Best action cameras under 100

Nowadays, action cameras definitely are a must-have when it comes to travel, adventure, or just enjoying the outdoors. For a quite some time, we could only drool at that $400 GoPro but luckily, it is now possible to access this amazing technology for much cheaper!

You can find great action cams for less than $100 and some cost even less than $50. But how to choose? How to be sure you will not be disappointed with your new camera? I have listed here what I think are the best actions cameras under $100, with all the information you need to decide which one is perfect for you.

After the reviews, I have put together a comprehensive buying guide to explain what are the things you should pay attention to when choosing your action cameras and answer the most frequently asked questions. Make sure to read about the difference between native and non-native 4K video and how to choose a suitable memory card for your action cam.

So let’s see what are the best action cameras you can get today in 2020 for 100 dollars or less!

The 7 Best Action Cameras Under 100 Dollars for 2020

Akaso V50X Action Camera

AKASO V50X Native 4K30fps WiFi Action Camera with EIS Touch Screen 4X Zoom 131 feet Waterproof Camera Support External Mic Remote Control Sports Camera with Helmet Accessories Kit

$99.99
$84.98  in stock
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as of September 20, 2020 4:57 am

The Akaso V50X action camera is the entry-level model of the Akaso V50 series – the V50 Pro and the V50 Elite being the other models. In spite of being the least advanced of the three, the Akaso V50X still packs impressive features, which liken it to high-end action cameras.

With the Akaso V50X, you’ll love both the camera and the price!

The camera features 3 video resolution modes. i.e., 4K/30fps, 2.7K 30fps, and 2K 60fps, which captures detailed and vibrant videos.

The sad part, however, is that you won’t get 4k at 60fps. Such a sophisticated feature is only for high-end action cameras. Nevertheless, the camera captures beautiful, smooth and steady videos, thanks to the electronic image stabilization (EIS).

V50X can predict movements as well as correct the camera shakes. Such a feature helps to steady the camera regardless of the event you are capturing. For any budget camera, the EIS the best image stabilization technology for the majority of budget cameras. Best of all, the stabilization works for all resolutions.

What’s your favorite shooting angle? Akaso V50X offers you 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70° shooting angles. You can change the angle on the go. Furthermore, In case there is an image distortion, just turn on the distortion calibration to correct the error.

The battery life is just average – You can record 4K video for 60 min before your battery gets flat. Luckily, two batteries are included in the box.

The camera can be controlled remotely thanks to the built-in wifi and the Asako Go app, and also via the included remote control you can strap around your wrist. This is pretty cool if you are recording while skiing or riding your bike.

However, the photo resolution of 12 megapixels is really not spectacular, compared with the 20 MP of the V50 Pro and V50 Elite.

Overall, this is a really good option to consider for just $100!

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • Excellent image stabilization
  • 2 batteries are included
  • Compatible with GoPro accessories
  • Wifi and phone app
  • Includes a remote control
  • Time lapse & slow-motion functions
  • 2-inch touch screen
  • Adjustable shooting angle
  • 4X zoom
  • Supports an external mic

Cons

  • The app tends to be a little slow
  • Photo resolution is only 12 MP

Apeman Trawo A100 Action Camera

APEMAN TRAWO A100 Real 4K Action Camera WiFi 20MP Waterproof Camera Underwater 40M with EIS 2 inch IPS Screen and 2x1350mAh Batteries

$99.99  in stock
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as of September 20, 2020 4:57 am

Trawo A100 from Apeman is an action camera for capturing impressive 4K content regardless of the condition. You can confuse this camera with the GoPro because the resemblance is so immense.

An action camera is as good as its videos and photos. Trawo A100 captures videos and images of stunning quality. First, it has high-tech sensors to detect even the slightest movements. Secondly, the electronic image stabilization technique steadies the camera. These features, together with the native 4K 30fps video resolution and 20MP is a surety of top quality photos and videos.

At 2 inches screen size, the IPS retina display screen is smaller. However, the images and videos it displays vividly. Further, you can get creative with your camera. Just manipulate the settings to change the tone of video or image production.

The Apeman Trawo A100 has a 4K HDMI output, which works with 4K TV. This translates to clearer and accurate videos and images. But you’ll have to buy the HDMI cable separately.

The camera comes with a waterproof casing in case you want to go underwater. Unfortunately, putting on the casing can be a little tricky. Again, the housing eliminates the audio ability of the camera. However, if you need high-quality audio, you can use a second microphone.

This action cam is definitely an amazing piece of technology, at a really good price!

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • A generous amount of accessories
  • Video and image quality is rich and clear
  • The built is professional
  • The display on the back allows you to see what you are doing
  • The waterproof casing works pretty well

Cons

  • No battery charger included (charge via USB only)
  • The camera cannot manually adjust the focus
  • The battery drains rather quickly

Campark X20 Action CameraOur Top Pick

【Upgrade】 Campark X20 Action Camera Native 4K Ultra HD 20MP with EIS Stablization Touch Screen Remote Control Waterproof Camera 40M 2 Batteries and Professional Accessories Compatible with gopro

$69.99  in stock
3 new from $69.99
1 used from $62.31
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The Campark X20 is not your ordinary camera. You may overlook it for its small size, but what it delivers matches its high-end counterparts. You can capture real 4K, 2K, or 1080P videos. The images are nothing but impressive, considering the 20MP, while the 4x zoom gives you more clarity and details.

Its construction matches its use – It features a tough plastic body to withstand daily abuses. Still, you get a waterproof casing for your underwater shooting.

The quality of the video is sharp, smooth, and crisp, thanks to the electronic image stabilization capability. Additionally, the inbuilt gyroscope works to stabilize the images and videos and reduce shaking. These features become particularly crucial if you are capturing fast-moving subjects like sports. If you are shooting normal videos, you may not even need them but well, it never hurts to have more stabilization!

The touch screen is 2 inches, and you can find all setting options on the screen. This allows you to switch between modes easily to get a perfect shot. This IPS camera has a vice screen as well, which lets you know the camera status at all times – pretty convenient.

With its outstanding image quality, stabilization and features, this camera is probably one of the best options under 100 dollars, and it is my top pick.

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • Many photo / video modes and functions
  • The stabilization features work perfectly
  • Quality of images and photos are fantastic
  • You get tons of accessories
  • The interface is intuitive to use
  • Waterproof casing is also child-proof
  • Batteries are long-lasting

Cons

  • The app is a bit limited
  • You’ll have to reset the time every time you swap batteries

Campark V30 Action Camera

Campark V30 Native 4K Action Camera 20MP EIS Touch Screen WiFi Waterproof Camera with Optional View Angle, 2 1350mAh Batteries and Mounting Accessories Kit Compatible with GoPro

$99.99
$89.99  in stock
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2 used from $82.79
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The Campark V30 boasts of different video resolutions among them native 4K at 30FPS and a robust electronic image stabilization. These features often give an acceptable image and video quality. What you’ll love is that this V30 is easy to use, and the built quality is beyond decent.

A closer look at the built reveals a sturdy plastic with a mix of smooth and textured sections for grip. The camera generally feels hollow and lightweight, while the buttons are springy. The touch screen on the backside and the buttons on the top makes it easy to manipulate the camera.

Native 4K resolution is what defines this camera. All videos come with rich details and vibrant colors. Such videos are final because there is no way to tweak the contrast beyond EV. High contrast might make scenes a little darker but the image quality is really excellent, nonetheless.

You can shoot videos at other resolutions – 2.7k/30fps, 2k/60fps, and 1080P/90fps. The 2k/60fps looks blocky and smudged while the 1080P/90fps lack EIS, though it offers the best high frame rate resolution.

We can wonder why the diving case is waterproof up to 30 m only, the limit being at 40 m for many other models. But it is more than enough if you are using the camera for water sports or snorkeling.

All in all, another great action camera from Campark, similar to the Campark X20 in many aspects but a little more expensive.

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • The two battery keep the camera going for a long time
  • The image and video quality are fantastic
  • Tough built
  • You can take several pictures with the burst mode
  • Wi-Fi app allows you to control the camera from a distance

Cons

  • The edges of the shots may have some distortions
  • The Wi-Fi app is below average in terms of performance

Crosstour CT9100 Action Camera

Crosstour CT9100 4K 20MP Action Camera with WiFi EIS LDC Remote Control Sports Camera 40M Waterproof Underwater Camcorder with Accessories Kit

$59.99  in stock
4 new from $59.99
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The Crosstour CT9100 camera is another powerful budget action camera that performs above average. Like other cameras we have reviewed, the camera is perfect for people interested in professional shooting.

A combination of 20 MP and 4K capabilities delivers robust and vibrant color images with every shot you take. Further, the in-built EIS ensures that the videos you capture flow smoothly. On the other hand, you can take the videos up to 170°. Such a wide-angle lens eliminates the need to turn from side to side to capture a crucial moment.

Usually, the fisheye effect comes with image distortion. The camera eliminates this problem, thanks to the Lens Distortion Correction. The downside of this camera is that you can’t turn on the EIS and LDC at the same time.

Apart from the abundant accessories, the camera has a wrist Wi-Fi remote controller, but it is not waterproof.

The wateproof case allows you to dive up to 40 m, and the dive mode corrects the white balance, for you to shoot beautiful footage underwater without the annoying blue hue.

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • The two batteries keep the camera going for long
  • The clarity of the camera is high even underwater
  • The camera offers multiple video modes
  • You get smooth videos courtesy of the EIS

Cons

  • The audio quality isn’t that good unless you use an external speaker

Dragon Touch Vista 5 Action Camera

Dragon Touch Native 4K30fps Action Camera with Touch Screen EIS Remote Control Vista 5 WiFi 100 feet Waterproof Sports Camera 2 Batteries and Mounting Accessories Kit

$59.99
$49.99  in stock
3 new from $49.99
1 used from $47.49
Free shipping
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Dragon touch vista 5 presents itself as an easy to use action camera that delivers stunning videos and photos. As such, the camera packs the EIS for footage stability, native 4K resolution for exemplary videos, and an impressive 20 MP for your color-rich photos.

For its small size, the camera has a 2-inch screen size with touch screen capabilities. With a touch screen, you can manipulate your action camera to your liking. Keep in mind that there are numerous setting options, which you can put into action for a better outcome.

Among the attractive features for hikers or self-recording is the wireless control system that allows your hand’s free control.  Again, through the app, you can connect the camera to your smartphone or tablet.

Sound quality is often a concern with action cameras, but it is not a problem with the Dragon Touch Vista 5, as there is an external microphone support if you need it.

It is for sure one of the best action cameras of this year with all the functionality you can expect from a good quality action camera, for a very decent price.

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • You can shoot fast-moving objects up to 4K/30fps, and the video remains smooth and steady
  • The photos are sharp and beautiful
  • It supports an external microphone
  • The time-lapse feature allows capturing memorable moments
  • The camera is easy to use thanks to the app, touch screen, and remote controller
  • 4X zoom allows you to capture a unique moment in details

Cons

  • The battery quality is not the best

Akaso Brave 6 Action Camera

AKASO Brave 6 4K 20MP WiFi Action Camera Voice Control EIS 100 feet Underwater Waterproof Camera Remote Control 6X Zoom Underwater Camcorder with 2 Batteries and Helmet Accessories Kit

$84.99  in stock
3 new from $84.99
4 used from $74.79
Free shipping
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as of September 20, 2020 4:57 am

Akaso Brave 6 is another under $100 action camera that won’t disappoint you when it comes to image and video quality. This camera supports 4K resolution at 24fps, but you still have other video resolutions (2K/30fps and 1080P/60FPS). The good news is that you get EIS for all resolutions.

A downside of this camera is the rather low bit rates of the videos, which negatively impacts on the quality of the videos above 1080p – especially if you want to shoot slow motion.

The sensor, though panoramic, is an average performer. The small sensor size limits the amount of light passing through it, which leads to noisy and grainy footage. But it doesn’t affect the photo quality. The audio quality isn’t impressive, as recorded audio usually sounds distorted.

The app is helpful as you can use it to manipulate the camera.

Overall, this camera is totally decent for the price and if you don’t have a huge budget, it can definitely be what you need.

 Quick Specifications

Pros

  • You can control the camera using voice commands
  • The videos are smooth and stable
  • The camera can zoom up to 6 times
  • Solid built

Cons

  • The battery door isn’t sturdy

Choosing Your Action Camera

What is 4K Video? What is Frame Rate?

4K video refers to a video that has a resolution of about 4000 pixels wide. The usual resolution for consumer electronics is 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K UHD). The cinema industry has a slightly higher 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160 px.

Along with the resolution, what you need to pay attention to is the frame rate. Video is made of still images (called frames) that get displayed at high frequency. Frame rate is the number of frames that get displayed in one second – It is logically expressed in frames per second or FPS.

The human eye can see 10 to 12 individual images in one second, but if you go over that number it creates a motion effect – video! The more frames per second, the smoother the video.

Modern action cameras have a frame rate of at least 24 FPS, often 30 FPS. If you can invest more than $100 in your action camera, you will have access to a 60 FPS frame rate, which is great for slow motion. Make sure to check our guide for action cameras under $200!

Under $100, it is usually capped at 30 FPS, which honestly is already pretty good!

Also bear in mind that the higher the resolution and the higher the frame rate, the bigger the file size!

Native 4K vs. Upscaling 4K, What’s The Difference?

It’s sometimes a little tricky to find out if a camera is able to record in “real”, native 4K or not. What do we mean by that?

A native 4K resolution simply means that the camera is able to record a video directly in a 4K resolution. So far, so good. That’s what we expect from a 4K camera.

The thing is, some 4K cameras actually do not record at a 4K resolution. Typically, such a camera records full HD video (1920 x 1080 pixels), and then the player articifially upscales, enhances the video resolution to 4K – 3840 x 2160 pixels.

While the final resolution is the same, there is a difference in image quality. A native 3840 x 2160 px video hold significantly more detail than a 1920 x 1080 px video that got upscaled.

What Other Factors Should You Consider When Choosing Your Camera?

Maximum Photo Resolution

Even though the obvious use for an action camera is shooting video, you will probably find yourself using it to take pictures as well. Not all action cameras are created equal, and there can be significant difference in photo resolution they can offer. Of course, the higher resolution the better.

Nowadays, many action cameras – including those under $100 on this page – are able to shoot 20 MP photos. It is comparable to resolution of many high-end DSLR cameras.

Adjustable Shooting Angle

Not necessarily a requirement, as most uses for an action camera need a very wide angle. However, an adjustable shooting angle (usually from 70° to 170°) can be a nice feature and increase your creativity.

Wifi and Phone App

Most action cameras come with Wifi capabilities so you can connect it and control it from your phone. The truth is some apps are better than others, and it is safe to say that some are not great. If it’s a function you plan to use, read user reviews to make sure the app is decent.

Waterproof Case

Action cams come with a waterproof case so you can use it during water sports, snorkeling or even scuba diving. A dive depth of 30 m / 100 ft is more than enough for most users, but if you are a scuba diver it could be a limitation. Various models go with waterproof cases that can dive up to 40 m / 121 ft.

It’s easy to not pay attention and miss this info, so if you know you will need to dive deep with your camera, double-check the dive depth.

In any case and with any camera, always submerge the empty case first to test it and make sure there is no leak, before using it with your action camera.

External Mic Support

Audio with action cameras is often not amazing. If sound quality is important to you, you’ll want to make sure your action cam has support for an external microphone.

Batteries

Of course we can’t expect any action cameras to record video non-stop for days. However, there can still be a significant difference in the battery life from a model to another. The good point is that nowadays, many brands include two batteries in the package.

Check if your camera comes with a battery charger. In some cameras, the battery can only be charged via USB. It may or may not be a problem depending on how and where you use it. In any case, more options for charging (charger and USB) is always better.

Accessories

Some brands include a whole range of accessories with their camera, which is of course great. Sometimes, they are compatible with GoPro accessories, which is also great when you know the endless possibilities they offer.

Some cameras include a (non-waterproof) wrist remote control that works with Wifi. It can be a very interesting feature if you intend to use your camera for cycling or skiing for example.

What Memory Card To Choose for Your Action Camera?

Micro SD CardsFor an action camera, you need to use a Micro SD card. You have on the left a picture of two Micro SD cards I use for my own action camera. You can notice a few numbers and logos on it.

First of all, the capacity: I recommend going for a 64 GB card, as 4K video creates very large files. There are larger cards available, such as 128 or 256 GB, but they probably won’t be compatible with your device. For 4K 30fps video, 64 GB is just fine anyway.

The second thing to look at is the speed class. For SDHC cards, it is the number inside the circle you can see on the 32 GB card on the picture. For SDXC cards, it is the number inside the U you can see on the 64 GB card (here, U3). On this same card, you can also see a “V30”, which is a new speed class for video. It all represents how fast the card is able to save the data.

With 4K video, it is very important that you get a fast card. I will not get into useless details here, but a class 10 = U1 = V10 card is the minimum. It can write 10 MB/sec. A U3 = V30 card can write 30 MB/sec.

If you are confused, just remember that if you are considering which Micro SD card to get, you either need to see a 10 inside a circle, or a 1 or a 3 inside a U, or a V10 or V30 – and you’ll be fine!

You can also check a clear overview of speed classes here if you want to learn more about them.

How Did You Choose Your Top Pick?

It is not always easy to choose a top pick, but I go for the camera offering the best overall performance for the best price. I am looking at the value for money. All the action cameras on this page are very good – just look at their star ratings on Amazon! It is not easy to make a choice, that’s why I select a top pick.

However, it also depends on what you will use the camera for, that’s why I am presenting a few very good cameras for you to make your choice.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you already have really good options for action cameras under 100 dollars! It is pretty amazing to see the advanced technology we can have access to at such a low price. The downside of this is that there are just so many things to consider when it comes to actually deciding which camera to get!

In any case, I hope that this page helped you in your decision process, and that you could find the action cam that is adapted to your needs and budget.

 

Disclosure: Exploration Junkie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you purchase an item on Amazon through the affiliate links in this page, this website will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keeping this site ad-free, and it helps you say thank you if our content is useful to you 🙂

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