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With all the news lately of recession, terrorism, earthquakes, pandemics, fires, floods, hurricanes and all the bees disappearing, one could be forgiven for thinking that the end of the world is upon us and civilisation is about to crumble, leaving only a few desperate survivors clinging to life in a shattered post-apocalyptic wasteland. But even if it does all come crashing down a week next Tuesday and you suddenly find yourself being chased through the desert by Toe Cutter and his gang at least you'll still be able to take photos of it, because most of the major camera companies now make “ruggedised” compact cameras designed to survive the harshest conditions. Casio has recently joined in the fun with the Exilim EX-G1, a 12.1-megapixel 3x zoom ultra-compact and currently the slimmest waterproof camera on the market.
The EX-G1 is an unusual-looking camera and stands out even among the rivet-studded crowd of other adventure cameras. It has a futuristic-looking wedge-shaped design with excitingly-styled recessed controls, and generally looks like a prop from a sci-fi movie, especially with the optional plastic guard attached. Two different guards are supplied, complete with screws to fit them, but you'll need a small jeweller's screwdriver and a steady hand for the job. Although it's larger than most of Casio's other ultra-compacts, the EX-G1 is very slim for an adventure camera, measuring 103.5 x 64.2 x 19.9mm. It weighs 154g including battery and card, which makes it feel quite dense for its size. The G1 is available in bright red or charcoal grey finish seen here.
The EX-G1 is up against some very tough competition. The veterans of the adventure camera market are Pentax and Olympus, and both have recently launched new models in this sector, the Pentax W90 (£240) and the very impressive looking Olympus mju Tough-8010 (£310), which is waterproof to 10m and can survive falls from 2m. Samsung has just launched its WP10 waterproof compact (£180), while Panasonic has its new Lumix DMC-FT2 (£370) which can also dive to 10m and fall 2m. Sony has recently launched the Cyber-shot TX5 (£340), a conventional looking ultra-slim compact which is waterproof to 3m. Fujifilm has its fun FinePix Z33 WP (£100), Canon has its PowerShot D10 (£270) and even Ricoh has its industrial G600 (£340). Although most of the more expensive cameras can beat the G1 on diving depth (although not by much) none can beat it on shock resistance and only the much flimsier Fuji Z33WP and Samsung WP10 can beat it on price.