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Krabill 11-14-2012 06:53 AM

I need a camera
It will be a gift.

Some background:

She LOVES to take pictures.

She is HARD on cameras. It must be durable. It'll go everywhere. On the bike, camping, mountain biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, etc., etc. . . .

She takes pictures are of everything. People. Bikes. Landscapes. Macro (bugs, flowers). Night time. Daytime. Indoor. Outdoor.

Waterproof/shockproof/dustproof would be ideal, but picture quality is probably more important.

Must be easy to use, but also needs to have useable features.

It has to be small enough to be able to fit in her pocket/camelbak/riding gear.

Last camera was a Canon powershot. Current camera is a Canon Elph 110. It's pretty much brand new and the back screen is already cracked :huh

I know there are a lot of photo gurus around here, so some help would be appreciated :D

Grainbelt 11-14-2012 07:32 AM

The water/shockproof cams have come a long way, but they still struggle mightily in poor light.

Small enough to fit in a pocket is a challenge.

The best pocketable camera right now is probably the Canon S110. The older S100 and S90 are wonderful as well.

I love my Fujifilm X10, but it isn't quite pocketable. Jacket pocket, maybe. The recently announced XF1 may work for her.

As for durability, find a small pelican case that it fits in for the heaviest duty work, and a even a stretchy neoprene sleeve type case will protect it without taking up additional space in a camelback/purse/whatever.

Krabill 11-14-2012 07:51 AM

The S100 looks nice.

The XF1 seems to be manual focus only. I'm not sure that will work for some of the quick shots she likes to take on occasion.

That said, while I was looking up the XF1, my search also brought up Sony's DSC-RX100 and got me thinking about maybe going ahead and getting her a "better" camera that she would have to actually take care of for the good shots and just keep using the little Elph for the pocket stuff.

AerialCameras 11-14-2012 07:55 AM

Love the Canon stuff. Still have my G10 and S80. Even though I've just bought the Oly OM-D, the G10 is still in the bag.

There's a replacement screen for your elph on eBay for about $24. A precision screwdriver and some good light and you can replace it yourself. The seller provides instructions and support. It's just removing a bunch of little screws and a ribbon cable. Then assemble in reverse. I did the screen in the s80 after the wife dropped it. I figured I didn't have much to lose and everything to gain. Still going four years later and still an awesome camera.

Krabill 11-14-2012 08:27 AM

The screen still works fine, it just has a crack in it.

The point here is, she isn't happy with her Elph. She's frustrated with the picture quality and the fact that it gets dinged up so easily.

Her old Powershot had been through hell and back, mostly on long distance motorcycle trips and while it was scratched up, it worked for her for years. The Elph is only a couple months old and already looks worse than her old camera.

MrBob 11-14-2012 09:13 AM

I've had my S90 for a few years of active outdoor life and it seems to be doing fine. At times, I thought the below zero temps I sometimes use it in would cause problems but - no.
As with most of my point and shoot cameras, I bought a refurbished model on Amazon for a substantial savings with the same factory warranty.

rotten 11-14-2012 09:17 AM

Personally I like rugged cameras and perfer to have one in my pocket over my Canon DSLR. I have had a few over the years and find the Panasonic Lumix rugged to be one of the best for photo quality (that is what counts right?). Here is the basic model with wide angle and water proof to 16' (personally I cut these estimates in 1/2 to be safe).

16MP $140 so it won't break the bank and if its damaged its not that big of a deal.
built to survive a drop of 5' (1.5 m), it's waterproof to 16' (4.87 m), dustproof, and freezeproof to 14F (-10C)--as close to indestructible as a compact digital camera gets

My preference includes GPS and its more rugged:
12MP but increased protection

I have also had Olympus "tough" but they really struggle in low light... but my next rugged will be this camera or the replacement to it..

One thing that you do give up with the rugged cameras is the picture quality over a similar priced point and shoot but what it save me in damaged cameras its well worth it....

RxZ 11-14-2012 10:13 AM

I have one of these, and I like it.

Like mentioned, it isn't the best in low light but the pictures will look as good as any other point and shoot in those conditions. The lens needs to be carefully cleaned after submersion so that it doesn't make all future pictures blurry (from smudges or scratches). And you have to be really careful to make sure the seal to the battery and memory card compartment stay clean so that it actually seals. The last two points will be true for any shock/water/dust proof camera.

One more thing. For most all these type cameras that say they are drop proof from x feet. Typically that test is onto plywood suspended over air (read: hard, but bouncy surface). They are not necessarily shock proof onto concrete or asphalt from the same height.

NikonsAndVStroms 11-14-2012 09:37 PM

I'd go with the Olympus over the Panasonic for the processing engine. They do a lot better with colors than almost anyone and have been in the game of making these tough cameras for years, and years.

KingRat 11-14-2012 11:34 PM

I bought an Olympus TG1 recently and so far I love it... also, unlike most, it charges via USB cable so one need not remove the battery and use a separate battery charger.

It also has all sorts of easy to use point/shoot scene settings. For taking everywhere and taking loads of snapshots I think it's very hard to beat.

EvilClown 11-15-2012 03:13 AM

Canon fan here as well but the last camera I picked up is a Pentax W90.

Cameras don't live an easy life here either.

Only suggestion would be get an optional 'filter' for the lens to add another layer of protection.

soboy 11-15-2012 03:55 AM

The conventional wisdom is that superb image quality and the ability to survive abuse are mutually exclusive traits until you get into professional body full frame DSLRs. That being said, most of the enthusiast compacts have a noticeable improvement in both image quality and build quality from the typical point and shoots. My Lumix LX-3 is built like a tank and has survived a 5 foot fall on concrete (in its case) with zero damage. Its image quality is excellent, measurably better than a typical point and shoot, almost on par with a DSLR. I had not heard of the Olympus TG1 before this thread and King Rat's images look better than most of the shots coming from "rugged" cameras.

Krabill 11-15-2012 06:42 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.

Now I'll just have to decide between the TG-1 and tell her to live with the picture quality or pick a "good" camera and tell her to be careful with it. Hmmm . . .

ysr612 11-15-2012 07:03 PM

I have a canon D10 and love it. some pictures

mbabc 11-15-2012 07:36 PM

Another vote for the Olympus TG-1. It's my on bike camera with a NEX-5n in the tank bag.

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