In film-based cameras, one of the better bets is the Olympus Stylus 100 Wide (around $200 street price; www.olympusamerica.com), which is a nice little 35-mill camera, complete with zoom lens, a weatherproof design, and a pretty rugged shell. But drop it and beat it? Maybe not the brightest idea. On the digital side of things, Pentax's Optio 33WR (in the $300 to $350 range; www.pentax.com) offers similar waterproof capability but, given its high-tech innards, is probably even more delicate from a smackdown perspective.
Alternatively, you could purchase a waterproof diving case for a camera, and let that take the pounding while the camera is (relatively) safe. Ewa-Marine makes a range of camera housings that are 100-percent waterproof. Price is around $150 to $200 each, depending on the model of camera that you use (www.ewa-marine.com). The camera of course is extra, so you're in the $400-plus range at that point, which certainly sounds a step-up from your Euro photographic dabblings.
So, Jared, let me offer you this simple gearly advice: Be a little more gentle with the camera. In the long run, you'll be money ahead, plus you'll be getting pictures long after a dropped-and-beaten camera has lost the will to live.
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