The Unbreakables: rugged cameras put to the test

Freezeproof, waterproof and unperturbed by your butter-fingered clumsiness, these snappers are truly mighty
The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

Tough cams deserve a tough test - so that's what we've given them.

These three rugged point-and-shoot snappers are all nigh-on indestructible, according to their makers. In fact, withstanding water, dust, ice and impacts should all be in a day's work for the Canon PowerShot D30, Nikon Coolpix AW120 and Panasonic Lumix FT5.

Well we weren't prepared to take their word for it.

To see if the snappers lived up to their rugged billing, we put them through a series of (almost) Herculean trials: an hour in the freezer; a six-foot drop on to a hardwood floor; and – the pièce de résistance – an eight-minute rinse session in the dishwasher. 

You can see the video of the latter below (yep, if you've ever wondered what goes on inside a dishwasher when the door's closed, you're about to find out), along with individual reviews of each of the cameras.

Ladies and gents, it's time for some tough love.

READ MORE: Stuff's guide to photography

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Verdict: who is king of the hardnuts?

The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

The best rugged and waterproof cameras - tested

We have to say, we were quite disappointed to find out just how tough these cameras are – we had our fingers crossed for some spectacular breakages.

(Un)fortunately, none of the snappers was going to accommodate us, and they all came across as so hardy that, in our opinion, if you destroy one of these you only have yourself to blame. The cameras are all of a similar weight, size and price, so there was nothing major to separate them in any of these criteria.

There wasn't much between them when it came to performance either: when it comes to both stills and video, none of the trio will let you down horribly in any everyday shooting situation. That said, our time with the cameras suggested that the Panasonic FT5 was the best for video capture and the Nikon AW120 the best for stills. The Nikon also has the most complete suite of sensors and mapping tools, and while this is hardly a deal-breaker for most, it's something that we reckon buyers of tough, outdoorsy cameras may well appreciate.

So it's the Nikon Coolpix AW120 that edges our test of the tough cameras.

READ MORE: The 10 best compact cameras in the world right now