THE CHOSEN FEW: Best action cameras
If you’re the type who couldn’t think of anything worse than lying prone, looking skywards and sizzling in the sun for a few weeks, and would prefer to dive, climb and cave your way round the world – and importantly record your daredevil antics for posterity – ShortList has five durable cameras that can handle the rough stuff with aplomb. And, yes, we know they're all blue...
1. Nikon Coolpix AW130
The Coolpix certainly looks the part. The AW120 backs up its macho credentials up with an interactive map of the world, wifi connectivity, an underwater depth-charge and altimeter. The battery life isn’t too shabby with 350 shots before a recharge and it houses an easy-to-use GPS system. It will also keep shooting as your teeth are chattering, well under zero degrees and you can take plenty of reef life as it submerges with you to 18-metres. The only place the Coolpix falls down, sadly, is image quality – this despite a 5x optical zoom - with detail patchy and average colour reproduction.
Price: AED1,499 from Grand Stores
2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
The famous Lumix name isn’t the newest device on the market, but it’s not left wanting by any of the cameras on review. Helped by a classy Leica lens, and optically stabilized to banish camera shake, the 16.1MP camera doesn’t suffer the loss of detail you’ll find in other devices. It packs the usual goodies to show off to your friends; its 100kg crushproof, bags GPS, wifi connectivity but at 13-metre below the surfact you’ll be left in the ‘shallow end’ as other rivals dive deeper – compare this to Canon’s 25m. Available in striking burnt orange and with full HD video capture, this is nevertheless, a handsome all-rounder.
Price: AED799 from souq.com
3. Canon Powershot D30
If you’re diving for the Loch Ness monster, or any other deep-sea creature, the D30 will dive deepest, to an eardrum-bursting 25 metres. It’s not as hardy as other products on test, however, and won’t survive being squashed by a heavy object. On the upside, it’s easy-to-operate, has a vibrant 3.0in screen and GPS tagging, so companions can track you down if you go missing. Rocking a 12.1MP screen, the lens isn’t as powerful as others on test, and while it produces reasonable images, they’re far from class-leading. A deep-sea wonder but drowned by the opposition.
Price: AED1,199 (inclusive of a carry case and 4GB memory card), from National Store at Dubai Mall, Mirdiff City Centre and Ibn Batuta Mall
4. Ricoh WG-4 GPS
The Ricoh WG-4 looks like it’s been built to go the distance with Mike Tyson. Encased in an armoured shell, it will allow you to swim with the fish to a depth of 14 metres, survive a two-metre drop, emerge in one piece if a weight up to100kg crushes it and still shoot unforgiving landscapes when the temperature drops to -10 degrees. If you get lost on your latest Marathon des Sables, a handy GPS and torch option is also thrown in. Enough with the machismo, can it take a decent pic? Well, yes. It can. It may not wear the best-in-class tag but it’s in the mix. There’s a 16MP sensor, 4x optical zoom which allows an abundance of light to seep in. Also handy is optical image stabilization and accessories that include a mount to attach to a kayak or a bike.
Price: AED1,409 from desertcart.ae
5. Olympus Stylus Tough G4
The Olympus is a classy little device. Like many of the other cameras on test, the ‘Tough’ will survive falls, being crushed by heavy objects and a dive down to 15-metres. It will also survive a deep freeze and has a chunky, ergonomic design that is easy-to-use. Other useful tools include a GPS system, compass and depth and pressure gauges. Wifi connectivity will also allow you to share your best images to upload on Instagram once you’re back online. The 16MP lens is sharp with an 4x optical zoom but it can lack detail in lower light conditions.
Price: AED3,359 (with accessories) from desertcart.ae