For generations, dads have loved the idea of keeping tangible memories of the important things in life. Whether it’s family getaways, the kids growing up, holidays, or a weekend of outdoor adventure or camping with mates, capturing those moments to look back on years later is easier than it’s ever been. Tech has evolved fast in recent years, which means better quality results at lower prices than ever before.
An obvious great choice for dad is a new camera to capture those memories with. Yes, everyone’s got a camera built into their smartphone, but the flexibility and image quality of a dedicated camera opens up a whole world of creativity.
For serious high quality photo results, it’s hard to go past the latest full-sized cameras, still boasting the classic form factor of the old 35mm SLR, but now packed to the hilt with top-end tech. The advantage with these photo powerhouses is their use of detachable lenses – you can swap out the zoom lens they come with for anything from a super-fast lens for action shots, to a high-powered telephoto to capture images from a distance.
The Nikon Z fc continues the famous company’s long history of stunning quality imaging, putting it inside a classic-style Nikon body that’s pure class. Its 20.9-megapixel sensor puts any smartphone to shame, and it’s no slouch at shooting 4K video either (with a viewfinder screen that can be flipped around for selfies or for shooting a vlog).
Meanwhile, Canon’s superb EOS M50 goes for the jet-black look with a 24-megapixel sensor and an OLED screen. They’re both great cameras that’ll capture memories for years to come (and they’ve both got Wi-Fi built in, so you can safely store your precious photos in the cloud right from the camera).
Retro styling is big in the photo world at the moment – and it doesn’t get much more retro than the Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera, which takes the look of the classic Polaroid models of the 1970s and updates it with smart tech including a 2-lens system and accurate-colour flash. This is one for those fun moments where an instant photo print – itself with a retro look – can be shared straight from the camera. This model has also added a double-exposure setting for dads who like to experiment!
Going for a more compact version for their instant camera is Fujifilm with the Instax Mini 11, a budget shooter that’s perfect for parties and, of course, that Father’s Day dinner. It’s aimed squarely at the fun side of things, with single-button simplicity and a range of value-priced mini-photo film to keep the photos coming.
If dad’s more action-minded (skiing, climbing, or riding), capturing video of stuff that moves fast is best done with an action camera – designed from the ground up to deliver smooth, stable, high-quality video, to handle the elements, and be small enough to be mounted on something like a helmet. The name most action cam fans will know right away is the mighty GoPro, whose HERO9 takes quality to a new level in their best camera yet. Typically tiny but with a massive 23.6 megapixel sensor, the HERO9 can shoot flawless 5K video and capture photos at 20MP. There’s a new front display for easy selfie setup (and you can livestream in HD direct from the camera), GoPro’s legendary HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilisation tech, and it’s built for adventure (waterproofed down to 10 metres).
The huge advances in tiny camera tech means that there are some terrific alternatives to GoPro at a lower price – such as the Kaiser Bass X350, which sports a Sony-made sensor that handles 2.7K video (upscalable to 4K) and comes with a waterproof case that lets you submerge it as deep as 40 metres – terrific underwater performance right out of the box. It also comes with an assortment of mounts to let you easily attach it to everything from a bike to a camera tripod, ready for action.
For a dad that’s always wanted to get online and create a vlog for the family – keeping in touch via video by creating a site that family anywhere in the world can share – it’s easier than ever to do. All he’ll need is a smartphone. To handle lighting, sound and stability, there are a couple of terrific kits designed specifically for the purpose. Joby’s Gorillapod and Influencer’s Portable Video kit bring together mini tripod, microphone and LED lighting, letting dad set up in seconds and vlog from anywhere.
For epic outdoor video memories, shooting from the air with a drone has really taken off (sorry). The limitless possibilities and incredible picture quality of DJI’s latest models makes them the brand to go for, whether it’s the tiny Mini SE – which is as light as a typical smartphone – or the full-featured Air 2S  with its inbuilt smart obstacle avoidance and a huge HDR video sensor delivering video at up to 5.4K. It even lets you know when aircraft are nearby, so you know when it’s time to get your drone back on land.
There’s also one gift every dad loves, which doesn’t record video or take pictures at all. A quality pair of binoculars still can’t be beaten for a day at the cricket or races, or spotting wildlife while camping. Nikon’s been making brilliant binoculars for decades and their Aculon A211 model, with its flawless 10x magnification and super-bright image quality, is a great gift choice that’ll keep on giving.