Review: Fujifilm's FinePix XP10.
Most armored cameras, like the Fujifilm FinePix XP10, are waterproof (to ten feet, in this case), freezeproof, and shockproof (when dropped three feet or less). What makes this one stand out: It's about half the price. True, the image quality was slightly less impressive than with the rest of the cameras here—and a bit blurry underwater. But with features like a 5x optical zoom, sophisticated auto modes, 720p HD video (available on all these models), and easy Facebook/YouTube compatibility, it's the best value of the bunch. 12mp; 4.8 oz; $200; fujifilmusa.com
Fujifilm FinePix XP10
Review: Canon's PowerShot G11
Diving below 33 feet? You'll need a waterproof housing built specifically for your camera. Not only will you get better underwater image quality in a larger camera like Canon's Power Shot G11 ($500; shop.us.canon.com), but the company's WP-DC34 waterproof case ($240) can keep it dry down to 130 feet—as deep as most recreational scuba divers would ever want to go.
Canon PowerShot G11
Canon PowerShot G11
Review: Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-TX5Stylish doesn't need to mean fragile. Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 may look as thin and sleek as your old man's cigarette case, but it's also pool-proof to ten feet and drop-proof to five, and keeps shooting in temps down to 14 degrees (like every camera here). It's hands-down the most feature-rich of the batch—loaded with extras like face detection, twilight mode, 4x optical zoom, and an idiotproof touchscreen—and has a panorama mode that lets you capture three-fourths of the skyline in one sweep. Image quality? Sharp and vivid, and the best of the test underwater. 10.2mp; 4.5 oz; $350; sonystyle.com
Review: Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS2
Tough gets smart. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 is nearly as macho as the Olympus, but what sets it apart is the richer, noticeably crisper photos. Credit goes to the high-speed processor, a wide-angle lens made by Leica, and Panasonic's resolution- and zoom-enhancing technology, which makes the 4.6x optical zoom perform more like a 6x. It also uses a space-saving video format called AVCHD Lite, which lets you capture an hour of HD footage on an 8-gig card—about double the Motion JPEG norm. 14.1mp; 6.6 oz; $400; panasonic.com
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2
Review: Olympus's Stylus Tough-8010Pocket cameras don't get any more rugged than this: Olympus's Stylus Tough-8010 shoots to a depth of 33 feet, shrugs off six-foot drops, and (as the only crush-rated camera here) can handle a 220-pound squashing. With its 5x optical zoom and image stabilization, it was the best shooter for action sports, and the dedicated video button (also on the Panasonic and Fujifilm) meant no fumbling through menus to hit record. It's a little heavier and less intuitive than others, but when push comes to smash, that's a small tradeoff. 14mp; 7.6 oz; $400; getolympus.com
Filed To: Waterproof-Shockproof