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Summer is upon us again (at least for those in the Northern Hemisphere), and many people will be taking advantage of the nice weather by heading to the beach or mountains. While a 'regular' camera can take most of the photos on your trip, it won't survive a dip in the ocean or a tumble out of your backpack.

That's why rugged compact digital cameras continue to be one of the very few areas of the market that's still going strong. There aren't quite as many new models available in 2014 compared to 2013, but every major manufacturer has something to offer. 

In this year's waterproof/rugged camera roundup we have four cameras: the Canon PowerShot D30, Nikon Coolpix AW120, Olympus Tough TG-3, and Ricoh WG-4 GPS. The table below gives you a quick overview of the differences between these four:

  Canon PowerShot D30 Nikon Coolpix AW120 Olympus TG-3 Ricoh WG-4 GPS *
MSRP $330/£300/€330 $350/£270/€350 $350/£350/€400


Resolution 12.1MP 16.0MP  16.0MP 16.0MP
Max aperture F3.9-4.8  F2.8-4.9  F2.0-4.9 F2.0-4.9
Focal range (equiv.) 28-140mm 24-120mm 25-100mm 25-100mm 
Display 3" LCD 3" OLED 3" LCD  3" LCD
Display res. 461k dot 921k dot  460k dot 460k dot
Max depth 25m  18m 15m 14m
Shockproof 2m  2m  2.1m 2m 
Crushproof No No  100kgf 100kgf 
Min temp -10C
Manual exp. No No Aperture Shutter
Maps/POI No/No Yes/Yes No/Yes No/No 
e-Compass No  Yes  Yes Yes 
Pressure No  Yes  Yes Yes 
Wi-Fi No  Yes Yes  No
Video 1080/24p 1080/60i/30p 1080/30p 1080/30p 
Battery life  300 shots  350 shots 380 shots  240 shots 
Dimensions (mm) 109 x 68 x 28 110 x 66 x 26 112 x 66 x 31  125 x 65 x 32 
Weight (loaded)  218g 213g 247g  236g

* A non-GPS model is available for $50 less

On the following pages we'll take a look at each of the cameras in detail, and then wrap things up and tell you which is best!