How do I Choose the Best Rugged Camera?

Kerrie Main

Rugged cameras allow you to use them anywhere without fearing damage from dropping them, getting them wet or exposing them to harsh weather conditions. Many cameras in the rugged genre are freezeproof, waterproof, dustproof, crushproof and shockproof. There are many options available that might be relevant to what you need. When choosing the best rugged camera for your needs, you need to think about several factors, including your personal preferences, your desired photo quality and your budget.

Rugged cameras are freezeproof, waterproof, dustproof, crushproof, and shockproof.
Rugged cameras are freezeproof, waterproof, dustproof, crushproof, and shockproof.

The many manufacturers of rugged cameras often specialize in certain areas, and you need a camera that fits you. If someone never travels to cold environments, he or she might not need an all-around outdoor camera that is freezeproof. Make a list of where you’ll need your rugged camera, and include any items such as scuba diving, beach trips, ski trips, hiking, mountain climbing, jungle safaris, desert expeditions or sporting events. When looking at your planned and regular activities, you’ll be able to see what specific rugged capabilities your outdoor camera should have.

Think about how you’d like to use your camera. Consider whether you need professional photos for your career or are merely capturing photos as mementos of a trip. Depending on the reason for the photos, you’ll need to choose a rugged camera that has the proper mexapixels (MP). For personal photos, a 10 MP camera is sufficient, but you’ll need at minimum of 12 MP capabilities for clearer shots. There are regular and digital rugged camera choices as well.

When choosing the best rugged camera for you, also consider your personal preferences. Would you like your rugged camera to capture several shots in a second for action photos? Will you want only to take photos, or do you want video capabilities? Some cameras are heavier than others and some fit better in your hand. Make sure to physically go to the store and “feel” the camera before purchasing it.

With the many choices of models and brands available, rugged cameras come in several price ranges. Think about your budget before you choose the best rugged camera for you. Some basic waterproof cameras can cost about the same as a regular camera (less than $100 US Dollars), while others with more features can be very expensive and cost more than $1,000 US Dollars. Try not to pay for features you’ll never use. Doing online research and reading client reviews also will help you decide which rugged camera is best for you.

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Discussion Comments


With the many choices of models and brands available, rugged cameras come in several price ranges.


Does anyone know the best place to buy used cameras that would fall into the rugged category?

My family and I are going to be doing some vacationing and I would like to be able to shoot underwater and not have to worry about the camera getting damaged at the amusement parks we're visiting. I already have one of the best SLR cameras I could find so my rugged camera would hopefully be compact and function as a good secondary camera.

The most important thing I am looking for is a camera that will survive some crazy water rides. I want some pictures to remember things by.


@drtroubles - There are plenty of rugged camera reviews out there that might help you out but for myself I really like the Olympus rugged camera. The Tough-8010 is waterproof and can take serious pressure before breaking, so I am sure it would survive most reasonable drops. One of the nice things about the rugged compact camera is that it also doubles as a rugged video camera.

Another thing you should know is that most rugged cameras will set you back at least a few hundred dollars. The Olympus goes for $400 but I got mine on sale and saved 20% so you can get some decent deals if you shop around.


I am going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next year and really want to find a good rugged compact digital camera that I can bring with me. I expect to do some mountain climbing so the camera would have to be able to take a drop. I would also like one that is waterproof because I enjoy snorkeling and would love to get some decent underwater shots.

Does anyone know of a a good rugged camera that isn't too expensive but would meet my needs?

I am not familiar with shopping for camera but have heard that there are some nice Canon rugged cameras out there. I am just not sure if they would be expensive or not.

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