Different circumstances call for different cameras. Having the right camera at the right time can take the final product from acceptable to truly impressive.
Here is a guide to various camera types with the pros and cons of each and a purchase recommendation
Smartphone Cameras with GPS
It can be easy to overlook smartphone cameras as street-level photography tools but they offer some distinct advantages. Simply put, they’re everywhere. An incredible 81% percent of Americans own a smartphone and so does nearly half of the global population. There is a huge number of people out in the world with a decent camera just sitting in their pocket.
Use while walking or driving.
- Often require little to no additional investment.
- Easy to use.
- Come with excellent GPS already installed.
- Battery life can be a concern.
- The quality of the images depends on the specific model of the smartphone, can be very different.
- The delicate nature of smartphones makes them more vulnerable to breaking. Given their value, they might not be the best choice for some projects.
- Recording images will make the other functions of the phone like calling unavailable for that period.
Recent models of either Android or iOS smartphones are great options. The iPhone 12 Pro, in particular, has one of the best GPS cameras on the market.
Action Cameras with GPS
Action cameras burst onto the scene and aren’t going anywhere. They’re built to hold up in situations other cameras might fail to withstand. They offer the user many options, often in a small travel-friendly package.
Use while biking, walking, driving, or participating in outdoor sports like skiing. Very versatile.
- Engineered to be durable and withstand harsh conditions.
- Easy to use.
- Multiple mount options for optimal control.
- Short battery life can be a problem.
- Not all models have adequate GPS support.
- High-resolution images only come from more expensive models.
GoPro is the leading name in action cameras for a reason. The GoPro Hero Black is the ultimate choice in action cameras.
Dashboard Cameras with GPS
Dashboard cameras are functional and sensible options for recording. They require low effort and produce suitable images after being mounted to the vehicle.
Use while driving.
- Always ready to use after initial setup without additional work required.
- Added benefit of protection in the event of car accidents.
- Recording usually starts as soon as the engine starts so it is very easy to use.
- The camera may record video in a format proprietary to the camera manufacturer.
- Factors like glare and obstructions can interfere with image quality.
- GPS is not always available or accurate, depending on the model.
The Garmin Cam Mini is a discreet and high-quality choice. For added security, the Vantrue N2 Pro is a great option. It records both the exterior and interior of the vehicle.
360 Degree Cameras with Built-In GPS
360-degree cameras have been growing in popularity and that’s well-warranted. They’ve only gotten better and now offer consumers professional-level equipment options. The final product produced by 360-degree cameras is unrivaled.
Use similar to action cameras: while walking, driving, biking, and more.
- Simplifies the recording process by capturing more at once.
- Creates an immersive user experience that feels real.
- Stability is less of a concern.
- These cameras generally sell at a high price point that may be out of budget for some consumers.
- Resolution lags behind other camera options like smartphones. Small details may be hard to discern.
- Files are large and can be more difficult to upload and store.
The Insta360 One X is the best choice in this category with high resolution and even higher performance.