The Best Cameras And Accessories To Capture Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Make sure you can capture your next adventure. Getty Cameras are essential tools for my work as an adventure journalist. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a climbing expedition in a remote part of British Columbia, backcountry skiing in Japan or hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail, I need […]

Cameras are essential tools for my work as an adventure journalist. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a climbing expedition in a remote part of British Columbia, backcountry skiing in Japan or hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail, I need my camera gear to be durable, capable and light-weight to do my job well. After years of testing various cameras and accessories, these are some of my favorites for capturing great photos on outdoor adventures.

Best Overall Camera

The Sony RX1Rii offers a lot in a portable package. It’s a 42.4 megapixel full-frame digital camera with a 35 mm fixed lens. The pop-up digital viewfinder works well and keeps the camera profile small. I like how I can keep it accessible in a jacket pocket or in a small camera case on my belt. The photo quality is exceptional for a compact camera. The large aperture Zeiss lens produces beautiful images. The downsides to this camera are the poor battery life and lack of optical zoom. But the batteries are small, so it’s easy to carry a few spares, and with over 42 megapixels, cropping images is no big deal.

Best Action Camera

The DJI Osmo is my favorite waterproof action camera. This thing is great if any water or snow is involved or if you’re trying to get POV shots. The image quality is good, but the manual control is limited. This thing shines for filming action video—it has built-in image stabilization that works quite well. I use this for capturing quick moments when I can’t stop to compose the shot. There are several accessories that allow you to mount this to your backpack, ski poles, car, surfboard, helmet, handlebars, etc. My favorite mount is the chest mount, which provides a low and stable point of view.

Best Drone

The DJI Mavic Air 2 strikes a balance between image quality, flight stability and pack-ability. Small drones can’t fly well in windy mountain conditions. But big drones are a pain to bring on long hikes. The DJI Mavic Air 2 strikes a happy medium. It folds down to a reasonable size to fit in a day pack, but it can still hold its own in a bit of wind. The intelligent shooting modes can create masterful shots. I like using the ActiveTrack function, which allows the drone to follow me as I walk, so I can get unique shots of myself even when there isn’t anyone else to pilot the remote. With 48 megapixel photos and 4k/60fps video, the onboard camera is hard to beat. Unfortunately, the battery only lasts about 30 minutes, so it’s a good idea to carry spares. It always surprises me how fast 30 minutes goes by when I’m trying to get the perfect shot. Just make sure you’re allowed to use drones wherever you want to fly. Many parks and wilderness areas prohibit them.

Three Essential Accessories

Best Accessory Case

The Mystery Ranch Zoid Cell is a simple padded pouch that I use to hold my cameras and various accessories. It’s a good size for a camera plus extra batteries, a microphone, lens filters and radios, and it does a good job protecting my equipment while it’s jostling around in my backpack.

Best Tripod

The XC-M 525C is stable and light, and it folds up small enough to stuff in a backpack. A good tripod is expensive, but this one is competitively priced for its quality and versatility. A light carbon fiber model is key for hiking into the backcountry. But it still needs to be solid. I will not stand for wobbly tripods.

Best Power Bank

The Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is an important tool for long trips. A dead battery is the worst way to miss an awesome photograph, so I always make sure I have a way to recharge. The Sherpa 100AC is relatively small and it can still charge things that require AC power. There aren’t many small power banks that come with a built-in AC inverter, so that’s a huge selling point for the Sherpa 100AC. Inverters are never power-efficient, but the USB charge ports on the smaller Goal Zero power banks won’t cut it for things like laptops and drone batteries.

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