The demand for action cameras no longer belongs to that of professional photographers, filmmakers and daredevil athletes, alone. These days, you’re just as likely to find them strapped to a dog’s back for a thrilling game of fetch, or fastened to a vacationer’s helmet as he traverses down a zip line.
As we move further toward technological advancement, these handy little gadgets keep getting smaller, more sophisticated and more precise in their utility. As such, finding the absolute best action camera for hunting, backpacking or and number of outdoor activities can be a challenge.
When trudging your way through an infinite number of cameras out on the market, all offering you the very best in resolution, durability and functionality, how can you be sure which product best suits you and your audiovisual needs? Before you commit, you’ll need more than just a snapshot of what your camera can do (pun intended).
Make sure you understand the technical nuances of each camera, and find out which features are preferable to you.
In order to reach a comfortable level of understanding, you have to learn the resolution lingo, distinguish between the different dimension specifications and identify the support system your camera requires to be a suitable match for your outdoor adventure.
Learn The Lingo by Debunking The Resolution Myth
Every camera description will be sure to let you know all about how clear your pictures will be by using complex terminology like megapixels, horizontal resolution and others mixed in with their associated numbers and letters.
Knowing the difference between high definition photos, frames per second and megapixel photos could make all the difference for you and your activity.
Many cameras claim to have a resolution of 1080p, 720p or both, depending on the various modes offered. These are both standard, high definition designations, and both can produce great pictures depending on your activity.
It’s intuitive to think that 1080p is better than 720p, but this is not the case. 1080p refers to spacial resolution and is used for catching video that is moving slower and requiring emphasize on more pixels per frame, ultimately meaning that you can see the different colors and shadings more clearly.
On the other hand, 720p refers to having more frames per second. This particular resolution is most commonly used for sporting events in order to emphasize the flow of movement as clearly as possible. Ultimately, 720p may be the better choice for intense sporting activities such as cycling and kayaking, while 1080p may be more suitable for animal surveillance and hunting activities.
Either will provide a clear and crisp picture overall. The majority of credible cameras utilize both resolutions, not forcing you to choose between the two.
So, why are megapixels important for your photos and videos, and how many do you need? The answer to this question depends entirely on how you’re going to view your images. Here is an easy gauge for your pixel count:
- Computer Monitor, Smart Phone or Tablet: 1-3 megapixels
- Printed images 10 x 8 inches or smaller: 2-5 megapixels
- Printed Images 14 x 11 inches or larger: at least 7 megapixels
But Wait, There’s More…
Clarity and crispness of your photos and videos are not solely dependent on your camera’s resolution. There are a number of other factors to consider if you want to best capture your action shots.
- Quality and flexibility of camera lens: Does your lens Rotate or zoom? The rotating lens feature is offered with many cameras and will come in handy for hunters and fisherman.
The ability to rotate the lens when the camera is on its side or upside down will ensure clear, straightforward photos from any angle. The zoom feature is less common with action cameras, leaving you to employ the “zoom with your feet” action.
While the ability to zoom can be ideal in many cases, pictures tend to be cleaner when this feature is foregone, due to the fact that zooming sacrifices resolution.
- Camera Lighting: Does the camera have a flash or night vision capabilities? If you plan to be outdoors at night, you may require a camera that has infrared and/or full spectrum capabilities.
Otherwise, you’ll either be trekking in the dark, or will be in need of a handheld flashlight or headlamp.
- Camera Positioning: Is the camera durable and hearty enough to withstand shock and recoil if mounted to a moving object? This is an important consideration for any hunter planning to strap this camera to his or her rifle or shotgun.
Any suitable action camera should be able to withstand a harsh recoil or any other wear and tear that they outdoors may conjure.
Weighing in on The Specifics
When picking out your perfect camera, it’s important to take into account the specific size you’ll be needing as it pertains to your activity.
- Use with a gun or rifle: more slender designs are preferable. Anything too heavy or wide, and your shot could be thrown off due to the weight, or you may experience discomfort while hunting due to lack of balance. Take careful measure of any camera you’re considering in order to make sure it’s the right length and width for your outdoor activity.
- Filming from a mounted helmet: the smaller, the better. Luckily, all cameras seem to keep getting smaller and smaller, so it’s not difficult to find a camera that is lightweight and straps comfortably to the top of any helmet.
However, it’s important to factor in which key features are being forwent in the name of light weight accessories. Oftentimes, such cameras employ an integrated, rechargeable battery versus the heavier alternative of replaceable batteries.
As such, battery life tends to wain comparatively, and will not typically exceed three hours.
So, if you plan an excursion that will last longer than this allotted battery life, you may want to sacrifice a little comfort for longer camera life by choosing a heavier alternative with a replaceable battery.
- Animal surveillance: size and weight will not be a major concern. Weight should still be taken into account if you’re planning to strap your camera to a tree or the like, as over time, when exposed to the elements, gravity is bound to take hold and your camera faces the potential of slipping away or falling.
Cameras that come complete with a variety of straps and mounts that have been proven to withstand the elements are ideal.
How Should Your Camera Accessorize?
Equally important as resolution, size and weight of your camera is the support system it comes with. Many cameras come with a set of either mounts or straps for fastening the product to rifles, fishing rods, helmets and more.
It’s definitely imperative to consider these secondary products when picking out your camera. If you’re choosing a camera to mount to your gun or rod, make sure that the product specifies is compatibility with your specific equipment. The last thing you want is a mount that is meant to fit only specific brands of gear.
In addition, checking to ensure the durability of the supplied straps and mounts is crucial. All straps, buckles and hooks attached to your camera should be sturdy and reliable enough to withstand inclement weather conditions. Failing to safeguard your camera could lend to you losing it or breaking it in the middle of an outdoor trip.
Top Products of 2017
ShotKam | Gun Camera Mounted to Barrel of Shotgun
Weight: 5 oz.
Dimensions : 1.2 x 1.2 x 4.5 inches
Specific Features: Mounts to shotgun barrel, and includes 12G mount. Wi-fi capability and Aircraft-grade aluminum with a 32GB micro SD card and HD 1280 x 720p at 120 frames per second. Also comes with spare parts, lens cleaner, hard carrying case and cover to protect.
Best Use: Clay shooting, game hunting
Description: This ShotKam | Gun Camera Mounted to Barrel of Shotgun is ideal for the hunter wishing to capture and relive his shooting experience. It’s extra-sturdy design complete with military grade materials, make for a long-lasting and durable product.
This camera is the only of its kind uniquely designed to weather the shock of recoil, while maintaining the integrity of the video. Also important to note is this camera’s accelerometer technology, which allows it to register forces in order to automatically record video of each shot and eliminates the need for editing.
iON CamoCam Realtree Xtra® Texture Camouflage HD Video Camera
Weight: 20.8 oz.
Dimensions: 3.19 x 8.51 x 5.52 inches
Specific Features: Wrapped camouflage, and waterproof to depths of 32 ft. Wi-fi enabled with high-grade aluminum mount to fit your rifle barrel, bow, fishing rod or net. Ultra-wide-angle lens with 1080p resolution and requires a 5-volt battery.
Best Use: Hunting, fishing
Description: iON CamoCam Realtree Xtra® Texture Camouflage HD Video Camera is a great camera for those long-term outdoor activities that require silence and invisibility.
The RealTree Xtra Camouflage is an authentic pattern, sure to keep you hidden. The mechanisms of this camera are completely silent so as not to disturb your target. Instead, it vibrates when turned on or off.
Each photo is 14-megapixel, which allows for more precise and crisp resolution and coloring. The mount that accompanies this camera is versatile. Attaching to any rifle barrel, fishing rod or net. It is definitely one of the easier cameras to operate due to its one-button on/off, one-touch recording and one clip capture button.
With this camera comes 10GB of cloud storage, affording you access to your content on the go. Lastly, the ultra-wide angle lens makes for a full photo, not just what you see at the end of your scope.
1080p HD Infrared Night Vision and Full Spectrum Camcorder
Weight: 48 oz.
Dimensions: 4.8 x 1.8 x 2.4 inches
Specific features: HD 1080p @30fps video capability with built in Infrared light from a five feet distance. 720p HD mode offers 60FPS. JPEG still pictures are 16MP image resolution. Batteries are rechargeable. Come with a wide 3’ LCD touchscreen and tripod mount. Supports SD cards up to 64 GB.
Best Use: Animal surveillance, ghost hunting
Description: If you are planning any nighttime surveilling, this is a great camera for you.
With simply, one-touch infrared and full spectrum settings, this 1080p HD Infrared Night Vision and Full Spectrum Camcorder is capable of lighting up a room for clear video and photo capabilities, however additional IR light may be required for bigger spaces.
Being that this camera is meant to be carried when filming (as opposed to being strapped to a gun or tree) it is a bonus that this camera is so light weight. As with many other comparable cameras, the rechargeable battery is not as functional for long term filming as replaceable batteries, so an additional portable power source may be a good idea.
Campark® Hunting Game Camera, Bullet Sports Action Camera
Weight: 3.17 oz.
Dimensions: 1.04 x 1.04 x 3.07 inches
Specific Features: HD 1080p sports action camera with a 140-degree wide angle lens. Bullet style with one-touch functionality. Camera is silent and vibrates when turned on or off. The three modes provided by this camera are 1080p @30FPS video, 720P @60FPS video and 5MP photo shooting.
Syntex H264 advanced chipset and 140 degrees wide angle high definition lens. Comes complete with aluminum Picatinny rail mount kit.
Best Use: Game Hunting, cycling
Description: One of the sleeker and stylish of its kind, this Campark® Hunting Game Camera, Bullet Sports Action Camera is ideal for any outdoor activities. Whether you’re hunting, fishing or hiking this camera will offer high quality video. It’s extremely lightweight without sacrificing durability due to its aluminum body.
It’s compact body style make it suitable for attachment to all manner of equipment, including backpacks, rifles, fishing rods and more. Producing 3 – 3 ½ hours of continuous video, this camera is great for quick excursions.
While this camera is weatherproof and resistant to rain or snow, It’s not completely waterproof and would not be recommended for activities requiring submersion.
TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera
Weight: 12 oz.
Dimensions: 5.11 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches
Specific Features: 12 MP high quality full color resolution with long night vision range. Allows for black and white photos or videos at might up to 75 feet. Password protected outer casing.
Five capture modes: photo, video, time lapse, hybrid and motion detection. Waterproof, shock proof and anti-corrosive. Patented motion detection function.
Best Use: Trail hunting, scouting
Description: For those outdoorsmen looking to monitor and research wildlife, this TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera is the best choice. This camera can be triggered by movement due to its highly sensitive Passive Infra-Red motion sensor, that works even at night.
Within the lens is a patented energy saving device, ensuring that your camera will take clear photos long into the night. A sturdy strap enables you to secure this camera to trees and other wilderness hotspots.
It’s durable and waterproof design make is ideal for increment weather. One thing to note is the if the battery is beginning to run low. It will cease in taking pictures at night, so checking battery life frequently is recommended.
Spypoint Hi-Definition Video 1080p 5MP Hunting Edition
Weight: 4.8 oz.
Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 inches
Specific Features: HD action camera with photo, video and time lapse modes and one button remote control. Waterproof down to 30 feet and shock resistant. Records sound and comes with a camouflage casing.
Best Use: Hunting
Description: This is one of the more versatile cameras on the market with its optional camouflage casing and multiple different mounting accessories allowing for setup to bows, rifles shotguns, etc.
The Spypoint camera runs on a lithium battery pack that will give you up to two and a half hours of continuous use. This product will provide you with great daytime photos, however picture quality decreases in the evenings.
The wide angle lens makes for great video when shooting. However, the camera does not have a zoom feature. When purchasing this product, be cognizant of the outer case clip, as it tends to wear easily. Overall this is a great camera for daytime hunting excursions and is also relatively affordable without foregoing quality.
Stealth 2 Sports Action Camera by Drift
Weight: 3.42 oz.
Dimensions: 2.38 x 1.68 x 5.83 inches
Specific Features: Full HD 1080p 30FPS camera with three hours of continuous recording. Enabled with Wi-Fi streaming to your smartphone, tablet or other devices.
Ability to create slow motion shots at 720p. With its 7 element lens, this camera has an optical 135-degree field of view, making objects appear closer. Offers a 300-degree rotatable lens, which provides continuously straight pictures.
Best Use: POV action sports
Description: This tiny Stealth 2 Sports Action Camera by Drift is perfect for anyone looking to capture their action packed adventures with crisp and clear images. This camera has a battery life of up to three hours, giving you plenty of time to capture your exciting memories.
However, the battery is integrated, and thus not easily replaceable. There are certain settings that help to preserve battery life, which may come in handy. The Wi-Fi capability allows you to control and monitor your shots via your smartphone, which lends to this accessory’s high-tech construction.
The rotating lens is an upgraded feature that permits you to strap on the camera any way you choose. The rubber coated exterior makes for an easy to grip camera, perfect for skiers and fisherman with wet and slippery hands.
There are so many great cameras out there, making it nearly impossible to make an uninformed decision that you can be happy with. Ultimately, choosing the camera that best fits the demands of your outdoor activity will leave you contented.
Pick apart the elements of your activity to determine which features your camera will need. Choose the resolution that best suits your needs. Identify the specific dimensions that would be ideal for your outing. Check all your residual accessories for durability and longevity.
Overall, choose the product that is a combination of all the precise characteristics you desire in a camera and you’ll be sure to end your outdoor excursion happy, whatever the activity may be. And don’t forget to leave a comment down below.