Panasonic's TS10 is a little rugged for less money
While not as durable as the company's TS2, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS10 is still made to take abuse, but at a lower price.
There are apparently two types of rugged camera buyers. One type is willing to hand over $300 to $400 for a pocket camera that's waterproof down to 33 feet, shockproof from drops up to 6.6 feet, and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The other type wants something more durable than a regular ultracompact: waterproof to approximately 10 feet, shockproof to 5 feet, and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course it should be less expensive, too.is covers the former, while the DMC-TS10 is perfect for the latter.
The TS10 is similar in design to 2009's TS1, but significantly less expensive at $249.95. Main features of the TS10 include a 14-megapixel resolution, 4x f3.5-5.9 35-140mm-equivalent internal lens, and a 2.7-inch LCD. That lens is shorter and narrower than the TS1's and although it records 720p HD video, it's in Motion JPEG and not the smaller AVCHD Lite format.
I actually think there's a third type of buyer that Panasonic doesn't have covered. That user wants a secondary sub-$150 point-and-shoot for outdoor use that's just rugged enough to withstand a day at the beach, a brief drop in a pool or snow bank, and shooting in inclement weather. You know, a camera a 2-year-old kid can't destroy simply by looking at it.
Look for the TS10 in mid-September in blue, red, black, and silver versions.