Best LifeProof Cameras - 2013 Edition
It's summer. You plan a weekend trip with all your friends to go canoeing down the Chattahoochee River on the East coast, camping along the river banks and grilling on the campfire.
It's winter. The family decides this year to spend Christmas snowboarding in the Rockies, renting a cabin in Park City, Utah building snowmen on the back porch.
It's spring. Your wife plans an anniversary trip to Alaska to whale watch in the afternoons, climb glaciers in the mornings and watch the Northern Light streak across the night sky.
It's fall. The kids are in the backyard making mud pies to serve for dessert while the dog is running towards your covered in dirt ready to play a rousing game of Jump on Master.
You need a camera that won't crap out at exactly the wrong moment. Life Proof cameras are an excellent way to keep up with your adventurous lifestyle, withstanding extreme temperatures, relatively deep waters, drops from a good height and a serious amount of dirt and dust. Nearly every company has produced a camera that carries a Life Proof rating, some better than others. You don't always have to compromise picture quality for durability. This guide will explore a few options, list a few necessary accessories and give you a good idea of what it is you really need when it comes to Life Proofing your equipment.
Building on the success of the TG-1 iHS, Olympus introduced their 2013 Flagship tough series camera, the TG-2 iHS. This model takes everything we loved about last year's model -- the f2.0 lens, iHS (intelligent, high-sensitivity and high speed) technology, and Full HD 1080p video recording -- and improves it. The waterproof rating has been bumped up ten feet to a full 50ft (15M). Combine that with specs like Freezeproof down to 14°F, Shockproof up to a 6.6ft (2M) drop, Crushproof up to 220 pounds, and Dustproof, and you've got one tough point-and-shoot, ready to go wherever you need to take it. And, in addition to fun features like 11 Magic Filters, which help stylize your photos, the TG-2 also boasts a built-in manometer, which records depth, elevation, and even warns you if you get too close to the camera's 50ft depth limitation. GPS and e-compass functionality also help with geo-tagging and, in a pinch, finding your way. All for less than $380.
Panasonic's DMC-TS5 is the toughest camera they've released to date. Waterproof down to 43 feet, Shockproof from a 6.6 foot fall, Crushproof up to 220 pounds of pressure, Freezeproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and Dustproof. The TS5 is also packed with awesome features like Wi-Fi and NFC technology to help you share your photos. In the photo department, the TS5 boasts 16-megapixels of resolution via a high sensitivity image sensor, coupled with a high-quality Leica 4.6x optical zoom lens that is completely housed in the camera's body. The new Venus Engine processes the images captured, and also allows you to capture AVCHD 1080p HD video. Intelligent Auto helps you capture the best photos possible in a variety of shooting situations. The MSRP on this model is $399.
Pentax has just unveiled two new rugged Lifeproof cameras for 2013 -- the Optio WG-3 and WG-3 GPS. While these two are pretty much the same camera, the GPS model offers, you guessed it, GPS functionality, along with a few other cool features. The price difference is about $50 USD ($349 for the WG-3 GPS and $299 for the WG-3). First off, these models are some of the toughest we've seen from Pentax/Ricoh, with Lifeproof specs that are sure to impress adventurous users; and their friends. You can now take the WG-3 down to depths of up to 45 feet, drop it from up to 6.6 feet, or take it into freezing conditions down to 14 degrees F. Core features include a fast new 4x optical zoom lens, which boasts a maximum aperture of f/2.0 to help with low-light and underwater photography. The lens is aided by Pentax's Sensor-Shift Shake Reduction technology, helping ensure you capture sharp photos with minimal blur. This lens is mated to a 16-megapixel, backlit, CMOS image sensor and new-generation Image Engine processor. The combination promises high-quality photos, in a variety of shooting situations.
Meet the Fujifilm XP200. Waterproof down to 50 feet, shockproof up to 6.6 feet, dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14°F. With an improved 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch LCD display with anti-glare technology, a 5x optical zoom lens, and CMOS shift image stabilization, you'll can capture great still photos (at up to 10 frames-per-second in High Speed Burst mode) or HD video (at a 1080/60i resolution using the dedicated Movie Record button) anywhere you want to go. Advanced Filters add extra wow factor to various shots, while built-in Wi-Fi allows users to back up new photos and/or share your latest compositions on social networking sites. Other fun features include Motion Panorama 360, Individual Shutter 3D, and High Speed Multi-Frame Processing (which takes two shots at different exposures and combines them to create one HDR or High Dynamic Range photograph). With a $299 MSRP and an even cheaper street price (see above), the XP200 is an extreme...ly affordable digicam.
The Nikon Coolpix AW110 will take you to depths of 59 feet, survive drops of up to 6.7 feet, and work in temperatures as chilly as 14 degrees F. Beyond the rugged body, the AW110 includes a backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor with a 16 megapixel resolution, which is perfect for darker underwater and other low-light shooting conditions. CMOS image sensors also mean Full HD (1080p) video recording capabilities and, thanks to the lens shift VR (vibration reduction) your video and stills will be smooth and sharp. Easy Auto Mode makes proper exposure settings easy for any experience level, while GPS and WiFi capabilities mean you can geo-tag and instantly share all your adventure photos on your favorite social networking sites (as long as you have Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app available for iOS and Android). Check out the AW110 with a $349.99 MSRP.