A Camera Made For Cyclists

As a photographer, it’s hard for me to separate my creativity from my cycling, which means that I’ve become the defacto documentarian of my county’s local bike club. I’ve got more than 6000 bike club photos spanning the eight years the club has been in existence, most of which were shot from the saddle of a moving bike.

I’ve also broken several cameras, either by soaking them in downpours (somehow I never remember to bring a ziplock bag with me when the forecast calls for deluge) or dropping them from the back of a moving bike. A camera can bounce a considerable distance, even when just dropped while trackstanding at a stoplight.

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But I think I’ve found the perfect camera–at least for the hazardous conditions often faced while engaging in active sports. The Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 is the latest model from Olympus that provides protection both from the elements, and from being clumsy.

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Lance, during RAGBRAI in 2006, shot one handed at about 25 mph.

The Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 is a super-durable camera and it happens to take great images too. I’m not saying that lightly as I’ve reviewed a number of beefed-up cameras and while they often provide protection from the elements, the often produce images that aren’t worth the protection.

Not so with the Stylus Tough 6000 a 10 megapixel camera thats has a 3.6x optical zoom, 2.7” LCD screen and is rated to withstand a five-foot drop, submersion into water to 10 feet, freezing to 14 degrees F and can has integrated image stabilization.

That makes the Stylus Tough 6000 a great camera for anyone who transitions from bike to surf to, well to a freezer. I took the camera on a recent trip to Hawaii with me and spent days subjecting it to submersion in salt water where it did fine, even when I snorkeled accidentally below ten feet.

The camera also captures video up to 640x480 at 30fps, and it even does well at night, in the water. This video of a manta ray night snorkel was lit only by handheld SCUBA lights. (Check out the action about 25 seconds in.Yes, the ray was really that close.)

The camera can be controlled by tapping the case, which was designed for cold-weather users who don’t want to remove their gloves just to change the flash or switch modes but you can also switch settings with the dials and buttons as well. Built-in face recognition and smile detection makes it easy to lock onto someone even when moving, and that’s going to result in a lot more pictures properly in focus for me.

About the only downsides to the camera are the strap and the choice of memory cards. The strap has no cinch of any kind, so I needed to wrap the cord around my wrist twice to keep from losing the camera in the water, but I’m just going to head to an outdoor store and pick up a locking cam to put on the strap, or maybe steal the cord off my Wii.

The memory card issue is only annoying for those who already own cameras–Olympus uses it’s own xD format, and it’s one of the few cameras that is based around that standard, so owners of other cameras are unlikely to have spare xD cards laying around.

The Stylus Tough 6000 has a retail price of $299, it’s actually available for less in stores. Interested in more information, head over to the Olympus product page.



2 Comments

Another camera in this space that will be worth checking out is the Canon Powershot D10.  I think it’s due out this spring.

Thanks for the camera tip. I’m on my second Kodak Easyshare. Unfortunately, I have cracked the LCD screen and my shutter doesn’t always open. Both problems are likely due to the fact that most of my pictures are taken while hiking or mountain biking. I agree, the xD memory card is annoying. I hope to get the tough camera soon as it looks the best of any rugged camera I have seen online :)

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