Consumer Reports looks at two popular ones that go where no video camera or cell phone has gone before.
Bradley Rothschild uses a GoPro camera to catch the action wherever he goes.
"I use it for mountain biking, I use it for jet-skiing, days on the lake with friends, it's a good time," he said.
Video cameras like the GoPro are growing in popularity as people want to capture action shots like skiing without risking expensive equipment.
Consumer Reports tested two top action camcorders, the GoPro Hero 3, which costs $400, and Sony's $270 Action Cam.
The cameras come with rugged, waterproof casings to protect them from the elements. And they're loaded with features.
"You can take standard-def or high-def video. You can also take still photos. And you can also, on both of them, take photos and stitch them together into a time lapse," said Terry Sullivan with Consumer Reports,
But how do they stand up to tough treatment? Consumer Reports tested by putting each one in a tumbler for 25 rotations to see if they could withstand hard knocks.
To see how waterproof the cameras are, they were, well, dunked in water. Both survived intact, with no damage at all.
"If you're looking to capture action shots in the great outdoors, either of these camcorders is a good choice. The GoPro has a little bit of an edge in the image quality, but either one will get the job done," adds Sullivan.
So the next time you hit the slopes for some skiing or head to the beach for some fun in the sun, one of these action cameras could be just the thing to capture memories that used to be a fleeting moment.
Consumer Reports says another nice thing about the GoPro Hero 3 and the Sony Action Cam is that they have built-in Wi-Fi. That makes it easy to share your videos on YouTube and Facebook.