Monstrum Tactical 3-9×32 AO Rifle Scope

At first glance, one might think the Monstrum Tactical 3-9×32 AO Rifle Scope is one giant dial with all the adjustment rings it has. These dials and rings do not limit the performance of the scope but do you a variety of options when it comes to magnification, illumination, and range estimation.

Due to its variation, the AO has uses in hunting and tactical situations. It’s not your average long barrelled scope like the ones you might find on Leupold’s market.

Features

One of the neat aspects about the AO is that its target reticle can be illuminated five different ways to help you see better in low light. This portion of the scope does require a CR2 battery however, which can be annoying to replace whenever it’s depleted. Unless you are using the scope every day, the battery should last you a long time.

Perhaps the most notable feature of this 3-9×32 scope is its adjustable objective lens (AO) which is promptly named for. This focus allows for increased sharpness in imagery and range estimation. The ring at the very end of the scope can also be used for focusing.

  • Some people prefer to carry a rangefinder which may give a more accurate representation of range, but it’s your preference.

This scope might be preferable for the extreme marksmen who is looking for a parallax free scope. The AO on this scope allows for adjusting that should eliminate parallax in most cases.

Ranging

As we all know, a bullet begins to drop away as soon as it leaves the barrel. Beyond three-hundred yards, that drop is going to increase dramatically. Now that aspect has more to do with the ballistics and the rifle itself, but this scope can still help you get on target. With a 3-9x magnification and adjustments to the other dials, you can still be on track (while accounting for your ballistics weight and drop).

When zeroing in your rifle (preferably before you introduce it to hunting and competitions), it is especially important with this scope, in particular, to practice with different magnification and focus levels. This will help you understand your target when conditions and terrain aren’t ideal compared to a shooting range.

Specs

  • Materials: 6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • Compatibility: Rifles with Picatinny or Weaver Rails.
  • Scope Range: Close to Mid Range, 300+ Yards.
  • Magnification: 3-9
  • Objective Diameter: 32 mm
  • Eye Relief: 3.5-3.8 in
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Length: 9.3 in

Overall

We may have described this scope as perfect for extreme marksmen, but its various features make it very user and beginner-friendly. If you intend to brave it against the elements, you can rest assure that its interior will remain safe. The body is nitrogen sealed to keep the inner workings and optics free of contamination.

You may find that you have little need for all the rings and dials on the scope but in the end they’ll always be there if you need them. This scope compensates for the smallest of optical aberrations and elements so one way or the other, you’ll end up hitting very tight groups.

Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 Compact Binoculars Review

When we think of binoculars, we can be quick to classify any of them as good for any purpose. This simply isn’t so. Take a look around Optics Den and you’ll see the various sorts of optics used specifically for different purposes.

This is where the Spectator 8×32 compact pair of binos by Wingspan Optics comes in. These binos almost fit in the entirety of your hand but we aren’t classifying them as toys or mini-binos by any means. The most popular hobby that these binos are used for is birding.

  • Wingspan Optics is a brand known for their focus in birding optics, so you can already see how specialization in the optics industry occurs.

You may be asking, can’t I just use my hunting binoculars for birding? Don’t they do the same job? Not quite. Let’s look at why this set of Spectators is a universal birder’s choice for optics.

Despite their small size, the Spectator’s have a pretty wide depth of field that enables you to see more in a single viewing. The light transmission is just as good at the maximum magnification and range at a thousand yards.

  • An important aspect of birding is being able to differentiate between two species that look almost identical. The 8×32’s give you incredible detail at long range so you can identify those small characteristics.

Don’t mistake the Spectator’s small size for low-quaility optics. These binos boast impressive stats that will help you see what you want to see on a greater level of detail. Let’s take a look at some of its specs.

 

Specs

POWER – 8x

OBJ.LENS DIA. – 32mm

EXIT PUPIL DIAMETER – 4

EXIT PUPIL DIST. – 14.8

DIMENSIONS (LxWxH) – 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.75 inches

WEIGHT – 15.2 Ounces

 

Overall

Just because these binos specialize in birding doesn’t mean you can’t take them anywhere else. Many users have reported that the small size of Spectators allows them to take the binos on trips and excursions where larger optics might prove cumbersome or unnecessary. They do carry a little bit of weight to them but not like true hunting or other sporting optics.

  • Our recommendation would be to simply test them with any hobby that your require optics for whether it be birding, hunting, or even stargazing. You might find that the Spectator is more suited for birding compared to other binos but in the end everyone’s preference is different.

Where the Spectators really stand out is the coloration of the environment or in most cases—animals you are looking at. This where that need for differentiation we talked about comes in. Color and light transmission, as well as visibility all play a role in your ability to see the target.

  • For accessibility, the binos have hooks on the sides where you can thread a strap through. Don’t feel as though you have to carry them by hand everywhere you go.

The magnification isn’t the greatest in the world in terms of sporting optics but the trick with these binos is their depth perception and their ability to pick up detail. A maximum range of around a thousand yards is still an impressive feat.

 

Leupold VX-3i 25x50mm Rifle Scope Review

Leupold is one of America’s top rifle scope manufacturers, as we’re sure you’re well aware by now. The extremely popular VX line of rifle scopes boasts some pretty eye-opening specs that cannot be ignored. Of course, you’re going to be digging into your pockets with the VX-3i 25x50mm. The lowest price tag for the least powerful version of the VX-3I is just over a grand. Don’t let the price tag be a huge deterrent, however.

Let’s take a look at the impressive specs for the 25x50mm:

 

Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) - Low11.20
Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) - High4.40
Weight (oz)22.40
Eye Relief (in) - Low5.30
Eye Relief (in) - High3.70
Elevation Adjustment Range (MOA)80.00
Windage Adjustment Range (MOA)80.00
Actual Magnification Range8.2 / 25.1

 

The scope’s focal planes are interchangeable between MOA (minutes of angle) and MIL (1/1000in) depending on your preference. For those that might be unaware, MIL and MOA are measurements used to zero in rifles. They help you determine the placement of your shot if it doesn’t hit on the dot (which is rare as it is.)

 

Features

As to the VX-3i’s features, it is water and fog proof as constructed of fine, aircraft-quality aluminum so you know you’re protected against the elements. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the VX-3i is its Twilight Max light management system. When visibility is low or unclear, the VX-3i will utilize the Twilight Max to give you clear and consistent light emission.

While user-friendly in most respects, the knowledge that goes into operating the VX-3i is little more advanced. The magnification levers are all within hands reach and the interior of the scope boasts updated optics that are specifically designed for long life. Since it is Leupold’s most advanced and up to date scope so far, it would make sense that it would be.

 

Compared to the VX-2

The VX line of scopes are extremely popular, no doubt, but what makes one better than the other? Cosmetic and tubular changes to the scope are one thing, but what additional features and enhanced optics come with the VX-3i?

It’s not uncommon to see these types of scopes mounted on bolt action rifles, in particular, the Remington 700 series. Everyone has their preference on how accurate they want their rifle to be. The VX-2 utilizes the CDS (Custom Dial System) that allows you to change the elevation of your shot according to the bullet you are firing. To be more specific, you can tune the VX-2 to be more accurate according to the weight of the bullet.

The VX-3i, on the other hand, uses the same system and has enhanced optics for greater range and target identification. This rifle scope accounts for elevation and windage as well, two very important factors when considering a target a long ways off.

Sure, the VX-3i is going to cost you a lot more than the VX-2, which is why the extreme marksmen is going to prefer it above any other scope. This means that its definitely not your average beginner’s scope. When conditions aren’t ideal, you want to make sure you’re able to get an accurate shot off before your target disappears. As the latest model in the astounding VX line, the VX-3i is definitely the scope for the job.

Photography/Videography tips for the Outdoors

Planning to take an outdoor excursion sometime soon? While you’re trying to decide whether to take your Hasselblad H5D-60 or your best Nikon camera, we have a few tips and pointers for you to consider before and during your trip.

Types of Cameras

The first question on everyone’s mind is what kind of camera should you bring?

  • DSLR camera— For the best high-quality stills and sometimes videos.
  • Action camera — For capturing the best quality videos in-action.
  • Camera drone — For getting unique and unparalleled videos and stills.

adult, blur, cameraAccessories

There’s really no limitation to what you should bring, but this question should correlate to how much value you place in your camera. Taking an expensive camera is always going to be a risk, but you’re also going to get the best shots.

  • For some people, this is a no-brainer. Of course, you’re going to take the best camera you have. That’s why you should take every precaution to protect it.

 

In the Outdoors

In order to maximize the power of your particular set of optics, in the case of DSLRs, you’re probably going to want different lenses or filters. Whether one breaks or you want a different type of shot, having backups in the wilderness is always handing.

  • Click here for the best Tamron DSLR lenses
  • Click here for the best Nikon DSLR lenses
    • Check out the beginner’s guide to the best Nikon lenses
  • Click here for the best Sigma DSLR lenses for Canon
  • Click here for the best Sigma DSLR lenses for Nikon

 

You also shouldn’t try to point and shoot. Sure you might get a pretty good looking shot but the key to photography and somewhat in videography is patience. This will mean more time spent to get fewer pictures but at the same time simply shoveling pictures into your memory card is unnecessary.

  • Try not to aim into the sun. Use your camera’s natural lighting abilities.
  • Playing with the onboard may create some interesting (or funny) effects!
  • Take pictures at different times of the day.
  • Try different exposures (short vs. long).

 

Overall

Taking pictures shouldn’t detract from your overall trip, which is why too much photography can be a problem. An action camera can solve this problem. Simply attach it to your body and just start rolling.

In general, your first priority is to keep the camera or machine safe from the elements and secure around or near your body if possible. Especially if you’re carrying a camera that’s not so easily replaceable, pictures are second in priority in the outdoors.

Nikon D850 Review

In the market for a stellar full-frame DSLR camera? Look no further than the brand new Nikon D850. With gorgeous image quality and unrivaled AF capture, the D850 is one of the best SLR cameras on the market today.

The D850 replaces the top-tier D810 as a top of the line, high resolution, full frame offering from Nikon.

Specs

Let’s take a look at just a few of the key specifications on the D850:

  • 7 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 0 fps continuous shooting
  • 153-point autofocus system
  • 2″ high-res tilting touchscreen
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording
  • ISO 64-25,600
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in

Image Quality

The D850 represents Nikon’s first back-side illuminated full-frame sensor and no optical low-pass filter. It also provides 45.7 MP shooting at high speed, faster and sharper processing, and excellent AF even in super low light conditions. You can shoot up to 7 fps at 45.7 MP, so this camera is supremely versatile. The effect of all the bells and whistles and updated tech is stunning image quality and a seamless shooting experience.

The video quality is also stunning: the D850 is the first Nikon to shoot 4k from the full sensor width. It also lets you shoot slow motion sequences — record 4x (shoot at 120p, playback at 30/25p) or 5x (shoot at 120p, playback at 24p) slow-motion at 1080p. Or, record time lapse sequences in 4K UHD – an excellent option for astrophotographers.

Focus Shift Mode offers options to capture excellent DOF shots in high resolution. Advanced Scene Recognition System ensures optimal exposure, and Picture Control System helps you do less post processing. Again, this camera is nothing if not versatile, making it an excellent option for anyone from wedding photographers to wildlife photographers.

To understand just how great the image quality is, a comparison of the D850 with the D810 (which was already an excellent camera) illuminates some of the huge advancements Nikon made with this new model. Obviously megapixels is a big one (45.7 versus 36.3 on the D810), but ISO range (64-25,600 versus 64-12,800), autofocus (153 points with 99 cross type points versus 51 AF with 15 cross type), and shooting speed (7 fps in all formats versus 5-7 fps) are pretty significant too.

 

Speed

Speed is key in the D850. Not only does it offer fast shooting, but it also has faster processing. Autofocus is both fast and accurate. Capture up to 51 consecutive shots in 14-bit RAW or up to 170 frames in 12-bit lossless compressed RAW. The attention to detail and speed makes this – yes, we’ll say it again – incredibly versatile. Whether you’re shooting a wedding, a sporting event, or wildlife, the D850 ensures you can focus on the shot and not have to worry about the mechanics.

The AF on the D850 comes from Nikon’s flagship D5, a smart decision on Nikon’s part to ensure the highest-end camera they have can match speed of their beloved sports camera. Continuing with the speed (and D5) theme: the D850 can expand to 9 fps with the MB-D18 Multi Battery Power Pack.

Also related to speed: the amount of memory available means you don’t have to worry about switching out cards in the middle of a shoot. The D850 has both an XQD and SD slot. It also has excellent battery performance, boasting a battery life rated at 1840 shots.

Body

The D850 looks much like the D810, but it’s more comfortable to hold and has a few added features. New body features include a tilting touch LCD, touch sensitivity, and no more built-in flash. The removal of the flash means a new viewfinder and extra magnification (0.75x). It is 35.4 oz with a battery and XQD card.

Bottom Line

The D850 is a worthy successor to the D810 and is worth upgrading to no matter which camera you’re coming from. It retains so many of the excellent things that the D810 feature, plus it has some serious upgrades and borrows some key components from the D5 and D500. It doesn’t cost much more than the D810 and is still priced well for a full frame DSLR. This might be the best DSLR on the market right now, so if you’re considering it, we say go for it.

Shop Now

The Basic Drone Pilot’s Guide

Drone pilots come in all shapes, sizes, and experiences levels (emphasis on the latter). You can have a lot of fun with your new, semi-autonomous aircraft, but one thing to remember is that flying any aircraft comes at a risk.

Click here to see the best camera drones. Included at the bottom of this article is information on expectations from the FAA.

Click here to see the best racing drones.

How do I fly it?

There are a couple of ways people fly drones. Drone technology has advanced at a starting rate and with it, the ways to control them. The three following are the most popular methods to control drones: FPV, Controller, and Follow Me.

 

 

FPV

FPV (First Person Viewing) is probably the most breathtaking and intuitive way to fly a drone. In a way, you “become” the drone as your FPV goggles allow you to see throug

h the drone’s eye. This will usually involve downloading an app of some sort onto your smartphone. Your smartphone then slides into the goggles and there you have it! You’re in the cockpit as the drone takes to the skies. FPV can definitely help you see your photos and videos as they are.

FPV can be a little tricky, especially when you can’t exactly see who or what is next to you unless the drone is pointed back at you. For us, this can be a little nerve wracking. If you decide to go with FPV, make sure you’re in a safe area away from cliffs and edges.

On a side note—you’ll be using a controller in conjunction with the goggles, but you’ll still be able to see things in a different perspective.

Controller

If the FPV goggles aren’t your thing, simple line of sight flying using the controller will do the trick. Most cameras will be large enough to have a dedicated holder for your smartphone. You can still use your drone manufacturer’s app to see where the drone is going but it won’t be as up close and personal as with FPV.

Additionally, having to look up to see where the drone is in the sky and looking down at your smartphone to see what it sees can be a bit tiresome. Nevertheless, many users are comfortable with flying the drone like any other RC aircraft and let the recording do its own work.

Follow Me

Most beginner and mini-drones are too small to have this smart feature. However, most hobbyist and professional drones usually come with a feature that allows them to hover and follow their user. That’s right, no controller or FPV goggles needed because the drone will keep its eye trained on you for as long as you want.

On the downside, this means that you will only be getting shots of you as you move along your journey. You would have to play around with the controller or app in order to move the camera off of you.

How do I get it back in the air?

Drones are very intricate pieces of technology and unless you work for the drone industry or build them yourself, chances are you’re not going to know exactly how to repair them should they get in a serious crash. That being said, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you should consult a professional repairman. This can be expensive, considering that the drone market is still up and coming, but in our opinion, it’s far better than purchasing an entirely new one.

Yuneec and Parrot either sell some of their parts separately or have guides so you can do some simple repairs yourself. Neat! DJI, unfortunately, does not sell nearly as many parts as its two competitors. Furthermore, if your manufacturer offers insurance plans, it might be a good idea to purchase one of these options if you consider yourself the Maverick of drone pilots.

There are three parts of each drone that you should take great care to avoid damage to.

  • Body
  • Camera
  • Propellers

Body

Some drone’s bodies are built to handle a few crash landings here and there. That’s why the hobbyist and professional ones usually have landing struts. Regardless, you should try and avoid high-wind, low-visibility areas so you know where your drone is at all times. If the drone’s body is damaged whereas the internal electronics or drive system is exposed, you shouldn’t launch it again.

iFixit is a resource that we like because it’s written by people who have probably experienced the same problems you have. The following link leads to a site on iFixit where not all but some drones are listed and their respect repair guides.

Camera

The unfortunate aspect about most drones as they are not sold separately from the drones themselves. If a crash landing damages the camera beyond use, you’ll have to purchase a new one that is different from the one that came with the drone. Yuneec is one of the few manufacturers that actually sells their cameras separately, which is a huge plus to Typhoon hexacopter pilots.

The consensus on the internet is that GoPro’s work the best as replacements, which might be true. However, at the same time, you’re going to have to take the battery life of the drone and the GoPro into consideration.

Another factor you’ll have to consider is how your replacement camera will mount on the drone (assuming the drone is intact). If you’re unsure, don’t purchase a replacement camera until you’ve consulted the manufacturer or a trusted online community to know that the camera, mount, and drone will all work cohesively.

Propellers

The propellers are the most important pieces on the drone. They are one of the few parts of the drones that are easily replaceable should they become damaged or malfunction. Drones of all sizes usually come with air guards that protect the propellers from taking the brunt of an impact.

If you can identify that a propeller is broken while the wing itself is intact, simply replace the propeller with one of the ones that should come with your initial purchase of the drone. Most drone purchases give you the option of including accessories with your purchase. It’ll be a little more expensive than just the drone itself, but it’ll be well worth it if the propellers become damaged.

When to send it in to be repaired

We’re glad you asked, because this is a very subjective question. You’ll be able to tell if a wing or propeller is completely broken off or separated from the drone, but other situations are going to be really tricky. Here are some situations where sending the drone in to be repaired is the most logical solution.

  • Internal software or electrical problem
  • Broken wing
  • Erractic flying w/no control
  • Major damage to body

In the end, it’s going to be up to you to decide what constitutes as necessary repairs. We recommend establishing a relationship with your drone’s manufacturer either through insurance/warranty plans or constantly checking the manufacturer website for updates on support and tutorials.

Mini and beginner drones are another question. Most of these are going to be less than two-hundred and one-hundred dollars, with the latter going to be more easily replaceable than the former. We don’t recommend laboring too much on repairing these ones if they have suffered major damage.

How do I interact with other pilots?

Having a good community of fellow pilots can definitely aid your skills and may save you a pretty buck or two. Here is a list of the largest and most popular drone communities for you to explore and network with.

These communities are filled with drone pilots of all experience levels and everything ranging from guides on drone repair to information on how to pass the drone pilot certification test.

Cool Stuff to do with Drones

I’ve got a drone. What can I do with it?

The major difference between beginners drones and hobbyist/professional drones is the presence of a camera. Some beginner drones come with cameras but they are low quality and the battery life of the drone itself doesn’t give you much time to shoot extravagant shots. A camera drone will get you some film worthy shots, but the bulk of a heavier batter and more powerful propellers means you loose the ability to do flips and crazy stunts.

Check out the video below where Carlos “Charpu” Puertolas, one of the best drone pilots in the world, takes his own drone for a spin shows you how to pull some insane maneuvers. If you specialize in FPV flying, this video will really be a treat.

 

 

Your average camera drone is definitely not going to be this maneuverable. These features are limited to mini and racing drones, which have the small weight and airframe to handle super maneuverability. The truth is, there are a bunch of activities you can engage in with drones with or without a camera. While you’re probably going to have FAA breathing down your neck for a while, the key is to be safe and practice, practice, and practice again.

Here are some ideas that may or may not require approval from a higher power before engaging in. If you’re looking to combine a job with a drone, then it’s always good to double check with anyone directly above you to make sure it’s okay.

  • Aerial/Geological Mapping-also helpful for tracking storms, fires, and wildlife
  • Wedding Photography
  • Special Delivery!
    • Medical supplies-some drones may soon have LCD screen so paramedics can communicate directly with bystanders.
    • Food/Beverages-many companies are already experimenting with this
  • Make movies
  • Recording sports (for film practice)

Depending on what your interests are, chances are you’ll find a way to incorporate your drone’s capabilities into them. Just don’t get on the FAA’s bad side.

Olympus TG-Tracker Review

Careful not to mistake the Olympus’ TG-Tracker for your average range finder, because they look pretty similar. The TG-Tracker is an action camera ideal for hunting. Why? It’s got some unique features that separate it from action cameras you’ll take snorkeling, snowboarding, or off-roading. Here are other action cameras that are more rounded in terms of capability.

What should you want in an action camera? If you’re a hunter, the first thing you’ll probably think of is camouflage, but that’s not always the case.

  • Durability
  • Battery Life
  • Camera Quality
  • Systems

Let’s explore some of these categories and find out why the TG-Trackers is the ideal hunting action camera.

Durability and Design

The TG-Tracker doesn’t look like your typical action camera. Its interface is actually on the side and flips out backward. You hold the camera much like a range finder instead of on a selfie stick where its pointed back at you. You can still mount the TG-Tracker on a stick, but it’s not quite the ideal selfie taker.

It might not be a tank, but it sure is built like one. The TG-Tracker is built to endure the occasional drop or mishandle, but that doesn’t mean you should actively look to destroy it! The most important thing you can do to extend its lifetime is to use it responsibly.

Camera

Don’t let the odd design of the TG-Tracker detract from your thoughts about its camera. It wields an impressive 4k quality at 30FPS camera which is the best you can get for any action camera. Whatever you plan on viewing on your hunting trip, the TG-Tracker will capture it all for a pretty affordable price.

The TG-Tracker’s camera can see 204 degrees in front of itself, about 24 degrees wider than most adventure action cameras. It isn’t panorama but it gets pretty close. It’s ideal for spotting and capturing things that might be outside of what even you can see.

Systems

The TG-Tracker’s systems are what are going to appeal to most hunters. Aside from the high-quality camera, it comes equipped with various outdoor-focused sensors such as GPS, eCompass, accelerometer, thermometer, and a barometer. There are few if any other action cameras that come equipped with these features. To have all these sensors on one device will lessen the load on hunting trips or outdoor excursions in general. 

If you’re trying to be efficient with your energy and the terrain you travel, the TG-Tracker has a log feature that will record your movement and even data on your environment for your future study.

Overall

If there was a camera built exclusively for living in the outdoors, the TG-Tracker would be it. It’s not cheap, but it isn’t terribly expensive either. Its versatility in terms of available features will appeal to hunters and outdoorsman alike. The TG-Tracker compares not too unfavorably with the GoPro HERO5 in terms of overall capability. Both cameras are built for the outdoors but the TG-Tracker can probably handle a little more punishment.

Regardless of comparison, anyone who purchases the TG-Tracker with the intent to capture nature in its prime is going to be satisfied.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 vs. HERO5 Action Cameras

You may recognize the brand Garmin by their exceptional fitness trackers (Click here to see comparisons of Garmin fitness trackers). We’ll be looking at the VIRB Ultra 30 and how it shapes up to a similar competitor, the HERO5. Both action cameras are top of the line when it comes to quality, looks, stability, and reliability.

The HERO5 is the face of the current action camera industry but that shouldn’t count out the VIRB. These two cameras actually shape up pretty well when compared to one another. Both are not exactly cheap and easily replaceable, but they’ll be worth your while if they’re well kept and maintained.

That being said, let’s get into the review.

Camera

Winner: Tie

Both cameras are capable of 4k/30FPS quality settings. This is the best setting on action cameras on the market. It’s going to eat up battery more quickly than lower settings, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide.

The quality settings are nice, but they won’t do much good if you can’t get the perfect shots. That’s why both cameras employ similar stabilization systems to prevent the camera from shaking during a rickety ride.

Style

Winner: HERO5

You’d think looks and style won’t factor into a purchase, but you’d be surprised how many people judge a book by its cover. The VIRB and the HERO5 are both great machines, but the HERO5 is overall a smoother and more intimate design. It’s nothing personal, but if you want to have the sweetest looking action camera in the wilderness, the HERO5 is going to show that you’re pretty serious about capturing the best sights the world has to offer.

The HERO5 doesn’t have any of the excess buttons or designs along the top or front of the camera. It’s as simple of an action camera as you can get with all the perks of being a high-quality device.

Systems

Winner: VIRB

At first, we thought the HERO5 has this category in the bag but upon further inspection, the VIRB actually surprised us. The VIRB actually has a variety of systems including GPS and performance monitoring sensors that measure speed, elevation, heart rate, and probably the most unique of all—G-Force. We imagine that the VIRB is being used by a variety of aviators from wing-suiters to fighter pilots, hence why this measurement is included.

The HERO5 has none of these features. It makes sense that Garmin, a noted GPS and fitness tracker producer, would include these features on its action camera. If you’re looking to combine photography/videography with your exercises, then the VIRB is the camera for you.

User Experience

Winner: Tie

You’ll be surprised to find that despite the various buttons on the VIRB, it’s actually voice-controlled (to a certain extent) like the HERO5. Both cameras require at least some finger contact to manage the videos on the back screen, so voice control only goes so far.

The HERO5 is going to be simpler to use due to the fact that it only has one button. That being said, both cameras try to minimalize the excessive button pushing as much as possible.

Overall

Winner: VIRB

Whoa, some camera actually beat out the HERO5? The VIRB is definitely not as well known as the HERO5, but we hope this review gave you insight as to the VIRB’s capabilities. Simply put, it’s your ultimate outdoor action camera. With other cameras, we can understand how you might be careful with them and be

Simply put, it’s your ultimate outdoor action camera. With other cameras, we can understand how you might be careful with them and be hesitant to take them into the most extreme conditions. Not the VIRB, because this little machine was built to handle mother nature in all her forms.

DJI Mavic Pro Review

The Mavic Pro is an interesting design by DJI. This drone and the Spark are DJI’s newest drones and as a result, have plenty of fancy features and programs for their users. These various features make the Mavic Pro one of the more diverse drones on the market for people looking to maximize a drone’s photo and video taking capabilities. Click here for the list of best camera drones of 2017.

The first thing we would like to note about the Mavic Pro is its ability to fold up to about the size of a water bottle, making it compact and easier to carry for traveling. It can be a hassle to carry the drone with its wings fully extended out in the wilderness, thus DJI looked to solve this problem.

This drone really marks a transition from hobbyist drones to professional drones for DJI.

Camera

As with most drones at this level, the Mavic Pro is fully capable of 4k/30FPS quality setting. With twenty-seven minutes of flight time, you shouldn’t worry about getting all the best angles and videos with what you have.

Lately, DJI has been implementing hands-free technology, and the Mavic Pro shares this capability with the spark. When you have the Mavic Pro focused and turned towards you, simply make a frame with your fingers and you’ll get a quick selfie. It’s pretty intuitive but if you’re still wary, don’t worry, the drone still comes with a controller.

Systems

In addition to slight voice control, the Mavic Pro has a number of systems to keep it in the air shooting for as long as possible. What’s great about the Mavic Pro is even if it’s moved beyond visual range, it has the ability to detect obstacles and slow down to avoid them. Furthermore, with the push of a button, it returns home to you.

Despite its sci-fi look, the Mavic Pro is a user-friendly drone. Its price might initially deter beginners but the combination of FPV glasses and a highly interactive controller will give you proper control over it.

Performance

The Mavic Pro is fast, which is unusual for a non-racing drone (for a list of best-racing drones, click here). With a top speed of around 40mph, it can get to where you want it to go quickly. If you’re looking to take a majority of your shots quickly, then the Mavic Pro can get the job done in no time.

Overall

At first glance, the Mavic may appear to just be a bigger Spark. However, its speed and battery life for example clearly separate it from DJI’s other drones. Don’t let those two features be the deciding factors, however. It still has the greatest camera on the market and its smart onboard features give you a wide range of options for capturing your outdoor (or indoor) adventures.