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.
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.
|Action Cameras for Teens||Video Quality||FPS||MP||Screen Size||Remote/App||Live Streaming|
|HIGH END ACTION CAMERAS|
|GoPro HERO7 Black||4K||60||12||2" Touch||Voice Controlled||Yes|
|Osmo DJI Action Camera||4K||60||12||Front/Back Touch||Voice Controlled||No|
|QUALITY ACTION CAMERAS|
|GoPro Hero 5||4K||60||12||2" Touch||Voice Controlled||No|
|Yi Action Sports Camera||4K||60||12||2.2" Touch||App||Yes|
|Olympus TG-Tracker||4K/1280||60||8||Tilt LCD||No||No|
|MID-RANGE ACTION CAMERAS|
|Vantop Moment||4K/1280||24/24||20||2.4" Touch||Remote & App||No|
|Yi Lite Action||4K/1080P||20/60||16||2" Touch||Remote & App||No|
|Apeman 4K A80||4K/1080p||24/24||20||2"||App/Remote Sold Sep||No|
|Akaso EK7000||4K/1080p||25/60||12||2"||Remote and App||No|
|BUDGET ACTION CAMERAS|
|Dragon Touch Action Camera||4K/1080p||30/60||16||2"||Remote and App||No|
|Jeemak 4K Action||4K/1080p||30/30||16||2" Touch||Remote and App||No|
|FITFORT Action Camera||4K/1080p||30/60||16||2"||Remote and App||No|
Best Action Cameras for Tweens and Teens
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.
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!
GoPro HERO7 Black 4K Action Camera
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 the one to get. 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!
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.
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.
Olympus TG-Tracker Action Camera
If you are looking for a compact camera for a teen, check out the Olympus TG-Tracker. With built in Wi-Fi capability and a tilt-out LCD monitor, it has some good features your child will enjoy. A 2 hour battery life allows for plenty of video time. Olympus claims this is shockproof from 7 feet and waterproof up to 100 feet, but water tends to get in the camera so we don’t recommend using it underwater.
The lens options with this camera are fixed, fish eye, and ultra wide angle lens. Unfortunately, there is no zoom on this camera and the 4K video isn’t as good as it is in other options. There aren’t any accessories with the TG-Tracker, but it is compatible with GoPro accessories. It does not come with an SD card.
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.
YI 4K+ Action Camera
The YI 4K+ boasts 4K/60fps video capabilities. A 2.2” touchscreen makes it easy to navigate the settings and features of this camera. With a battery life of 70 minutes, this camera allows your teen to capture up to 70 minutes of footage at a time. Voice control means you can change modes without having to touch the camera at all. However, it can take several repetitions before the voice control recognizes what you want it to do.
One of the best features of this camera is a built in tripod mount. It also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. The video quality on this camera is good, but unfortunately the audio quality is very lacking. If your tween is mostly concerned about video, this could be a good option, but the less expensive options on this list might be a better choice.
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.
VanTop Moment 4 4K Action Sports Camera
The VanTop Moment 4 4K Action Sports Camera is sure to meet your teen or tween’s camera needs! This camera offers 4K video at 24 fps with an up to 20-megapixel camera for still photographs. 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.
The 2.4” LCD touch screen is user friendly and the smoothness of footage thanks to the electronic image stabilization surpasses other comparable models. This camera also has an advanced chip set that enhances picture quality and keeps the camera from overheating. The VanTop Moment comes with several accessories including an SD card and foldable backpack carry case. The kit also features several clips and mounts to ensure that whatever your 11-year-old wants to use it for can be achieved!
YI Lite Action Camera
The YI Lite Action Camera is another powerful little device that comes with amazing features often seen in much pricier action cameras. This camera offers 4K video at 24 fps or 1080p video at up to 60 fps. This camera also captures up to 16 megapixel still photographs. A 2” LCD touch screen display offers users an easy-to-navigate interface to capture their most epic adventures.
One of the most impressive features is the 2.4G/5G dual band built-in WiFi for faster download times to your smartphone. An impressive 130 minutes of battery life will have your teen or tween using all 9 of the included shooting modes. Accessories for this model are available but are sold separately.
APEMAN 4K Action Camera 20MP
The Apeman Action Camera is packed with features and available for under $100! The Apeman offers 4K video footage at 24 fps with a 20-megapixel camera. Built in Wi-Fi transfers images and videos straight to a smart phone for social media posting and offers wireless remote capability as well. The 2” LCD display screen is optimized for user interaction. This camera features a 170° wide angle picture with an advanced Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) feature to ensure smooth footage!
A waterproof case withstands a depth of up to 40m and includes diving mode for underwater video footage. The Apeman action camera comes with 24 different mounting accessories including a drone clip, dash cam mount, and helmet clip, all in a convenient carrying case. The kit includes 2 lithium ion batteries, rechargeable with the provided USB cord, for up to 120 minutes per 3-hour charge. With 12 months of included product warranty, the Apeman A80 is sure to capture your teen or tween’s action-packed adventures!
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.
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!
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.
Jeemak 4K Action Camera
The Jeemak 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. A 2” LCD touch screen offers an easy-to-operate user interface. Two batteries are included which hold up to 90 minutes of use each and take only two hours to fully charge. 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.
Fitfort 4K Action Camera
With the Fitfort 4K Action Camera, videos can be shot in 4K with 30 fps or in 1080p with an impressive 60 fps! A 16-megapixel, 170° wide angle camera ensure that the vibrant photos can be taken. Built in WiFi connects the camera to an app making it easy to download photos and videos to a smartphone or computer. A wristwatch-style wireless remote is also included for hands-free ability. This is another great camera for the price. The kit comes with several attachment accessories so it’s sure to fit what your teen or tween needs!
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam 180
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 10 feet. While the 640×480 video quality isn’t as sharp as other models, the videos still come out great and the sound quality was surprisingly crisp. 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.
If you are willing to spend more for the best camera experience, I recommend the GoPro HERO7 Black. 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 HERO5 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 his 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.
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, skateboards, 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!