Pentax Optio WG-1 Review

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Review posted 5/23/2011

Quick Take
Pros

  • Sturdy feel, rugged design
  • Bright backlight in direct sunlight, viewing angle of 170°
  • Face detection excellent, even on faces in photographs and profile shots up to 80°
  • Easy to understand, and cartoon like menu icons for preprogrammed exposure settings
  • Short descriptions of each exposure setting
  • Good outdoor image quality
  • Detachable stand works great for macro shots
  • Great ergonomic shape that feels comfortable holding camera steady for shots
  • Nice 5x optical zoom is more continuous than discrete, for more accurate framing
Cons
  • Weak Flash
  • Recessed power button, difficult turning on/off
  • Weak macro LED lamps
  • Confusion between menu and playback buttons
  • Detachable stand is useful for macro shots, but unrealistic to actually have it when you need it, or it could easily be lost
  • Pictures can be grainy/noisy
  • Dirt/debris was able to get under the seals, but did not enter the I/O and battery compartments
Bottom Line
The Pentax WG-1 is offer some nice improvements over its predecessors, with tougher "lifeproof" specifications, longer battery life, and additional LED macro lamps. At $349 or less, it offers a good bang for your buck in a competitive market niche. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
pentax_WG-1_GPS_YellowGreen_550.jpgBuilding off the success of their past "Lifeproof" W-series models, like the Optio W90, Pentax has created their most rugger camera yet with the introduction of the Optio WG-1 and WG-1 GPS. These models offer identical specifications, with the latter camera offering GPS functionality and different color options.

Waterproof down to 33 feet, crushproof up to 220 pounds (100kgf kilogram-force), Coldproof to sub-freezing temps of 14°F (10° C), dustproof, and shockproof up to a 5 foot fall, the WG-1 is as tough as they come. Many of its other features have been carried over from the W90, including a 5x optical zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD screen, and 720p HD video recording. Pentax has upped the resolution to 14-megapixels (from 12), and added two additional LED macro lights around the lens, giving you a total of five.

Pentax Optio WG-1 features:
  • 14-megapixels of resolution for large prints
  • 5X optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent)
  • 2.7 inch LCD screen with 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio and anti-reflective coating
  • Enhanced Digital Microscope mode
  • Detachable Macro stand
  • 5 LED macro lights mounted around the lens bezel
  • Waterproof to depths of up to 33 feet
  • Shockproof from drops as high as 5 feet from the ground
  • Crushproof ti withstand up to 220 pounds of force
  • Coldproof/Freezeproof down to 14ºF/-10ºC 
  • Dustproof
  • 720p HD video at 30 frames per second
  • Pixel Track and Digital Shake Reduction
  • Face Detection, Smile Capture, Blink Detection
  • Autofocus assist lamp
  • Infrared remote control capabilities
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • HDMI port for playing back HD videos and still images on you HDTV
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot; Eye-fi compliant
  • GPS functionality for geo-tagging (WG-1 GPS model only)
The Pentax Optio WG-1 is available in Black or Purple with a suggested retail price of $349.95 US, while the WG-1 GPS is offered in Black or Green/Yellow for about $399.95 US. See our buy boxes below for more accurate online pricing.

Additional Views:


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