How To Buy A Repairable Action Camera
As Covid-19 drags on, more and more of us are rediscovering the great outdoors. As we make memories, action cameras are a great way of capturing those memories for posterity. But how do you choose an action camera that is repairable and durable over the long run? Here are some things to look out for when you buy your next action camera.
A Sony action camera before and after installing a UV filter to protect the lens.
Action cameras will inevitably be dropped or hit at some point in their lives. After all, we use them in places where we wouldn't want to risk our expensive phones.
So, buying a camera with a replaceable lens cover protects the expensive lens of the camera from drops or cracks. It acts as an additional shield over the fragile lens, easily replaceable for just $20-30 when cracked. You can even keep a spare in your camera case to swap out immediately.
Take note that a cracked lens cover or integrated lens not only ruins your image, but compromises any inbuilt water resistance as well which leaves the camera prone to water damage.
If you've already bought an action camera without a replaceable lens cover, don't fret. You can purchase a UV filter, which is a piece of glass that attaches to the front of your lens to protect it. These can be picked up for as little as $10.
An action camera in a cage, beside an empty cage.
Cages are primarily used to mount action cameras without a tripod mount. A good quality cage like the original one included with the camera protects not only the sides of the camera from bumps and drops, but most good cases have a protective border around the fragile touchscreen as well. The camera's touchscreen not only serves as a viewfinder but also as the most convenient way to change settings on it, so it is paramount that it is protected.
If you're using your camera in a high risk environment where you're prone to hitting it or dropping it like in sports, remember to use a good quality cage.
Reserve your cheap Taobao cages for lower-risk environments like vlogging or for tripod use, where shocks to the camera will be fairly limited.
An action camera with a removable battery next to a removable battery in a protective case.
As always, lithium ion batteries like those in phones, laptops and cameras have a finite lifespan. Most manufacturers only rate their batteries for up to 500 charges and discharges before the capacity drops to 80% capacity.
Therefore, it is important to purchase a camera with replaceable batteries to keep them running for as long as possible. Some of the cheaper GoPro cameras such as the Hero 9 White and Hero 9 Silver do not come with replaceable batteries.
This effectively limits their lifespan to a few years, after which the battery's death effectively
Therefore, alternatives like the GoPro Hero 9 Black or the DJI Osmo Action which have replaceable batteries should be considered instead.
Not only do replaceable batteries extend the useful lifespan of your camera, they also let you continue shooting in mere seconds by swapping in a fresh battery once your battery is depleted from hours of shooting.
If you purchase a camera without a replaceable battery, you're stuck either sitting around waiting for it to charge or having to tote around a powerbank tethered to it like an IV drip. Either way, it's one more thing to worry about.
If you stick to looking out for these three things, replaceable batteries, lens covers and quality cages, you can look forward to many unforgettable adventures with your action camera for a long time!
If you enjoyed this guide or found it useful, share it with your friends! Spreading awareness about repairable products is the first step towards a more sustainable future! Don't forget to check out the Repairable Laptop Buying Guide & Repairable Earphones Buying Guide below!