Solid shooters: Best rugged cameras

Modern rugged compact cameras are designed to withstand all sorts of active lifestyles: drops from two metres, submergence up to 18 metres, and temperatures down to -10°C. But which rugged point-and-shooter offers the best value? We looked at five models under $400.



From the Summer 2013 issue of the magazine.



Sony Cyber-shot TF1

$200 | 10m waterproof | 1.5m | -10°C

The price leader with a particularly compact form, the Cyber-shot offers plenty of features, including image stabilization, panoramic shooting mode and a magnifying mode. But on the whole, it produces poorer-quality pictures than the other cameras. While the others record full 1080p video, the TF1 records 720p. The relatively slow image processor makes Sony’s product inappropriate for capturing action shots. Fifth place

Fujifilm XP200

$300 | 15m waterproof | 2m shockproof | -10°C

Early reviews praise the very new XP200’s long feature list, which includes video editing and 3D image generation. It also has an extra grip for wet hands and can be operated with ski gloves on. The XP200’s anti-glare LCD screen, high-definition video recording and 16-megapixel lens impresses as well. But at press time, few users have had the chance to assess this product’s image quality. Fourth place… for now

Olympus TG-2

$380 | 15m waterproof | 2.1m shockproof |-10°C

The TG-2 offers professional-grade camera options: the ability to swap out the standard lens for telephoto or fisheye lenses, and lens technology that enables photographers to capture ultra-sharp and colour-rich pictures. It’s also the only camera in this comparison rated to withstand crushing. But given its price, the TG-2 should come with a cap for its high-end lens. It’s also hard to use with gloves on. Third place

Canon PowerShot D20

$310 | 10m waterproof | 1.5m shockproof | -10°C

The only camera here that features wind suppression technology, making it the best of the contenders for recording video in blustery spots like high hiking trails. But users say it produces only “good” quality still and video images because the three-inch LCD screen doesn’t always accurately reflect the colours and sharpness of the actual shot. Still, the D20 offers numerous features for a reasonable price. Second place

Nikon Coolpix AW110

$350 | 18m waterproof | 2m shockproof | -10°C


With its metal casing, this little snapper looks and feels especially sturdy. It offers numerous features, including GPS and mapping software, a compass, motion detection (particularly useful for action shots) and a panoramic mode. Users say the three-inch organic LED screen is easy to see in direct sunlight and the images that the 16-megapixel lens produces are high quality. Its menus are easy to navigate, even while wearing gloves. Nikon’s product isn’t the least expensive option and isn’t as high-tech as some of the other cameras, but it presents the best balance of features, price and performance. First place

2 comments on “Solid shooters: Best rugged cameras

  1. I must say that I have an older Olympus – waterproof, crushproof, freezeproof camera and it's lasted me over 15 years. It even spent 24 hours at the bottom of the Oldman River after we had a bit of a "tubing" mishap. We were able to retrieve it the next day and it still worked great. I would highly recommend them to anyone that does boating, skiing, "tubing", . . really anything!


  2. I used to be a big fan of the Canon PowerShots and have stuck with them over the years, but I have to say that the last model I bought (A495) is complete garbage. It takes many photos out of focus or slightly blurry. And the problem is that it's hard to notice the photo is no good when you're looking at the screen. I mean, who cares about video resolution or DPI when one out of ten photos is randomly blurry. …The thing is, I could even understand if the shots were of moving objects or low light, but these fuzzy ones are of people and objects standing perfectly still. I've been through about 7 models of PowerShot, but sadly this will be the last one. :(


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