The other day a forum thread got me thinking about dust-proof cameras for jobsite or shop use. Such a camera should be dust-proof, shock-proof, waterproof, and must be easy to operate.
My first thought was to look at the Ryobi Tek4 camera that came out last year. However, not enough specs are mentioned on the “ruggedized” camera’s product page or via Home Depot, its exclusive retailer.
So, I did a little more research and found quite a few semi-suitable water/dust-proof digital cameras from all the major brands. And then I had a thought…
If you’re somewhat of a tech-geek like me, you may be familiar with Panasonic and their line of ToughBook laptops. I don’t have much personal experience with these products myself, but I know that they’re built for extreme conditions. After a little searching, I found that Panasonic offers two toughened sealed cameras, the TS2 and TS10.
The TS2 can sustain up to 6.6ft drops, is dust-proof to IP6X standards, and waterproof to 33ft and IPX8 standards. It is also design to withstand temperatures down to 14 degrees F. At its heart is a 14.1MP sensor and 4.6X optical zoom lens with image stabilization. The camera is also capable of recording video.
If I were to need a shock/dust/water proof camera today, the DMC-TS2 is what I’d buy. The DMC-TS10 is a slightly more econonical version with reduced specs. The street price for the TS2 is around $260, and the TS10 $200. The TS2 is available in several colors – orange, silver, blue and yellow.
The only downside to this camera is that it might not be easy to operate with gloved hands. However, its IP ratings, features, pocketable size, and what looks to be a stainless steel body pushes it way ahead of the Ryobi Tek4 model.
Panasonic DMC-TS2 via Amazon
Product Info via Panasonic
Couple thoughts… we’ve reviewed the Ryobi Tek4 camera and it’s not a bad choice. Check out the underwater picture, it’s pretty cool. From the specs, it looks like the Panasonic camera would take better pictures though.
Lastly, Panasonic Toughbooks are disappointingly “un-tough”.
The panasonic is a good camera – I got one for a trip to Hawaii (nice underwater videos when snorkling). It also has an included silicone “bumper” that makes it even more bounce-proof. It held up to surf, sand, and 3 buys under the age of 12. The photos and video are good for a point-and-shoot.
Ethan, thanks for the link to the review and comments on the ToughBook. The last few I saw looked and felt pretty rugged, but I’ve never used them in field.
I’m now leaning towards picking up a TS2 for review and personal use since I sometimes avoid pulling out my regular camera – sawdust, drywall, and masonry dust don’t mix well with interchangeable lenses.
Pezdad, 3 boys under the age of 12? Wow, that does say a lot about the camera’s ruggedness!
A friend of mine with a ToughBook often wonders why the little access panels over the ports are so cheesily built. That and he managed to break off some of the flashing around the edge of the screen by putting it into his bag a little too quickly (there was a poured concrete floor under the bag).
Oddly enough the old IBM era ThinkPads are actually fairly tough—accelerometers for locking up the drives and drive heads during a fall and metal safety cages (like cars) under the plastic veneers to keep the components within safe. Heck, a friend of mine dropped hers from waist height (she’s 5’9″) due to a mishap with her shoulder bag and all it did was pop off a panel covering an expansion port, which she was able to snap right back on. I also recall that it managed to chip out part of the floor tile as well. This is probably why these machines are favoured by engineers—that and they can accommodate the installation of alternative operating systems with little trouble. What they lacked in looking tough via external metal panels, they made up for with actual toughness.
Of course there’s no word on how tough the Lenovo versions are.