10 Tips for Using a Sports Camera

Hey there my fellow outdoor enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 10 tips for using a sports camera when you are out amongst the action this year.  In this era of social media and online videos, the use of sports camera has boomed with action being shot doing just about any outdoor sport you can think of.

So for those of you looking to improve your skills in this area I have come up with a few tips and tricks that will help you shoot memorable outdoor memories.  Read on below…

Tips for using a sports camera

So, base on the above, let’s check out my 10 tips below…

1. Purchase a good-quality camera

Action cameras come in various styles, each with unique features and outcomes and in my experience, this is definitely an area where you get what you pay for.  There are definitely some budget options here that will absolutely capture video in all conditions however the best model for you will depend on what you aim to accomplish.

Take the time to do some research on what cameras do with many including settings such as:

  • Frame rate: The frequency or rate at which consecutive images (also called frames) are captured or displayed.
  • Mega pixels: The higher the mega pixel capabilities, the more detail is recorded in each shot.
  • HD and Full HD video – As with mega pixels above, this determines how many pixels are displayed in videos.
  • Stabilization –Remember that in most instances, the camera is moving when in use – look for inclusions such as stabilization or horizon lock.
  • Reversible lenses – meaning you can shoot in front or you or behind you (selfie) without the need for a selfie stick or to turn the camera around.
  • Field of view – Most cameras allow you to choose between wide, medium, and narrow FOV.

If you are a newbie in the expanding world of action cameras, I suggest getting one with Wi-Fi capability as well as this allows you to share your files and photos with anybody, and anywhere you desire.

Check out these: Waterproof Sports Cameras


2. Include a suitable kit

This next tip is definitely one that is determined by budget – especially if you have spent a bit more on the camera above.  However, since action cameras are typically expensive and valuable, you definitely want to avoid taking a chance and damaging them.   So, if you can, purchase mounting tools and accessories to not only enhance your shooting capabilities, but also keep them safe as well.  

Make sure the mounting hardware you purchase is compatible with your camera and also look for protection items such as floating handles and camera covers to ensure that the camera and lens are not damaged during the inevitable bumps and drops that come with using a camera whilst on the move.

tips for using a sports camera - camera mounted to head

3. Be familiar with your sports camera

Ok, this next sentence really does hurt my head but if you want to get the best out of your camera, then you will need to read the manual and watch YouTube tutorials.  You may obtain a rudimentary understanding of the camera’s specifications, such as its megapixel count, shooting options and battery life in general use however the more sophisticated features such as picture stabilization and angle setting will need to be spot on. 

Added to this is that due to their small size, waterproof sports cameras are usually equipped with only a few buttons. The majority of them lack touch screens too meaning that even if you know what all of the functions do, you will still need to know how to set them up. Trust me, understanding the functions of your action camera is the only way to get the absolute best shots that you can.


4. Play with angles

As you get to know your camera, you will need to experiment with different positions and angles and take pictures from typical, everyday viewpoints. Here you can put your imagination to use as the most successful YouTubers etc. tend to have the most interesting and real life shots.

The newest action camera models generally offer three options for changing your field of vision and wide-angle lenses are typically used in fast moving recordings where space is key such as underwater or flying through the air. Therefore, if you play with field of vision and where you mount the camera, the appearance of the video film will undoubtedly change. 

You can also try blending various lighting conditions, angles, and frame arrangements. Many will argue that this will take time from doing whatever it is you are actually there for however you can counteract this by shooting your video from different angles each time to see what works best for you.

tips for using a sports camera - camera mounted to rails

5. Address the camera shaking issue

When we use action cameras to record videos, shaking can be one of the most bothersome and distracting issues you will face.  Hence, as above if you invest in a sturdy, adjustable mount for mounting your camera to prevent this common challenge. 

To prevent vibration, place your cam close to the hold point with interlocking brackets (most come with these). These are also available as chest plates and helmet holders etc. as well which will provide the best stability without all of the shaking.  And of course, know how to use the stabilization settings in the camera as well.


6. Maintain the cleanliness of your camera lenses

Now for the “well of course” tip as there is nothing worse than getting all of the above right only to find out your shots are ruined by a big clump of dirt right on the lens.  As you move around in the great outdoors, dust, water, filth and other contaminants are exposed when using a waterproof sports camera. 

The most sensitive components of your camera are the lens and the screen. To achieve the finest outcomes, you should keep them safe and clean.  Lenses however can be sensitive and there is the risk of permanent scratching if you wipe it on your shirt etc.  So for best results keep a fit for purpose cleaning cloth on hand to carefully clean the lens if it gets dirty.

Alternatively, a protective cover will guard against scuffs, drops and other harm as well as protecting the lens as you wipe down the cover instead.

tips for using a sports camera - bike handles

7. Remember your spare batteries

The typical battery life of an action camera is 60 minutes. And as more than this span of time might be required, it is preferable to keep one or two extra batteries for when they run out.

Keeping your camera fully charged before use is also advised.


8. Use a large storage card

One thing I neglected to mention when discussing setting above what the space that a video can take up on a storage card.  And as with running out of battery, you don’t want to be lining up for that last perfect run only to find out you have no recording space left on your card.

Settings such as field of view and frame rate can drastically effect the size of the video file that is saved.  For example, most modern action cameras have frame rates of 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps. Some high-end cameras provide 90 and 120 frames per second. 

Although the smoother the visuals are with these higher options, the higher the frame rate, the trade-off is that they quickly consume your storage. Therefore, it’s preferable to manually adjust the frame rate whenever necessary to meet your photography and storage needs.  Full  and Ultra HD etc. will also take up more space so have a think about what you really need here.

tips for using a sports camera - scuba diver with camera

9. Explore underwater photography

The best feature of an action camera is that you can easily switch between shooting on land and underwater by submerging it.  Just keep in mind that when underwater, you may need to adjust filters accordingly.

Light and angles are different in water than on land so in reality, you may need to reset your camera for this need.  Luckily, many modern options have the ability to set up ‘presets’ so that you can change between locations with the simple push of a button.


10. Have fun

And finally (and also so that I can get a 10th tip in – haha) – have fun with it.  I have seen many a person get stressed with their camera as it is not recording how they want it to.

Remember that the activity is what you are there for – enjoy that first and use the camera as a reason to do it again.  Just keep all of the bad shots for your blooper reel once you become famous for your action shots!

And remember that with all of the modern video editing software available these days, you can also correct the image after the fact too.

Conclusion

And there they are, my 10 tips for using a sports camera when you are out amongst the action. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences here.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul