Best waterproof cameras
Most people take a camera on summer hols with them, but how many of them end up giving their snapper an accidental dunking in the hotel swimming pool? Quite a few, we'd wager. Sun, sand and surf is all very well, but it's even better if you can take your holiday snaps without having to worry about the wellbeing of your camera.
More to the point, of course, how about photography that actually requires water? Nothing talks of adventure travelling quite like underwater snaps of your tropical destination - even if that is just the bottom of the hotel swimming pool.
Whatever you're way of looking at it, we've pulled together a round-up of the best waterproof cameras around. Read on for the lowdown on the top water-friendly snappers.
Canon PowerShot D10
Canon's water-friendly compact has been around for nearly two years, and was the brand's first foray into rugged cameras. As well as being waterproof up to 10m, it's also shockproof, dustproof and can cope with temperatures as low as -10 degrees C. It's got a 12MP sensor, backed by a DIGIC 4 processor as well as a 3x optical zoom.
The brightly coloured chassis is a tad on the bulky side but it does give a little more grip than some rival models and it also includes twist lock attachment points on each corner for strapping it to whatever you think is most secure. At £226.28, it's not one of the cheapest compacts around, but the extreme weatherproofing along with the impressive picture quality make it a good choice.
This tough-guy snapper from Panasonic sports a svelte profile, measuring just 21.6mm and tipping the scales at a featherlight 157g. Waterproof to 3m, it's also dustproof, shockproof at a 1.5m drop and can handle temperatures down to -10 degrees C. The DMC-FT10 boasts Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode as well as Mega OI, face detection and Intelligent ISO contol.
What's more, it can record HD video at 720p/30fps - so you'll be able to bore people with your home videos as well as your holiday snaps on your return. The slim chassis makes it a good choice for those that want portability. Yours for £159.95.
Measuring just 17.9mm thick, this rugged from Sony is even slimmer than Panasonic's offering and disguises its robust credentials well with a slinky chassis. Following on from the previous year's TX5, this model is waterproof up to 5m, as well being dustproof, shock proof (to a 1.5m drop) and freezeproof (to -10 degrees C).
Priced at £295.94, the DSC-TX10 also includes Sony Sweep Panorama mode for automatically stitching together shots into a panoramic snap and it's also capable of capturing 3D still images. It's available in silver, pink or black so there's a finish to suit everyone but with a sliding lens cover, it might not take too well to grit and sand so it's probably not the best camera for the beach.
Fuji FinePix XP30
At £139, this is one of the more affordable cameras in the lineup and is waterproof up to 3m, as well as being shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof. However, the cheaper price tag means that, in practice, it's not quite as rugged and sturdy as some of its more expensive rivals. All the same, it has some decent features on board including GPS tagging and 5x optical zoom, and it's available in black, silver, orange, blue and green.
This is one double-hard camera - in fact, it's the world's first crushproof camera which is capable of withstanding a 100kg load. Along with a tank-like chassis, the camera also features waterproofing up to 10m and can handle being dropped from a height of 2m, as well as being freezeproof. The TG-810 rules the roost when it comes to the manufacturer's Tough range, playing big brother to the TG-610 (£188.29) and TG-310 (£118.97).
Available in black or silver, it's also got Eye-Fi compatibility along with three underwater modes, GPS, and an electronic compass. It's also capable of capturing 720p HD video. You can pick it up for £219, which isn't a bad price, considering the crushproof credentials. Probably the pick of the bunch for us, although there is also...
Pentax Optio WG1-GPS
On Pentax's latest offering, all the weather-friendly specs are in place as you'd expect - it's waterproof (to 10m), shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof and also crushproof to 100kg, like the Olympus TG-810. The sturdy bodywork is crafted from an aluminium alloy along with hardy rubber.
The WG1-GPS packs a 14MP sensor, along with a 5x wide-angle zoom and it's also got GPS on board for geotagging pictures. It's due to land in August with a price tag of £299 and will be available in orange, grey and green. Pentax also offers the Optio W90 (£236.98) and W80 (£260.39).
Kodak EasyShare Sport
This is the cheapest camera in our round-up and this is evident in the no-frills design. There's no optical zoom so you're reliant on a fixed focus lens but what you do get is a 12MP snapper and a 2.4-inch colour display. Video capture is also fairly rudimentary, with a below-average resolution of just 640x480.
Whereas most of the cameras here will be just as good out of water as in it, the Kodak Easyshare looks like it might struggle to keep up with its rivals. But then it only costs £57.99, so it's definitley worth a look if money is an issue.
Casio EXILIM EX-G1
Where some of this waterproof bunch are minimalist, the Casio EXILIM EX-G1's design leaves you in no doubt about its rugged credentials. Along with its angular, slightly futuristic design, the camera is waterproof up to 3m and is also freezeproof, dustproof and shock resistant when dropped from up to 2.13m.
Its cool looks and ability to withstand the elements make this a good choice although camera aficionados may find that their snaps aren't as pin sharp as they'd like. However, it's ideal for adrenalin junkies who simply want a camera that will survive their outdoor pursuits. You can pick up the EX-G1 for £168.99.
Lomography All Weather Actionsampler
If you're into film photography then you might like to try something a little more unusual to take silly snaps of you in your snorkel. Analogue brand Lomography makes the All Weather Actionsampler (£65) which uses 35mm film and is waterproof up to 6m. As a four-lensed camera, it takes four shots in rapid sequence, which then come out on the same frame, a bit like a cartoon strip.
If you can't afford to splash out on a waterproof camera then you could go with a cheaper option like the Aquapac 420. This clever little gadget will keep your camera dry up to a depth of 5m and has also been made from durable, non-tear plastic. It's designed so that it won't discolour from exposure to the sun and it features a hard lens cover so that you can make use of your camera's zoom.
You can get the Aquapac for under £30 (we found it for £28.55 online) and while that might sound pricey for what is essentially a plastic bag, it's still a much cheaper option than a brand new camera.