Tools that make it impossible to take a bad picture.
Pentax KP ($1,100)
Stop shooting vacation photos on your iPhone and use this lightweight 1.5-pound box instead. The 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor captures bigger, richer files than your cell, making for better prints. Plus, the KP has a massive ISO range—up to 819,200—for crisp low-light shots. It can snap seven frames per second and has a weather seal to keep you firing in rain and snow. You’ll need a fast lens to get the most out of this Pentax, but it’s a setup worth building out.
Canon EOS M6 ($779)
At 4.4 inches wide, this camera is too small and too powerful to not pack along on every trip—be that an evening hike or an all-day ride. You get a robust 24.2-megapixel sensor that snaps seven frames per second, plus an autofocus system that’s whip fast. It doesn’t come with a viewfinder, so we recommend adding Canon’s EVF-DC2 ($250) so you’re never stuck trying to use the LCD screen in variable light.
Nikon D7500 ($1,250)
If you like the feel of a DSLR, the D7500 is a great deal for the price. The 20.9-megapixel sensor performs exceptionally well in low light, and the camera borrows some subject-recognition autofocus features from the company’s flagship D5, so action shots are always crisp. Bonus: after you’ve linked the camera to your mobile device to share photos on Instagram, the D7500 has a low-power Bluetooth setting that keeps the two devices permanently connected.
Sony a9 ($4,500)
Sony just launched its campaign to take over the sports-photography world. The a9 shoots a mind-blowing 20 frames per second, or a half-dozen more than any Nikon or Canon. The camera also comes with a lightning-fast auto-focus that makes 60 adjustments per second to ensure you stay locked on your subject, whether he’s launching off a cliff or carving up singletrack. All that power comes in a package that weighs only 1.8 pounds—nearly half as much as you’d expect from a DSLR with similar chops.
Lumix GH5 ($2,000)
Built for moviemakers, Panasonic’s flagship camera houses a 20.3-megapixel four-thirds sensor, which is smaller than a full-frame sensor and easy to squeeze into a compact body. Designed to handle dust, rain, and even freezing temperatures, the GH5 shoots beautifully smooth 4K footage at 60 frames per second, thanks to five-axis image stabilization. For the real video junkies, options like shooting in 4:2:2, ten-bit video, and Vlog Gamma give this camera more color range than anything in its class.
DJI Phantom 4 Advanced ($1,199)
Up until now, DJI’s lower-end drones have been fun and easy to fly but strapped with low-grade cameras. The new Phantom 4, however, gets a 20-megapixel camera with a large one-inch sensor that shoots 4K video at 60 fps and high-res photos that look good on a screen and as prints. The camera comes with sweet additional features like full aperture control and a mechanical shutter. As for the drone, well, it’s still totally fun and easy to fly.