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Selecting a Camera: Tough Cameras

How To Document Your Craziest Adventures

This year a thirteen year-old boy climbed Mt. Everest. A sixteen year-old girl tried to sail around the world on her own. Pretty soon, six-year-olds will be hunting and skinning cougars with a buck knife. (Outside of “Red Dead Redemption” even.)

As travel and the world opens up to us all in ways that our grandparents could only dream about before the age of affordable international travel and internet searches to find all the cool things the world has to offer, we need a way to document it. If we climb a mountain covered in ice and snow, we need a camera to show our friends back home what frostbite looked like. If we snorkel in non-Gulf of Mexico blue seas, we want to show our friends what animals not covered in oil look like. To do that, we’re going to need a tough camera. Here’s a list of cameras organized by price that could fit your bill and take a pounding while they’re at it.

VistaQuest – VQ 8950 Sport – $69.99

For a waterproof camera, you probably won’t find a better price, which is kind of a worry. Yes, the low price might come from the fact that you need to supply three AAA batteries and a memory card, but looking at the specs, the details of its water resistance are lacking, even at the company’s website. Would I take this camera out into the rain? Sure, but I don’t think I would do much beyond that. Still, it has 8 MP of resolution and for something a little sturdier than the average point and shoot it has some value.

Samsung – AQ100 – $199.99

What do you get for $130? A camera that has a lot more details and features. This camera is waterproof to ten feet underwater, has an anti-dust system and 12.2 MP of resolution. It comes with its own rechargeable battery and three pre-programmed filter effects (miniature, vignette and fish eye) in a size (3.69″ x 2.4″ x 0.73″) that will make tucking it a pocket relatively easy.

Fujifilm – FinePix XP10 – $199.99

Ok, now we’re really talking. This camera is waterproof up to ten feet, can withstand a three-foot fall, freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and dustproof. (One warning – in reading about cameras being “freeze-proof” means they can handle the cold and not break. Working at continued exposure to those temperatures is not optimal for battery life. Keep it close to your body heat and just pull it out for the pics. The cool thing – you don’t have to worry about dropping it in the snow when you pull it out.) The FinePix is just a little bit larger than the Samsung (3.8” x 2.5” x 0.9”) and also has 12.2 MP of resolution.

Casio – EX-G1 – $229.99

This 12.1 MP camera has the same rugged specs as the Fujifilm camera, but is shockproof to seven feet instead of just three. The size is a bit larger (4.01” x 2.53” x 0.78”), perhaps to help with the protection from a four-foot higher drop.

Olympus – Stylus Tough – $229.99 – $399.99

This series of cameras are all waterproof, freeze-proof and shockproof, and can also shoot 720P HD video. As the cameras increase in price, so does the waterproof rating. The Stylus Tough-8010 is waterproof to 33 feet and also adds a crushproof rating of 220 pounds while increasing the megapixel count to 14.

Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera TX5

Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera TX5

Sony – Cyber-shot® Digital Camera TX5 – $329.99

It looks to be the sleekest camera of the group (3.75″ x 2.25″ x .72″) while still fitting in all the basic toughness of the other models (waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freeze-proof). While it has only 10.2 MP of resolution, which is on the low end of these cameras, it does have the ability to shoot HD video. Two cool features are that you can hold down the button to shoot ten pictures in one second or pan around a landscape and the camera will link the frames together into one panoramic picture.

Panasonic – Lumix DMC-TS2D – $360.00

Waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof to seven feet, freeze-proof and dustproof and with 14.1 MP, it is in line with the higher end Olympus cameras. The features that Panasonic touts is its automatic LED light that turns on whenever light becomes dim and its Optical Image Stabilizer that allows you to take clear and non-blurry night pictures.

There are probably more cameras out there, but these will give you a start in your research to find a tough camera. Just figure out how tough and how much you want to spend and your decision will almost be made.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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