One of the fastest growing segments in the digital camera market is compact, rugged cameras. Five years ago you had just two manufacturers selling waterproof cameras (Olympus and Pentax). In 2013, every major manufacturer is now producing at least one waterproof/rugged model.

That makes choosing the right rugged camera a bit of challenge. To aid in your search, we recently tested six cameras in this class, and we'll summarize the results in this article. The contenders include the Canon PowerShot D20, Nikon Coolpix AW110, Olympus TG-2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5/FT5, Pentax WG-3 GPS, and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30.

The following chart will give you a quick overview of how these six cameras compare in terms of features and specs:

  Canon D20 Nikon AW110 Olympus TG-2 Panasonic TS5 Pentax WG-3 Sony TX30
Price $295/£263 $279/£263 $329/£275 $359/£276 $292/£264 $348/£321
Resolution 12.1 MP 16.0 MP 12.0 MP 16.1 MP 16.0 MP 18.2 MP
Max aperture F3.9-4.8 F3.9-4.8 F2.0-4.9 F3.3-5.9 F2.0-4.9 F3.5-4.8
Focal range 28-140mm 28-140mm 25-100mm 28-128mm 25-100mm 26-130mm
Screen size 3" 3" 3" 3" 3" 3.3"
Screen res 461k dot 610k dot 610k dot 460k dot 460k dot 1.23M dot
Max depth 10 m 18 m 15 m 13 m 14 m 10 m
Shockproof 1.5 m 2 m 2.1 m 2 m 2 m 1.5 m
Crushproof No No 100 kgf 100 kgf 100 kgf No
Flash range
(ISO 400)
0.9 m 1.3 m 2.0 m 1.4 m 2.6 m 0.8 m
Manual exposure No No Yes (Av) Yes (M) No No
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Landmarks No Yes Yes Yes No No
Maps No Yes Yes No No No
Pressure No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wi-Fi No Yes No Yes No No
Movie mode 1080/24p 1080/30p 1080/30p 1080/60p 1080/30p 1080/60i
Battery life 280 shots 250 shots 350 shots 370 shots 240 shots 250 shots
112x71x28 110x65x25 112x67x29 109x67x29mm 125x65x32mm 96x59x15mm
228 g 193 g 230 g 214 g 239 g 140 g

As you can see, no camera has 'everything', but some come pretty close. While none of the cameras really 'wowed' us, there are a couple worth considering.

This article will give you a quick overview of each camera and how they performed, followed up by our final thoughts and recommendations. Head on to the next page to begin!

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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