Outdoor adventure cameras offer an array of features that extend their versatility in any season. However, wintertime is when they really glisten. Many of the cameras detailed here are robust, waterproof, impact-resistant, go-anywhere still and video cameras. Moreover, they are rated freezeproof down to 14°F. Thus, they are perfect for most winter shooting.
Further, even those that don’t carry an official freezeproof designation offer features such as a snow scene mode, which automatically adjusts the exposure and color balance to optimize winter scenes. Plus, they are insulated well enough to keep operating at frigid temperatures. What’s more, they are compact enough to slide into a warm pocket and then whip out to capture a quick shot or video clip.
Most of the current “outdoor adventure” cameras highlighted here also offer impressive high-tech functionality. This includes Full HD or 4K UHD video capability; high-resolution sensors; bigger, higher-res LCDs; OLED monitors; and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity plus GPS. Some have enhanced waterproof ratings to appeal to scuba divers. With cold weather prowess, these cameras are poised at the crossroad of high adventure and cutting-edge technology. These audacious cameras deliver a satisfying blend of high-end performance and cold weather shooting flexibility. That’s why they’re superb choices for dealers and consumers, especially now that the winter picture-taking season is upon us.
A Spectrum of Outdoor Adventure Cameras
OM System Tough TG-7
The successor to the very popular Olympus Tough TG-6, this point-and-shoot camera from OM Digital Solutions sports a slightly sleeker form factor. However, it carries forth the same basic feature set, including the lens, sensor and image processor specs. Like the TG-6, it’s waterproof to 50 feet; shockproof enough to withstand a 7-foot fall; crushproof to 220 pound-force (lbf); as well as freezeproof down to 14°F.
The TG-7 also features a 12.7-megapixel, back-lit CMOS image sensor and a 4x optical zoom, 25–100mm* f/2.0 high-speed zoom lens. What’s more, a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot OLED monitor allows for subject magnification up to 44x. The P&S also delivers impressive burst capability of 20 frames per sec (fps). Plus, its field sensor system automatically acquires location (latitude and longitude) and environmental data. The data includes temperature, water temperature, water depth and shooting direction tracking data. It does so with built-in GPS, air pressure, shooting direction as well as temperature sensors. You can load this information into the OM Image Share (OI.Share) app to display your traveled route on recorded images.
What’s more, microscope mode facilitates the capture of subjects as close as 0.4 inch from the lens’s edge, and there are five underwater shooting modes. Additionally, new features include vertical video support, interval shooting, exposure smoothing, as well as USB-C connectivity. The TG-7 is also compatible with 17 unique accessories, including fisheye and tele-converters, lens protection filters, special cases and a wireless remote. The OM System Tough TG-7 measures 4.5×2.6×1.3 (WxHxD) and weighs in at 8.8 ounces, a mere 0.12 ounces less than the TG-6! In red or black, $549.99.
This brand-new iteration in the rugged, everything-proof WG series of adventure cameras replaces the Ricoh WG-80 ($299.95). Delivering the same impressive feature set, the compact was re-badged as a Pentax camera to reflect its origin in the legendary Optio WG series dating back to 2011. It also leverages the image of Pentax, a widely acclaimed maker of weatherproof adventure cameras.
Aside from new colors, this active lifestyle camera is functionally identical to the Ricoh WG-80, which remains in the lineup during this holiday season. The WG-90 is submersible down to 46 feet, shockproof against a drop of 5.2 feet, crushproof (100 lbf) and freezeproof down to 14°F. This striking classic also incorporates a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom, 28–140mm lens. An intelligent zoom function extends the zoom range to a 1008mm equivalent! Furthermore, its image processor provides a sensitivity range of ISO 125–6400. Additionally, the camera records Full HD 1080 video at 30 fps and continuous full-res shots at 10 fps. It also provides high-speed video capture in MPEG-/H.264 formats, slow-motion capability and a micro-HDMI port.
Also notably is a distinctive “ring light” of six LED macro lights in the lens surround for illuminating close-up subjects. It powers the camera’s digital microscope mode and can act as a flashlight. And a high-speed face-detection function captures up to 32 faces in focus in 0.03 second. Other features include Wi-Fi, enabling wireless transfer and remote control via smart devices; Pixel Track and Digital Shake Reduction tech; underwater modes; and a 2.7-inch, 230K-dot LCD. Add to that an outdoor-friendly watch function and 0.4-inch macro shooting. The Pentax WG-90 measures 4.8×2.4×1.3 inches and weighs 6.8 ounces (with battery/card). In blue or classic black, price: TBA. Us.ricoh-imaging.com
Note: Ricoh G900
The Ricoh G900 is an upgraded, super-ruggedized, chemically resistant version of the Ricoh WG-80. For industrial use, it has a 20MP BSI CMOS sensor and a sensitivity range of ISO 125–25,600. It records 4K UHD 30p video with movie SR+ shake reduction. Additional features are an enhanced camera memo function for attaching text or audio to files; an advanced password protection camera lock; a high-spec GPS mode; as well as a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot LCD. Other specs, including lens and form factor, are based on the Ricoh WG-80. In gray, $799.95.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX0 II
Sony was clearly thinking outside and inside the box when they came up with the original RX0 (as in zero). Moreover, they tweaked the concept in the latest RX0 II, which has an upgraded Bionz X image processor. This unique, cubical, miniature action camera employs a 1-inch, 15.3MP stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor. It works with a six-element, 24mm f/4 Zeiss Tessar T* lens with a 7.9-inch minimum focusing distance for adventure selfies.
In addition, it’s waterproof to a depth of 33 feet, will handle a drop of 6.5 feet and is crushproof to 440 lbf. While not rated as freezeproof, you can easily carry the RX0 II in a warm pocket and grab it for winter shots and videos. Further, the camera provides a maximum still burst rate of 16 fps. Plus, it records 4K video at 30 fps internally, outputs 4:2:2 UHD 4K video via HDMI and can time-code-sync to up to 100 cameras! It also incorporates Sony’s S-Log2 Gamma and picture profile settings.
The tiny camera additionally minimizes rolling-shutter artifacts and can capture an extended dynamic range even at super-slow-motion rates of 960/1,000 fps. Plus, its anti-distortion shutter provides speeds up to 1/32,000 sec! Other features are a 1.5-inch, 230K-dot, tilting LCD; sensitivities to ISO 12,800; as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s a great choice for a wide variety of shooters, especially videographers covering concerts, sports and other multimedia events. The RX0 II measures just 2.3×1.6×1.4 inches and weighs in at 4.1 ounces (body only). $699.99. Nikon Coolpix P950
This is Nikon’s best-selling, long-range all-in-one zoom camera. It covers an expansive 24–2000mm (83x optical) zoom range with its f/2.8–6.5 Zoom-Nikkor ED lens. Moreover, it achieves crisp, detailed imaging thanks to a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch, BSI CMOS sensor and integrated high-performance Expeed image processor. However, what makes it a perfect choice for winter photography is its snow scene mode. It works in conjunction with its manually enabled pop-up flash to capture well-exposed faces along with realistic-looking snow. Plus, you can capture time-lapse movies of landscapes.
The portable, DSLR-styled P&S also delivers 7-fps, full-res continuous bursts for up to 10 frames and 0.4-inch macro shooting. It also provides sensitivity settings of ISO 100–6400 and 4K UHD 30p video, Full HD video at 60p as well as time-lapse recording. Further, a dual-detect hybrid (digital and optical) VR (vibration reduction) image stabilization system includes lens-shift VR. Thus, it enables smoother handheld capture. What’s more, its contrast-detection AF system offers subject tracking. Moreover, its smart portrait system provides red-eye reduction, face-priority AF and AE, smile mode, blink warning, skin softening as well as D-lighting.
Also key is its 3.2-inch, 921K-dot, vari-angle LCD monitor along with a bright, 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder. Plus, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity work in conjunction with Nikon’s SnapBridge app for wireless sharing and remote control. Sleekly styled with ergonomically arrayed controls and a large built-in handgrip, the Nikon Coolpix P950 has a manually actuated pop-up flash; an HDMI port for connection to a TV; and an extensive array of scene and creative modes. It measures a relatively compact 5.6×4.4×5.9 inches and weighs 35.5 ounces with battery and SD/SDHC/SDXC card. $799.95.
Carrying forth the venerable Minolta name, this is a perky, attractively priced, compact waterproof digital camera. It has a 2-inch “selfie” LCD monitor in the front as well as a 3-inch fixed LCD on the back. The MN40WP uses a 13MP sensor that lets you capture 48MP stills and 2.7 QHD video. Furthermore, the P&S is submersible to a depth of 10 feet and covers a wide variety of shooting scenarios.
In addition, there is a built-in, wide-angle 8.1mm f/3 lens (nonequivalent) that works with 16x digital zoom. Furthermore, intelligent shooting modes include photo burst, panorama, face detection, smile capture and anti-shaking tech.
The colorful compact is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery. It also includes a built-in white LED flash and a micro-USB port. Additionally, the camera accepts microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC cards up to 128GB. While not officially freezeproof, this pocketable point-and-shoot model is a good choice for winter shooting. It measures a petite 4.4×2.7×1.3 inches and weighs in at a mere 5.8 ounces. In pink, blue or red, $149.95.
Kodak PixPro WPZ2
This tough-looking, assertively styled Kodak PixPro sports a bright Kodak yellow with black accents (of course). Moreover, the outdoor adventure camera is submersible to depths of 49 feet and can survive a 6.6-foot drop undamaged. It is dustproof to boot, with a JIS/IEC rating of IP6X. Though it doesn’t have a freezeproof rating, its well-insulated body makes it suitable for most winter shooting.
Available from Kodak worldwide licensee JK Imaging, this slim, compact beauty sports a 16.6-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor. It’s mated to a 4x optical zoom, 27–108mm f/3.0-6.6 zoom lens with macro capability down to 2 inches at the wide end. Further, 6x digital zoom achieves a 24x total zoom range.
It additionally features a 2.7-inch, 230K-pixel LCD screen; a 25-point TTL autofocus; digital image stabilization; ISO settings from 100 to 3200; and a scan panorama function. It can also shoot full-resolution still images at up to 6 fps and record Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps. The sturdily built camera is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery and comes with a wrist strap and AC adapter. The Kodak PixPro WPZ2 measures 3.7×2.5×1 inches and weighs in at a lightweight 4.6 ounces (body only). What’s more, the adventure-ready camera comes in a choice of Kodak yellow, blue or red versions. $179.99.
This handsome, all-weather compact camera boasts sleeker, more contemporary styling than the iconic Ricoh WG-80. Yet, it incorporates the same 20MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor as the industrial-grade Ricoh G900. Furthermore, its feature set draws from both those models with the same 5x optical zoom, 28–140mm f/3.5–5.5 zoom lens and 3-inch, 1.04M-dot LCD monitor with antireflective coating.
For winter photography, it is freezeproof down to 14°F and is dustproof. The WG-6 is also waterproof to a depth of 65.6 feet. Furthermore, it will withstand a drop of 6.6 feet or a crushing force of 220 lbf. Like other G-series Ricoh cameras, it’s resistant to ethanol and bleach disinfection and chlorine dioxide. The WG-6 additionally has a six LED ring light to illuminate close-up subjects. Plus, digital microscope mode enables close focusing down to 0.4 inch.
Moreover, its sensor and image processor enable 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps with movie SR+ and movie SR stabilization to help steady footage. Plus, the P&S has sensitivity settings from ISO 125 to ISO 6400. What’s more, a dedicated underwater mode suppresses blue tints for underwater photos with natural-looking colors. Underwater movie mode also applies this effect while filming 4K movies. Notably, the camera has a high-spec GPS module for imbedding geolocation data in image files. With a USB-C port, the Ricoh WG-6 measures 4.7×2.6×1.3 inches and weighs 8.7 ounces with battery and SD/SDHC/SDXC card. In black or orange, $379.95.
Fujifilm QuickSnap 800 Waterproof
Once in a while, you might want to take an extremely budget-friendly camera on your roughest adventures. A device you can take along to preserve you memories worry free. Fujifilm has just the camera for that occasion: the QuickSnap 800 waterproof, one-time-use camera that’s waterproof to a depth of 35 feet.
Fujifilm says its cute, submersible camera lets you shoot underwater as well as outdoors in wet and snowy conditions. What’s more, it is probably the least expensive weatherproof camera on the market. It comes preloaded with a 27-exposure roll of Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 800 35mm film. The camera features an oversized shutter release that’s perfect for gloved hands as well as an easy-to-operate top-mounted film advance knob.
The all-weather QuickSnap 800 has a 32mm f/10 fixed-focus lens that can capture sharp pictures beyond 3.3 feet as well as a single mechanical shutter speed of 1/125 sec. The disposable camera measures 2.9×5.2×1.7 inches and weighs just 6 ounces. $14.99.
GoPro Hero12 Black
The latest in GoPro’s long line of classic, compact action cameras, the Hero12 Black has an upgraded 27MP image sensor that captures 5.3K 60p/30p video with HDR enabled for both 5.3K and 4K video. As a result, the action camera achieves more shadow and highlight detail and cinematic quality. It also provides the ability to grab 24.7MP still frames using the Quik app and records 2.7K video at 240 fps for playback at 8x slow motion. However, most important for winter shooters, the newest GoPro is submersible to 33 feet and has a water-repelling lens cover to ensure crystal clear video in inclement conditions. In addition, its new rechargeable 1720mAh battery was upgraded for improved cold temperature performance.
Other upgrades include HyperSmooth 6.0 digital image stabilization with AutoBoost to ensure high image quality and minimize image cropping in postproduction. Moreover, improved power management permits 2x longer recording times. Further, 360° horizon lock keeps footage steady and level when the camera is rotated. Pro and easy control modes also offer a choice of point-and-shoot simplicity or full camera control options that you can preset.
Additionally, tapping the 2.3-inch rear touchscreen lets you toggle to select widescreen and mobile shots, slow motion, night shots and other adjustments. The GoPro Hero12 also offers new interval tools, such as HindSight that captures 30 seconds of footage before you record. With a new vertical capture mode, the Hero12 Black measures a compact 2.8x2x 1.3 inches and weighs in at a mere 5.4 ounces with battery. $349.
SeaLife Micro 3.0
This is a full-blown underwater camera from SeaLife. Super robust and bulletproof, this unabashed waterproof camera is submersible to an impressive depth of 200 feet. Permanently sealed, it also provides five underwater scene modes. However, it has a land mode for out-of-water use, and its well-insulated body and reliability make it a great choice for winter photos in frigid conditions. In addition, it boasts an official operating temperature range of 23° to 122° F.
The camera employs a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch Sony CMOS image sensor and a fast, fixed-focus, ultrawide-angle 19mm f/2.8 lens with a 100°diagonal angle of view. In addition, it features a 2.4-inch, 260K TFT color LCD monitor. Further, EXT light mode lets you use an optional Sea Dragon LED photo-video light.
The Micro 3.0 can capture 4K UHD video at 30 fps as well as 1080p HD video at 120 fps for slow-motion playback. It also captures 16MP sequences at 10 fps in burst mode. Another beneficial feature is picture in video mode, which captures still photos while recording video. Other features include a host of underwater modes; Wi-Fi connectivity via the SeaLife app; time-lapse programming; and shutter speeds of 1/25 to 1/2000 sec. The SeaLife Micro 3.0 measures a neat 4.2×2.1x 2.9 inches and weighs 11.6 ounces. $599.95.
*All lens focal lengths are 35mm equivalents unless otherwise stated.