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An action camera or action-cam is a digital camera designed for recording action while being immersed in it. Action cameras are therefore typically compact and rugged, and waterproof at surface-level. They typically can take photos in burst mode and time-lapse mode as well as record high-definition video (as of 2019, mid-range to high-end action cameras can record 4K video at 60fps). Slow-motion video recording at 120 or 240fps is also a common feature.
The camera is typically worn or mounted in such a way that it can shoot from the point of view of the shooter. Some examples of common places to mount an action camera are on a hat or helmet, on the chest, or on the handlebars of a bike or similar vehicle. They may also be mounted on a tripod or on a monopod for handheld use. An action camera is usually designed to require minimal interaction once recording has begun, as this allows continuous capture of the action without having to interact with the camera. A typical action camera records onto a micro SD card, and has either a Micro-USB or a USB-C connector.
Action cameras are associated with outdoor sports, and, often attached to helmets, surfboards or handlebars, are an integral part of many extreme sports such as base jumping and wingsuit flying. Sometimes several cameras are used to capture specific perspectives, such as a helmet camera that sees the perspective of the actor in combination with a second camera attached to the environment of the rider, such as a board, wing, handlebar or wrist, that looks back onto the rider and records their reactions.
The category commonly is associated with the GoPro range of cameras, and many action cameras come with a GoPro mount adapter to take advantage of the accessories available for these cameras.
In 2014, worldwide action camera sales increased by 44 percent from the previous year and half of them have the capability to shoot Ultra High Definition at 4K resolution. Action camera sales have surpassed traditional camcorder and compact camera sales, and it is predicted that in 2019, action camera sales will surpass all types of cameras due to the sales of other camera types declining or stabilizing. 
By 2021, the Ultra HD category of the action camera market is expected to reach $3.3 billion. The Full HD category, meanwhile, is expected to reach $2.2 billion, with the surveillance/security industry driving growth.
In 2018 Sony launched a shock and waterproof camera with a 1" sensor in a body size similar to an action camera. However, Sony is not marketing it as an action camera; rather, as a video professional camera with the capability to shoot with up to 15 cameras at the same time.
Besides the GoPro line, other models of action cams include the:
- Sony HDR-AS10, HDR-AS15 and HDR-AS30V
- Garmin VIRB
- Panasonic HX-A500E
- Toshiba Camileo X-Sports
- Polaroid Cube
- TomTom Bandit
- Drift Ghost-S, Stealth 2 and Compass
- Xiaomi YiCamera
- Ricoh WG-M1
- T'nB CAMERA SPORT 4K WIFI
- Maxxter ACT-ACAM4K
- Akaso Brave4 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Action cams.|
- "Action Camera Market To See Growth Through 2019". Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- "Global Action Camera Market to Grow at a CAGR of Almost 15% Through 2021- Forecasts by Technavio". May 22, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- Lars Rehm (August 31, 2017). "Sony RX0 puts a 1-inch sensor into a rugged and ultra-compact body".
- "Sony treads on GoPro's turf with WiFi-capable Action Cam series". August 30, 2012.
- "Sony takes thrills to the next level and expands cam lineup of premium point-of-view video capture devices". September 4, 2013.
- Pachal, Peter (20 Aug 2013). "Garmin Takes On GoPro With the VIRB Waterproof Action Camera". Retrieved 16 Mar 2015.
- "Panasonic HX-A500". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Chris Hall. "Toshiba Camileo X-Sports action camera review". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- "Polaroid Cube – The New HD Action Camera from Polaroid". Polaroid Cube. Archived from the original on 12 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Sean Keach. "TomTom Bandit action cam is the latest GoPro rival". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Furchgott, Roy (12 March 2014). "Review: Five Action Cameras From GoPro, Sony, Garmin, Drift and Ion". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "Xiaomi launches GoPro video camera rival at a fraction of the cost". 2 Mar 2015. Retrieved 16 Mar 2015.