PENTAX Optio WG-1 Review
As many of us outdoor and athletic folks are able to see some of the most amazing sites and scenes off the beaten path, it’s nice to be able to capture those moments. Unless you have your head buried in the sand, you have seen that there are a number of companies coming out with outdoor “rugged” cameras. While it is nice to have a camera that looks cool and outdoorsy, it’s even nicer to have a camera that can live up to its looks.
I’ve been testing the PENTAX Optio WG-1 for 6 months now testing the camera out in almost every situation you can think of. Activities include boating, kayaking, hiking, camping, backpacking, trail running, and lots of road tripping.
To start, I think it is most important to see if the camera holds up to all the hype.
Waterproof- While kayaking and boating, I emerged this camera plenty of times in the water and the camera kept its life and the images turned out just fine.
Shockproof- After plenty of camera football passes and the occasional drop, the camera kept intact and stayed strong. The actual safe drop distance is 5ft off the ground.
Cold-proof- I took this camera out skiing a number of times this past winter and while I wasn’t skiing at -10F, I skied around 0- (-5F) and the PENTAX WG-1 stayed strong.
Dust-Proof- While this sounds nice, I haven’t run into a camera that stops working from dust… But in case you are out in the desert for an extended period of time, you should be safe.
GPS- There is an option to allow the WG-1 to geo-tag your picture location which I think can be pretty fun. For some, this might be a little overkill.
Now onto the actual performance of the PENTAX Optio WG-1. The picture clarity of this camera is excellent. The WG-1 has 14 megapixels and while I don’t think I have had to use that much detail all the time, it is nice to have for those moments. For zoom, the WG-1 has an optical zoom from 5-25mm and a digital zoom of 28-140mm. For a compact digital camera, I find this to be sufficient. One of the best features on the PENTAX IPTIO WG-1 is the auto-focus mode. I find that when taking pictures in auto mode that it takes milliseconds for the WG-1 to find the correct focal point. And while most of us like to say they like to have the millions of camera mode features, we must admit that the majority of us keep our digital cameras in the auto mode. If you like using the different types of modes on a camera, the WG-1 has a number of modes that help your pictures turn out the way you intended them to. This camera has the standard nightscene, sport scene, and landscape scenes but it also has a few unique features that I haven’t seen on other cameras. One in particular I that I think is cool is the microscope mode. This mode allows you to get all the super small details, for example I am able to pull out the pixels on my computer screen with this camera which cannot be scene to my naked eye.
As far as ease of use goes, I find the WG-1 to be one of the easier cameras to use. There is not a lot of manual reading that needs to be done to start shooting quality photos. If you are a geek like me though, I like to read through all the manuals so I can understand everything there is to know about the camera.
Now on to the downsides of the camera. To start, I find the battery in the WG-1 doesn’t last long enough. I find that after a half day out, the battery dies super fast without taking that many pictures. If you are out on an adventure, you want to have a battery that last a good amount of time because you generally don’t have a place to plug it in. For charging, you have to pull the battery out of the camera and use a standard plug. Two things I would like to see changed with the charging is for the actual charger to be able to be plugged into the wall vs. having a long cord. I would also like to have the option to be able to charge the battery via USB through my computer. Other newer cameras have this function and I find this much easier to do when traveling. Next, I would like the camera to use a more standard USB plug. The end of the USB is unique to this camera meaning you have to take yet another cord along with you. I don’t know about you, but I have about a billion different USB cords and that frustrates me. Last, I would like to see the LCD screen be more scratch resistant. I clipped the camera on to my belt buckle while backpacking one of the first times I used the camera and after a few hours, the LCD screen had a few major scratches that would not go away.
All in all, I really like the PENTAX Optio WG-1 for picture taking and quality, but if you plan on making a purchase, I suggest buying an extra battery to keep with you on longer adventures.