Hot Shots Sports Cameras Slideshow

Hot Shots Sports Cameras Slideshow

Sony

The Sony RX100 is, simply put, one of the best compact cameras ever made. It's not particularly rugged, but it's small, has an extra large sensor that produces stunning 20.2-megapixel images and a blazing fast f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens. This is the camera the pros take when they can't haul their full kit along, and it packs plenty of power for spring wildflower hikes or light-and-fast backcountry backpack trips. If money's burning a hole in your pocket and you don't mind a bit more heft, go for the Sony RX1 ($2,800), the world's first full-frame point-and-shoot.
$650; sony.com

Key Stats
Weight:
8.5 oz.
Megapixels: 20.2
Sensor: 1” (15.86mm)
Zoom:
3.6x

Zeal Optics

You could strap a helmet cam on the next time you hit the slopes, or you could slip into stealth mode with these seemingly normal ski goggles by Zeal. They sport a 170-degree wide-angle lens camera above and between the eyes that's capable of 1080p HD video and 8-megapixel still photos. A viewfinder in the lower-right corner allows the filmmaker…er, skier…to see real-time footage, and also serves as playback screen. Big, glove-friendly buttons on the right temple control functions fairly intuitively, making capturing pro-quality powder porn a no-brainer. The goggles themselves are pretty good—with anti-fogging and 100% UV protection—but be sure to try them on before you buy. Testers everywhere are finding them to be on the big side.
$399; zealoptics.com

Key Stats
Top Video Quality:
1080p @ 30fps
Battery Life: 3 hours
Max Storage: 32GB micro SD card, good for ~8 hours of HD video
Durability: Fair

Sony

Sony markets the TX30 as a waterproof camera—a handy feature for a soggy day out on the trail—but what we love about it is how much power it packs into a tiny body. This little camera is smaller than a smartphone, and weighs less than five ounces—making it easy to slip into a waist pocket or lumbar pack between rest stops—but packs a significantly bigger sensor that allows in more light and shoots full 1080p HD videos at 60 fps. Plus, in addition to being watertight, it's also dustproof and shockproof, for the inevitable slips and stumbles of navigating rugged terrain.
$350; sony.com

Key Stats
Weight:
4.9 oz.
Megapixels: 18.2
Sensor: 1/2.3” (7.77mm)
Zoom:
5x optical

Olympus

This is the toughest camera Olympus has ever created, which is just what you need whether you're sending a big wall or just tooling around on some local boulders. It's dustproof, can withstand a crushing force of up to 220 pounds and—at only 8.1 ounces—won't drag you down too much. The TG-2 has a fast f/2.0 lens, shoots full HD video and has an HDR dark-area compensation mode that's forgiving of the harsh, high-contrast lighting that is the bane of most climbing photographers. This solid little camera that will take its dings against the rock, but it's only shockproof (able to withstand a fall) to 7 feet, so we recommend clipping it to yourself.
$380; olympusimage.com

Key Stats
Weight:
8.1 oz.
Megapixels: 12.0
Sensor: 1/2.3” (7.77mm)
Optical Zoom:
4x

Contour

This is, admittedly, the lighter of Contour's camera offerings. It's bigger than big brother Contour+ 2, has fewer shooting modes, doesn't have the same GPS and Bluetooth capabilities and doesn't come with a waterproof case. But Roam2 does have great video quality (above any but GoPro, Drift HD and Contour+ 2), has twice the battery life for long days of singletrack riding and, above all, is only half the price of its betters. It's a rugged, all-season camera that suits the sports—and wallets—of many a dirtbag athlete. If you want to go big, skip the better Contour and go straight to the GoPro.
$200; contour.com

Key Stats
Top Video Quality:
1080p @ 30fps
Battery Life: 3.5 hours
Max Storage: 32GB micro SD card, good for ~8 hours of HD video
Durability: Excellent

Apple

Yup, that's right, your iPhone is still the best solution for snapping pics on a run, and for a few reasons: 1) Because, at less than 4 oz., it's lighter than most any other camera on the market; 2) You probably already bring it along to listen to music or track your workout on an app like RunKeeper; 3) Its 8-megapixel iSight camera is actually pretty good, as evidenced by the surprisingly high quality of Instagram photos, and the crisp, 1080p HD video it records.
$150 (w/T-Mobile contract) to $730; apple.com

Key Stats
Weight: 3.95 oz.
Megapixels: 8.0
Sensor: 1/3.2” (5.68mm)
Optical Zoom: N/A

Drift

This easy-to-use action cam rivals many of the best on the market in terms of video quality and durability, but it's set apart by its intuitive controls and social media capabilities. The camera, which can be mounted on your helmet, goggles or snowboard deck, is controlled by a wireless remote that straps to your wrist. Unique, color-coded LEDs on the remote and camera tell you what mode you're in. After each run or brag-worthy trick, you can download footage directly to your iPhone and send it on to Facebook to rub (good-naturedly, of course) in your friends' faces. Also shoots 11-megapixel still photos at up to five per second.
$399; driftinnovation.com

Key Stats
Top Video Quality: 1080p @ 30fps
Battery Life: 3 hours
Max Storage: 32GB micro SD card, good for ~8 hours of HD video
Durability: Good

Canon

This should be your go-to camera when you want on-the-go, pro-quality performance but can't bring your bulky 5D Mark III (seemingly the go-to among budding adventure and travel filmmakers these days). Not only does the G15 fit into your pants pocket, it also packs a fast f/1.8 lens with 5x optical zoom that takes bright, crisp photos at a speedy 1/4,000 second. Add to that user-friendly dial controls, an external viewfinder for quick shooting and fully manual controls, and it starts to feel like a real pro's kit at an everyman's price.
$450; canon.com

Key Stats
Weight:
12.4 oz.
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor: 1/1.7” (9.5mm)
Optical Zoom:
5x

Pentax

You know this camera's up for a wild ride by its rugged, rubberized exterior alone. And, with waterproofing to a depth of 46 feet, crushproofing to 220 pounds, shockproofing and a cold resistance down to 14°F,  the WG-3 will go through the washing machine of big-rapid hydraulics no problem. It's the MacGyver of this list, too, sporting a compass, altimeter, barometer, depth meter and built-in GPS that records position and time data into each photo, so you can remember exactly where in the canyon you "took a swim." On top of all the geeky-cool tech features, the WG-3 shoots quality, 16MP photographs on a fast, f/2.0 lens. Don't want to lose it? Attach it to your boat with the included carabiner strap.
$300; pentaximaging.com

Key Stats
Weight:
8.4 oz.
Megapixels:
16.0
Sensor:
1/2.3” (7.77mm)
Optical Zoom:
4x

GoPro

When surfer dude Nicholas Woodman first starting strapping cameras to surfboards in 2002, he had no idea what he was onto. Now his company is worth more than $2.5 billion, and continues to churn out the best sports video cameras money can buy. Last fall witnessed the release of the Hero3 Black Edition, which offers the most mounting options and mind-blowingly high-resolution video and photo (1440p @ 48fps, 12MP stills at 30 shots per second), all in the lightest (2.6 oz.), most durable (waterproof, shockproof case) package available on the market. The included WiFi remote is useless on the waves, but a special surf edition of the camera comes with all the mounts you could ever want for your board.
$399; gopro.com

Key Stats
Top Video Quality:
1440p @ 48fps (1080p @ 60fps)
Battery Life:
~1.5 hours
Max Storage:
64GB micro SD card, good for 4 hours of HD video
Durability:
Excellent

Pivothead

These sporty sunglasses bear a fair resemblance to cycling shades (albeit a tad on the bulky side)—with crisp, polarized, UV-blocking lenses, and an aerodynamic shape that, unlike your GoPros and Contours and Drifts, won't add weight and drag to your ride. The small lens between the eyes records 1080p HD video with an 8-megapixel sensor, and shoots 8MP still photos in six different timelapse settings. Operating the camera is simple with a two-way rubber button near the left temple—forward for three video modes and backwards for still photos. The biggest bummer about the Durango is that you're stuck with 8GB of internal memory, which limits shooting to somewhere between one and two hours of footage, depending on the mode you're in. Better make it a highlight reel, ace!
$299; pivothead.com

Key Stats
Top Video Quality:
1080p @ 30fps
Battery Life:
~1 hour
Max Storage:
8GB built-in memory, good for 1-2 hours of HD video
Durability:
Fair

Nikon USA

Nikon's AW110 is, like many of the rugged compacts here, waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof. Its 16-megapixel sensor records rich photographs and full HD video, and a built-in GPS records location data for every shot. The only letdown from this sharp unit is its comparatively slow lens (f/3.9) and shutter speed (1/1500 second). Its 59-foot waterproofing, though, takes it deeper than anything else but the GoPro (197 feet!). If you plan on going that deep (or dropping it that deep), we recommend getting the more visible traffic cone-orange, rather than camouflage, black or blue. Happy paddling!
$350; nikonusa.com

Key Stats
Weight:
6.9 oz.
Megapixels:
16.0
Sensor:
1/2.3” (7.77mm)
Optical Zoom:
5x