4 of the best rugged cameras for adventure sports

Apr 19, 2010 BY Mark Pawlak

Everyone is snapping, filming and uploading their extreme adventures to the web. If you want to share yours then check out the 4 best rugged cameras for adventure sports.

The internet has it all: Nutty off-roaders, wild downhill racers, surfers catching 40-foot waves, mountaineers skateboarding off cliffs, only to then to pull out wingsuits and fly toward earth. It’s off the Richter Scale!

4 of the best rugged cameras for adventure sports Biggest waves surfed Wikimedia image by Shacktown 123

Best rugged cameras for adventure sports

But what cameras are built strong enough to take the knocks, and which will just fail the drops? Here are a few we have our eye on: If you own any of these models, just let us know how they fare.

Samsung AQ100/WP10

Ultra-compact, waterproof and available in canary yellow so you don’t loose it: good start. This new release from Samsung sports a 12MP camera, 2.7″ LCD screen, 5 x zoom and the all-important HD video recording function.

It claims to be good down to 10ft/3m, although it doesn’t look like the most rugged of beasts. Colours are great, as is the shape definitely one of the best rugged cameras for adventure sports.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1/FT1

Looks like it has been cut from a block of granite: waterproof, dust proof and shock proof, it is ready to go. Similar specs to the other contenders here: 12.1MP, long zoom function (28-128mm) – but no HD video.

It does manage to capture your madness at a resolution of 720p (1280×720), and at 30fps. It also has some much-needed image stabilisation technology built in, a dedicated video button, and a pre-set ‘beach and surf’ mode.

Pentax Optio W80/W90

The manufacturers of this delightful compact shooter claim it will withstand a fall from up to a metre, and keep on snapping. Unlike other ‘rugged’ compacts, the Optio W80 now joined by the WS80, doesn’t look like it’s fallen out of a Scuba diver’s drybag.

It’s sleek – especially when livered in gunmetal grey. Watertight (for two hours at 16ft/5m), airtight, dustproof and coldproof: now you’re talking. Spec is good too: 12.1 MP, HD movie and a lens that goes back to 28mm. Just in the shops is the W90, which boasts additional weather proofing.

Canon Powershot D10

Now this clearly has fallen out of a Scuba diver’s drybag! Canon’s first dedicated underwater compact looks ready to roll, swim, fall, ski, dive, drop, everything really. But looks, they say, are deceptive. So what’s it got under the hood, is it one of the best rugged cameras for adventure sports?

Well, again fully-spec’d: 12.1MP, 35-105mm zoom lens, but no HD video recording (VGA Video only). It’s also sufficiently ruggedized and rubberized, with protection from dust, water and those inevitable heart-stopping drops. Good to 33ft/10m underwater and with changeable covers, it looks like a funky, chunky addition to your electronic stable.

There are plenty more options in the compact camera market. So if you are using any other models you think are the best rugged cameras for adventure sports, or have good things to say about these ones, let us know.

To save money on your next trip be sure to check out our adventure holiday discounts.


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