Planning a summer vacation already? Good for you. But here's something that many folks overlook when piecing together logistics: a tool to capture it all. While summer excursions frequently entail trips to sandy beaches and infinity pools, many vacationers forget to pack a camera that's equipped to photograph your journeys regardless of the situation. Camera makers far and wide have produced a fantastic range of rugged and waterproof shooters leading into this summer, and below you'll find my top three recommendations.
Pentax Optio WG-3: If you're planning a dive trip, or any other vacation that involves more time underwater than above it, this is the camera to buy. It's perhaps the most rugged point-and-shoot on the market, but unlike many similar units that have come before it, this one's actually capable of taking sharp photos, even in low light conditions. It'll handle submersions up to 45 feet, withstand drops of up to six and a half feet, and capture 1080p HD footage, even underwater. $250
Optrix XD4 and XD5: For those of you who already own an iPhone 4, 4S, or 5, this is perhaps your most affordable option. Apple's smartphone line takes fairly impressive photos and videos already, and if you're content with sticking with the device you have, these cases will wrap your phone up and allow it to take shots underwater. The XD4 houses the iPhone 4 and 4S, while the XD5 covers the iPhone 5. It also doubles as a shockproof case, just in case you want to take it rock climbing. $80 and $130, respectively
Fujifilm FinePix XP200: One of the bigger complaints when it comes to ruggedized cameras is the sheer size of them. The XP200, however, is amongst the slimmest to ever carry a rugged label. It's waterproof down to 50 feet and can sustain a drop from over six feet high. There's a built-in panorama mode for capturing landscape shots, and the Wi-Fi support allows for wireless transfers of images right to your laptop or smartphone. $250–$300
Whichever shooter you choose, hopefully you'll be well-equipped once you head off on vacation. Just remember to make time for photography!
Do you have any favorite cameras for surviving the great outdoors? Let us know!