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Rugged cameras

Australia’s outdoor life can be pretty hard on cameras - but these models claim they can handle water, dust, or sudden shocks.
 
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01 .Introduction

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Manufacturers often claim their tougher cameras can withstand harsh treatment, but such claims are rarely actually tested. CHOICE put 13 such cameras through the wringer to find out if they really can take a beating.

Safety tips

  • Even the toughest of cameras have their limits, so check the specifications and don’t exceed them.
  • Maintenance is very important - seals need to be kept clean and dry or they may fail. Even something as simple as changing the battery should be done carefully to make sure everything re-seals properly.
  • If the camera is wet, don’t open it. Dry it with a soft absorbent cloth and leave it to dry for several hours before opening.
  • Grit and dirt are as bad as moisture. Make sure the camera is clean and in a dust-free environment before opening it.
  • To maintain the best quality possible, do your best not to drop the camera. It may withstand the impact, but there will probably be a cost to image quality.
  • Some seals may need to be replaced occasionally. Check before you buy and make sure you’re happy to do this if required, as it's likely this will incur a cost.

How we test

Water resistance

Each of our tests is based on the manufacturer’s claim. For instance, we submerge a camera that claims a 10-metre depth rating at that depth for at least 15 minutes.

Cameras that claim they can be dropped into water are dropped from a height of one metre into a tank of water and removed immediately.

Shock resistance

We get even tougher for shockproof testing. The international standard requires a drop onto a wooden platform, but because these cameras are more likely to be dropped around swimming pools and on harder surfaces, we drop them from a height of one metre onto concrete – we do this three times, from a different angle on each drop. 

Video: How we test ruggedised cameras

Models tested

• Fujifilm FinePix XP200
• Fujifilm FinePix XP60
• Nikon Coolpix AW110
• Nikon Coolpix S31
• Olympus Stylus TG-2
• Olympus Stylus TG-630
• Olympus Stylus TG-830
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
• Pentax WG-10
• Pentax WG-3
• Pentax WG-3 GPS
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30
• Sony DSC-TF1

 
 

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