Thursday, February 16, 2012

All-weather compact cameras

Moisture destroys...
One of the best compact cameras I've ever used is the Canon Powershot G-12.
Its now in the workshop awaiting parts as moisture had seeped into the camera's circuit board.
Yes, I am guilty as charged for working the camera down.
Seems that sweat was the main cause as part of the steel plating in the camera had rusted.

Traditionally speaking.. 
All-weather cameras are a tough lot.
They can be dropped and dunked (well, to a certain threshold) and still snap away.

But, but, but, but... 
To make up for the ruggedness, the optical clarity and quality are sacrificed.
The image quality from such cameras are only so-so. Maybe with one exception, the Panasonic Lumix TS4.. Yeah, yeah, yeah.. I don't trust a company that makes refrigerators and washing machines to manufacture cameras.. 

Top 4 All-weather cameras

Panasonic Lumix TS4

The washing machine that captures images: Lumix TS4
With a street price of RM1.6k, the TS4 is top of the four contenders. 
Thanks to its Leica lens, this pocket camera is able to yield some sharp photos, even under low-light settings. Its GPS-enabled to allow Geo-tagging of your images. Best battery life I've come across so far.

Nikon AW-100

Hands-down, one of the best design in the lot
The Nikon guys got this one right. 
Compact, rugged, GPS-enabled and with a pricetag of RM1.1k (*discounted, add RM80 for a spare battery and a free 8GB SD card), it has the best purchase package. Available in four colours too! Image quality is just above average and if you sweat like a beast like me on your rides, you will appreciate this little bugger!

Olympus tough TG-810

Tough is the name, but image quality is not so game.. 
As far as I can remember, Olympus cameras have been manufacturing a lot of weatherproof pocket cameras.
The TG-810 is a fine example of the evolution. This camera can take a beating. But, image quality isn't the best around. Its also pricey and not as user-friendly as the others in its class..

Pentax WG-1

A featherweight camera, but not heavy weight in terms of image quality
I picked up a WG-1 for my buddy Bob.
The purpose was to get it for his King Scout trainee to record his progress.
This, thrown-in with a spare battery, was at a cost of RM1.6k. Very pricey despite its below-average image quality. My worry here is the humidity that is not friendly at all to its rubberized body. On a scale of 1 - 10, the WG-1 scores are meager 3. 

If you don't care about image quality, the all-weather cameras are there for you to record your day out at the beach, swimming pool, white water rafting and other activities where moisture can put your camera out of action.
The Panasonic, well, lived up to its washing-machine image, tops the list with its TS4, while Nikon is the number-two contender. I don't see any Canon compact camera that can come near all four cameras mentioned here. Perhaps, when I get my G1X, I might want to opt for a rain jacket so that sweat won't put it out of action!
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