How to Choose a Rugged Camera

Unless you’re comfortable with the idea of risking your expensive picture and video equipment to water exposure, it’s best to consider a rugged camera for photography in water-dominant areas including beaches, areas with waterfalls and even during hikes on a rainy day. Rugged cameras do more than just keep water out, they also feature shock protection to prevent damage from bumps and falls to deliver an added layer of durability.

Action sports camera by pixabay user tomekwalecki
Action sports camera by pixabay user tomekwalecki

Many models of rugged camera also include tightly sealed construction to prevent damage from extreme temperatures, dust, sand and other environmental dangers. A rugged camera can be a valuable investment, and knowing what to look for in the best models is the key to getting the ideal camera for your lifestyle at the right price for your budget.


Rugged cameras are often tasked with taking pictures in extreme environments, and connecting the camera to a device for sharing adds unnecessary hassle to what can be a simple, triumphant experience. Wi-Fi connectivity allows instant external storage of images without the need for a physical connection or the presence of the destination devices, and GPS is another useful feature that automatically tags the location of the shot for future reference.

Waterproofing Rated 10m or More

Inexpensive waterproof cameras will begin to leak at lower water pressures, limiting the range of shots possible. While the best rugged cameras on the market are designed to function at depths of up to 15m, 10m is more than adequate for the majority of applications.

1.5m+ Shockproofing

Rugged cameras should be able to cope with the realities of the great outdoors, and that can include surviving falls, impact and vibration. For this reason, a quality rugged camera should be rated for at least 1.5m shockproofing.

5x Optical Zoom

Due to the limitation designs or a rugged camera, the lens must be placed beneath a sealed casing. This limits manufacturers’ ability to include extensive optical zoom in most form factors, and so compact waterproof cameras rarely have optical zoom limits beyond 5x. As this is a relatively low rating, consumers seeking quality images from their device should always take advantage of the full imaging flexibility potential available to them.

Extreme Weatherproofing

Many rugged cameras are also meant to survive harsh weather such as high and freezing temperatures as well as less than ideal environments that heavily feature atmospheric moisture or sand. Without weatherproofing, taking pictures during a trip to the mountains or desert could be an expensive gamble.

In order for a rugged camera to be worth the investment, it must be rugged enough for your lifestyle, protecting against environmental hazards such as shock, temperature and debris as well as water damage. A good example of an affordable rugged camera with all of these features is the FujiFilm XP80.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *