In this time of unprecedented challenges and agonizing transitions, rugged adventureproof compact cameras offer a healthy diversion. These robust, waterproof, impact-resistant, go-anywhere cameras are perfect for socially distanced activities. Take these durable point-and-shoot cameras hiking in the woods; exploring a nature trail; frolicking in the pool; and anyplace else one might think twice about taking an unprotected DSLR or mirrorless camera—or even a smartphone!
Indeed, many of the adventure-oriented cameras we showcase here are new or updated models; this is a clear indication that this vibrant category continues to score points on utility as well as style.
Moreover, most of the current models have an impressive array of high-tech. They offer Full HD or 4K UHD video capability; high-resolution sensors; bigger, higher-res LCDs; OLED monitors; built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity along with GPS; as well as enhanced waterproof ratings to appeal to Scuba divers.
Poised at the crossroad of high adventure and cutting-edge technology, these audacious cameras deliver a satisfying blend of high-end performance and shooting flexibility. That’s why they’re superb choices for dealers and consumers, especially now that the outdoor picture-taking season is in full swing.
While there still are restrictions on social gatherings and people have to keep their distance, the great outdoors provides a wealth of creative opportunities and a satisfying way to banish cabin fever.
Rugged, Adventureproof Compact Cameras
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-6
The flagship of the iconic Olympus Stylus Tough line, the TG-6 is waterproof to 50 feet, dustproof, shockproof to 7 feet, crushproof to 220 lbf and freezeproof to 14ºF. It features nitrogen-filled, sealed dual-pane protective glass for antifogging performance. And five underwater modes include underwater macro and HDR, along with three underwater WB modes.
It also incorporates a fast, water-repellent 4x, 25–100mm f/2–4.9 zoom* lens. What’s more, the TG-6 uses a newly developed 12-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch BSI (backside-illuminated) CMOS sensor. Consequently, it achieves improved low-light performance, noise reduction and sensitivity settings to ISO 12,800. Its upgraded dual quad core TruePic VIII processor provides RAW file capture, 4K/30p video capture, Full HD 120-fps high-speed video mode, as well as an impressive 20-frames-per-sec burst rate.
In addition, its Field Sensor system has a temperature sensor and on-screen data displays that overlay onto photos/video. Also notable is microscope control mode with three magnifications. Other features include a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot monitor; a 25-point AF system; pro capture mode that minimizes shutter lag; sensor-shift image stabilization; Wi-Fi; GPS plus eCompass and manometer functions; and four macro modes, including focus stacking and focus bracketing. Its ergonomic body has a handy zoom lever and an accessory lock button. In red or black, $449.99.
Nikon Coolpix W300
Sleekly stylish but bursting with attitude, the upgraded Nikon Coolpix W300 is waterproof to a noteworthy 100 feet, freezeproof to 14ºF and withstands a drop of up to 7.9 feet. It also features a 1/2.3-inch 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom, 24–120mm f/2.8–4.9 Nikkor lens.
Moreover, the W300 employs a 3-inch, 921K-dot LCD monitor with six brightness levels and hybrid (optical plus electronic) vibration reduction to combat the effects of camera shake. SnapBridge with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity enable sharing and remote control via a smartphone or tablet, plus GPS for geotagging.
Other features include 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps; a 7-fps maximum burst rate for stills; and sensitivity settings from ISO 100 to ISO 6,400. What’s more, creative modes feature smart portrait and glamour retouch, plus a variety of special effects. In addition, there’s a built-in LED light that is handy when used as a flashlight or to illuminate close-up subjects. In black, yellow or orange, $389.95.
Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7
Featuring classic minimalist styling, Panasonics outdoor camera is waterproof to an impressive 102 feet, withstands a 6.6-foot drop, is freezeproof to 14°F and is crushproof to 220 lbf. It also has an integrated compass and altimeter. Moreover, a built-in LED light helps when shooting in dusky underwater or nighttime environments.
The TS7 is powered by a 20.4MP High-Sensitivity MOS sensor coupled to an advanced image processor. Subsequently, adventure and outdoor enthusiasts can capture full-res stills at 10 fps and record 4K UHD video at 30 and 24 fps. It also achieves sensitivity settings from ISO 80 to 6,400.
Moreover, its 4.6x, wide-angle 28–128mm Lumix DC Vario lens has an extra optical zoom (EZ) function. In addition, the P&S incorporates Power OIS (optical image stabilization) to minimize the effects of shake in handheld shooting.
Outdoor photographers will also enjoy 4K photo mode to pick perfect moments from individual video frames recorded at 30 fps and saved as 8MP pictures. Other features include a 1.17M-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF); a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot LCD; Wi-Fi and geotagging support; and a post focus mode that lets users select the focus point after an image is captured. In blue, black or orange, $449.99.
Canon Ivy Rec
Canon’s cool ultracompact camera measures a svelte 4.4×1.8×0.7 inches. Sporting bold minimalist styling, it is clearly aimed at the outdoorsy set with a carabiner-style clip that attaches to a belt or backpack. And its clip doubles as a viewfinder—eliminating the potential to crack a screen.
Despite its diminutive, eye-catching form factor, the lightweight, wearable Ivy Rec is waterproof for dives down to 6.6 feet for 30 minutes. It is also shockproof enough to withstand a 6.6-foot fall. The point-and-shoot camera incorporates a 13MP CMOS sensor that can capture Full HD 1080p video at 60 and 30 fps as well as stills.
In addition, the Ivy Rec has a handy function dial for quick shooting mode selection. It also provides built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity that work with the free Canon Mini Cam app for easy image sharing and remote operation via mobile devices.
What’s more, with one-click capture for photos or video, it can record videos up to 10 minutes in length. Additionally, its 25.4mm f/2.2 lens is in focus from 19.7 inches to infinity. And just for fun, users can attach optional interchangeable faceplates for a custom look. In riptide blue, dragonfruit or avocado, $99.99.
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). They tweaked the concept in the tiny but tough RX0 II, which has an upgraded Bionz X processor. The unique pocket-size cubical measures 2.4×1.6×1.4 inches and weighs 3.4 ounces. Moreover, the action cam is waterproof to 33 feet, dustproof, shockproof to withstand a fall of 6.5 feet and crushproof to 440 lbf.
In addition, it employs an upgraded 1-inch, 15.3MP stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor and a 6-element 24mm f/4 Zeiss Tessar T* lens. The lens has a 7.9-inch minimum focusing distance for selfies or tabletop photos.
The camera also records 4K video at 30 fps internally; outputs 4:2:2 4K UHD video via HDMI; can time-code sync to up to 100 cameras; and provides S-Log2 Gamma as well as picture profile settings. Additionally, it provides 16-fps burst shooting. What’s more, users can control the RX0 II remotely via Sony’s Imaging Edge mobile app. The camera also minimizes rolling-shutter artifacts; captures an extended dynamic range even at super-slow-motion rates of 960/1,000 fps; and has an anti-distortion shutter with speeds up to 1/32,000 sec! $698.
This serious submersible camera from SeaLife is targeted at scuba divers who want to shoot underwater at great depths. When embedded in its included underwater housing, it’ll operate down to a remarkable 200 feet, and without it, down to 60 feet.
Although not virtually “everything-proof,” its rubber-armored housing withstands rough handling and tough environments. The DC2000 also incorporates a 1-inch, 20MP Sony BSI CMOS image sensor and a wide-angle 31mm f/1.8–11, 7-element aspheric lens for enhanced low-light capability. Moreover, underwater shooters can capture Full HD 1080p video at up to 60 fps and full-res still bursts at up to 10 fps.
There’s also a unique picture-in-video mode, as well as program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual exposure modes. Other key features include a 3-inch, 920K-dot LCD screen; four underwater shooting modes with built-in color correction; 25 land scene modes; RAW support; time-lapse capability; and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. $699.
Furthermore, SeaLife bundles the camera with the Sea Dragon 2500 photo and video LED light. The Sea Dragon covers a 120º beam angle and provides three outputs from 625–2,500 lumens. In addition, it runs for 60 to 240 minutes with its included fully charged Li-ion battery. It also has a thermal sensor to prevent overheating and a hidden SOS emergency signal with a 1-sec blink interval and Morse code. $999.
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker
More an action camera than a compact P&S, the crisply styled Olympus TG-Tracker is waterproof to 100 feet, withstands a 7-foot drop, is freezeproof to 14ºF and crushproof to 220 lbf. Its fast, water-repellent, ultrawide-angle 13.9mm f/2 lens covers a 204º angle of view. Moreover, an integral LED headlight above the lens lets photographers shoot underwater as well as in dark environments.
In addition, the TG-Tracker records 4K UHD video at 30 fps; Full HD 1080p video at up to 60 fps; and HD 720p video at up to 240 fps for slow-motion effects. It also captures 8MP still images.
Shots can be framed on its 1.5-inch, 1.15M-dot, tilt-out LCD monitor. What’s more, the camera connects to mobile devices via built-in Wi-Fi to monitor the camera, share remotely and transfer files using Olympus Image Share and Track apps.
Furthermore, when shooters switch to log mode, they can record data from the camera’s GPS, compass, accelerometer, thermometer and barometer, and view them on the monitor or download them for later use. Other features include 0.5–60-sec interval capture for time-lapse photography; 5-axis electronic IS for stills and video; and support for microSD and SDHC/SDXC cards. In green or black, $349.99.
Kodak PixPro WPZ2
This rugged-looking, assertively styled new Kodak PixPro boasts a bright Kodak yellow body (what else?) with black accents. The point-and-shoot camera is submersible down to 49 feet and is capable of surviving a 6.6-foot drop undamaged. Its durable build is also resistant to dirt and dust with a JIS/IEC rating of IP6X.
Produced by Kodak worldwide licensee JK Imaging, the slim, compact (3.7×2.5×1.0-inch) beauty uses a 16.35MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor. What’s more, its 4x optical zoom, 27–108mm f/3.0–6.6 zoom lens offers macro capability down to 2 inches at the wide end. In addition, it shoots full-res still images at up to 6 fps and Full HD 1080p video at 30p.
Other features include a 2.7-inch, 230K-dot LCD; 25-point TTL autofocus; 6x digital zoom (24x total range); digital image stabilization; ISO settings from 100 to 3,200; and 360º scan panorama mode. It is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery, comes with a wrist strap and AC adapter and weighs in at a mere 4.6 ounces (body only). $149.99.
Nikon Coolpix W100
Nikon’s cute little compact P&S is a lot more rugged than it’s styled. It sports a tough, go-anywhere body that’s waterproof to a depth 33 feet, freezeproof down to 14ºF and capable of withstanding a 6-foot drop.
The outdoor camera employs a 13.2MP, 1/3.1-inch CMOS image sensor and a Nikkor 30–90mm f/3.3–5.9, 3x optical zoom lens. What’s more, photographers can extend the zoom to 6x by selecting Nikon’s built-in Dynamic Fine Zoom technology. Delivering a satisfying outdoor experience, the W100 also provides a contrast-detect AF system with an electronic VR (vibration reduction) IS system.
Other features include a 2.7-inch, 230K-dot LCD monitor; Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 fps with stereo sound; an integrated flash; and Nikon’s always-connected SnapBridge with full Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a friendly welcome screen, cartoon and neon effects, as well as glamour retouch effects. In white, $169.95.
Carrying forth the distinctive styling of the legendary Pentax Optio WG series, this is an everything-proof active lifestyle camera from Ricoh Imaging The WG-70 is waterproof to 46 feet, shockproof to handle a 5.2-foot drop, crushproof to 220 lbf and freezeproof to 14ºF.
Plus, the camera’s advanced underwater shooting modes for stills and video optimize color, contrast and white balance. Ricoh also added a digital cross-processing effect to apply an artistic, altered color finish to images, similar to the results of cross-processing film images.
This striking classic has a 16MP, 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor and a newly designed processor, enabling low-light sensitivity up to ISO 6,400. It also employs a 5x optical zoom, 28–140mm zoom lens. Performance specs include Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps and continuous, full-res shooting at up to 10 fps. In addition, it provides high speed video capture in MPEG-4 and AVC/H.264 formats, for slow-motion capability.
Other features include built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling wireless image transfer and remote control of camera functions via smart devices; Pixel Track and Digital Shake Reduction technologies; an antireflective 2.7-inch, 230K-dot LCD; digital microscope mode; handheld night snap mode; six LED macro lights in the lens surround for illuminating macro subjects; and a micro-HDMI port. In orange or black, $279.99.
Fujifilm FinePix XP140
Fujifilm’s latest perky, contemporary-styled FinePix is a rugged downsized go-anywhere camera. At its core is an upgraded 1/2.3-inch, 16.4MP BSI CMOS sensor. It achieves 15-fps full-resolution still bursts, 4K video recording and sensitivity settings to ISO 12,800.
Fujifilm also incorporated construction upgrades. The XP140 is waterproof down to 82 feet, shockproof to withstand a 5.9-foot drop, freezeproof to 14ºF and dustproof. Redesigned for ease of use during outdoor activities, it also has a grip and a double-locking mechanism for the battery compartment. In addition, it features Fujifilm’s color reproduction technology and a Fujinon 5x optical zoom, 28–140mm lens. The optical zoom range reaches 10x with Intelligent Digital Zoom technology, and it has an optical image stabilization mechanism.
Additional features include eye detection; auto-intelligent functions; 17 filter effects; and self-timer mode, which automatically releases the shutter when detecting a smiling face. Moreover, Bluetooth allows automatic, instant transfer to smartphones and tablets, as well as syncs the time and location from the smart device and attaches it to images. It also enables remote shooting via the Fujifilm Camera Remote app. In yellow or sky blue, $229.95.
* All focal lengths are given in 35mm equivalents unless otherwise noted