If you live life on the edge, you need gadgets to match. The Ricoh G600 is a camera designed for extreme(ish) conditions: this 10-megapixel snapper is waterproof, dustproof and drop-proof. This tough cookie is available now for about £350.
The G600 certainly looks rugged, with a rubberised frame in an industrial black and yellow colour scheme. The controls are oversized, giving it a slightly toy-like feel. They're easy to use and may appeal to older or disabled users who need larger controls. Only the zoom controls are a bit awkward, as the buttons are flat against the surround.
For its sturdiness, we expected the G600 to be heavier. At 307g, it's definitely bigger and heavier than most compacts, but one-handed shooting is still a breeze.
The screen measures a decent 69mm (2.7 inches) corner-to-corner. You also get an accessory shoe and a 37mm lens thread to add extra kit to the camera. The tripod bush is metal and there are also three separate lanyard attachments, should you need them.
The robust design is completed by two locking hatches, one for the battery and SD card slot, and the other for the USB connection. The camera comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, but this can be swapped out for two AAA batteries if you run out of juice in the field.
There's a clear cover protecting the lens, but dunking it in the sink in our tests left the lens with streaks, so you'll have to remember to wipe off marks when you leave the water.
How tough is the G600? It's waterproof to JIS grade 7, dustproof to JIS grade 6, and shock-proof to MIL Standard 810F to be precise. This means you can snorkel with it, take it into the beach, and drop it from shoulder-height -- but we wouldn't recommend scuba-diving with it, burying it, or dropping it off a building.
In order to be easily operated in extreme conditions, the camera is kept pretty simple. Instead of the usual scene modes, you can choose between movie, digital zoom macro, text mode, skew correction, high sensitivity and a fixed-focus firefighting mode for 'shooting the scene of a fire'. These modes are presumably either aimed at the industrial user or the arsonist who can't hold a camera straight.