- Good image quality
- Good AF speed
- LCD tricky to use outdoors
- Average at best high ISO performance
The Pentax WG-1 offers the summer vacationer plenty of rugged options along with benefits of a built-in GPS. Otherwise, it's a pretty average compact point-and-shoot.
Announced in February 2011 as the company’s 12th generation of adventure series compact digital cameras, the WG-1 GPS is accompanied to market by a WG-1 variant that, not surprisingly, omits the GPS function that tracks and records positional data with captured images. While the former camera is the subject of our review, aside from GPS the features of both cameras are identical, so for the sake of brevity we’ll just call our camera the WG-1 unless stated otherwise.
The big attraction of the WG-1 is the hardened design that makes it able to withstand conditions that would play havoc with a standard compact digital: waterproof to 33 feet of depth and dustproof as well; shockproof, able to withstand falls of up to 5 feet; coldproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and featuring a crushproof construction that can withstand a weight force up to 220 pounds.
Once you get past that tough outer layer, what remains is a fairly typical compact: the WG-1 is available in black or purple, the WG-1 GPS in gray or green. Both cameras share the same hardware, a 14 megapixel sensor and 5x zoom lens covering the 28 to 140mm focal range in 35mm equivalents. Here’s a look at those extremes.
Beyond that there’s a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, 720p HD video, digital shake reduction, face detection, smile capture and blink detection technology, and a nifty digital microscope feature that includes 5 LED lights arrayed around the lens to assist with lighting extreme close ups. The native ISO range is 80 to 1600, but 3200 and 6400 are available at greatly reduced resolution (4 and 5 MP). The camera uses SD/SDHC/SDXC memory media and there is an internal memory capacity of about 97 megabytes. Pentax includes USB and AV cables, a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and charger, camera strap, carabiner strap, macro stand and CD-ROM software with each camera.
The WG-1 is tough enough to go in harm’s way, but what kind of images does it produce in the process? Let’s find out.