Can a DSLR snap top-of-the-line outdoor photos and take a first-class beating without breaking the bank? Our testers’ verdict: Absolutely. With poster-worthy images, a weatherproof body, and tons of customizable settings and features for all conditions, “this is the best adventure DSLR ever made for its price,” says our staff photographer. He praises its small size, tough build, crisp 16-megapixel images, and power source versatility (interchangeable lithium ion and AAs), adding that it has enough horsepower to work on assignment.
He used it to shoot for stories in Rocky Mountain National Park and on an Arkansas River trip. Shutter speed is solid at six frames per second, and ISO up to 25,600 is great for low light shots. The biggest praise went to the weather sealing—usually top dollar in other DSLRs and skimpy in cameras with a comparable price. “I took it down the river with no additional protection,” he says. “It got as heavily splashed as you would imagine, and I shot through it all with no problems.” Our deputy editor loved the auto focus and mode versatility while shooting wildlife, sunsets, and profiles on the St. Lawrence River over two weeks in bright and low light. “I captured an osprey taking flight from 50 yards away and locked the auto focus on as it flew 200 yards into the distance,” he says. “In macro mode, I snapped a shot of an agriope spider and its web; the photo quality is so good that my sister can’t even look at it without squirming.” Bonus: The h.264 video format is easy to transfer and edit, and a weather-sealed 18-135 lens, although more expensive, was all we needed. $1,200 with 18-135 lens($900 with 18-55 lens); SD card; rechargeable and AA ($40 adaptor required); 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.; pentaximaging.com