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Choosing a Tough Camera for Your Outdoor Adventures

by Sage McHugh

Dec 14, 2014

Retezat Mountain, Romania © Ponta Radu | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, your standard camera might not be ideal for activities like skiing, mountain climbing or scuba diving. Here are some top picks for rugged cameras that can withstand extreme conditions.


Underwater cameras

If you need an underwater camera, Gizmodo recommends the Canon PowerShot D30 ($330). It’s waterproof and capable of withstanding depths up to 82 feet, freeze proof up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and it can handle a drop of up to 6.5 feet. Other features that make this an ideal camera for traveling are its compact size (4.3 by 2.7 by 1.1 inches) and light weight (7.7 ounces). It also has a built-in GPS for geo-tagging photos and videos.

After 170 hours of research and testing various cameras, The Wirecutter named the Olympus Tough TG-3 ($350) “the best waterproof camera today” and “the best rugged camera for most people.” This pocket-sized camera is waterproof up to 50 feet, can withstand a drop from seven feet and freeze proof up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Most remarkably, it’s crush proof up to 220 pounds. The Wirecutter also praises the sharp image quality, the fast f/2.0 lens and a speedy autofocus and a first-rate macro mode.


Tough outdoor cameras

Even if you’re not going underwater, a weatherproof camera is ideal for shooting in inclement conditions. The Olympus OM-D E-M5, a Micro Four Thirds camera, is PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice for a high-end, compact interchangeable lens camera. In addition to a slew of impressive features like high ISO, sharp LCD EVF, fast autofocus, shooting capacity at nine frames per second and in-body stabilization, the E-M5 is fully weather sealed, which means you can use this camera to shoot in most types of weather.

As an alternative, consider the Pentax K-50. According to Outdoor Photographer Magazine, it’s one of the cheapest weatherproof DSLRs and also one of the best performers in its price range. In addition to being fully weather sealed, it’s dust proof and freeze proof up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a large optical viewfinder, fast 5.9fps shooting capability, noise reduction and in-body shake reduction. The Pentax K-50 comes in 120 color combinations and can be used with nearly 40 interchangeable lenses.



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