Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS: Conclusions

May 20, 2011 by Jim Keenan Reads (4,806)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 6
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.25
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

I said at the outset that the WG-1 was notable for its ability to survive conditions that would kill or disable most other compacts, and after living with it for three weeks nothing has changed. Survivability is the WG-1’s strong suit. But the camera also can produce nice images – not the best I’ve seen from a compact, but far from the worst – and that combined with the toughness to withstand the elements makes it a good choice for outdoor types or anyone wanting a bit more durable camera.

The ability to set ISO sensitivities in many of the automatic or scene modes is a plus, and the inclusion of a Program Auto mode offering a wide variety of user inputs gives a large degree of manual control for those folks who want to customize the camera’s performance to suit their needs.

ISO noise performance could be better – I’d have gladly traded 4 of those 14 megapixels for less noise, particularly when enabling the digital range feature takes you to 160 ISO by default, a point at which the WG-1 is starting to show signs of noise. Shutter lag is not too bad, but just enough that care needs to be taken to hold the camera a bit longer to make sure capture is done.

Finally, the monitor on the WG-1 was a bit harder than most to see in bright outdoor light, and that can’t be a good thing for a camera whose very nature pleads to be taken outdoors. The WG-1 travelled with us to Florida and back, but wind and water conditions at Key West kept us (and it) out of the ocean. Still, its 33 foot depth rating is more than most casual snorkelers will ever use.

If you’re in the market for a compact that can brave the elements while producing good images, the Pentax WG-1 series deserves serious consideration.


  • Good survivability
  • Good image quality
  • Good AF acquisition time
  • Program Auto mode offers manual control


  • Monitor harder than average to see in bright light
  • ISO noise performance average at best
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