Nail the shot, anywhere, anytime. 

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(Courtesy of Sony)

Sony a99 II ($3,199)

Gear of the Year

The best image makers feature some combination of high resolution, great low-light sensitivity, and smart focusing tools that help you document the action. Sitting at the very top of the heap is the Sony a99 II, which excels in all these categories and folds them into a highly portable package. The a99 rocks a giant 42-megapixel full-frame sensor that allows you to crop in tiny or print huge (think bus advertisement). The wicked-fast autofocus tracking system has 79 points you can use to lock onto your subject, and the ability to shoot 12 frames per second means you’ll get crisp photos of your buddies ripping singletrack every time. It gets better: the ISO goes to an absurd 102,400, and the whole sensor floats on a five-axis stabilizer—features that help keep the image sharp even as light fades. Moviemakers can shoot 4K at 30 frames per second and, just like still photographers, benefit from Sony’s A-mount lenses, many of which feature Zeiss glass. Simply put: if you can’t make great-looking pictures or video with this thing, it ain’t the camera’s fault.

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(Courtesy of Fujifilm)

Fuji X-T2 ($1,599)

Best For: The aspiring pro.

The Test: If the Sony a99 II and the Canon 5D Mark IV are too much camera but you still need more than a point-and-shoot, the X-T2 nails the middle ground. Its respectable 24-megapixel APS-C sensor captures crisp portraits and landscape shots so detailed that you can pick out individual needles on evergreen trees hundreds of feet away. It logs 4K video, but more importantly, the footage looks great right out of the camera—no post-processing necessary in most cases. We appreciate its small details, like intuitive menus and buttons. The rear LCD is mounted to a dual hinge, twisting and turning to accommodate any view.  

The Verdict: The most capable pro-sumer camera you can buy.

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(Courtesy of Panasonic)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 ($700)

Best For: Punching above its weight.

The Test: Think of the ZS100 as a point-and-shoot on steroids. The 25–250mm focal range is massive for this pocket-size camera, allowing you to capture print-­worthy images even if you’re a football field away from someone tip-toeing across an alpine ridge. The autofocus performs a neat trick: simply tap your subject on the LCD to lock the focus as it moves through the frame, then fire away. Like the other cameras on this page, the DMC-ZS100 shoots 4K video that also produces eight-megapixel stills. And it’s easy to send images directly to your smartphone, thanks to the well-designed Panasonic app (free).

The Verdict: Way more powerful—and just slightly bigger—than your phone. 

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(Courtesy of Canon)

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV ($3,499)

Best For: Magazine-quality shots.

The Test: The original Canon 5D, introduced back in 2005, was the benchmark for photojournalists: it stuffed the features you normally saw in bulky DSLRs into a body nearly half the size. As a result, the 5D immediately became the go-to for adventure shooters who wanted something lighter to haul up mountains. Twelve years later, the fourth version is still a photographer favor­­ite that makes detail-rich 30.4-­megapixel 
­images. And, of course, it puts Canon’s giant ecosystem of pristine lenses at your dis­posal—everything from fast, tack-sharp wide-angle lenses ideal for landscape shots to the longer zoom lenses needed to capture BASE jumpers hucking off cliffs.

The Verdict: The best gets better. 

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(Courtesy of DJI)

DJI Mavic Pro ($999)

Best For: Nailing creative shots.

The Test: When it comes to consumer drones, the Mavic Pro occupies an airspace all its own. It’s tiny—just over 1.5 pounds and about the size of a Nalgene—and is loaded with top-shelf features, including a four-mile range, 4K video at 30 frames per second, and 12-megapixel stills. It can automatically follow a predetermined subject that you tag via the included controller, and it will take a picture (or “dronie”) when you stand in front of it and make a rectangle with your fingers. Set the route and it will fly itself to the location specified, leaving you free to work the camera via the controller or DJI’s free smartphone app.

The Verdict: 5Point Adventure Film Festival, here you come.

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Travel

The Best Summer Travel Shoes of 2017

Make a statement with stylish summer kicks.  Red Wing Weekender Chukka men's boot. (Courtesy of Red Wing) Red Wing Weekender Chukka ($230) The oil-tanned leather upper on this boot only looks better with time. We appreciated small but thoughtful details like tricolored stitching and two-tone laces. And the subdued color meant the Weekender was primed for pairing with colorfully patterned socks. But take our advice and order a half-size down to ensure a proper fit. Buy Now SeaVees Baja Slip-On Portal shoe. (Courtesy of SeaVees) SeaVees Baja Slip-On Portal ($98) Think of the Baja as a hipper version of a

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Travel

The Best Women's Travel Gear of 2017

Essentials for wandering—and playing—in style and comfort.  (Courtesy Patagonia) Patagonia Glorya Dress ($69) We hiked four miles in this poly-spandex dress, then turned right around and went to Sunday brunch on the beach. The cut, which bunches slightly at the hips, is flowy and 100 percent unrestrictive. Buy Now (Courtesy Goorin) Goorin Marlon Fernandez Hat ($160) Hopefully you’re traveling to some beautiful, remote Ecuadorean beach this summer. If not, this water-resistant straw fedora will at least make you feel like you’re about to embark on a tropical adventure, even when you’re stuck in city traffic.  Buy Now (Courtesy RYU) RYU

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Travel

The Best Watches of 2017

Watches that mix modern technology with old-school appeal.  (Courtesy Tsovet) Tsovet SVT-RM40 ($325) It was the Tsovet’s minimalist design that won us over. The solid stainless-steel case is water-resistant to 100 meters and houses a simple face meant to mimic the readout on an old fighter jet. Even more subtle: the date shows through a slot resembling a ship’s porthole. Only the metallic-blue hands convey a bit of flash. Buy Now (Courtesy Szanto) Szanto Officer’s Classic Round Automatic 6304 ($375) Szanto nailed the fieldwatch look with a round-edged case, subtle wave pattern on the face, and deco-like minute and

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Travel

The Best Camera Accessories of 2017

Taking photos shouldn’t be a chore. Make it fun. (Courtesy Danner) Danner Mountain 600 Low Hiking Boots ($160) The best hikers protect your feet without feeling like cement blocks. The 600 Low fulfills both needs: it’s relatively light (two pounds per pair) yet burly, with a thick, water-proof suede outer and tough Vibram soles.  Buy Now (Courtesy Flint and Tinder) Flint and Tinder All-American Jeans ($98) Good photographers kneel, crawl, jump, and climb to get the shot. These thick, 12-ounce denim jeans will stand up to all that abuse. Buy Now (Courtesy Mountainsmith) Mountainsmith FXpedition Monopod ($40) Low-light shooting calls

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Travel

The Best Summer Car-Camping Gear of 2017

Make weekend getaways that much easier.  (Courtesy Nemo) Nemo Puffin Luxury Blanket ($150) This cushy cover has become a camping ­essen­tial, with nylon face fabric to add ground protection for picnics and syn­thetic fill for cool nights. Buy Now (Courtesy The North Face) The North Face Thermoball Booties II ($80) Say hello to the most versatile piece of footwear you will ever own. Insulated with Primaloft, it’s warm and rugged for rocky hikes and cozy enough to replace your fireside slippers. Buy Now (Courtesy Goal Zero) Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Battery ($699) This is the tool you bring

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Travel

The Best Grills of 2017

Let’s be honest—most of us could use a little help when cooking out. Start with your most important instrument: the grill. The latest are practically idiotproof, taking human error (mostly) out of the equation and turning weekend ribs into the envy of anyone within sniffing distance. Portable Kitchen 360. (Portable Kitchen) Portable Kitchen 360 ($870) Our favorite of this year’s bunch is the Portable Kitchen 360, PK’s first new grill in nearly four decades. (The smaller original is a cult favorite.) Made from cast aluminum, this charcoal model has a four-vent system, allowing for precise temperature control, and two

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Travel

The Best Summer Tailgating Gear of 2017

A full kit for trailhead and parking-lot shindigs.  EcoXGear Eco­Boulder speaker. (EcoXGear) EcoXGear Eco­Boulder Speaker ($249) Many of the portable boom boxes we test are totally anemic. But the EcoXGear EcoBoulder’s 100 watts of power translates into a thunderous 115 decibels. Buy Now Kelty Loveseat chair. (Kelty) Kelty Loveseat Chair ($90) With room for two and as many drink holders, the comfy Loveseat will make you sit and stay awhile. The fact that the carry bag doubles as a firewood hauler is a bonus. Buy Now Urban Accents Grill Master set. (Urban Accents) Urban Accents Grill Master Set

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Travel

The Best Luggage of 2017

Five bags that are ready to take on the world.  Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible duffel. (Fishpond) Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Duffel ($299) The best travel bags can’t get by on just style or durability. These days they have to nail both. Call us picky, but we want luggage that can sit on the roof of an Indian tuk tuk in a rainstorm but also look good rolling into a swanky hotel. Case in point: Fishpond’s Thunderhead Submersible duffel. The orange body and climbing-rope handles add visual pop, but the bag is built to take a punch. We dragged the nigh-indestructible, 840-denier

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Travel

The Best Sunglasses of 2017

Style marries function in this new crop of eye protectors.  Roka Phantom sunglasses. (Courtesy of Roka) Roka Phantom ($275) Gear of the Year To glimpse what’s ahead in sunglasses, look back to the fashion-forward styles Grandma and Grandpa loved in their youth. The current updates, however, are much better than the originals: they have superior optics, lens tints, and coatings, and they’re more comfortable and safer, with lightweight, high-impact materials that can take a punch. The Roka Phantom is a clear example of the new paradigm. The classic wire-frame, teardrop-lens aviator takes an epic retro-futuristic leap that redefines performance-sports sunglasses—and in

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