Stop motion compact camera vs GoPro | What’s best for animation?

by Joost | Last Updated: May 17, 2022
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Stop motion compact cameras and GoPro cameras are two of the most popular types of cameras on the market. These can be used to shoot the photos for your stop motion animations.

Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, so it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.

Stop motion compact camera vs GoPro | What's best for animation?

The GoPro is the better camera for stop motion because it can be attached to a stop motion rig so you can get the best angles when shooting. This removes the blurriness you normally get when using a compact camera. As well, the GoPro can be controlled from a distance so you don’t have to physical press the shutter button to take photos.

This article will compare and contrast these two types of cameras and help you decide which is the best option for your needs.

I’m also reviewing a few models so you can choose the camera that’s best for your stop motion animation needs.

Stop motion compact camera vs GoProImages
Best overall GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO10 BlackBest overall GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO10 Black (Hero 10) 
(view more images)
Best budget GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO8 BlackBest budget GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO8 Black
(view more images)
Best overall compact camera for stop motion: Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4KBest overall compact camera for stop motion- Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4K Digital Camera
(view more images)
Best budget compact camera for stop motion: Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MPBest budget compact camera for stop motion- Sony DSCW830:B 20.1 MP Digital Camera
(view more images)

Compact camera vs GoPro for stop motion: what’s the difference?

Compact cameras and GoPro cameras are popular choices among photographers due to their high image quality and ability to capture stunning, motion-based photos and videos.

Playmobil petting zoo stop motion
Playmobil petting zoo stop motion

Both of these types of cameras offer numerous features that make them ideal for a variety of uses, from capturing family events and vacations to shooting professional sports or action scenes.

If you’re looking for a quality stop motion camera that’s easy to use and transport, then a compact camera will likely suffice.

Compact cameras offer a number of key benefits that make them ideal for use in a stop motion animation studio.

While compact cameras are a great option for those looking for an easy-to-use device with high image quality, GoPro cameras offer a few advantages that make them ideal for stop motion animation.

For example, the GoPro can be the best camera if you are in a hurry because of its time-lapse video setting.

This takes many frames on its own without you having to use the app to take every single photo and you don’t need to manually press the photo button.

So, if you’re looking for a camera that’s capable of capturing both photos and videos in high definition, then the GoPro is the better choice.

Another key difference between these two types of cameras is that compact cameras are typically smaller and more portable, while GoPro cameras can be mounted to many different surfaces and settings.

Also, the GoPro action camera is usually used to shoot video more often than photos but it’s so well made, that it’s great for capturing quality images for your movies.

The GoPro camera is basically a video action camera and this gives it an advantage when it comes to capturing action shots from unique angles.

Finally, the standard compact camera offers fewer features than GoPro does.

This means that if you’re looking for a camera with all the bells and whistles, then the GoPro is the better option.

However, if you’re simply looking for a quality stop motion camera that’s easy to use and transport, then a compact camera will likely suffice.

Which camera is best for stop motion animation?

The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and budget. Overall though, the GoPro is the better camera for stop motion animation.

Here’s why:

It’s hard to get the perfect angle shots when taking photos.

If you’re using a compact camera, you might end up with a slightly different angle in every frame as a result of your unintentional hand movements or the fact that you’re trying to get into a tight space.

Thus, if you want to shoot professional-grade images, you need to use stop motion rig arm and attach your GoPro to it.

You can’t do this with compact cameras because they’re too large and cause the rig arm to topple over.

Another reason why the GoPro is a better choice is that it lets you take blur-free, crisp images.

When you use a compact camera without a tripod (like these options here), your hand may be shaky and make the image blurry. Since the frame keeps shifting, your animation won’t turn out perfect.

I recommend the GoPro video camera because it can be controlled from a distance via phone or Bluetooth.

Thus, you don’t have to manually click the shutter button for every single frame. This is a major timesaver and makes your life easier.

If you have the budget for the GoPro, it’s the clear winner because it has all the features you need to take photos from a distance and you can attach them to almost anything.

If you’re on a budget though and looking for an easy-to-use camera with high image quality, then a compact camera is a great option.

For the pros the best camera for stop motion is a DSLR camera which I’ve reviewed here

Buying guide

Here’s what to look for when buying a compact camera or GoPro for capturing still images for your stop motion animations.

Image quality

The image quality is important for obvious reasons. You want your stop motion animation to look as good as possible, so you’ll want a camera that can take high-quality photos.

Megapixels

The number of megapixels a camera has will affect the quality of the images it takes. A higher megapixel count means that the photos will be crisper and have more detail.

Frames per second

The number of frames per second (FPS) that the camera can take is also important. The higher the FPS, the smoother your animation will be.

Compact cameras typically have a lower FPS than GoPro cameras. However, this isn’t always the case and there are some compact models that can shoot at high FPS.

Overall, GoPros are better for capturing motion but you don’t really need that for stop motion.

Timelapse setting

Some compact cameras and GoPros come with a timelapse setting.

This can be used to take photos at set intervals, which is great for capturing long scenes in stop motion animation.

Video quality

The video quality is also important if you plan on using your compact camera or GoPro to shoot video footage in addition to stop motion animation.

Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity

Some compact and GoPro cameras have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which can be used for connecting your camera to other devices such as a smartphone or tablet.

This makes it easier to transfer files and edit photos if you’re using a mobile device.

Live view

A live view feature will allow you to see exactly what the camera sees so that you can correctly frame your shot.

This can also be useful for setting up your stop motion scene before you start shooting.

Shutter speed

The shutter speed is the amount of time that the camera’s shutter is open while taking a photo.

A faster shutter speed will result in less blur, which can be important for stop motion animation where even a slight blur can ruin a frame.

GoPros typically have faster shutter speeds than compact cameras.

Weight and size

Generally, compact or mirrorless cameras are much bulkier and heavier than GoPros. This is because they typically have larger image sensors and more lenses.

You’ll want to consider the size and weight of your camera when purchasing it, especially if you’re going to be carrying it around with you while shooting.

Battery life

Another important consideration is battery life. If you’re going to be shooting for long periods of time, you’ll want a camera with long battery life.

After all, taking many images for your animation requires a lot of power.

The average battery life of a GoPro is about 2 hours, while the average life of a compact camera is about 4-5 hours.

But keep in mind that the GoPro battery lasts for about 6 hours if you’re only taking photos, and not making timelapse videos and filming.

Price

Of course, the price is also an important factor to consider. Compact cameras and GoPros range in price from around $100 to $1000 or more.

Also read about the 7 different types of stop motion here (including claymation)

Compact camera vs GoPro for stop motion: top options reviewed

Now you know how each type of camera compares, specifically when using them for stop motion, let’s look at the best models of each on the market.

Best overall GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO10 Black

The GoPro Hero 10 is the most up-to-date action camera but it’s also the best when it comes to photographic image quality and resolution from the GoPro range.

Best overall GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO10 Black (Hero 10) 

(view more images)

Although it’s got a small size, the camera has plenty of useful features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

This makes it ideal for use with mobile devices and also for editing your videos later on.

In terms of battery life, the GoPro Hero 10 lasts around 4 hours with the accessory pack attached.

However, users noted that the main battery is quite poor and you always need backup batteries if you’re going to shoot a stop motion video.

The main advantage of this latest GoPro is that pretty lightweight at only 1.2 lbs considering it has new features like cloud connectivity, a rear touchscreen, and a new front display.

These features are helpful for animators because they can see what they are capturing as they shoot and make adjustments on the fly.

What really drew me to the GoPro 10 is that you can set the timelapse and the camera takes photos without you having to keep pressing the button.

Then you can look back at the images and see them in video form.

The price of the GoPro Hero 10 is high compared to other action cameras but it’s still cheaper than some DSLRs.

All in all, the GoPro Hero 10 is a great option for any stop motion animators looking for a powerful yet portable and affordable camera solution.

Check the latest prices here

Best budget GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO8 Black

The advantage of a GoPro is how versatile it is. The Hero 8 is great for filming action videos but then when you’re at home, you can use it to take snaps for your stop motion videos.

Best budget GoPro for stop motion: GoPro HERO8 Black

(view more images)

This camera has impressive frame rates considering it’s not a digital camera.

The GoPro Hero 8 has a 12 MP camera which is not as crisp and clear as the Hero 10’s 23 MP but it’s still a good option to take your stop motion photos.

The HDR on this model is much improved from previous models. So, your images will have reduced blur and you’ll be able to capture all the fine details, even in low-light conditions.

I even recommend this camera for kids because it’s a surprisingly high-quality image producer and is easy to use!

And, unlike a compact camera, even if the child drops it, it won’t break.

The only drawback of the GoPro Hero 8 is that you need to frequently charge it.

This camera has a battery life of 50 minutes when filming, so if you’re going to be shooting for a long time, you’ll need backup batteries or an external charger.

Overall, this is an excellent camera for stop motion animators who don’t want to spend too much and want a small compact GoPro that does it all.

Check the latest prices here

Best GoPro Hero 10 vs GoPro Hero 8 budget

If you’re looking for a GoPro and want beautiful-looking images for your stop motion film, the newer Hero 10 is a better choice because it has a 23 MP camera compared to the Hero 8’s 12 MP.

Hero 10 also has a longer battery life, making it ideal for filming over long periods of time.

When it comes to taking photos though, both of these models have a decent battery life since less power is required to shoot images compared to video.

However, if you’re looking to save some money and don’t mind sacrificing image quality and battery life, the GoPro Hero 8 is still an excellent option because of its low price tag and good frame rates.

The GoPro Hero 8 is the better choice for stop motion animators looking for a budget option. It’s cheaper than the Hero 10 and still produces high-quality images.

The only drawback is that you need to frequently charge it.

Best overall compact camera for stop motion: Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4K

If you want a good compact camera that can compete with a more expensive camera like a DSLR, the Panasonic Lumix is one of the most popular options.

Best overall compact camera for stop motion- Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4K Digital Camera

(view more images)

It’s a small camera that you can fit into your pocket but it has a surprisingly good sensor so the details are extremely clear.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is a great all-around camera that takes stunning photos and videos.

It’s a good choice for stop motion animation because it has a fast shutter speed of 1/2000 to 60 seconds, which means you can capture each frame without any blur.

This camera has a touch-screen display which makes it easy to adjust the settings.

It also has 4K video capabilities, so you can create high-quality stop motion videos for your next project.

But the reason why this camera is at the top of my list is that it also has WIFI connectivity. Therefore, you can use the Panasonic Image App to remotely control and shoot with the camera.

Additionally, you can transfer the images without having to use a USB cable.

If you’re using the app, you can use your phone’s touchscreen to set the focus point and make a wide range of other adjustments without touching the camera.

And, with a battery that lasts 300 shots, you won’t have to worry about running out of power in the middle of a shoot.

However, there is no rubber or textured area for additional grip on the front of the camera, and the same is true on the back of the camera, with no texture or rubber grip for your thumb, which is disappointing.

Due to the camera’s design and lack of a thumb recess, you can accidentally set the focus point to the top right of your screen with your thumb.

Overall, if you’re looking for a good value compact camera that can help you take stunning photos and videos for your animation projects, the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is a great option.

Check the latest prices here

Best budget compact camera for stop motion: Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a camera for stop motion, or perhaps you’re a beginner, the Sony is a good starter camera with all the basic features you need to make a stop motion animation.

Best budget compact camera for stop motion- Sony DSCW830:B 20.1 MP Digital Camera

(view more images)

Sony’s DSCW830 is a great budget option for stop motion photographers.

This camera is easy to use, with a simple control layout that allows you to set the camera’s settings and then get to work shooting your animation.

It also has decent image quality, with 20 MP of resolution so that you can capture all the details in your stop motion scenes.

And thanks to its fast shutter speed of 1/30, you won’t have to worry about blurry frames.

The camera has manual focus and image stabilization to help you shoot clear and crisp photos.

Other features include 360 panoramic shooting, and intelligent auto so you don’t have to manually select each mode.

Also, it’s easy to adjust the ISO and you have a built-in flash too.

Overall, you have all the features you need to shoot your stop motion even if you’re a complete beginner.

And, if you like very simple digital cameras, this one is the point-and-shoot device you need.

However, keep in mind that the DSCW830 does not have WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, so it’s not possible to transfer your photos from the camera to other devices without using a cable.

But overall, this is a great option for stop motion photographers on a budget.

Check the latest prices here

Best overall camera Panasonic Lumix vs Sony budget camera

The Lumix has a longer battery life so it’s better for longer stop motion animations because it means less time spent charging the camera.

Both cameras have the same 20.1 mp image quality so you won’t be sacrificing image quality if you go with the Sony.

The Lumix has 4K video capabilities while the Sony does not. But you probably don’t need this feature unless you want to go beyond stop motion animation.

The Panasonic also has a touch-screen display which makes it easier to adjust settings on the camera.

It also has WiFi connectivity so you can transfer your photos and videos without using the dreaded USB cable.

However, if you’re looking for a simple camera and don’t mind using a cable to transfer your photos, the Sony is a great budget option.

It’s also easier to use and has good image quality, so you can get started right away making your animation using this camera.

Overall, if you want an all-around, high-quality compact camera for stop motion, then we recommend the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 as the best overall because it has more features and the images end up looking less blurry and the colors turn out really nice.

FAQ’s

What are the benefits of using a compact camera for stop motion?

Back in the day, the compact camera was the first choice for high-quality images and frames when making stop motion or claymation animations.

The still images required for such films can be shot using a compact camera with ease.

Compact cameras offer a number of key benefits that make them ideal for use in a stop motion animation studio.

First, compact cameras are typically much smaller and more lightweight than DSLR cameras, making them easy to transport and set up.

Second, compact cameras usually have built-in flash units, which can be helpful when shooting in low-light conditions.

Third, many compact cameras come with an easy-to-use point-and-shoot interface, which is ideal for beginners or those who don’t want to fiddle with complex settings.

It’s easier to shoot wide-angle shots with such devices.

Finally, compact cameras are typically more affordable than DSLR cameras, making them a great option for those on a budget.

Can you do stop animation with a GoPro?

Yes, you can do stop animation with a GoPro.

GoPro cameras, on the other hand, are designed for action and adventure photography, which makes them a great choice for stop motion videos that involve a lot of movement.

GoPro cameras are also more durable than compact cameras, so they can withstand being dropped or bumped around during filming.

What are the advantages of using GoPro to shoot stop motion animation?

While compact cameras are a great option for those looking for an easy-to-use device with high image quality, GoPro cameras offer a few advantages that make them ideal for stop motion animation.

First, as mentioned above, GoPro cameras are designed for shooting video, meaning they’re capable of capturing both photos and videos in high definition.

Also, the GoPro app has a fast swipe feature so you can look through all the photos you took really quickly.

Second, GoPro cameras are extremely lightweight and portable, making them easy to mount in multiple locations without weighing down your setup. Thus, you can add them to the stop motion rig arm and they won’t topple over.

Also, the GoPro is a waterproof camera so you can create great videos and get creative.

Third, many GoPros offer motion-based features like time-lapse recording and burst photo modes, which can be helpful for capturing high-quality frames for your stop motion films.

Finally, GoPro cameras can be controlled from a phone via Bluetooth so you can take photos without manually touching the shutter button. This reduces blurriness and eliminates the frame shifting issue.

How to use a GoPro to make stop motion animation

This means there are two ways to use the GoPro to create stop motion animation.

Manually

Here you manually capture images with the app or remote. Simply take a picture, move the object, and then take another picture.

Repeat as necessary. Take all the photos into your editing software and make each one a single frame in post-production.

With time-lapse

Using the time-lapse feature on your GoPro means the video is taken over a period of time and the camera takes all the photos for you.

Ensure that you have enough time to move the object by setting the interval long enough.

A picture is automatically taken by the GoPro. The final product will be a video of the process.

How to use a compact camera to make stop motion animation

You can use any compact camera or mirrorless camera to take your photos. These offer more image stabilization, lens, and shutter options and the image quality is generally very good.

However, unlike a DSLR camera, the compact camera is not like interchangeable lens cameras so you don’t have as many options. But, there’s no doubt it’s easy to use in photo mode.

To create a stop motion animation with a compact camera, you’ll need to start by mounting the camera securely somewhere.

This will allow you to easily move objects in front of the camera without worrying about how stable or unstable your setup is.

Once you’ve settled on a location, you either manually capture the images using an app or remote control or use a time-lapse feature to create your video.

Then, take all the photos into your editing software, mobile apps, or special stop motion software and make each one a single frame in post-production.

Takeaway

Both compact cameras and GoPro cameras are popular options for creating stop motion videos, as they both have the advanced features and capabilities needed for this type of filmmaking.

While each camera has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, deciding which one is right for your needs ultimately depends on your individual preferences and goals.

The GoPro has all of the features you need to create stop motion videos. You can attach the small cameras to extendable rig arms and control them from a distance so your frames don’t shift and the photos are always clear and blur-free.

But if you’re on a budget, compact cameras tend to be more affordable than GoPro cameras.

This makes them a great option for beginner animators and filmmakers who are just getting started with stop motion.

Additionally, many compact cameras have a wide range of manual settings that allow you to adjust the camera to get the perfect shot for your stop motion film.

Next, find out what other equipment you need for stop motion animation (complete guide)