The number of waterproof rugged cameras has exploded over the past few years. The segment was basically owned by Pentax and Olympus, but now all of the major compact camera manufacturers have a rugged model, if not two or three.
The upside to that is there is something for just about everyone at various price points, starting at just more than $100. The more money you spend, the tougher the camera, though, so make sure you get something that meets your needs.
And if you're more interested in shooting video than photos, check out the two minicamcorders that follow the camera list.
Editors' note: This post was originally published May 4, 2012, but is updated frequently. It was updated July 3, 2012, to include the Nikon Coolpix AW100.
Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS
Olympus has long had some of the most rugged compacts available, but with other manufacturers getting in on this niche market, its Tough line was falling behind in other areas. That all changes with the TG-1 iHS. Read the full review.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4
If you already have 2011's TS3, there are only a couple reasons to upgrade and they don't have much to do with better picture quality or performance (though those are very good from the TS4). Read the full review.
Though for video quality it's no better than a higher-end smartphone, you don't have to worry about killing your battery or get nervous about handing shooting duties off to your friends and family. Read the full review.
Looking for specs and pricing? Compare this group of cameras head-to-head.
And if you're wondering about the Fujifilm FinePix XP150 and Canon PowerShot D20, full reviews of those are coming soon.