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I was looking at alternatives to the GoPro (such as the Sony FDR-X1000V), but they all seem to only shoot wide-angle with significant perspective distortion (fisheye). Are there action cameras which do not introduce this sort of distortion?

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    I think the reason is that with a wider lens camera shake is much less perceptible and annoying. Given what action cams are used for this makes a lot of sense. With a longer lens you'd need some sort of stabiliser to make the footage watchable if you've got it strapped on to your helmet while you're white water rafting or mountain biking. – stib Sep 24 '16 at 11:28
  • @stib well gimbals exist already, they do a good enough job – Dmitri Nesteruk Sep 26 '16 at 10:05
  • Yes, but they're a whole 'nother level of complication and cost compared to a cheap plastic lens. I wouldn't put my gimbal on my mountain bike (not the way I ride) it would be a tangled mess of carbon fibre and wire in no time. – stib Sep 26 '16 at 12:14
  • @stib gimbals are a proven tech in drones. I don't think they cost that much. their problem is they seem to get confused by bike tilts, that's a problem. – Dmitri Nesteruk Sep 28 '16 at 8:25
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There are two major advantages to recording fisheye distortion rather than rectilinear distortion. First, it is optically easier to do, which means one can make lenses that are better in other metrics (such as chromatic aberration, resolution, vignetting, etc) while remaining small enough and light enough to fit into the body of an action camera. Second, the relative size of an object doesn't change radically as its moves from center to edge when the camera is not under tight control. For that reason, it is possible to define a crop area that follows the subject as it bounces around the full frame and then use motion tracking to create a relatively stable view of the object, which can then be de-fished. If it were rectilinear, the stabilization process might have to do some major zoom and tilt corrections as well, which would be very distracting.

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    This doesn't answer the initial question... Are there any such cameras available? – Prizoff Jun 30 '18 at 18:54
  • Given that the OP gave me a "this answers my question" green check-mark, I take it that my restatement-and-answer was more valuable than a simple "no" or a "yes" will the many caveats explained in other answers/comments. – Michael Tiemann Jul 4 '18 at 15:48
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Yi Technologies action cameras have lens distortion correction as a built-in feature. The lens does introduce distortion but the onboard processor compensates for it.

I assume we'll see more of this type of compensation embedded in cameras in the future.

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  • It is embedded in my Garmin Virb Ultra 30, but not in 4K mode. – Dmitri Nesteruk Jun 6 '17 at 19:57
  • Embedded correction is much much worse than normal lens... You can not fully remove all distortions, sadly. – Prizoff Jun 30 '18 at 18:55
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There are some of them:

1) Hawkeye Firefly 8S/8SE

As from the official web site:

The camera comes with two lens option 170 and 90 degrees lens:

  • 170 degrees wide angle lens for action sports and
  • 90 degree with linear lens for trips with your family.

I think the last variant should do the job.

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