Review: Rugged Camera Gear

Adrenaline junkies need two things: good health insurance and sturdy gear to document their exploits. We don’t offer HMO plans, but a rugged camera system will get you there and back with stills and video that wow.

1. Nikon D300S

$2,550 (with Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200-mm f.3.5-5.6G ED VR II lens), nikon/p>

Rating: 8 out of 10

2. Litepanels MicroPro Hybrid

get-gadget Lightweight LED array is far more versatile than a dedicated flash. Continuous flicker-free light for video. Comes with three filters (tungsten, warming, and diffusion) and a ball-head camera shoe mount (not pictured). Simple topside knob dials in the power from 0 to 100 percent. Runs full-on for five hours with six lithium AAs. Did we mention it also makes a great reading light for your bivy?

TIRED Doesn’t have the superhigh output of most hot-shoe flashes.

$475, litepanels/p>

Rating: 8 out of 10

3. Singh-Ray Vari-ND Thin Mount Variable Neutral Density Filter

get-gadget Decreases incoming light by two to eight f-stops with a quick twist of the wrist, making overly bright scenes usable. Gives feeling and drama to blown-out scenes with fluid motion of long exposures. Eliminates need to tote along a rucksack full of filters. Super versatile; ideal for both still photos and video. Built to last.

TIRED Even the thin ring mount can vignette very wide lenses.

$390, singh-ray/p>

Rating: 8 out of 10

4. Gitzo GT1550T Series 1 Traveler Sport 6X Tripod

get-gadget Weighs in at a mere 2.2 pounds and measures about 14 inches long when fully collapsed. Supported at least 8 pounds in our tests—almost double its rating. Sexy carbon-fiber sticks are crazy light, stable, and easy to extend. Anti-Leg Rotation feature ensures speedy setup and stability in the toughest conditions.

TIRED Lightweight stability costs nearly as much as a high-quality lens.

$750, gitzo/p>

Rating: 8 out of 10

5. Clik Elite Escape

get-gadget Lightweight, durable, compact, and comfortable. Nicely padded shoulder straps and integrated hip belt take the load off your back. Superfast access to equipment inside. Loops on the belt for dedicated lens cases and accessory pouches. Simple, thoughtful interior layout; spacious enough to handle the whole kit on this page with room for another lens or two, plus a shell, hat, and gloves.

TIRED Could use an easier tripod attachment method.

$210, clikelite/p>

Rating: 7 out of 10

See Also:

  • Armor Plated Helmet Cam Captures Jackass Antics
  • Rugged Night-Vision Specs See Through the Muddiest Dark
  • Olympus’ New Tough Cam Saves Face, Breaks Falls
  • Canon’s 7D DSLR Makes Serious Power Its Focus
  • Nokia N8 Teardown Shows Tough Phone, Great Camera
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