Just a little more than a year ago, Ryobi introduced an 8MP digital camera as part of their TEK4 product line. Called the Durashot, this camera runs on the same rechargeable, 4V lithium ion battery that powers the rest of the TEK4 product suite. Sporting a very rugged exterior casing, the Durashot is billed specifically as a job site camera, and is claimed to be waterproof down to about one meter.
I hadn’t heard of this camera until about a month ago, when I came across it at my local Home Depot. As someone who spends a lot of time doing messy work, sometimes in harsh settings, and subsequently blogging about it, the camera instantly appealed to me. My regular digital camera doesn’t always allow me to work and take photos with the rapidity I’d prefer. Often, I’m compelled to let dust settle, and possibly even clean my hands, before taking any photos, for fear of getting my camera full of dust or grime. Sometimes, I’ll even leave my camera elsewhere and go retrieve it each time I need to use it.
But a rugged, dustproof and waterproof camera would end that dilemma. I could keep it with me all the time, and not worry about it. And if it got really dirty, I could simply wash it off. About all I’d have to guard against is scratching the lens cover. So I purchased a Durashot, and decided to share my impressions here. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a serious review; rather, just an account of my own initial experiences using this camera. (A professional review of the Durashot was published about a year ago, by the folks at One Project Closer).
Interestingly enough, on the day I bought my camera, it had been raining quite hard. A perfect application, I thought, would be to take a few photos, out in the rain, of areas surrounding my home where I knew I had some run-off problems. Then, I’d be able to refer to the photos at some later date while I went about addressing those issues. But as fate would have it, early afternoon conference calls and clearing skies intervened.
Later that day, I went rowing on the Housatonic river, and took my Durashot with me, securing it to the shell with a lanyard. Of course, it started to rain again, and even came down quite heavily at times. I stopped and took several shots, and the camera performed well in the downpour. Needless to say, I never would’ve attempted this with either my other camera or smart phone.
On a much nicer day, I brought the camera to one of my gardens and took a few photos to see how it performed with colors under a reasonable amount of natural light. As you can see from the photos below, the results were not ideal, but not too bad, either.
All in all, I’m generally pleased with the Durashot. My experiences so far have been consistent with those reported by the One Project Closer folks. It’s not the greatest camera in the world from the standpoint of quality photography. Subjectively, I would say the Durashot’s picture quality is just a little better than that of an older, 3MP camera I was using about six years ago. Also, there is a significant time delay between pressing the shutter button and the camera actually snapping the photo. This idiosyncrasy is problematic when photographing scenes that might change suddenly. And furthermore, the camera’s lack of image stabilization means that some photos will be blurred if don’t have a completely steady hand (a tripod would seem like a prerequisite for any serious still photography). However, at the end of the day, all I was expecting was a reasonably serviceable and rugged camera that I could knock around a bit, and not worry too much about in less than ideal conditions, and that’s precisely what the Durashot camera is great for.
I found that the Durashot can fit in a 25′ tape holder, albeit very snuggly snugly. A little talcum powder would probably allow it to fit more easily, were I to keep it on my tool belt in this manner. Alternatively, it readily fits in an empty fastener or utility bag. The stock case that comes with the camera is great for storage, but less than ideal for carrying, as it only has about a 1″ wide Velcro attachment loop.