The Optio WG-1 is one half of the "....12th generation of adventure series digital cameras..." from Pentax and includes a second model with a GPS function, the WG-1 GPS. The latter camera is the subject of our review, but since they're identical except for the GPS function, we'll just simplify things and call it the WG-1. As you might expect from an "adventure series" camera, the WG-1 is a waterproof, coldproof, dustproof, shockproof compact digital.
It's waterproof to depths of up to 33 feet (1 atmosphere); coldproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and shockproof to withstand falls of up to 5 feet. If water can't get in, dust won't either, and the camera is also designed with a crushproof construction to withstand "...weight force up to 220 pounds."
The WG-1 offers a 14 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x zoom covering the 28 to140mm focal range in 35mm equivalents. There's a 2.7-inch LCD monitor (no viewfinder), 720 HD video, face detection/blink detection/smile capture technology and 5 LED macro lights arranged around the lens barrel to help light extreme close-ups. The camera is primarily automatic, which means user-available inputs will be limited, but there is a Program Auto mode that offers access to multiple camera settings including white balance and ISO sensitivity.
The GPS function allows users to record position data when shooting still images, updates the built-in clock automatically to match local time of a particular shooting location and automatically creates and stores log data as a KML-format file onto an SD memory card. Pentax includes Windows-compatible software to help users access GPS-compatible applications and services such as Google Maps and Google Earth.
Image quality seems average-to-good, and colors are largely correct. The WG-1 acquires focus in good conditions in what seems like average compact digital time, and shutter lag seems average as well. The LCD monitor was overwhelmed by direct sunlight coming from behind at a 9AM beach shoot the first time out with the camera - a tough situation to be sure, but also a concern for a camera that will likely be used outdoors much of the time.
We'll see how the monitor situation plays out over the course of the review period. And that course is going to take us on a drive from California to Florida and back again. Along the way we'll pass through Texas BBQ country and New Orleans on our way to the Kennedy Space Center for the April 29 launch of space shuttle Endeavor, down to Key West and back through the Everglades and west coast of Florida on the way home. We'll have a complete review of the WG-1 sometime during this trek, which is scheduled to wrap up around mid-May.