Best Action Camera Under $50 – Reviews 2017
Action cameras are awesome. You can strap them to your body or helmet, take them on a ride, when you carve the waves or go underwater, or send them up in your drone. The choice is yours. But the best action cameras can be costly. If you are a beginner, the best thing to do would be to start small.
Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for your first action camera is a risky investment. You may break it by accident, lose it with your drone. Or you might even figure out too late that you wanted one with a different feature set. So what do you do?
Thankfully, the action camera market is teeming with products these days. It seems that everybody out there is keen to have a "piece of the action!" You can easily find some cheap action cameras for under $100 or even 50. They may not have top of the line specs, but the best of them can give good value for money. And they are also an excellent choice if you are acutely short on funds, but need an action camera nonetheless.
Best Action Camera Under $50 in 2017 Reviews
So without further ado, here is our shortlist of the best action cameras under 50 dollars. Check out our handy comparison table to get a quick look at their features if you are short on time. Otherwise, head right on to our detailed reviews:
Despite being marketed mainly as a spy-cam, this little guy can do a credible job as a cheap action camera. To start with the good stuff, it is quite compact and has a durable metal casing, with waterproofing. It comes with a clip and a useful helmet mount. The audio capture is not too bad. It is quite discreet and comes with voice activation as well.
And that is where the good stuff ends. The camera is old, only two megapixels, and pretty much useless in low light conditions or at night. It also tends to shut down randomly, so instead of a long one-hour recording, you will have to make do with a series of smaller files. And the battery performance is also pretty spotty.
The Veho is a very cheap, but outdated action camera option. It might work for you if you don't mind something ancient to stick to your bike helmet or as a dash cam. For most other tasks, there are surely better options out there.
2. LightDow LD4000 1080P Sports Action Camera Bundle – Best Underwater Action Cam
This is a more modern option with 1080p HD recording at 30fps. The 12MP camera clicks quite vivid images and videos. It is durable, waterproof, and can be worn or mounted. It comes with a lot of accessories, mounts, and straps. And it should work with GoPro accessories as well, at least of the older models. It can get pretty decent underwater shots. It even has a 2-inch screen.
On the downside, the sound quality is pretty awful at best. And the low light performance is simply not there. The interface also could do with some improvements. The camera anti-shake features are not very good either.
On the whole, the LightDow is a decent option with some very nice features. It is an extremely cheap alternative to a GoPro. If you want a camera with good underwater performance, this might work for you.
3. LightDow LD6000 WiFi 1080p HD Sports Action Camera – Most Affordable camera with Novatek chip and WiFi
The LD6000 is an improvement on the LD4000 mentioned above. Along with all the features of the LD4000, it has WiFi features as well. So you get 1080p at 30fps, a Novatek chip, and excellent underwater capabilities. It also comes with LCD screen and a lot of accessories for mounting it. The camera is straightforward to operate.
When we come to the negatives, the poor audio quality and battery life stand out starkly. The WiFi does its job, but the software is not the best designed. The absence of a good manual means that you will have to spend some time trying to figure out all the features.
If you want a 1080p action cam with WiFi and excellent underwater capabilities, the LD6000 is one option to look at.
4. Yuntab Action Camera Sport DV 1080p Mini – Cheapest action cam with 1080p
The 5MP, wide angle lens on this camera is capable of 720p video capture at 30fps. The camera is waterproof up to a depth of 30m. You get a 2-inch display, and various accessories to mount and attach the camera anywhere. At half the price of many other cameras on this list, this Yuntab is certainly value for money.
Even though 1080p capture is there, you will only get 15fps. Also, the audio quality is pretty bad. And the build quality is quite lacking too, but not surprising at such a low price point. There is no stabilization feature, and you will get shaky or blurred images if the camera moves around a lot. And the UI also sucks.
But all that can be forgiven when you consider the incredible price. Action cams can't get any cheaper than this. You will get some value for money with this one. The Yuntab may be a great choice for those on a very tight budget.
5. Legazone WiFi 2.0" 12MP HD – Best Cheap Action Cam for Sport
This is the first camera on our list with WiFi connectivity. Along with that you also get 1080P video with the 12MP camera, a good storage bag, and various other accessories, straps, and mounts. It is waterproof (30m) and can be worn or mounted. The smartphone app and software are pretty good
It does have a few flaws beyond the audio quality issues usually found in this budget. The video quality is not the best either, even in bright light. The battery has performance problems and doesn't last too long. And the camera doesn't come with any instructions.
The inclusion of WiFi features may be enough to make Legazone an attractive proposition for some buyers. The camera does have its glaring faults, but at its $40 price point, some of those niggles can be forgiven.
6. RunCam Swift RR FPV Camera – Best quadcopter action camera under $50
If you need an action cam mainly for your drone/quadcopter, the RunCam Swift might be a great budget option. It was designed to work with FPV quadcopters. The on-screen display (OSD) is a great feature, complete with battery voltage readouts. It also has some nice customizable features, like the option to add your FOV lens. It is compatible with most quadcopters out there.
But when it comes to the cons, the video quality sticks out as the main issue. It is sub-par, and the camera is also prone to occasional video drops. The mounting holes also need to be of better quality. This camera is not suitable for other purposes.
The RunCam Swift is a one trick pony. If you want a cheap action cam purpose-built for your quadcopter, this may be an excellent choice. Don't buy it for anything else though.
7. Difini Action Camera 4K WiFi – Camera for low light
The main standout feature of this camera is the combination of 4K video and WiFi support. And it is also suitable for underwater activities and comes with a lot of mounts and straps. The videos are of an acceptable quality at 720p and above. The sound capture is also not bad.
The 4K video capture seems to be of doubtful quality, and that is a big issue. The WiFi also doesn't work properly. Also, the duration of the videos are very short, capped at around 3 minutes.
The Difini is not a recommended option unless you want a cheap camera that claims to be 4K. The two standout features do not work properly in this camera. You ought to look at some other options.
8. Zantec Action Camera 4K WiFi 16MP – Best 16MP action camera under 50
As another camera action that claims to deliver 4K content, this one has an impressive 16MP camera. You also get a wide angle lens and 64Gb SD card support. It is waterproof and works well underwater. With 16 different accessories, you can wear it or mount it anywhere. You can shoot 4K, 2K and 1080p videos with this one, and watch what you are shooting on the 2 inch LCD screen as well.
But it does have a few flaws. The build quality is pretty poor, and parts get worn out very fast. The WiFi does not connect properly at all. And you might also have trouble viewing the videos you have recorded, which is a big fail.
If you can get the videos to display on your TV or computer, this is a great option. The 4K capability at such a low price point is noteworthy. But the usability is not that high, so we will recommend this only if you know your way around tech stuff like codecs.
9. Chinaface HD 1080 MJPEG 2" LCD IP68 Sports Action Camera – Affordable IP68 action camera
Despite that unintentionally funny brand name, this is a serious action camera from this Chinese company. It has HD 1080p capability and an IP68 rating which means that it is extremely waterproof. At a rock bottom price, you get some nifty features in this one, like a 2" screen.
But the build quality is less than average. And unlike other cameras, you don't get too many accessories with this one. The video quality is also average at best. The cheap build quality is what mainly kills this camera.
But when you look at that asking price, a lot of these flaws can be understood, if not accepted. This Chinaface camera might be worth a punt if you are on an ultra tight budget and want an IP68 rated action camera.
10. FREDI Action Camera 4K WiFi – Best action camera under 50 with 4K support
To round off our list, we have another camera that claims to provide 4K and WiFi under $50. While the 4K video quality is not the best, it is still acceptable when shot under good lighting. The best aspect of this FREDI camera is probably the case it comes in. You also get a couple of batteries, and a wrist mounted remote. The app is not too bad either. This camera can work pretty much anywhere.
The claimed 4K video capability is suspect at best, but that is to be expected in this budget. Build quality issues also plague this product. There is no manual to guide you either. Some models have lens quality issues, making the camera visually unusable. They need to improve their quality control.
With everything taken into account, if you want an HD action camera with less than stellar 4K capability within $50, the FREDI may not be a bad choice. Just keep in mind the build quality issues.
Best Action Camera Under $50 - Buying Guide
Okay, you might find a lot of guides online about buying action cams. But most of them deal extensively with the more expensive segments, involving brands like GoPro. When you come down the ultra-low budget section, things are a bit different. Keep these things in mind when you shop in the bargains section of the action camera market:
1. Video Quality: Look for 1080p as the main standard in this budget. And when any brand claims to provide 4K quality, don't get too excited. True 4K will not be available on such a small budget. All you can hope for is average quality 1080p HD videos.
2. Durability & Waterproofing: These are both essential for all action cameras, regardless of the budget. And you can hope to get some good cameras with IP68 water and dust proof rating under 50. While some cameras come with this feature built-in, most cameras in this budget will come with an extra case that provides this protection.
3. Megapixels and Image Quality: As always, keep an eye on the actual capabilities of the camera lens and sensor used. Many models will claim 1080p video capability but will ship with a low megapixel camera. Look for higher megapixel settings, preferably above 10.
4. Batteries: Removable and rechargeable batteries are the norm, even at this budget level. But don't expect a lot of run time on cameras that cost under $50. Most cameras in this range will have 900 or 1000 mAh batteries, which can provide a maximum of 3 hours of non-stop recording in the best cases. The segment average lesser, usually close to around 90 minutes.
5. Accessories: Most action cameras tend to be very versatile. With tons of accessories, they can be mounted on cars, helmets, airplanes, boats, or even worn on your body. Many are also compatible with drones and quadcopters. Look for an action camera that comes with a lot of accessories as part of the package. Compatibility with known brand accessories like GoPro accessories is an added plus.
6. Memory: SD card slots are the norm in this budget. You will not find many options with onboard memory capabilities. Look for models that support higher capacity cards, preferably 32 or 64 GB.
7. Connectivity: A few of the higher specced models offer WiFi connectivity to hook up the camera directly to your PC or smartphone through an app. But the actual performance of the WiFi may not be the best in this small budget range, so do not expect too much from this feature.
Low-budget action cams under 50 are not without their flaws and build quality issues. The important thing here is to keep your expectations on the lower side. You can buy these cameras if you are a beginner to the world or action cams and quadcopters. They are a very inexpensive way to experiment and build your skills in the field. Just don't expect them to provide the quality of a GoPro cam. With the constant improvements in miniaturization tech, you can expect the prices to fall further and quality to improve as well in the future.