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5 Budget-Friendly Action Camera Alternatives

Take pro footage without the pro prices
by KC Calpo | Sep 9, 2017
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So you want an action camera to capture all of your hardcore outdoor activities. You want to get an action camera from that particular brand that has become synonymous with action cams, like the way you say Xerox for photocopies and Coke for sodas. You also want money to finance said purchase from that particular brand, money you don’t have right now.

We can’t help you with that last thing, but we can tell you which action cams to consider from other brands. They’re just as good, they do 4K video capture, and they’re friendlier on the budget!


Sony HDR-AS50R
What’s your name again?

OK, so we think Sony should work on renaming its action cams for better recall. But the HDR-AS50R gives your adventure-loving self more than enough to work with. It has a ZEISS Tessar lens, Exmor R CMOS sensor, and Sony’s BIONZ X image processing engine to capture your footage. It also records full HD video and 4K time lapses, can do burst shots, gets rid of the shakes with its SteadyShot feature, has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for instant sharing and livestreaming, and can be made waterproof/dustproof/shockproof with the requisite housing. Good? Good.

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It has a PhP16,999 price tag on Sony Philippines' website, but Henry's Cameras offers it online for only PhP11,699.

Apeman A80 
Hey, man

First things first: cool brand name, bro. Second, the Apeman A80 action cam sticks closer to GoPro's (OK, we had to say that brand name) small-and-square look. Third, it has everything we need: 4K video capture, time lapse and loop recording, Wi-Fi and HDMI on board, a one-hour operating time per charge, and 30-meter waterproof shooting with its water-resistant case.

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Apeman has a US$99.99 (around PhP5,000) list price on its website, and that's without shipping fees. However, you can also buy it on Amazon for a lower US$79.99 tag (around PhP4,000), and... still without shipping fees factored in.

Tough tracker

Olympus has an excellent track record with its Tough line of cameras, so we're pretty optimistic about the TG-Tracker action camera. Unlike the other cameras on this list, it's waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof by default; no need for separate housings! It also does 4K footage; has a 204° wide-angle lens; can be gripped or mounted on your gear; and captures additional data like temperature, altitude, water depth, and atmospheric pressure thanks to its multitude of field sensors.

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Unfortunately, Olympus hasn't had an official distribution in the Philippines for years, and both Henry's Camera and Camerahaus don't have the TG-Tracker in stock.

We did find two units over at Lazada (green and black), with a nice PhP14,600 tag on them. Proceed with caution when buying from online retailers you're not familiar with. If you want to buy via Amazon, Olympus USA sells the green unit for US$319 (around PhP16,000), without shipping fees added.

For the elite

If you're bored with action cams' usual look and color scheme, consider SJCAM's SJ5000X. Go bright with its red, yellow and blue units; or go for the understated look with grey, beige, white or black. But it's not just about looking good—it also works hard, with 4K video recording, up to 170° wide-angle shots, and a 12.4-megapixel Sony IMX078 sensor inside. You can also shoot for up to an hour and a half with it, dive up to 30 meters with its waterproof case, and share your bragging rights over Wi-Fi.

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Henry's Camera and Camerahaus both have this elite shooter. They both sell it for only PhP7,997.

Yi 4K+
Oh come, all Yi faithful...

Consider us one of the very few idiots who didn't know (until we saw the product, anyway) that Xiaomi also makes action cameras. That said, the Yi 4K+ camera improves on its predecessor, and gives us what we like. Ambarella H2 processor, 4K videos and RAW support, electronic image stabilization (EIS) for non-shaky shooting, voice control, livestreaming capability, and USB Type-C I/O, anyone?

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If the answer's yes... you'll need to get yours through AliExpress, where Yi has an official store. Right now the 4K+ is on sale, with a US$299 starting price (around PhP15,000 without shipping fees).


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