Dust, water, extreme heat, freezing temperatures—all the elements that make an adventure-seeker’s heart pitter-patter with delight, while at the same time giving an avid photographer a pseudo heart attack. Though most cameras are clearly not capable to withstand, say, whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, there are a select few that can give even the most experienced explorer a run for their thrill-chasing money. With features like waterproof to 20 feet and 720p HD movie capability, outdoor rugged cameras aren’t your grandma’s Polaroid anymore! Whether you’re about to hike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, or planning on sand-boarding down Duna Grande in Peru, these three cameras are the crème de la crème when it comes to capturing any moment on any terrain.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC- TS2
For a waterproof, point-and-shoot camera, critics say the 14.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 comes out on top. Equipped with 4.6X optical zoom, this active outdoor camera is geared with strength and toughness. Waterproof to 32 feet, shockproof to 6 feet, freezeproof to negative 10 degrees C, and dustrpoof for sand, the Lumix DMC-TS2 is capable of tolerating it all. A 2.7-inch LCD and 28mm wide-angle lens both offer support and flexibility for a wide range of photo opportunities, while the HD motion-image recording in AVCHD Lite allows for longer recording time with optimal sound quality. Reviewers like it’s sleek design and compact size, making it easy to fit in the most obscure places while on any excursion.
- Nikon D300 DX
Experts agree the 12.3-megapixel Nikon D300 DX is incomparable to any other outdoor-use camera on the market. With continuous shooting from 6 frames per second and a 3-inch high density color LCD monitor allowing 170-degree image viewing possible, the D300 takes the guess work out of snapping photos and is easy to use by all. Nikon’s active D-lighting image enhancement produces broader tone in shadows and highlights by controlling light sensitivity and exposure, therefore capturing the right level of contrast across the entire image. With a built-in self cleaning unit that removes dust from the image sensor, buyers have noticed crystal clear photos and videos after continuous outdoor use. HD video recording and stereo audio input capabilities are also an option.
- Pentax Optio W90 SLR
For best use in all climates, reviewers recommend the Pentax Optio W90 SLR. Waterproof to 20 feet for underwater photography, shockproof to 4 feet to withstand rigors extreme use, dustproof for sandy climates, and colorproof for use in sub-freezing temperatures, this 12.1-megapixel camera was designed to be roughed up. A wide angle 5X optical zoom ensures detailed images, while a 2.7 inch LCD with 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio allows for easy viewing in strong light or underwater conditions. The digital microscope feature with an LED lens lighting allows for macro subjects as near as 1cm, while the 720p HD video captures movies at 30 frames per second.