Action Cameras with Optical Zoom

Do you require a bit more focus and some zoom to your action camera? Here we list the best action cameras with optical zoom. There are only a few on the market and most of them come in the form of tough cameras, but they are out there and you can get fully immersed in whatever it is you wish to photograph or record with the help of a zoom lens.

All we've done to create this list is filter out all of the action cameras on the site, which there are over 100+, to show action cameras with a zoom lens and then ranked them by their Cam Score.

It's 2018 and more and more features are getting added to action cameras, everyone is trying to keep up with the 4K boom of 2017 and all you want is optical zoom, not too much to ask, I know, when a feature like this can revolutionize the camera, it's weird to think there aren't more cameras with an optical zoom lens.

Above you will see the best action cameras with a zoom lens rated by their Cam Score. There are only a handful but this list will continue to grow throughout 2018 and beyond as we add more new cameras that are released with a zoom lens.

Benefits of an Optical Zoom Lens

What are the benefits and pro's of an optical zoom lens in an action camera? Firstly, just because it's an action camera doesn't mean that the action is right infront of you or that you are the main event and you're filming or photographing things that you are doing.

For instance, if you are watching an event, running, trail running, fell running, mountain biking, cycling or something where they cover a fair bit of distance or don't actually get that close to you, it would be very handy to have a zoom lens.

The major benefit of an optical zoom lens over a digital is that when you zoom in, you are using the glass in the camera, so the lens is not going to distort anything like a digital would. With digital zoom which a lot of action cameras have, but we wouldn't recommend using unless you need to, is a fake zoom. It has the full resolution of the action camera and then will crop the image and then re-size, so you will start with a 4000x3000 photo image, it will make that 2000x1500 when you zoom in 2x and then re-scale that back to 4000x3000, so straight away, you've lost half of the image data and pixels.

As you can see, this is the most important part of any zoom, that you don't lose the original quality your camera already has. Then as soon as you zoom in more than 2x, to 4x, 8x, etc, you will make the image even worse.

Manual Zoom Without A Zoom Lens

If you don't have an optical zoom lens on your action camera, there is a little trick you can do in which you take the normal photo of what it is you wished to have zoomed in on. Then take that image back to your computer or laptop and manually enlarge/zoom in on the photo yourself.

If you use Light Room or Photoshop or even GIMP, you can import your photo, crop the image to the section you want to 'zoom in' on and then sort out any pixelation or noise that may be in the picture to smooth it out. It's nowhere near as good as an optical zoom lens on the camera, as it's always better to get the best picture you can at source, but it is an idea if you need to get something in the future.

DIY Action Camera Zoom Lens

You can also go the DIY route and do it yourself. There are many different zoom lens types of Gearbest and Banggood and you can even fashion your own from a security camera or use one from a smart phone attachment. Here is an interesting video where the user adds a security camera zoom lens on to an Eken H9 without too much trouble.

Gets fantastic reviews online, one of the best action cameras you can buy, especially if you want waterproof ready so you can take snorkeling or with you on hikes and other adventures where it might get wet.

Feels like a normal, point and shoot camera but with a more robust finish.

Shooting Modes
Video Features
 
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
90 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
193grams
Field of View
65 degrees
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Video Features
 
Water Resistance with Housing
 
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
100 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
89grams
Field of View
170 degrees
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
Shooting Modes
Video Features
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
100 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
144grams
Field of View
80 degrees
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Shooting Modes
Video Features
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
120 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
247grams
Field of View
 
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Shooting Modes
Video Features
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
 
Weight
236grams
Field of View
83 degrees
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 

We spent hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what the experts think:

Water Resistance with Housing
 
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
 
Weight
203grams
Field of View
75 degrees
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 

An action camera that can track you or whatever you attach the TAG Soloshot remote to. By placing the camera on to a tripod it can follow you or the TAG up to 2000feet away and record in high definition 4K video resolution. A new type of action camera, unlike a drone which will follow you, you can place this camera anywhere outdoors.

Video Features
Water Resistance with Housing
 
Removable Battery
No
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
210 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
373grams
Field of View
73 degrees
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Shooting Modes
Video Features
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
90 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
221grams
Field of View
83 degrees
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Shooting Modes
Video Features
 
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
60 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
231grams
Field of View
84 degrees
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset
 
Shooting Modes
Video Features
 
Water Resistance with Housing
Removable Battery
Yes
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life
30 minutes (at 1080p 30fps)
Weight
250grams
Field of View
130 degrees
Resolution & FPS
Photo Resolution
Screen
Yes
Sensor
 
Chipset