Survival of the fittest: Side-by-side reviews of the 6 best compact, rugged, waterproof cameras of 2013


posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT

When we published our first rugged, waterproof camera shootout last year, we admit we were a little hard on the six cameras we tested. None of them earned a coveted Dave's Pick -- not even our top-ranked Canon D20 that returns again this year to take on five newcomers. It was tough not to compare these tough models to other compact cameras in their price range, many of which boasted superior optics, delivered sharper images and offered more advanced photographic capabilities. But for our Survival of the Fittest: 2013 Best Waterproof Cameras Shootout we're not going to dwell on their limitations too much.


Instead, we're going to focus on what separates these cameras from the pack. After all, no conventional compact can match what a tough, waterproof model can do. Throw a typical land-loving compact in the pool and it's ruined. Take one snowboarding on a cold winter's day, and it will likely lock up (maybe for good). Accidentally drop one on the driveway, and it's likely time to buy a new camera.

The six rugged waterproof cameras we tested for this year's shootout -- the Canon D20, Nikon AW110, Olympus TG-2, Panasonic TS5, Pentax WG-3 GPS and Sony TX30 -- can handle such rigors with relative ease. Not only are they all fully submersible, able to withstand depths no less than 33 feet underwater, but they're also shockproof (at least from 5 feet) and freezeproof (14 degrees F) -- and some are even crushproof (to 220 pound force). That makes them perfect memory-making companions to take along with you whenever you want to document your daredevil adventures (skydiving anyone?) or simply your family vacation. You can even let the kids romp around with these cameras without having to worry that they'll get wrecked along the way.

So which model is right for your picture-taking needs? Find out by reading our Survival of the Fittest: 2013 Best Waterproof Cameras Shootout which features side-by-side comparison reviews of all six models.