If you’re in the market for an action camera, but not familiar with the terminology enough to know what to look for, have no fear, we’ve broken it all down for you. In this two part guide, we will break down the various features of the Action Cam and what they mean for you in terms of the actual shooting and editing process of action video making.

In the first installment of this series, we covered the image quality and slow motion shooting mode and what it means for the actual finished video that you can make. Here we will cover the LCD and ruggedness features of the camera, as well touch on the available accessories and what they can add to your setup.

  • LCD Display / Touch LCD – This feature is pretty self explanatory, but interestingly, not available on every model camera. The LCD Display offers you the ability and convenience of reviewing the footage you’ve taken directly from the camera and in some cases even make minor adjustments right then and there.

Before you make your decision based on the availability of a built in LCD screen, you should understand its impact on your projects. Today’s photographic market is accustomed to being able to review images as soon as they are taken, but for the majority of it’s history the action cam has lacked this lauded feature. To understand the reason behind this omission, you simply have to look at who these cameras are designed for. Action cam users are typically sports enthusiasts including surfers, rock climbers, off road cyclists and the sort. These people are typically more focused on the actual activity that they are performing than the shooting that is taking place, making the LCD screen for review purposes an unnecessary feature that would only add weight and bulk to the actual device while increasing the price tag. So, if your purpose is to capture the amazing stunts you pull off, then the screen may not be that dire, but if your intention is to shoot amazing artistic videos, the existence of an LCD screen may be necessary to your needs (although in this situation, we suggest looking into a DSLR or actual video camera, as they will serve a more utilitarian purpose and yield better results). If you do fall into the latter category, and want an LCD anyways, checking to see if one is available as an add-on accessory for the camera of your choice is also an option. GoPro, for example, offers an add-on Touch Screen LCD that can be purchased in addition to the camera, but we will touch more that in the accessories section of this guide.

  • Ruggedness – Ruggedness includes the waterproofing and shock absorbency features that put these cameras in a class of their own. While almost all of the available action cameras on the market advertise waterproofing as a main feature, only a handful actually come with housing-free waterproofing. Most however, are equipped with shock absorbent and stabilizing features that create smoother, easier to watch videos.

One thing that you will notice when looking into the ruggedness features of a camera is that most of the higher rated cameras are those with housing protection. This is because manufacturers don’t have to sacrifice quality for ruggedness. With housed cameras, however, it is important to check to see if there is accessory appropriate housing, or if the camera can only take accessories without the housing on. This could be the deciding factor in your ultimate choice if you plan on frequently submerging the camera itself.

  • Available Accessories – While these small cameras boast a multitude of built in features, many have additional add-ons that increase the practicality of the camera itself. Accessories include harnesses and mounts to affix the camera to bicycles and surfboards, head straps for helmets, and harnesses for people or pets.

Just like when buying a car, the added values that accessories place on your camera can completely change the final product you end up with. Take the GoPro’s optional LCD screen we mentioned earlier for example. The company is able to  keep the cost of their camera’s down by omitting the touch screen from the actual camera, but makes one for under $80. There is even an available back plate replacement for the waterproof housing that allows the LCD screen to go underwater. The option of a removable LCD allows users to get a single screen to be used on multiple cameras. Another great example of the versatility you can achieve from an action cam comes from the available dog harness created for the Sony HD Action Cam. This neat little add on allows users to strap their camera to their pooch, giving a unique take to any action caught on screen.

So, when you’re shopping for your action cam, make sure to look for the features that best suit your need. There is an ever growing number of options of cameras out there for you to choose from, here are some links to the most popular models worth starting your search with:


Sony Action Cam

Kogan Action Cam

Happy Shopping!

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Category: Technology