Single-digit temperatures are not fun. Snow days are, however, a great time to capture the fun of winter. The usual problems arise when you start traveling out into the wet and chilly world of winter—not all cameras are perfectly equipped to be operated either in these extreme conditions or with gloves. Here you’ll find a collection of solid systems that will survive a blizzard.
Olympus OM-D E-M1X
Surprising us with this pro-oriented release, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X is certainly ready for some fun in the snow. It happens to be a camera we have tested extensively while skiing and snowboarding in Vermont, so we can easily make the recommendation for fans of shooting in arctic conditions. Olympus has always made rugged cameras, and the 20MP E-M1X is its best Micro Four Thirds offering yet. It can withstand water spray with ease. The larger size makes it easier to handle when wearing gloves, and you have more custom buttons to work with. Additionally, Olympus’s PRO lenses are just as durable, making this a solid system. The killer feature is a completely revamped autofocus system with incredible tracking at up to 18 fps, fast enough to freeze anything.
Tiny tough cameras are quite viable for blizzards. The Sony RX0 is one of the best, going with the form factor of a traditional action camera while using a larger 20MP 1" CMOS sensor that grants much-improved image quality. My thoughts for this camera? You can stuff it in a pocket easily and keep your hands nice and tucked away from the cold when not in use, and take it out quickly for snapshots. The fixed 24mm f/4 lens is solid, as well, creating sharp images with minimal distortion. Most importantly, it is completely waterproof and crushproof.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Always ready for the worst is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. Known as a professional’s camera, the 1D X Mark II is one of the most durable around. You’ll find it around the sidelines of football games, where the sport is played in all weather, packed into a photojournalist’s bag as they navigate through rugged areas of the world, and set up with many people who want speed and a reliable system. Key specs for the 1D X Mark II are a 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, up to 16 fps shooting, and DCI 4K video at 60 fps.
Canon EOS R5 and R6
Some people prefer DSLRs, others mirrorless, and that’s where the Canon EOS R5 comes into play. In addition to serious weather-sealed construction, Canon’s top gun mirrorless EOS camera features a 45MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a DIGIC X image processor that enables the EOS R5 to bang out up to 20 fps (electronic shutter, 12 fps mechanical shutter) and 8K30 Raw and 4K120 10-bit internal video. The EOS R5 also features a 5.76m-dot OLED EVF and a 3.2" Vari-Angle touchscreen LCD, and slots for CFexpress and SD UHS-II memory cards.
Canon’s EOS R6 sports a 20MP CMOS sensor capable of recording up to 20 fps when used in electronic shutter mode (12 fps in mechanical mode). The weather-sealed Canon R6 features 4K60p and FHD 120p 10-bit internal video, a 3.69m-dot EVF and 3" 1.62 m-dot touchscreen LCD, 5-axis image stabilization, and a Dual Pixel CMOS AF II AF system with 1053 focus points.
Nikon’s recently released flagship DSLR is the new Nikon D6, which packs a 20.8MP FX-format CMOS sensor and the latest EXPEED 6 image processor that enables up to 14 fps at ISO sensitivities extendable to upwards of 3,280,000 (yes, you read that right… three million two hundred and eighty thousand).
If tundra-like conditions are on your itinerary, you can’t do better than the thoroughly weather-sealed magnesium alloy construction of the D6. Regardless of the weather, the D6 can also capture UHD 4K video at 30 fps. The D6 also features Nikon’s latest Multi-CAM 37K AF system (105 cross-type AF points), a 3.2" 2.36m-dot touchscreen LCD, dual CFexpress Type B/XQD memory card slots, internal WiFi and Bluetooth, and support for both wired and wireless LAN connections.
Nikon Z 7II
Nikon Z-series camera fans also have a weather-sealed option for harsh weather shooting—the Nikon Z 7II. The newest addition to Nikon’s smaller and lighter mirrorless lineup features a hi-res 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor and dual EXPEED 6 image processors that enable burst rates of up to 10 fps at ISOs extended to 102,400.
Other features found on the Z 7II include UHD 4K60 Video, N-Log and 10-Bit HDMI Out, a 493-point phase-detect AF system, a 3.2" 2.1m-dot tilting touchscreen, 5-axis in-body Vibration Reduction, and dual memory card slots—one for CFexpress Type B and another for SD UHS-II cards.
Leica SL2 and SL2-S
The Leica SL2 is a 2nd-generation mirrorless camera that has gained much traction since it was first introduced. This sturdy, made-in-Germany camera features a 47.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor with a Maestro III image processor that enables up to 20 fps stills or 5K/DCI 4K video with HLG and 10-bit recording, a 3.2" 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD, and a 5.76m-dot OLED EVF. The camera also features 5-axis image stabilization, dual SD UHS-II card slots, and for the highest possible resolving power a 187MP multi-shot mode.
If you don’t need that much resolving power, Leica’s SL2-S features a lower-res, 24.6MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, but it also bangs out up to 25 fps when needed and features a 96MP Multi-Shot mode for times 24MP isn’t enough for your immediate needs.
Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrom
There are two versions of Leica’s top-of-the-line point-and-shoot camera—the Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrom. Both feature similar-but-not-quite-the-same 47.3MP full-frame CMOS sensors, a superb (and dedicated) Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens with true macro capabilities, Maestro II image processors, up to 10 fps burst rates, 3.68MP OLED EVFs, 3" 1.04m-dot touch-LCDs, and thoroughly weatherproof, made-in-Germany construction.
The difference is that the “standard” Q2 captures stunningly sharp color stills and video (DCI 4K24p, UHD 4K30p, and Full HD 120p) while the Q2 Monochrom captures what can honestly be described as large-format quality in a 35mm format and form factor. Sure, you can always convert RGB files to monochrome easily in Photoshop or other image editing programs, but anybody who has shot with the Q2 Monochrom will tell you it’s just not the same—the black-and-white you get from the Monochrom really is that much better.
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R
Partnering has its benefits, and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R is a shining example of such a collaboration. Sharing the same platform as Leica SL-series mirrorless cameras, Panasonics DC-S1R has a 47.3MP CMOS sensor for capturing up to 9 fps or UHD-4K 10-bit video, 5-axis image stabilization, ISO 25600, a 3.2" 2.1m-dot Tilt/Free-Angle touchscreen, a 5.76m-dot OLED LVF, a contrast-detect 225-area DFD AF system, a 187MP Hi-Res mode, and solid weather-sealed construction.
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H and DC-S1
Equally sealed against the elements is the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H, which has a lower-resolution 24.2MP CMOS sensor (which is nothing to sneeze at), 6K24p and DCI and UHD 4K video with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling, up to 9 fps burst rates, a 3.2" 2.33m-dot Tilt/Free-Angle Touch-LCD or 5.76m-dot OLED LVF for composing and reviewing stills and videos, and dual SD memory card slots. Other features include 5-Axis image stabilization, ISO 100-51,200, a contrast-detect 225-area DFD AF system, and as you should expect—fully weather-resistant construction.
Tamer yet, but extremely capable nonetheless is the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 (24.2MP), which in addition to a 96MP High-Res Shift mode shares many of the prime attributes of its S-series siblings.
Pentax K-1 Mark II
Pentax has been manufacturing weather- and freeze-proof cameras for years. Its latest harsh weather-ready DSLR to date is the Pentax K-1 Mark II.
The K-1 Mark II is as robust as it looks. Inside the K-1 Mark II’s fully sealed magnesium alloy body is a 36.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor that captures stills and Full HD 1080p video, 5-axis image stabilization, Pixel Shift technologies for higher-resolution stills, and dual SD card slots.
Do you enjoy working in the cold or shooting snow? Is there a camera we missed that you know can handle a blizzard or two? Be sure to leave a comment below, in the Comments section.