What is an Action Camera?

Written by 90 Seconds
Last updated: October 4, 2023
What is an Action Camera?

An action camera, also known as action-cam, can be defined as a digital camera that has been designed for filming while it is immersed in the action.

Since they are immersed in the action they have a compact and waterproof surface. They are tiny and lightweight and can produce high quality, wide-angle videos in any environment.

They usually record videos and not still photos hence allowing the user to capture the action without having to interact with the camera or removing it from its housing.

They have become an integral part of most outdoor extreme sports such as wingsuit flying and base jumping.

They are often attached to handlebars, helmets or surfboards depending on the perspective you wish to capture.

When attached to the helmet, for example, it captures the perspective of the actor. Some people also attach them to the dashboards of their cars so that they can capture crazy drivers on the road and protect themselves from fraud.

Primary uses

Extreme sports

For those that love the adrenaline rush of extreme sports and would love to record every moment when taking part in one, an action camera is their go-to tool.

For those who love extreme sports such as skydiving, base jumping and wingsuit diving, shooting footage from their perspective over the spectacular scenery would be a great experience to share with others.

Action cameras have the right dimensions so they do not interfere with the delicate equipment used in these sports allowing them to take perfect shots without being a hindrance to the safety measures put in place.


Even though hiking cannot be classified as an extreme sport, travelers go through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world allowing them to see some extremely rare sights and some strange sites as well.

A traditional camera will still be able to capture these moments, but action-cams ensure that every second of the adventure is recorded as it is unfolding in stunning high definition.

Secondary uses

Urban exploration and tourism

Urban exploration can be defined as the art of discovering new worlds in urban areas. Urban explorers, with the help of action cameras, are able to explore what lies within their grasp but hidden from view and share their experiences.

While traveling offers less adrenaline and danger, action-cams are a useful tool for sight-seeing travelers to film their escapades in far-away lands.


Taking off on road trips can be adventurous and exciting, modern action-cams allow for engine driven excitement to be shared with others.

Whether you are shooting footage in a drag race or simply trying to protect yourself from careless drivers, you can film the action and relieve every transition of it.