POV Camera Picks
After field testing and editing, we spent hours watching, analyzing and comparing the original video footage from each camera. The cameras were rated based on six different criteria: full-HD video quality, audio, high-speed video quality, low-light video quality, value and ease-of-use. Then we averaged the results for each camera to get the final ratings you see on each individual POV camera summary page. Based on the needs, purposes and budgets of different kinds of cyclists, here are our picks for the top 2015 POV cameras.
Best Overall: GoPro HERO4 Silver
GoPro is still the one to beat. The GoPro HERO4 Silver is the sweet spot for most cyclists and action sports enthusiasts. It offers the most options, the best video quality, the best native mounting system, and the new touchscreen LCD display is a great addition. One caveat, though: If you’re thinking of buying a GoPro HERO4 Silver and aren’t planning to use Protune, you’re throwing your money away. If you really want to use the GoPro to its full potential, you have to use it in Protune mode. If you aren’t going to use Protune and put in the extra time editing, buy something less expensive because you won’t be getting true GoPro quality.
Best Value: Sony Action Cam Mini
Although the GoPro is our pick for best overall POV camera, when you factor in cost, the Sony comes out on top. Sony has come a long way since the first Action Cam and they’re GoPro’s only real competition. The Sony Action Cam Mini‘s video quality is very close to the HERO4 Silver, it’s compact, has built-in image stabilization and costs $150 less. Sony and GoPro are both leagues ahead of the other cameras in this test when it comes to video quality. Just make sure you use the Sony in Pro mode if you want the best video quality. If you aren’t recording in Pro mode with Sony’s XAVC S video format, the quality won’t be that different from the other cameras in our test. And if you do choose the Sony, we highly recommend investing another $100 in the wrist-mounted Live View Remote RM-LVR2. It’s far easier and more convenient than using the Mobile app on your phone and makes using the Action Cam Mini a breeze when you’re on the trail.
Best For Commuters: Shimano Sport Camera
Although the Shimano Sport Camera didn’t impress us with its performance, the simple recording interface and tiny, light, waterproof construction make it perfect for cyclists who simply want to document their rides. Put one on the front and one on the back of your bike, press record when you start your ride, and you’ve got no-penalty video footage of hillbillies throwing beer cans and road rage sideswipers.
Best For Data Tracking Nerds: Garmin Virb Elite
Ratings don’t always tell the whole story and video quality isn’t the top priority for everyone. If you’re a habitual ride date tracker and want to add a POV camera to the mix, you can combine the camera and Garmin GPS into one easy-to-use device. Garmin’s video quality isn’t the best in our shootout. But it’s as good or better than most POV cameras from just a couple of years ago. And you’ll save weight and simplify your cockpit by using the Virb Elite instead of using a separate Garmin GPS unit and a POV camera.