Dirt, dust, freezing temps, or salt water? No problem. You can shoot pictures and HD video in any conditions with these nearly unbreakable cameras.
Dean Arrindell 1 / 6
We know it gets a lot of attention <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/gear/reviews/gopro-hero3-review-the-adventure... target="_blank">from us</a>, but face it: the GoPro attachable cam isn’t for every guy. If you’re into filming your action, but want more variety in <em>what</em> you shoot with, go for a dustproof, shockproof, waterproof, practically unbreakable camera that’ll keep up with your badass adventures.
These ultra-durable cameras shoot crystal clear photos, <em>and</em> 1080p HD video, so you can capture your adventures in both formats. Want to see your footage in slow motion? Done. Most shoot at 60 frames per second (fps) or more. Need someone to take your picture? Done. Your smartphone or tablet can act as a remote for some of these action cams.
Here are the top five toughest mini HD cams. Go ahead, be rough on them. Bring back adventure trip footage from one of these and you’ll score major bragging rights next time you grab beers with friends.
If you like doing water sports, the <strong>Contour+ 2</strong> is what you want. Put on its waterproof case and dive down to 60 meters. The lens rotates 270 degrees, so you can mount it anywhere (using its 20 different mounting options) and still maintain a level shot. Slow down the underwater action to 120 fps. Plus, if you’d rather mount it on a buoy or boat while you swim around, use your smartphone to preview your shot, start and stop recording, watch the feed or make adjustments to the Contour+ 2, all via Bluetooth. ($400; <a href="http://store.contour.com/ae/us/cameras/contour+-2/invt/1700/" target="_blank">contour.com</a>)
Olympus TG-2 iHS
The <strong>Olympus TG-2 iHS</strong>, which made its debut at last month’s Consumer Electronic Show, looks like a regular point-and-shoot—but don’t be fooled. This super-tough camera is waterproof up to 50 feet, can take a huge hit (more specifically: a max of 220 pounds of pressure and a 7-foot drop), and functions in temps as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it resists dust and works in all types of light, so you can take it to a party, the beach, or even the side of a mountain. Record every second of action by taking photos in bursts of 10-60 fps, or shooting video at 240 fps.
($380; <a href="http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/tough/tg-2-ihs.html" target="_blank">getolympus.com</a>)
You’ll never miss those epic candid shots with the <strong>Samsung WMX-W300</strong>. At about the same height and width of a smartphone, it fits comfortably in your pocket until you’re ready to shoot stills or video. Unlike your phone, though, you don’t have to go gentle on it: it’s dustproof, shockproof (to drops of up to 6.5 feet), and waterproof (up to 12 feet, which—admittedly—is <em>slightly</em> lower than other models on our list). If you’re the guy who spends lots of money replacing electronics, this one is for you. ($160; <a href="http://www.samsung.com/us/photography/camcorders/HMX-W300YN/XAA?" target="_blank">samsung.com</a>)
Liquid Image Model 339 Apex HD + Wi-Fi
Liquid Image Co
If skiing or snowboarding are your thing, and you’re wearing goggles anyway, why not install an HD camera in them? The <strong>Liquid Image Model 339 Apex HD + Wi-Fi</strong> positions a lens just above the eyes and adjusts 30 degrees down or sideways for the perfect eye-level shot. Designed for snow sports, the lens handles rain, sleet and snow, no problem. And by using their ActionConnect smartphone app, you can preview your shots and control the camera remotely. Snap stills with the 12.0MP camera or shoot video as fast as 60 fps for slow motion video. ($400; <a href="http://www.liquidimageco.com/products/model-339-apex-series-hd" target="_blank">liquidimageco.com</a>)
Want to show your friends <em>live</em> footage of your next hike or climb? Go for the <strong>Panasonic HX-A100D</strong>—it records your video and broadcasts it to Ustream, where your friends and family can watch as you go. An ear hook anchors the camera at eye level and an armband holds the tethered controller in place, but backpack and helmet attachments are available too. Then, once mounted, use your smartphone or tablet to preview, start or end your broadcast or recording. And of course, it’s dustproof and waterproof up to five feet. Don’t be afraid to get it a little wet and dirty. ($300; <a href="http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/HX-A100D" target="_blank">shop.panasonic.com</a>)