As a skydiver and aerial photographer, I take a lot of shots during all my skydiving jumps, and a high-quality camera makes all the difference. However, sometimes we don’t really want to jump with a big camera on our heads. In this article, I want to tell you about the 6 best action cameras for skydiving that are currently on the market with a quality I approve so far. After testing, researching and talking with friends about these cameras, I believe everyone would be happy using any of these cameras to take pictures but don’t want to skydive with heavy and big full frame cameras on their heads. Let’s check it out!

New GoPro Hero 7 Black ($399.99) – Updated

I wrote a review about the new GoPro Hero 7 Black to discuss its new features. Recently, I got my own GoPro 8 Hero Black and it is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I haven’t seen any action camera like this so far. The new GoPro is kicking ass and I’m so glad that I bought it for skydiving. The new action camera hyper smooth stabilization is also amazing for other kinds of sports.

I made a video running around with a friend just to test the new stabilization feature, and it looks impressive. Another video we made was the one for the Colorful Jerseys– all the parts filmed on the ground are done with the New GoPro Hero 7 Black and it looks like we were using a gimbal.

go pro, Gopro, Gopro 7, hero 7, Gopro 7 black

Amazon Review: 4 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: Camera lockup – Requires battery removal.

2: SD card compatibility issues may cause it to freeze or not turn on at all.

3: Battery drains still a problem in the GoPro Hero 7 Black

 

#1 GoPro 6 ($329.95) – Used ($269.00)

With one of the lowest pixels counts on this list–at only 12mp for photos, it makes up for it with 4K60 for videos. Practically, this means that ground rushing towards you as you hurtle towards the earth will come out clearer and stay clear if you choose to slow down or enlarge the film. Still, shots also turn out pretty good if you want to capture that moment right before your parachute opens. Some perks that come with choosing a GoPro are voice control and touch display. Movement is critical for action sequences, and the 6 comes standard with GoPro’s latest stabilization software, making sure that even though you may be shaking, your camera won’t show it.

Additional features not available in earlier Gopros include Protune–where you can manually control color, white balance, and shutter speed, and Capture– a new feature that takes multiple pictures at different exposures to combine them together for the best image. And just in case you’re going to be skydiving into the Blue Hole off the coast of Belize, this action camera is waterproof up to 33ft.

go pro, Gopro, Gopro 7, hero 7, Gopro 7 black

Amazon Review: 4 Stars

Notable Complaints;

1: SD card compatibility issues cause it to freeze or doesn’t turn on at all.

2: Battery drains

3: Mic issues, there’s a $50 mic you can buy because many of the protective cases muffle sound.

 

#2 Sony FDR-X3000 ($369.99)

120fps at Full HD makes the X3000 one of the best for slow-motion video,  even though it has the lowest pixels at 8.2. What does this mean for you? If all you want is to shoot and post to Instagram without editing, then great– the images won’t be distorted. That Fathead of you flying you wanted to order for your man-cave will just have to wait.

What sets this action camera apart from the rest is its smart live-remote. The FDR has a detachable wrist unit option that you can use to control features without having to remove the camera from your headgear. For the movie producer out there, you can control up to five cameras with the same remote to get multiple angles.

Sony, Sony FDR, Sony Action Camera, Sony Camera, Sony FDR-X3000

Amazon Review: 4 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: Lag with smartphone live-view, connecting the camera to an app has some glitches.

2: Battery drains.

3: Overheats.

 

#3 Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 ($399.99)

This camera made to the list because of one unique feature: it records speed, altitude and heading so you can track your data with every jump. It also links to many different fitness devices, so you can keep your health and your thrills synched up. With 4k video, 3-axis stabilization and a highly-sensitive mic it’s in the same league as the others, but the Garmin VIRB stakes its claim by providing you with your very own aviation stats.

Made with pilots in mind, it comes with custom-made accessories for recording ATC chatter in a cockpit and reduces prop distortion. If your landing gets a little wet, no problem– it’s waterproof to 130 feet.

Garmin, VIRB, VIRB Ultra, Garmin Ultra, Garmin VIRB, VIRB 30

Amazon Review: 4 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: Connectivity with the app glitches.

2: Durability.

3: Battery drains.

 

 

#4 GoPro Fusion ($699.99)

Why spend almost double for another GoPro? This one has Spherical Capture, 360 degrees of footage. With 5.2K30 for video, this camera provides easily the highest quality imaging on the list, meaning you can do more with your footage. Stretch it, shrink it, slow it down, even freeze those mid-jump flips and you’re still going to get good pictures. Because it’s GoPro, it includes voice control, Protune, Capture, state-of-the-art stabilization, and it’s waterproof without a case for up to 16ft.

go pro, Gopro, Gopro 7, hero 7, Gopro 7 black, Gopro Fusion, Fusion, Gopro 360

Amazon Review: 3 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: Glitches with connecting to the app.

2: Overheats.

3: Video stitching skips or the camera shuts off. The Alpha version of this release has had software issues. GoPro adjusted their programming and re-released a better version.

 

 

#5 Nikon KeyMission 360 ($499.95)

Another action camera with 360 degrees of 4K film so you can grab those windblown, flappy-cheeked selfies and get great shots of the view from 12,000 feet is the Nikon KeyMission. Same 4K video, but it surpasses the other mounted cameras with 23.9mp for photos and a waterproof depth of 100 feet.

The most significant disadvantage is that stabilization is not included. There’s no built-in programming to keep your shots balanced on their own, but there are accessories you can use to correct this oversight.

Nikon, Nikon KeyMission 360, KeyMission 360, Action Camera, Camera 360, Nikon 360

Amazon Review: 3 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: 360 cameras tend to have video stitching problems.

2: Connectivity with the app is unreliable.

3: low light causes terrible quality footage, too much light in one lens and not enough in the other.

 

 

 

#6 Sony Mirrorless a6500 – 20mm Lens (+- $1299.99)

With the highest pixels out of the bunch for photos, sitting at 24.2, this is one of the most versatile options, but unfortunately they didn’t up the count for video. This offers the same 4K as the others, but it makes up for it with great features, including touch screen focus and High-density tracking tech for AutoFocus to follow those quick movements.

The main thing you need to know is that it has built-in 5-axis image stabilization software so that when you throw yourself out of an airplane you might get nauseous, but your viewers won’t.

There are accessories you can buy for mounts but this camera wasn’t designed with that in mind, it’s a point and shoot camera. I just purchased this camera, and I’m waiting to take some pictures and make a review about the helmet + camera to discuss how I feel with it and all the other accessories. I’ll keep you posted!

sony alpha, alpha mirrorless, Sony mirrorless, a6500

Amazon Review: 4 Stars

Notable Complaints:

1: Battery drains.

2: Autofocus glitches

3: Complex controls.

 

Before Purchasing any of these Cameras

Overall, most people have problems connecting to the apps on all devices, no matter the brand. I’ve learned to keep my camera connected by switching my phone to airplane mode and then connecting to my camera’s wifi. The airplane mode keeps your phone from getting overwhelmed with incoming notifications from other apps and allows your camera to stay connected without disturbances.

Another common complaint across all devices is battery power. Going back through pictures and videos is very taxing on any camera. My advice is to wait to go through your footage until you’ve downloaded it to another device. If you don’t have enough memory and you keep having to scroll through your shots to delete images, than invest in a larger memory card and purge later when you don’t need your battery.

Last but not least, if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on a camera, don’t buy off-brand and discounted accessories like sd cards to save a few bucks. Most of the programming glitches that cut film or overheat and turn the camera off come from bad sd cards that mess with your camera’s programming. You’ve ruined a perfectly good camera by putting in inferior quality equipment.

Do you need more information?

GoPro Official Website

Sony FDR 3000 Official Website

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Official Website

Nikon KeyMission Official Website

Sony Mirrorless a6500 Official Website

This is my personal opinion. If you have any feedback about these action cameras or want to add a personal review about a camera, please leave a comment.

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