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Top five best action cameras for 2017

By Ryan Shaw

We select the top five best action cameras we've tested in 2017, to help you find the ideal rugged camera to suit different needs.

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The best action camera for you

Action cameras can vary in price and features, and it can be hard to identify which camera will suit you. Whether you’re after a cheap action camera or a more advanced model that shoots 4K video, our expert advice can help you choose from the available cameras.

Since action cameras are built with durability in mind, this means, they can be used in places where you’d never take another camcorder.

To see the products behind the scores in the table below, try Which? for a £1 trial. Already a member? Log in to see all the information.

Best action cameras of 2017

Sony FDR-X1000V
Today's best price £360.00
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Video image quality:
3 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Still photos:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Video resolution:
Member exclusive
Max. frame rate:
Member exclusive
Battery life (in mins):
Member exclusive

If you want to make your real-life adventures look like a movie, then this camera promises to do just that. With a wide range of recording modes and an impressive specification, this action camera seems to offer more than most, but can it live up to manufacturer's claims?

Sony HDR-AS200V
Today's best price £273.60
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Video image quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Still photos:
3 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Video resolution:
Member exclusive
Max. frame rate:
Member exclusive
Battery life (in mins):
Member exclusive

There's no shortage of Full HD action cameras out there, but this manufacturer claims that theirs is a cut above the rest. For a start, it uses professional-grade file formats and image stabilisation to help you achieve fantastic-quality footage. Are these claims borne out by the results? We took the camera out for a spin to find out.

Sony FDR-X3000R
Today's best price £499.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Video image quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
1 out of 5
Still photos:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 5
Video resolution:
Member exclusive
Max. frame rate:
Member exclusive
Battery life (in mins):
Member exclusive

This action cam is packed with features to help you film high-quality video up in the air or under the sea, and claims to serve up 'mesmerising' 4K video, but is that really the case? We sent this action cam off to our test lab to find out.

Contour ROAM3
Typical price £119.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Sep 2015
Video image quality:
3 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 5
Still photos:
3 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Video resolution:
Member exclusive
Max. frame rate:
Member exclusive
Battery life (in mins):
Member exclusive

The manufacturer claims this camera is the world's easiest to use action camera, with simple controls, easy switching between stills and video modes and a built-in laser level to ensure that you're shooting straight. Does all this help you get more exciting action videos? We tested it to find out.

Sony HDR-AZ1
Today's best price £249.99
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Aug 2015
Video image quality:
3 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Still photos:
3 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Video resolution:
Member exclusive
Max. frame rate:
Member exclusive
Battery life (in mins):
Member exclusive

A beautifully designed little camera with an impressive list of features, it looks different from the typical boxy-style of action camera. It's capable of shooting shake-free Full HD video, but will it bring back thrilling footage when you go on an adventure?

We test cameras more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent and does not accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product.

Which? tests more than 50 action cameras a year. We put every model through our rigorous lab tests to make sure we can recommend the best camera for you.

There's nothing more important with an action camera than the quality of the video and pictures it takes and that's why when we test cameras we record video indoors, outdoors and in low-light conditions. This lets us give you clear advice on which action camera can take high quality video and which ones will give you dark and shaky video. 

But we also go beyond picture quality. Will the camera break after a small drop and how waterproof is it, can you see what you're shooting on the LCD screen and how easy is the camera to use.

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