My family’s recent move to Colorado brought with it the ability to spend a good deal of time in the mountains this summer. While I greatly enjoy taking my DSLR where the oxygen is thin, I’d love the ability to rough it while not having to worry about damaging my equipment and minimizing my “camera packing space”; especially when it comes to the kinds of trips I’d like to take with my kids, like hiking.
Thus enters life-proof point-and-shoot digital cameras, which are built and rated to be drop, dust, water, and freeze proof. These cameras introduce a level of ruggedness that allows for some great photo opportunities.
Several years ago I had looked into life-proof point-and-shoot cameras not long after Olympus brought the concept to the market. Unfortunately the picture quality of these cameras was horrid compared to their non-ruggedized cousins, so I held off to allow the technology to mature. After reviewing the current offerings, it appears that the picture quality has greatly improved. With the improved quality, these newer life-proof cameras include a handful of compelling features:
- Built-in World Maps
- NFC Transfer
- 1080p Video Recording With Stereo Sound
- Improved Low-Light Handling (ISO > 1600)
Additional factor (what my wife and I used to decide which one to purchase):
- Summarizing reviews on Amazon.com, Newegg.com and BHPhotoVideo.com.
- Testing the time it takes from power-on before a picture can be taken, and the delay between taking individual pictures.
- Reviewing test videos and test images online (e.g., Youtube.com, and DPReview.com).
- Mulling over it for several days, and making several trips to Best Buy to try each of them out.
The top contenders included:
When it all came down to it, we decided that the AW110 fit the feature-set that we expected. The main factors that pushed it beyond the Olympus TG-2 was the improved picture quality, the slightly longer zoom, the built-in Wi-Fi support, and the overall higher user reviews online; even though the number of user reviews are relatively low because of how recent the AW110 was released).
So now I wait in anticipation for the camera to arrive, and once it does I will definitely put it through it’s paces and I will share the results.