Looking for a rugged camera
April 27, 2012 9:48 AM   Subscribe

For the first time in YEARS I’m in a position to get my brother a great birthday/holiday/etc gift. He wants a nice camera that can withstand his outdoorsiness – what should I be looking for?

He’s mechanically inclined and interested in futzing with settings and different lenses and anything gadgety, so a point-and-shoot wouldn’t be quite right.

What he wants to photograph is mostly nature – he loves hiking and camping and spends a lot of time outside. He hiked the Appalachian Trail recently and will probably do another long trip pretty soon. This is to say that I’m looking for something that is at least a little rugged, that can withstand some amount of dust / humidity / wilderness. Doesn't have to be waterproof. Super bonus points if there are any recommendations for reducing weight, either of the camera or batteries, since he’s into ultralite gear and those ounces add up after thousands of carrying miles.

Neither of us knows very much about this stuff, so I’m interested in any recommendations – brands, models, features, stores (I can get to shops in NYC or Boston easily, if that’s better than online), etc. Thank you!
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered to Shopping (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The brand new Olympus OM-D E-M5 is weather sealed, has five-axis image stabilization and exchangeable lenses, all in a small - predominantly metal - casing. It's so new that reviews haven't quite filtered out yet, but PC Mag has one.

If your brother is an AT hiker, I'm sure he'd appreciate weather sealing, which is surprisingly uncommon in new cameras.
posted by flippant at 10:18 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's your budget?
posted by smirkette at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2012

Good question, smirkette! Uh . . . let's say that the $1300 model linked above (which looks fab) is at the high end of the possible range.
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered at 12:03 PM on April 27, 2012

I'm going to point out the Sony SLT a77. Its "weatherproof", so it is not affected by humidity (even light rain) and dust. Also, as a SLR equivalent, using its mirrorless system its much lighter. It also has a really cool electronic viewfinder that lets you do all sorts of things ... 2oh1 posted an answer to a question of mine here that sold me on it.

It also comes with a really really nice lens that is also weatherproof. Forget what you hear about "kit" lens, this one is good. It is heavy though.
posted by Admira at 4:36 AM on April 28, 2012

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