When you enter the world of motovlogging, you’ll immediately notice just how much gear is required. So what are the best action cameras for motovlogging?
You’ll also see the countless hours of setting up your equipment, installing the microphones, sticking mounts to your helmet, etc. For this reason, buying a camera or any other piece of equipment isn’t as simple since the market offers so many different models.
Action cameras aren’t cheap due to their specs. Buying the first one you come across might be a bad idea, especially if you’re new to the world of motovlogging.
So, to make a purchase easier, let’s talk about the important stuff first.
What To Look For In Action Cameras For Motovlogging
Video plays a significant role in your motovlogging, so you’ll need an excellent camera.
You want to avoid an honest rookie mistake of only looking for a device with the highest resolution. Rather than that, pay additional attention to other aspects:
- Field of view – Action cameras usually have a wider field of view than your typical video recording device. A wide field of view allows you to record not only what’s in front of you, but also your sides. This means that the potential viewers can also see what’s happening in the lanes around you while you ride.
- Battery life – More battery equals more time capturing your bike adventures. Some of the best cameras offer about an hour of battery life when capturing 4K footage. Editing your settings and dropping the resolution to 1080p can double up your battery life.
- Resolution – 4K video footage became the industry’s standard, so most action cameras offer 4K resolutions, recording up to 60fps. Most of them provide larger frame rates, up to 240fps, for slow-motion footage. However, high frame-rates usually work with lower resolutions, like 1080p.
- Microphone – To get the best possible audio of your commentary, it’s recommended that you use an external microphone. Those can be mounted inside your helmet, and usually offer better sound quality because of the lack of wind noise. The best way to use an external microphone is to have it connected to a camera if there’s an external microphone connection. This proved to be the most comfortable option since it eliminates the need for audio-video syncing afterward. If your camera lacks an external microphone connection, you can use an external audio recorder and sync your audio and video in post-production.
The importance of camera mounts
- Helmet mounts are by far the most popular. They offer great angles and allow for easy use of an external microphone. You can also choose other mounts, some of which mount the camera to your chest, or the handlebar of your bike. If you opt for a helmet mount, please research as to which of the mounting methods is the best and provides better-looking footage.
- Usually, chin mounts are the most popular among motovloggers, as it’s the closest thing to a rider’s point of view. Also, when picking and purchasing a camera, make sure that there is a mount available for the position you want.
Here are the cameras recommended for motovlogging based on image quality, a field of view, and overall features:
This camera is one of the most recommended action cameras for motovlogging. For those unfamiliar with a GoPro line of products, a GoPro is a small, handheld, waterproof camera designed for those into action sports.They can be mounted or placed just about anywhere to get a perfect angle of your photo or footage. GoPro’s are capable of capturing videos, stills, photo bursts, nighttime, and underwater photography.
The Hero 7 Black, GoPro’s newest addition to its line of products, has tons of features and amazing capabilities. The design is pretty rugged and feels solid. This compact, robust design ensures waterproofing, allowing you to go as deep as 33ft, without special housing.
A small plastic frame wraps around Hero 7 Black is provided as a package standard. It can be mounted to your helmet or your handlebar using adhesive.
The Hero 7 Black captures sharp 4K videos with up to 60 frames per second. A 1080p mode allows for a bigger framerate of up to 240fps if you’re interested in doing slow-motion videos. The most significant feature of this little device is HyperSmooth, a form of video stabilization that GoPro claims are the same as using a gimbal.
The purpose of HyperSmooth technology is to deliver insanely smooth footage, which it does. It’s really like using a gimbal – without an actual gimbal. Another great thing about this tech is that it can be used at 60fps at full resolution. The only time you can’t use it is when you’re capturing FHD at 240fps.
Hero 7 offers handy voice controls that are especially useful for motovlogging since you’ll have your camera mounted on a helmet, handlebars, or chest.
GoPro Hero 7 Black is, without doubt, one of the best action cameras available.
- Amazing 4K video and video stabilization
- HyperSmooth is incredibly effective
- UHD in 60fps
- Easy to use
- Can struggle with voice commands
- The external microphone requires an expensive adapter
When Hero 6 Black appeared on the market, everyone thought that it couldn’t be beaten. And there was a reason for that. This is the older brother to GoPro’s Hero 7 Black, with less up-to-date features, but still an incredible footage quality.In terms of physical design, it hasn’t changed much from Hero 5 Black, a tradition that Hero 7 Black continued. The camera is as discreet as ever, compact, and feels extremely durable. The plastic frame the Hero 6 Black comes with allows for all sorts of camera mounts.
The Hero 6 Black introduced us with a Wake-On-Voice feature. Turning the device off using your voice would send it onto a low-power listening mode for eight hours. This enables you to turn the device on with a “GoPro turn on” voice command. If you leave it off longer than eight hours, Hero 6 Black shuts down completely.
The Hero 6 Black was built to for fast-moving action filming. It allows you to shoot 4K video at 60fps, 120fps for slow motion at 2.7K, and 240fps at 1080p resolution. The image stabilization has been improved, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for GoPro Karma Grip since software stabilization has a limited correction. Another improvement made was to low-light performance, with improved dynamic range thanks to the new G1 processor.
GoPro Hero 6 Black quickly became one of the best action cameras, based on its specs. However, with the appearance of Hero 7 Black, Hero 6 Black became more of a “budget-friendly” option.
GoPro announced the discontinuation of Hero 6 Black, but they stated that there might be some retail inventory of previous cameras.
- Durable and waterproof
- Great 4K footage at 60fps
- Super slow-motion 240fps video
- Voice controls can be little unreliable
This video recording device captures beautiful and stable 4K footage, thanks to the Balanced OpticalSteadyShot(BOSS) image stabilization.
The lens and sensor are joined and move together, reducing the effects of internal camera shakes. It’s much more useful than regular optical image stabilization. This, combined with several other features, makes the FDR-X3000 a worthy competitor to the GoPro cameras.The design of FDR-X3000 remains consistent with Sony’s previous action cameras, which have always resembled little camcorders. This design makes it ergonomic for hand-holding, but also great for side-mounting on your helmet.
The device is available in glossy white finish, weighing only 4 oz. with the battery included. The camera chassis is IPX4 rated, meaning its splash-proof. If you want to use the camera underwater, you’ll need to pop it into the waterproof case. The case also offers dust-proofing.
The FDR-X3000 comes equipped with a Zeiss Tessar multi-coated lens, with improvements to its performance. There is significantly less barrel distortion, meaning you get substantially less of the fish-eye effect.
The camera shoots up to 4K resolution at 30fps, with more cinematic 24fps and 25fps options, as well. Dropping to 1080p allows for frame rates up to 120fps, for super slow-motion footage – with the BOSS technology still working. The 4K footage, taken in right lighting conditions, looks incredibly sharp, with plenty of detail.
Another great feature is the Live-View Remote Control, which replicates the controls on the camera body. Sony released several compatible accessories to attach the remote to. The FDR-X3000 offers 60 minutes battery life if you use 4K resolution, and well over 2 hours if you switch to 1080p. The batteries are replaceable, so you can always carry a spare.
- Excellent image quality
- Great optical image stabilization
- Long battery life
- Slow Live-View Remote Control
The Yi 4K+ Action Camera is a GoPro 6 Black rival that is far more affordable. Compared to the original model, the Yi 4K Action Camera, this upgraded version offers much smoother footage, even when shooting at the highest resolution.The Yi 4K+ is a device of a refined and elegant design, which is quite minimalist. There is only a single multifunctioning button on top, coupled with a beautiful hi-res touchscreen display. The display allows you to easily change settings such as camera resolution, framerates, and modes, focal points, etc. The overall weight of the device is 3.2 oz, which is lighter than its rival but lacks the rival’s waterproof capabilities. However, separately sold plastic housing enables waterproofing.
The Yi 4K+ does 4K at 60fps. However, the Ultra 4 – the most detailed setting – unfortunately top out at 30fps. At 60fps, the footage is impressively sharp and well saturated but lacks image stabilization, which only applies to 4K/30fps.
If you after the smoothest possible video, you should consider filming in 1080p, with frame rates going from 24fps, up to 120fps for slow-motion footage. Dropping the resolution further to 720p enables a frame rate of 240fps. If you feel like software image stabilization isn’t good enough, Yi offers an optional gimbal.
Yi 4K+ is an alternative to the GoPro line, offering similar features. It also provides a solid image stabilization, excellent touch screen, 4K/60fps, and voice controls.
- Good image quality
- Easy to use
- Sharp 4K/60fps video
- No built-in waterproofing
- Mounts sold separately
5. Rylo 360
This camera is for those looking to expand their view during adrenaline-inducing activities. It’s a small and portable camera, which benefits from straightforward design and an easy-to-use app. The frame is made from aluminum, adding to a premium feel of the product which fits into the palm of your hand. Since the device isn’t ruggedized, or waterproof, Rylo offers an optional Adventure Case, to protect from water and dust.
The Rylo records spherical video, just like any other 360 camera. It features identical cameras, located opposite of each other, on both sides of the device.
Rylo’s secret lies in the ability to control the device within its app to output professional-looking footage, capturing everything around it. The twin sensors capture 5.8K spherical video and 6k spherical pictures. Due to the overlapping field of view, the image stabilization is incredibly functional.
Its video quality is exceptional in well-lit conditions. The footage also looks excellent, offering plenty of detail. However, in situations with unequal lighting, the quality drops significantly.
Given the 2.8-maximum aperture of both lenses, this comes as a no surprise. Quality drop-in low-light environments is generally a problem with most action cameras, not just Rylo 360.
It has a microphone on both sides, offering decent audio. Since it lacks a 3.5mm jack, there is no way of adding an external microphone. The absence of an external microphone connection could be an issue when motovlogging since you, the lack of receiver, disables your live commentary.
Other than the lack of a microphone, Rylo offers a great platform with excellent features.
- Great image stabilization
- Excellent accompanying app
- Accepts GoPro mounts
- Waterproof case sold separately.
- Image quality limited by hardware.
What Is The Best Action Camera For Motovlogging?
Well, I would have to say it’s the GoPro Hero 7 Black or the Sony FDRX3000 action camera. These two hold the gold standard for action cameras. If I had to choose one, I’d say it depends on how you’re going to use it.
For example, long term, long videos I would suggest the Sony FDRx3000 because the battery life is better, and it also is MUCH easier to change the batteries. If you want something for shorter duration clips but with better stabilization, something like the GoPro Hero 7 Black is the best.
GoPro’s stabilization is undoubtedly the best, but the Sony is a very good option.
I find it hard to tell the difference between the GoPro and Sony stabilization when compared for MOST cases. That being said, when you’re walking or running, it’s easy to see that the GoPros digital stabilization is better.