The meteoric rise in the popularity of sharing airsoft gameplay footage via video sharing sites such as YouTube and Facebook has led to many more people recording their days on the field. Whether they run a scope cam, first-person camera or both, we are seeing a significant rise in people filming their airsoft experiences. Although there are arguments for and against the use of cameras in airsoft, something we’ll touch on in a separate blog post, there’s no denying that we’ve all marvelled at some of the epic sniper shots that have been caught on film.
If you’re planning to start recording your airsoft gameplay or want to upgrade your current filming setup, then read on to see what we recommend for getting the best quality footage.
Wherever action cameras are mentioned, GoPro is often the first to be name-checked, as they have been the go-to in the industry for years. Their 2018 release, the Hero7 Black (differing from the Hero7 White, as it has a front-facing LCD screen and increased specs), is perhaps the best of the bunch.
From where the company started, the new devices have advanced in leaps and bounds and now produce some of the most exquisite action film and photography on the planet. We’re also starting to see scenes in films being shot with GoPro cameras, pretty incredible considering they cost around £300.
The Hero7 Black incorporates state-of-the-art image stabilisation meaning that previously shaky footage now comes out silky smooth. The specifications are bigger and better than we’ve ever seen before on a GoPro, so you’ll be getting the best footage possible.
If you’re planning on picking one of these up, there are some considerations that you’ll want to be aware of. Although the camera comes with a decent set of mounts and accessories, there will be some modifications and additional kit required to make it airsoft ready. Firstly, the default battery that comes with the camera is not large enough to last for a full day skirmish. To rectify this, you’ll need to remove the battery and power the camera solely from a portable power bank; ideally, 10,000 mAh as this will provide roughly 10 hours of continuous filming.
Additionally, to capture this footage, you’ll need to grab a memory card. Using a 64GB should ensure plenty of space, as long as you clear it at the end of each session. A final note on memory cards is to take the write speed into consideration, basically how long it takes to save data to the card.
For GoPros and many other action cameras, a minimum of 10MB per second is recommended, ideally higher. Most SDHC cards will fall under this bracket which will mean you’ll want to be looking for SDXC memory cards of 64GB or higher to ensure your video doesn’t get corrupted. If you're recording in 1080p at 60 frames per second, this should offer roughly four hours of video recording.
Although the GoPro cameras are built to withstand some wear and tear, some aspects of the camera will be more vulnerable than others. For example, the lens and front-facing LCD screen. Make sure you bring an extra sacrificial lens with you to the field. This is a secondary lens that can easily be swapped out while in the heat of battle, in case yours is shot out. Additionally, add a tough transparent plastic over the LCD to stop this from being damaged by BBs.
Image Source: PAIN X
Although GoPro has had the action camera market pretty much wrapped up for years, this hasn’t stopped other, more experienced brands taking a stab at the category. Sony’s 2016 release, the FDR X3000 still holds firm and is one of the ‘best of the rest’. The camera offers robust image stabilisation and is capable of shooting in both 1080p and 4K, although no 2K option is available. For airsoft, shooting at 1080p with 60 frames per second will be fine for the most part. It will also make data management much easier at the editing stage.
One of the main disadvantages of using the Sony is the lack of compatible accessories. Where the GoPro has plenty of accessories, from both Go Pro and other brands, the Sony is a little harder to buy for, but not impossible. We’d suggest grabbing a lens protector and something to cover the side facing LCD.
The one advantage that the Sony has over the GoPro is the fact that it is designed in a classic video camera style, to be side-mounted rather than front-mounted. This will provide a slightly different perspective from the front-facing option and will mean that you’ll have space to mount other accessories on the front. If you’re wearing the camera on your hat/helmet, a side-mounted camera will allow the space for NODs etc.
Image Source: Airsoft CamMan
To finish off the set, you’ll likely want to have a second camera recording all the action from your gun too. The camera on your gun will have slightly different parameters to the other. Ideally, you’ll want it to be as unintrusive as possible, small, lightweight and dark coloured. The RunCam ScopeCam ticks all of these boxes and more, being one of the preferred scope cams in the current market.
The main thing that sets this apart from other action cameras is that it was made specifically to be used as a gun attachment, for airsoft or paintball etc. The camera is designed to be mounted either to the rail of your primary gun or to the underside of your secondary pistol. Another benefit of this design is that the lens can be changed to suit the orientation of the camera, as a side-on attachment or on top/below your gun. This has to be done with a screwdriver and can be fiddly; it certainly isn’t something you’ll be doing on the field.
The camera is capable of 1080p at 60 frames per second or 720p at 120 frames. Although this is slightly lower resolution, this is also reflected in the price. Additionally, the majority of your footage will likely be taken on your main camera with the occasional section of scope footage, so quality isn’t a paramount issue.
The default battery is 850mAh which will last just over an hour on a full charge, so you’ll either have to be selective when you use it, or you’ll have to hook up a secondary power supply to power the camera for longer. Be careful though, if you start to incorporate too many wires into your setup, this can limit manoeuvrability.
The gun has two lens options available, 35mm and 25mm. 35mm is optimised for a slightly further distance away and focuses at 30m – 60m. The 25mm is slightly shorter and focuses from 20m – 50m. Chances are, if you’re taking shots at people under 30m away, your main camera will get decent enough footage, so we’d suggest the 35mm lens.
Image Source: Airsoft Mike
The Mobius is an alternative scope cam that can be used instead of the RunCam. The camera will require a little more DIY to make it the best it can be, as there are alternative lenses available along with a range of mounts etc. If you’re looking for something to use straight out of the box, the Mobius may not be your first choice, especially as the stock lens is not particularly suitable for airsoft, especially when taking long range shots. If you’re into modding your guns and gear then the Mobius is a great option with good customisability.
This concludes our article on the best action cameras available for airsoft. We’re always checking out the newest and best airsoft YouTubers, hopefully, we’ll see you on there soon! Make sure you’re properly geared up before you start recording. Whether you need to upgrade your airsoft rifle or grab some new clothing, we’ve got you covered! Check out our full online selection here!