Over the last month or so, we have been publishing a ton of content based around the various action cameras that we have seen people reaching out and asking questions for. Rather than keep publishing a bunch of dedicated individual reviews we have decided to try our hand at publishing a price based article and after seeing so many people reaching out and asking for advice on the best action cameras under $50 we have decided to make this the subject of today’s article.
We are hoping that this article will be able to help any of our readers who are in the market for an ultra-cheap action camera that offers the absolute best performance possible for its price bracket. Thankfully, due to the rapid pace that technology advances and how quickly the price tag for the latest technology falls, you can actually get some solid little action cameras for under $50 these days.
Now, before going any further we just want to quickly point out that the prices of action cameras fluctuate so by the time you read this they may no longer be under the $50 price point. Our comparison table below will display the latest price tag for our featured cameras but all three of our featured cameras should remain around the $50 price point.
If you are looking for a cheap GoPro alternative then our comparison table puts what we feel are the three best options head to head and compares their key features to each other. Just under the table we also have a short breakdown going over our thoughts on each of the three featured action cameras before taking a more in-depth look at them throughout the rest of the article.
We feel that this is the best and most efficient way to go over the sub-fifty dollar price point action cameras that we feel our readers should be considering while presenting the information in a way that suits our readers who are in a rush and short on time as well as those who want to know as much as possible. So, without any further delay, let’s get into our comparison table below.
Last update on 2020-04-01 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
As you can see from our comparison table above, we feel that the best action camera for under $50 on the market right now is the Campark Act 74. It is a great little action camera that has just received a price reduction from Apeman due to the recent release of the Apeman Trawo that we feel is one of the best action cameras under $100 too. Apeman is doing a great job of locking up the cheap GoPro alternative market with their range and we only expect this trend to continue over the coming years.
Now, unlike the CT7000 below that has been specifically designed for this price point in the market, the Act 74 was originally retailed at a much higher price point when released. Due to having been on the market for a few years now the technology in the action camera has reduced in price drastically allowing Apeman to slash its price tag.
Since its release the Apeman Act 74 has built up and maintained an excellent reputation for itself amongst the action camera using community. It is a very popular option for action sports enthusiasts, vloggers, social media influencers, and anyone just looking to purchase a cheap action camera for themselves. In our opinion, it should definatley be your primary consideration for the sub-fifty dollar price range and we are confident that it will be able to meet your needs.
Next up we have the Crosstour CT7000 that is the only featured action camera in our article that has been specifically designed to retail in the sub-fifty dollar price bracket from the very start. Unlike the compeating brands on the market who just put their older camera units through a price reduction each year to keep them competitive, Crosstour has come up with their own strategy and we have to say, it is working very well.
Rather than release an action camera with a ton of features that the majority of users will never need or use, Crosstour has dumped a large number of the popular features on action cameras to cut their costs. They have then done everything in their power to offer the absolute best performance possible for the features that the CT7000 does support offering some outstanding image quality for the price tag.
This is why the CT7000 looks a little light on features in the comparison table above against our other two feature action cameras but the features it does offer are excellent. It would seem that a large amount of the community agree with us also as the CT7000 has managed to earn a great reputation for itself over the years with an absolute ton of action camera users adding it to their camera collection.
Finally, we have the Akaso Brave 4 that once ruled the entry-level action camera market and dominated the niche. Due to Akaso recently releasing their new Akaso V50 Pro that we actually feel is one of the best cheap action cameras ever produced, they have lowered the price on the Brave 4.
Now, the Brave 4 price tag can fluctuate so out of all three of our featured action cameras we feel that this is the main one that may jump over the $50 price point. In all honesty, if the Brave 4 is more than $50 (the price in the comparison table above is updated in real-time) when you are reading this then we would not recommend that you purchase it and go with either of the other two feature action cameras. That said though, the Brave 4 does have one of the largest customer bases going while also having a solid reputation amongst the community.
Anyway, that concludes our comparison table and we will not be going over some of the key features of the three featured action cameras and taking a more in-depth look at them below. That said though, as the Campark Act 74 is our primary recommendation for anyone looking for an action camera under $50, we will mainly be focusing on it and the features that it offers.
Performance And Functionality
Now, although all three of the featured cheap action cameras are around the same price point on the market, their performance and functionality are surprisingly different with each camera having their own advantages and disadvantages over each other. Now, the vast majority of people who are reading this and in the market for a sub $50 action camera will likley be doing so as they want something that allows them to capture video footage without having to break the bank.
Although the Campark Act 74 and Akaso Brave 4 support 4k video resolution whereas the Crosstour CT7000 does not, this does not instantly knock the CT7000 out of the race and can actually work against the act 74 and Brave 4 depending on your needs. Neither the Act 74 or Brave 4 offer native 4k video resolution directly from the camera sensor and requires the camera to use a digital upscaling process to improve the resolution.
Now, both of these cameras are definatley showing their age and their digital upscaling process was never the best meaning it can sometimes result in worse overall image quality than just using their 1080p resolution. In addition to that, both cameras have a very power-intensive digital upscaling process that is able to rapidly deplete your camera battery. If you are capturing 4k video with either of these cameras for an extended period of time not only can the digital upscaling process half your usable battery life per charge but can also generate a whole bunch of heat. Although rare, this heat can then result in your action camera overheating and needing to be turned off for a while to cool down before it is usable again.
As we mentioned above, Crosstour has essentially cherry-picked the features that they want their action cameras to offer and ensured that they excel at those features. As the CT7000 is a much newer camera its 1080p is much smoother than what the Act 74 and Brave 4 offer even though it runs at a lower frame rate too. On top of this, due to the problems that we have pointed out with the 4k resolution in the cameras above as well as the fact that the 2k resolution can also rapidly deplete your battery we feel you will likley be using the 1080p resolution most of the time no matter the action camera you choose.
Due to this, we just want to quickly take a more in-depth look at the 1080p resolution for all three of the featured action cameras. Both the Campark Act 74 and the Akaso Brave 4 offer 1080p at sixty frames per second but in our opinion, the actual image quality on the Act 74 is better than the Brave 4 due to its encoding protocol. The Crosstour CT7000 only offers 1080p at thirty frames per second but its encoding is much better than that of the other two featured cameras and provides an image quality better than the Brave 4 but slightly worse than the Act 74 in our opinion.
All three of the featured cameras also offer 720p video footage with the Act 74 and Brave 4 offering 720p at up to 120 frames per second offering some excellent slow-motion video recording in this mode. This can be excellent for you to record your action sport of choice in slow-motion footage to capture all of the action in detail to add some excitement to your videos. If you are a vlogger or social media influencer then the 720p at 120 frames per second setting can help you capture some excellent slow motion b-roll video footage for your content too.
The CT7000 does offer 720p video resolution but it is limited to sixty frames per second meaning that if you do want to have any slow-motion footage when using the camera to capture your content, you will have to do some post-production editing. Depending on what you are planning to use your action camera for, this may not be an issue but we just wanted to make our readers aware of this as it can be an issue for some videography niches even at this price point.
That said though, the distinct lack of any inbuilt electronic image stabilization on the Act 74 is obvious in the video above as it has no post-production to help try and stabilize the video footage. This offers our readers a realist idea of what they will be able to capture right out of the camera with the same being true for the CT7000 due to its lack of anti-shake or electronic image stabilization.
Now, there are workarounds to this such as purchasing a cheap gimbal for action cameras such as the Feiyutech G6. The G6 offers some of the best image stabilization available for action cameras at the time of writing and is probably the best action camera gimbal made to date. That said though, picking up a dedicated gimbal does hike the overall price of your kit up so you will have to factor in your needs from your camera.
If you are looking to purchase a cheap action camera for an action sport that involved a large amount of vibration or bumps then the Brave 4 can sneak out ahead of the other two featured action cameras. That said though if you are in a smooth action sport, a vlogger, or a social media influencer either of the other two cameras will be a better addition to your camera collection.
Now, we know that most of our readers who are considering purchasing a sub $50 action camera will likley be wanting it for its video capability but some people may also use their action cameras to capture photographs. Due to this, we want to spend some time going over the photographic capabilities of our three featured action cameras on the market. Now when it comes to the photographic performance of the cameras, personal preference will come into what you feel is best due to each camera having their own color capturing table to produce slightly different images even of the exact same subject.
All three of the cameras offer some solid still image quality and although the Akaso Brave 4 should be way out ahead due to its 20MP camera sensor, we feel that both the Campark Act 74 with its 16MP camera sensor and even the Crosstour CT7000 with its 12MP camera sensor are able to hold their own when it comes to still images.
Although on paper the CT7000 should have the worse image quality when it comes to photography, we feel that it actually offers the best low light image quality out of the three. Although we are not exactly sure why this is, we would guess that it has something to do with the more modern technology on the CT7000 as well as its image encoding. That said though, any pixel peepers out there will definatley see some image distortion from the CT7000 but if you only want small images for Instagram this should not be an issue.
The Act 74 offers some decent still image quality that in our opinion is the most well rounded when it comes to photography due to having both decent resolution on its photography with minimal distortion as well as solid low light performance for its price. This is just another reason why we feel that the Act 74 will be the best sub $50 action camera for the majority of our readers and should be your primary consideration.
Both the Act 74 and the Brave 4 also come with a variable camera lens that supports 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70° fields of view whereas the CT7000 uses a fixed 170° lens. The variable lens on the Act 74 and Brave 4 allow you to quickly and easily switch up the field of view of your action camera to meet the needs of your situation. For example, the 70° narrow field of view is good for close-ups whereas the 170° ultra-wide-angle lens is perfect for some epic wide-angle landscape vista photography too.
The final point that we want to cover for our three features action cameras that are under $50 under the performance and functionality tab is the maximum battery life of the cameras. Now, the CT7000 has the highest capacity battery that offers the maximum battery life of the three cameras with you being able to capture up to around two hours of 1080p video footage. Both the Campark and Akaso can get around an hour and a half of battery life at 1080p with their battery life dropping down to around an hour at the 4k resolution too.
All three of the action cameras do come with a spare battery so provided you have both of the batteries fully charged and keep your spare in your backpack or pocket you can essentially double the above times. Additionally, you can also invest in a USB power bank to allow you to recharge your spare battery when not in use to allow you to stay out on your adventures all day without running out of battery.
This allows you to score all three of the featured action cameras at a pretty equal level when it comes to battery life as a USB power bank lets you extend all three cameras battery life for as long as required. That said, although, without the USB power bank, the CT7000 does sneak out ever so slightly ahead of the other two action cameras with around half an hour’s worth of additional power per charge of each battery.
User Interface And Control System
As you would probably expect, even in this day and age, action cameras that are under $50 don’t have touchscreen interfaces due to the touchscreen system hiking the price tag up. We know that there are a small number of cheap action cameras on the market right now that are trying to use touchscreens but in all honesty, it ends up doing more harm than good in our opinion, especially for action sports. Not only do the touchscreens not work well but they become even harder to use if your fingertips are cold or wet. With so many action sports involving water or cold weather, this can be a total pain.
Thankfully though, all three of the featured sub $50 action cameras in our article use the old school, side button control system that works very well no matter the conditions that you are capturing your video footage in. Not only does this ensure that you are able to easily tweak your action camera if you are involved in a water or cold weather sport but also allows you to make changes when the camera is housed in its protective case too.
The buttons on the side of all three of the action cameras are very responsive and register your press first time. Even amongst some of the compeating action cameras that use this interface that cost less than $50 there can be issues with the buttons actually registering a button press and allowing you to work through the navigation menu of the camera. Thankfully though, this is not an issue with any of the three featured cameras.
Akaso, Campark, and Crosstour all use a very similar navigation menu to each other that maximizes the ease of use for their action camera users. If you are looking to purchase your very first action camera and have no prior experience using an action camera you should easily be able to learn the navigation menu on the cameras quickly. The full system on all three of the cameras has been designed to be as quick and easy to use too allowing you to make any tweaks to the performance of the camera as quickly as possible without you having to waste time.
All three of the cameras do have a smartphone app available for them and unlike some compeating brands that have issues with their apps, the Akaso, Campark, and Crosstour apps do not have connectivity issues and also don’t randomly drop their connection during use. The smartphone apps offer some solid wireless remote control functionality to allow you to tweak the performance of your action camera without actually having to hold it in your hands.
If you are involved in the action sports side of things and plan to have your action camera mounted to your helmet, chest mount, or any other type of mount this can definatley play to your advantage. Having the smartphone app on your phone allows you to keep your action camera mounted while still being able to tweak its settings via the app and making your life much easier. It can be a right pain when using some other action cameras without the wireless remote control functionality and having to remove your camera from the mount, make your tweaks, and then remount it.
All three of the smartphone apps for the featured action cameras also support playback from the action camera too. This can allow you to quickly and easily check over the video footage that you have captured or view your photographs on your phone that often have a much larger screen and allow you to get a much better idea of the content you are capturing while out and about.
The final feature that all three of the smartphone apps support is to directly upload your content to various social media sites. Although this does seem good in theory, the vast majority of vloggers and social media influencers will want to be doing some post-production editing on their video footage prior to uploading anyway. This usually means that you will be transferring the content that you capture with your action camera to a computer or tablet to edit it prior to uploading.
All in all though, all three of the brands have managed to publish some solid smartphone apps that work very well. In our opinion, the apps are some of the better ones that are used by the super cheap action camera range but this is due to the three featured camera brands having multiple action cameras on the market in a number of price points. This allows them to use the same app across their full range and offset the costs of developing their app and keeping it in a good working condition for their cheaper cameras due to the sales of their more expensive cameras on the market.
Build Quality And Design
All three of the featured action cameras essentially follow the same standard design of what the GoPro action camera range follows. This works to your advantage as although they do not fit the GoPro form factor completely, many of the action camera accessories on the market designed to work with the GoPro range can work with either of the three featured gimbals too. This allows you to easily pick up action camera accessories to meet your needs with ease as some cameras that use a unique design can be a nightmare to source accessories for.
When it comes to the build quality of the cameras, you have to be realistic. At this price point in the market, there is absolutely no way that any of the cameras can be as tough as the premium price point Gopros. That said though, all three cameras are surprisingly robust and should be able to take a number of bumps without breaking with ease. On top of this, if your action sport of choice does have a high risk of you falling over then you can just keep your action camera in its protective case during use to further increase its robustness.
If you are more on the vlogging or social media side of things looking for a cheap, sub $50 action camera to capture your content this should not be an issue for you anyway as the camera should not be taking much punishment during use. All three cameras have a very small size and come in under 0.2 pounds of weight making them very easy to just store in your pocket or bag when out and about without really realizing the additional weight or having to take up much space.
All three of the waterproof cases included with the featured action cameras are decent quality and usable down to a depth of around one hundred feet. That said though, the Crosstour CT7000 does definatley have the weakest waterproof case and we would not trust the waterproof seals on the case if it has taken a few serious bumps and knocks. Thankfully, you can easily check them visually for damage prior to using the camera in the water to make sure it will seal correctly.
That brings our article going over what we feel are the best action cameras under $50 on the market right now to an end. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, the prices of these action cameras can fluctuate due to supply and demand so they may not be under $50 by the time you read this. Our comparison table back at the top of the article updates itself with the prices each day to give you a better idea of what each of the featured cameras cost you at the time you are reading the article.
In our opinion, the best action camera that costs less than $50 at the time of writing is definatley the Campark Act 74 as it is an excellent little camera that has managed to earn an excellent reputation for itself since released. Additionally, we also have our own dedicated review of the Act 74 online that you may find helpful but most of the points have already been covered in this article.
in our opinion, the Crosstour CT7000 is definatley a solid little camera and has the best image quality for photographs out of the three featured action cameras. If you know you will be taking a large number of photographs with your cameras then the CT7000 may be the stronger option. Again, the camera has a great reputation and we also have our own review of the CT7000 online that you can read if you wish.
Finally, we have the Akaso Brave 4 and like we mentioned earlier in the article, we would not recommend the Brave 4 unless you are taking part in an action sport that has a bunch of vibrations. In our opinion, this is the only situation where the Brave 4 comes out ahead due to its built-in electronic image stabilization. The Brave 4 has also managed to earn an excellent reputation for itself amongst the community and again we also have our own dedicated review online for the camera too.