Holiday 2012: Rugged Compact Digital Cameras

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Rugged compact cameras are built tough to withstand accidental drops, submersion and exposure to extreme temperatures. With these durable imaging devices, you’ll have less to worry about than you would with a standard point-and-shoot camera—because these cameras can take their fair share of abuse and keep on clicking.

The cameras that follow are great for use on the beach, on a boat, while diving, or even just while outdoors in the rain. You can bring one along on a hike, an off-road trip, a walk through a winter wonderland, or any number of similar adventures. Capture great images and HD video right in the middle of the action with these tough compact cameras.

Olympus

Olympus Tough TG-820 iHS

The Olympus Tough TG-820 iHS is waterproof, with a depth rating of 33’ (10 m). It’s also shockproof and can withstand drops from as high as 6.6’ (2 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and dustproof. The camera has a 12MP CMOS sensor and a TruePic VI image processor for reduced noise. It records Full HD 1080p video, which you can view on an HDTV via the camera’s Micro HDMI port. Its 5x optical zoom lens has a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and an f/3.9-5.9 aperture. The large 3” (7.6 cm) LCD monitor for shot composition and playback has a resolution of 1,030K pixels. With the TG-820, you can even create 3D still images: the camera captures two pictures and combines them into one for playback on a 3D-capable viewing device. Shoot continuously at 5 fps for up to 25 images at full resolution, or a rapid 60 fps for up to 100 images at a 3MP resolution. The camera also employs mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization. It has 46.8MB of built-in memory. The TG-820 camera is available in blue, black or silver.

Olympus Tough TG-320

The Olympus Tough TG-320, like the TG-820, is waterproof, but has a shallower depth rating of 10’ (3 m). Also like the TG-820, it’s shockproof from a slightly shorter height of 4.9’ (1.5 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and dustproof. The TG-320 is equipped with a 14MP CCD sensor. It utilizes the TruePic III+ image processor and records HD video at 720p instead of 1080p. The TG-320 also has a wide-angle-to-telephoto lens, with a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 28-102mm (3.6x optical zoom) and an aperture of f/3.5-5.1. Its 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD monitor features a resolution of 230K pixels. With this camera, as with the TG-820, you can create 3D pictures that are viewable on a 3D-capable device. Play your videos on an HDTV via the camera’s Micro HDMI port. Shoot at up to 3 fps for as many as 200 shots at 5MP, or 0.6 fps for the same number of images at full resolution. And like the TG-820, the blur that can be created by camera movement is reduced via mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization. The camera's built-in memory totals 19.5MB. The TG-320 comes in red or blue.

Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS

The Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS has a depth rating of 40’ (12.2 m). Like the TG-820, it is also shockproof to 6.6’ (2 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C), dustproof and uniquely, is crushproof to 220 lbf (pound-force). But what sets this camera apart is that it’s the world’s first rugged compact camera with a fast f/2.0 lens for clear, detailed low-light shooting. This f/2.0-4.9 lens features a 35mm equivalent wide-angle-to-telephoto focal length of 25-100mm. Like the TG-820, the TG-1 has a 12MP CMOS sensor for capturing still images, including 3D photos, and recording Full HD 1080p video. It also stands out from the cameras discussed so far in that it records stereo sound to enhance your videos. The sensor teams up with the DSLR-grade True-Pic VI image processor to deliver fast autofocus and continuous shooting from 5 fps for 25 images at full resolution to a blazing 60 fps for 100 images at 3MP resolution. The camera’s large 3” (7.6 cm) OLED monitor displays images at 610,000-pixel resolution. Camera-motion blur is minimized via an image stabilization system. Just like the previous two cameras, the TG-1 is equipped with a Micro HDMI port for playback on an HDTV. To help get you where you want to go and keep track of your location, the camera is configured with a GPS function and a compass, as well as a manometer to record elevation and water depth. The TG-1 also has 7.9MB of built-in memory.

Nikon

Nikon COOLPIX AW100

Nikon’s COOLPIX AW100 has a depth rating of 33’ (10 m) and can survive drops of up to 4.9’ (1.5 m). It’s also freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). The camera employs a 16MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED C2 image processor to capture stills and Full HD 1080p video—with stereo sound. It has a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.9-4.8 lens with 5x optical zoom. You can capture 7.1 fps for up to 3 shots at full resolution. An interesting feature of this camera is its Action Control, which lets you easily adjust certain settings with gesture control. Not having to touch a button to change settings is especially helpful when you’re wearing gloves, as is often the case underwater. VR image stabilization reduces the effects of camera-movement, for clarity, and you can play back your work on an HDTV via the AW100’s integrated Mini HDMI port. Like the TG-1, the AW100 features GPS and compass functions to help you navigate and track your location. It also has a built-in map on its large 3” (7.6 cm), 460,000-pixel LCD screen. The camera has 83MB of built-in memory. The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 comes in orange, blue, camouflage or black.

Canon

Canon PowerShot D20

Canon’s PowerShot D20 is depth rated to 33’ (10 m), shockproof to 4.9’ (1.5 m) and freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Its 12.1MP CMOS sensor captures still images and Full HD 1080p video (with monaural sound), which are refined and improved by the DIGIC 4 image processor. The camera’s electronic wind filter suppresses wind noise that can be picked up by the microphone during video recording. Another feature the D20 shares with the AW100 is a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.9-4.8 lens with 5x optical zoom. Optical image stabilization reduces the effects of camera movement, and you can shoot 1.9 fps in continuous mode. You also have the ability to view playback on an ample 3” (7.6 cm) LCD screen with 461,000 pixels, or on an HDTV via the Mini HDMI port. And like the AW100 and the TG-1, the D20 features built-in GPS capability. Unlike the preceding cameras, the D20 does not have built-in memory.  

Fujifilm

Fujifilm FinePix XP100

Also worth a look is the Fujifilm FinePix XP100. Depth rated to 33’ (10 m) underwater, shockproof to 6.6’ (2 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and dustproof, this camera has a 14.4MP CMOS sensor for still images and Full HD 1080p video with monaural sound. Like the AW100 and D20 discussed above, the XP100 has a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) lens with 5x optical zoom. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.9-4.9. Mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization corrects for camera movement to reduce blur, resulting in sharper pictures. In continuous shooting mode, this camera captures 3 fps for up to 12 frames at high resolution, or 10 fps for 12 frames at lower resolution. View playback on a 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD monitor with a 230K-pixel resolution, or on an HDTV via the built-in Micro HDMI port. The camera has 95MB of built-in memory. The FinePix XP100 is available in your choice of orange, green, blue, black or silver.

Fujifilm’s FinePix XP150

Fujifilm’s FinePix XP150 is very similar to the XP100. It has the same depth rating of 33’ (10 m), is able to handle 6.6’ (2 m) falls, is freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and is also dustproof. It has a 14.4MP CMOS sensor for capturing photos and Full HD 1080p video with monaural sound, which you can play back on your HDTV via the camera’s integrated Micro HDMI port. Like the XP100, AW100 and D20, the XP150 has a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) lens with 5x optical zoom. Its aperture range is the same as the lens on the XP100: f/3.9-8. Mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization corrects for camera motion to reduce blur, giving you sharper photos. In continuous shooting mode, capture 3 fps for up to 12 frames at high resolution, or 10 fps for 12 frames at lower resolution. The camera is equipped with a 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD monitor with a 230K-pixel resolution. Another feature this camera shares with the AW100, TG-1 and D20 is built-in GPS capability. It has 47MB of built-in memory.

Fujifilm FinePix XP170

Next in Fujifilm’s XP line is the FinePix XP170. Like the XP150 and XP100, it is depth rated to 33’ (10 m), shockproof to 6.6’ (2 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C), and dustproof. Its sensor, like that of other XP series cameras, is a 14.4MP CMOS, and it also records Full HD 1080p video with monaural sound, which you can watch on your HDTV via the built-in Micro HDMI port. Like the XP100, AW100, D20 and XP150, the XP170 is equipped with a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) lens with 5x optical zoom and an f/3.9-8 aperture range. Mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization corrects for camera motion to reduce blurriness in your images. In continuous shooting mode, you can capture 3 fps for up to 12 frames at high resolution, or 10 fps for 12 frames at lower resolution. Its LCD is 2.7” (6.9 cm) in size and 230K pixels in resolution. By downloading the free Fujifilm Photo Receiver app, you can connect the camera to any Android smart phone or tablet, or your iPhone or iPad, enabling you to send photos to your connected devices with a single tap. Like the XP100, the XP170 camera has 95MB of built-in memory. It is available in orange or blue.

Fujifilm FinePix XP50

The final XP series offering from Fujifilm in this roundup is the FinePix XP50. It’s got a depth rating of 16’ (4.9 m), is shockproof from up to 4.9’ (1.5 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C), in addition to being dustproof. Like the rest of the XP series cameras discussed above, this one has a 14.4MP CMOS sensor, records Full HD 1080 video with monaural sound, and features a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) lens with 5x optical zoom and an f/3.9-8 aperture. Mechanical (sensor-shift) image stabilization corrects for camera motion to render sharper images. In continuous shooting mode, you can capture 3 fps for up to 12 frames at high resolution or 10 fps for 12 frames at lower resolution. The camera’s 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD has a 230K-pixel resolution. You can also view your playback on an HDTV via the built-in Micro HDMI port. The XP50 is equipped with 95MB of built-in memory, the same as the XP170 and XP100. The XP50 is available in orange, blue, green, silver or black.

Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 is depth rated to 16’ (4.9 m), shockproof from up to 4.9’ (1.5 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) and dustproof. The 16.1MP CCD sensor produces still images and HD 720p video with monaural sound. Like the Olympus TG-1 discussed earlier, the TS20 has a wide-angle to telephoto 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) 4x optical zoom lens. Its maximum aperture is f/3.9, while its minimum is f/13. Optical image stabilization helps reduce the effects of camera movement, enhancing sharpness in your images. At a resolution of 3MP, you can shoot at up to 8 fps for 80 images. Full-resolution shots can be captured at 1.3 fps. The TS20 features a 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD with 230,000 pixels. However, it is not equipped with a built-in HDMI port for playback directly from the camera. The DMC-TS20 has 70MB of built-in memory and it comes in your choice of orange, black, blue or red.

Panasonic DMC-TS4

Another rugged Lumix camera from Panasonic is the DMC-TS4. It can be safely submerged to a depth of 40’ (12.2 m) and is also shockproof to 6.6’ (2 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees) and dustproof. Like the TS20 and TG-320, this camera has a CCD sensor. It captures 12.1MP still images, shoots 3D photos, packs a Leica lens and records Full HD 1080 video with monaural sound. The lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28-128mm, covering a wide-angle-to-telephoto range with 4.6x optical zoom and a maximum aperture of f/3.3-5.9. Optical image stabilization helps reduce the effects of camera movement for sharper images. At full resolution, you can shoot at 3.7 fps for a maximum of 6 images. At a lower resolution of 3MP, capture 10 fps for up to 100 images. Like a lot of the cameras we’ve discussed so far, this one has a 2.7” (6.9 cm) LCD with a resolution of 230,000 pixels, and you can also watch playback on your HDTV via the built-in Micro HDMI port. The TS4 features GPS functionality, along with a compass, altimeter and barometer. The camera includes 20MB of built-in memory. You can purchase the DMC-TS4 in orange, blue, black or silver.

Pentax

Pentax Optio WG-2

The Pentax Optio WG-2 has a depth rating of 40’ (12.2 m) and is shockproof from up to 5’ (1.5 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) dustproof, and is another unusual rugged compact that is crushproof to 220 lbf (pound-force). The camera is equipped with a 16MP CMOS sensor and records HD 1080p video with monaural sound. The WG-2’s lens is a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) with 5x optical zoom. The aperture ranges from f/3.5-5.5. View playback on the ample 3” (7.6 cm), 460K-pixel LCD screen, or on your HDTV via the integrated Micro HDMI port. Digital image stabilization keeps your shots sharper in the event of camera movement. In burst-shooting mode, the camera captures 10 fps for up to 30 frames at up to 5MP resolution. The camera features 88.2MB of built-in memory. The Optio WG-2 is available in black or red.

Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS

The Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS is essentially the same camera as the WG-2. However, it possesses a key feature that makes it different, a feature it shares with the TG-1, AW100, D20, XP150, and DMC-TS4 cameras: built-in GPS functionality. It has a depth rating of 40’ (12.2 m) and is shockproof to 5’ (1.5 m), freezeproof to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C), dustproof and it's in the crushproof minority, resistant to a maximum of 220 lbf (pound-force). It’s got a 16MP CMOS sensor and records HD 1080p video with monaural sound. The WG-2 has a wide-angle to telephoto 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) lens with 5x optical zoom and an aperture range from f/3.5-5.5. View playback on the ample 3” (7.6 cm), 460K-pixel LCD screen or on your HDTV via the built-in Micro HDMI port. Digital image stabilization keeps your shots sharper by reducing the effects of camera movement. In burst-shooting mode, the camera captures 10 fps for up to 30 frames at 5MP resolution. It also includes 88.2MB of built-in memory. The WG-2 GPS camera comes in your choice of orange or white.

Add new comment

Can any of these cameras shoot images in raw format?

Hello,

No, I am sorry.

Hello Joel -

None of the cameras listed in our article will shoot in the RAW format.   We do not offer a rugged waterproof camera that shoots RAW.

The Nikon COOLPIX P7100 Digital Camera will shoot RAW.  And you can purchase a compact housing for it: 

The Fantasea Line FP7100 Housing For Nikon Coolpix P7100 is a durable polycarbonate underwater case for your Nikon Coolpix P7100 digital camera. Featuring a depth rating of 200' (60 m), the housing has ergonomically designed and labeled controls enabling access to all camera functions. Ergonomically designed and labeled controls enable access to all camera functions.  Camera installation is quick and easy. Shock resistant, the housing safeguards your valuable investment against not only water, but also sand, dust, frost and other potentially damaging elements. 

Aside from underwater photography,  thehousing is also great for outdoor above-the-surface water activities, like paddle sports, sailing, boating, surfing and fishing. It also works well for typically "dry" activities that can sometimes become wet ones, including hunting, backpacking and camping

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com