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Ryobi Durashot

A camera that is quite literally a tool for the job
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Anyone who's using power tools and spends a lot of time building and fixing things probably knows Ryobi, a Techtronic Industries brand of power tools and accessories for the home improvement and construction market. And since there are plenty of times and opportunities to take pictures and document things on the job, Ryobi decided to offer a tough and rugged digital camera specifically designed for job sites.

What makes the Ryobi Durashot different?

Why a camera specially created for jobsites? Because things get dropped, crushed and rained on at job sites. Regular digital cameras cannot handle that, so why not having a camera that's just as tough as all the other tools?

What you get with the Ryobi Durashot is a compact boxy 8-megapixel camera with a 2.5-inch LCD display, a 4X optical zoom (at least according to the specs; the promo says 3X), a super-powerful battery that lasts for 800 pictures or so, and a body that can handle most of the abuse the Durashot might encounter on the job.

One look at the Durashot shows that this is no ordinary consumer camera. The dark-gray/bright yellow color scheme is what you usually find on screwdrivers and such. The housing looks tough. The labels, markings and controls are large and easy to read and handle. The controls are simple.

As far as ruggedness and durability goes, the Ryobi Durashot can handle three-foot drops. It is also IP67-rated. IP stands for "ingress protection" and is a rating system used to indicate how good an enclosure is in guarding against dust and water. The "6" in the rating means the camera is totally dust-proof. The "7" means it is also totally waterproof and can even survive a dunk into water. Operating temperature is between 32 and 104 degrees Farhrenheit.

In terms, of technology, eight megapixel resolution is no longer state-of-the-art (i.e. 10-14 megapixel), but it is more than enough to let you crop and for enlargements up to 11 x 14s and more. The 4X optical zoom means you can get a bit closer than a standard 3X zoom, and there's also a 4.5X digital multiplier. The flash is strong and can illuminate to a distance of about 15 feet. The 2.5-inch display is large enough, but there is no optical viewfinder for those times when even a decent LCD washes out in the sun. The camera uses SD cards up to 8GB capacity, and there's an extra 64KB of internal memory. You can take VGA (640 x 480 pixel) movies at full 30 fps speed, and you can record voice memos of unlimited length to any picture. Don't expect to find a lot of features or gimmicks. No smile recognition here, and no cutesy picture frames and such.

The battery is unique in that it's a standard Ryobi 4-Volt Tek 4 rechargeable Li-Ion that costs no more than about US$13, the same battery that's used in Ryobi's Tek 4 tool system. It supposedly lasts for up to 800 pictures between charges. That's two to four times as many as most digital camera batteries.

The price is quite reasonable, too, at US$199 or so.

That leaves just one observation: the Ryobi really isn't any tougher or better sealed than a number of shock and water-proof consumer cameras such as the Olympus Tough 6000 or 8000, or the new Casio EX-G1. In fact, those cameras can handle larger drops, are even more waterproof, have crushproof ratings, and can be used in freezing temperatures. They do cost more, though, and the controls are smaller and harder to read (at least those on the Olympus). And their batteries definitely do not last 800 shots.

Specifications Ryobi Durashot
Status Added 12/2009
Camera Type Shock-resistant, waterproof, dustproof camera
Shock-resistance 3-foot drop
Waterproof IP67
Operating temp 32 to 104 degrees F
Dustproof IP67
Construction Unknown
Size Est. 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.8
Weight (oz.) unknown
Effective Pixels 8.0 mp
CCD Type 1/2.35-inch
Max pixel size 3264 x 2488
File formats Stills: JPEG
Movies: AVI
Compression fine, standard, economy
Movie recording (best) til full, with audio
Max movie pixels 848 x 480 (30fps) with zoom and audio
Voice recording Unlimited memos
Lens unknown
Focal length 6.75-27mm (38-152mm)
Zoom (optical/digital) 4X/4.5X
Aperture f/3.5 - f/5.15
Focus modes Auto Focus, Macro
Focus minimum/macro 2 feet, 2.4 inches
Shutter speed 1/2000 to 1 sec
Sensitivity (ISO) auto/100/200/400/800/1600
Autofocus system contrast detection
Metering unknown
White-balance modes Auto, sunny, cloudy, fluorescent, tungsten
Shooting modes auto, landscape, sport, night portrait, night scene, text, snow/beach
Exposure compensation +/-2EV in 1/2 steps
Viewfinder Type none
LCD size 2.5" LCD
LCD type outdoor viewable
LCD construction fixed
Flash type built-in
Flash range up to 15 feet
Flash modes 4 (Auto, Off, On, Red Eye Reduction)
Camera internal memory 64MB
Storage Medium SD Card (up to 8GB)
I/O USB 2.0
Battery type Ryobi Tek4 4V Li-Ion rechargeable
CIPA Battery life (standard LCD setting) 800 images
List Price US$199.99
Contact www.ryobitools.com

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