action Camera
The Apexcam 4K Action Camera is another great low-cost option. This camera offers 4K video with 30 fps and 16-megapixel pictures. A wireless remote comes with this camera, so no matter if your teen is skiing, swimming, skateboarding, or biking, they can control the camera with a touch of a button.
Thanks to several modes such as slow motion, time lapse, or burst action, your tween can capture unique images and videos to add to their albums. An LCD touch screen offers an easy-to-operate user interface. Two batteries are included so you can charge one while losing the other.
This option is waterproof up to 130 feet. However, be aware that the remote control is not waterproof.
Built in WiFi and a customized app helps transfer images to your smartphone or computer to then share with family and friends. This is a great affordable option for your tween or teen wanting to experiment with action videos and photography.
13. Prograce Waterproof Action Camera
The VTech Kidi Zoom is an excellent choice for a younger tween but would likely be disappointing for a teen. With bright designs and built-in frames, ever-popular filters, and other camera effects, your child can get creative with their footage.
The camera comes with a rechargeable battery, two accessory attachments (for a helmet, skateboard, bike, etc.) and is waterproof up to 100 feet. The 1080p video and 5MP photo is exceptional for this price! This camera is designed with kids in mind and is easy for them to use straight out of the box! My 9-year-old loves this action camera.
14. Yolansin Action Camera
This Yolansin Action Camera is a great action camera for beginners. With a 20 megapixel camera and 4K video camera, the Yolalsin will serve any photo and video needs for teens or tweens.
This camera has built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing and uploading as well. Like many of the other cameras on this list, the Yolansin is equipped with electronic image stabilization to ensure clear photos. An external microphone improves the sound quality.
The included wireless remote works up to 15 meters from the camera. Also included are 2 rechargeable batteries.
If you are willing to spend more for the best camera experience, I recommend the GoPro HERO8 4K. It comes with all the bells and whistles and produces professional quality video. It is a camera your child (and you) can use and love for years to come.
For quality video and photos without the high end price tag, my choice is the GoPro HERO7 4K Black. It has many of the features of the HERO7 and is a great camera for the price.
Best Under $100 Choice
My choice for a mid-range action camera for tweens and teens is the VanTop Moment 4. The touchscreen display and ease of use also make it ideal for this age.
Best Budget Pick
Budget action cameras can be a good choice for beginners. I recommend the Dragon Touch for this category. It has some of the features of the more expensive cameras but is much more budget friendly.
Are there good alternatives to the GoPro?
The AKASO EK7000 and DJ Osmo 4K are good alternatives to the GoPro at a less expensive price point. They won’t exactly replace a GoPro, but if you are trying to save some money they are good alternatives.
How do action cameras work?
Action cameras are mounted in a way to show the experience of the person that is performing the action such as diving, biking, running, etc. They are typically built around recording video or pictures in high action environments. Oftentimes action cameras are designed to function in some harsh environments including underwater, high G force, or high vibration environments. Action cameras are good at stabilization of images to create a good video or picture.
Why do action cameras make a good gift for a teen?
Teens love to be active, and they love to show off anything exciting they can do. Action cameras allow teens to become some of their favorite stars, if only for a little while. While it might not seem like a great idea to give them a gadget that involves high adventure, at least an action camera will get a kid off of their phones and devices for a while.
There is no question that action cameras can be used several different ways, especially with teens and tweens. With attachments, these cameras can be attached to helmets, floats, bikes, selfie-sticks, tripods, and other endless possibilities. Your teen or tween can use an action camera to capture their own family vacation videos and photos, record outdoor play sessions during the long summer months, perfect their batting, golf swing, or other sports by filming their moves, and the list goes on. With options spanning a wide range of prices, an action camera is a worthwhile investment for your child!