An action camera is strong, sturdy and reliable video camera which can generally be attached to a helmet, body or vehicle via a clamp. The use of action cameras is to let people film extreme sports, such as skiing or mountain biking. A normal video camera would not be be able to record you doing these activities due to the likelihood that it would break. An action camera is specifically built for these types of opportunities, so will be reinforced, waterproof and generally rugged enough to take a bit of a battering!
There are a few different types of action cameras which people like to go for.
A wireless action camera, or self contained action camera is an all in one unit. You don’t have any wires as the power, memory and ability to record video and sound are in the one unit. In the past, such as with the ATC range they could be quite bulky, but new models like the ContourHD or Veho’s Muvi Mini are a lot more compact and easy to use.
You can also buy action camera kits, like the VIO POV 1.5. These camera kits supply everything you need to allow you to film your adventures. These kits will typically record to a higher quality than a wireless unit. This is because they can be a bit bigger all together, as each part is separate and wired together. This makes them more expensive and potentially take longer to set up. The advantage is that the camera unit is generally smaller and the quality is nearer to DVD quality.
Select individual parts
You could also choose separate parts, different recording units, camera heads, microphones and so on, so that you can build up the perfect unit. This will give you exactly what you want, but unless you know a lot about action cameras or are prepared to do a lot of research this method may not be best for a beginner.