Tech Tools: Liebovitz, Schmiebovitz

Ricoh Theta (Theta360.com)

For pure, candy-coated novelty, reach for the Ricoh Theta. This still and video camera comes with two back-to-back fisheye lenses—one on each side. Both lenses captures 180 degrees of their surroundings, and then the camera stitches the two shots together into a complete 360-degree view. It’s like a selfie in the round. So what can you use that for? Snap a photo of the Grand Canyon and the look of amazement on your face in a single image. Place the Theta ($300) in the middle of your kitchen table and nab a photo of your whole family enjoying dinner. Upload the images and video to your computer and zoom into every corner, exploring each lifelike detail of your experience. The only real challenge is creating a photo without your thumb in it.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 (Panasonic.com)

Panasonic’s $1,700 Lumix DMC-GH4 has a water-sealed body and is the first mirrorless camera (more compact and durable than previous digital models) capable of capturing 4K video—four times the resolution of HD. These upgrades make it ideal for taking into the field. One of its greatest features is that it’s completely silent: It doesn’t click when you snap a photo, and it comes with a built-in headphone jack so you can play back your videos without disturbing the wildlife (or the celebrity you’re tailing).

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Canon PowerShot SX530 HS (USA.Canon.com)

Point-and-shoot cameras are making a comeback. This new model from Canon ($430) comes with a fixed lens and “zoom framing assist,” which automatically recognizes the subject of your photo even if it is in motion. Point-and-shoots are ideal for the budding photo geek who doesn’t want to fool with switching out lenses.

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GoPro Hero 4 (GoPro.com)

Contrary to what GoPro’s extreme sports-loving community has led you to believe, you don’t need to jump out of a plane or run with the bulls to take full advantage of a GoPro. You can bring the rugged camera snorkeling—it’s waterproof down to 131 feet—or just have fun documenting your kids’ day at the pool. You can get a bird’s-eye view of your neighborhood by attaching it to a hobby drone—or just attach it to the roof of your car to relive the thrill of your daily commute over and over. The point is, this thing can go wherever you want, so use your imagination. This $500 video camera has built-in Wi-Fi and an LCD touchscreen, plus it can capture ultra-hi-def 4K video and stills at 30 frames per second. That’s a whole lot of crystal-clear images of your neighbor’s backyard.

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Nikon D750 (NikonUSA.com)

Nikon and Canon are the Ford and Chevy of the camera world: Their specs and performance are usually about the same, so deciding which to buy comes down to personal brand loyalty. The Nikon D750 is a great camera for beginners and has plenty of settings for you to fiddle with, including night-vision mode. Or you can just leave it to the camera’s superior brain to automatically adjust the settings—this $2,300 dude can autofocus and snap a perfect photo in less than one-fifth of a second. But if you’re going to splurge on a powerful camera like this one, plus its lenses, spend a few extra dollars on a photography lesson to appreciate all of its features.

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Alyson Sheppard

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