The DIY Filmmaker
DJI Phantom Aerial UAV drone
There are quite a few midrange drones on the market designed to work with GoPro cameras. The DJI ($479) is one of the best. Ready to go out of the box (you just have to charge the batteries and attach the propellers), it's easy to pilot and comes with a handy return-to-home feature. Last fall, we needed to equip a writer with a drone, and after a lot of research we decided on this one. With no prior experience, he quickly figured out how to fly it and captured some amazing footage.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera
It may look like a regular point-and-shoot, but make no mistake: the Blackmagic ($995) packs the punch of a larger, hi-def film camera. That's because its big sister is the Blackmagic Cinema camera ($1,995), which has been making waves in the film and television industries since it came out in July of 2013. The Pocket version has the goods—a 16mm 1080p HD sensor, Raw capabilities, an interchangeable lens mount that can handle a vast array of lenses lens—without the bulk, making it perfect for capturing dramatic summit scenes.
Garmin Virb camera
Garmin, known for GPS devices, created its first action cam with data--obsessed athletes in mind. The water-resistant Virb Camera ($350) links to smartphones and heart-rate monitors via Wi-Fi and automatically overlays -altitude, heart rate, and temperature info onto 1080p video during editing. Watching the playback is like looking at a fighter-jet screen.
Nokia Lumia 1020 camera
There's one big reason to lust after the Lumia 1020 ($299): it's a 41-megapixel camera that also shoots HD video. National Geographic photographer Stephen Alavarez agreed to use it—and only it—during a ten-day climbing trip through the Southwest. The result? Gorgeous, SLR-quality photographs. In a head-to-head test with an iPhone, the Lumia crisply captured distant detail that the iPhone couldn't make out, and low-light images were much brighter without having to futz with a lot of settings first.
Pedco’s UltraPod Go Tripod
Best used with a GoPro or other action cam, the collapsible Go ($15) makes it easy to capture footage in the field. Hold its grippy handle for point-of-view, fast-motion shots like capturing your buddy hucking a cliff on skis. Use the included strap to attach it to a tree limb for on-the-trail mountain-bike shots. Or set up its three legs on uneven terrain for steady group stills. It's the perfect stocking stuffer for action-footage junkies.