Action cameras have come a long way since the very first GoPro hit the market in 2005 (it used 35mm film, if you can believe that.) They've increasingly shrunk in size, and video quality has improved dramatically with each new generation. Many offer rear LCDs (a rarity a few years ago), some are even waterproof/shockproof without the need for a case and certain models can even be used for live broadcast. All of them pair with dedicated apps.

Of course, there are a lot of action cameras available on the market, but there are far fewer capable of 4K video capture. This roundup takes a look specifically at several of the most popular 4K action camera models as well as some lesser known ones too. 

While Sony and GoPro are both big names in the action camera world, and Ricoh has been making rugged cameras for years, companies like Yi and Wimius may be less familiar. Both are convincing GoPro lookalikes that retail for far less. The Yi 4K sells for $250 and in many ways out-specs the GoPro's current flagship. The Wimius Q1, on the other hand, retails for around $70 and was included in this roundup as the inexpensive dark horse in the 4K action cam race.

In addition to 4K action cameras, this roundup also includes the Olympus TG Tracker, a video-capable data-capturing device (read our shooting experience). It has the ability to not only record 4K video but also capture information like altitude, temperature, location, acceleration and more. 

We've included the following 4K-capable action cameras in this roundup:

Note: Since originally publishing this roundup, several new releases have been announced including the GoPro HERO5 Black (and HERO5 Session), Nikon KeyMission 170 and Sony FDR-X3000. Once we get review units in and have had the chance to assess each, we'll add them to this roundup and update our conclusion accordingly.

Specifications compared:

  GoPro HERO4 Black Olympus TG-Tracker Ricoh WG-M2 Sony X1000V Wimius Q1  Yi 4K
 MSRP  $450  $350  $300  $500  $60  $250
 Video

4K/30p
2.7k/60p
1080/120p
720/240p

 4K/30p 1080/60p 720/240p

 4K/30p
1080/60p
720/120p

 4K 30p
1080/120p
720/240p

  4K 30p
2.7k/30p
1080/60p
720/120p

  4K 30p
2.5k/30p
1080/30P
720/240p
 Sensor 12MP 1/2.3" sensor 7.2MP 1/2.3" sensor  8MP 1/2.3" sensor 8.8MP 1/2.3" sensor  16MP
(likely 1/2.3")
12MP 1/2.3" sensor
Native Field of view 155 degrees 204 degrees 204 degrees 170 degrees 170 degrees 160 degrees
Image stabilization in 1080p  No Yes
(4K too)
 Yes  Yes (1080/60p)  No  Yes
LCD w/ live preview  With accessory  'Touch BacPac' only  Yes  Yes  With accessory 'Live-view remote' only  Yes  Yes
Touchscreen   No   No   No  No  No  Yes
Waterproof w/ no case?  No  Yes  Yes  No  No  No
Battery  4.4Wh  4.9Wh  3.4Wh  4.46Wh  3.3Wh  5.4Wh
 Weight 89 g
(3.1 oz)
180 g
(6.35 oz)
136 g (4.8 oz) 114 g (4.02 oz) 114g (4.02oz) 95g (3.35oz)