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Pentax Optio WG-1 and WG-1 GPS Digital Camera Preview

Pentax Optio WG-1 and WG-1 GPS Digital Camera Preview - Product manager, Steve Sanderson paid ePHOTOzine a visit to show off their new ruggedised compact digital cameras.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Pentax Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS
Price : £299
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Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Preview
Video with Steve Sanderson
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Press Release

A pre-production WG-1 GPS with macro lights illuminated.

Pentax have been making waterproof, ruggedised compact digital cameras for a good while now. Their waterproof WP series of cameras were a stylish choice for those looking for a 'life-proof' digital compact, without breaking the bank. The fact that they could be taken underwater also made them a decent choice for foreign seaside holidays, where the sealing would protect the camera from sand, dust and water.

With the WG-1 series, Pentax are taking that idea a little further by increasing the depth to which the camera is waterproof and making the camera crushproof. In fact, an embossed design feature on the rear of the camera describes it as 'Adventure Proof'.

Two models will become available during March 2011. The WG-1 will cost around £269 and has everything but the GPS feature found on the WG-1 GPS, which will cost around £299. The GPS feature is designed to record positional data into each image's EXIF information, so that this information can be used to pinpoint the location of each photo on Google Earth, Flickr, Picasa and many other map-based utilities.

GPS aside, both models are waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, can withstand a freefall drop of 1.5 metres and crushproof when a weight of up to 100kg is exerted on it. The aluminium-alloy body is completely coated in a tactile rubberised finish, which adds to the rugged feel, while keeping the weight down. The usual range of detections are present, including Face Detection, Smile Detection and Blink Detection, which should make picture taking that little bit easier when you have more important things to worry about, like not falling of a cliff-face, or into the sea off a boat.

Encased within is a 14Mp CCD sensor, with sensitivities up to ISO6400 available, and a 5x wide angle zoom lens with a range equivalent to 28-140mm and a 1cm macro function. In fact the macro function has quite a novel light allowing you to illuminate subjects, even when the camera is pressed right against them. When activated, three white LEDs illuminate your subject, allowing you to take a photo, even when the camera is blocking any ambient light. A detachable metal filter ring also comes supplied, which the camera can be rested on when taking macro pictures.

The self-illuminating macro feature is an interesting addition, which allows pictures to be taken with your subject touching the supplied metal filter ring.

Both models sport a 2.7inch LCD screen with a resolution of 230,000 dots. On the pre production sample the screen looked bright and clear, with a good viewing angle. Visually there is little to tell the difference between the GPS enabled and standard models. The GPS models are available in either a black and grey, or black and green colour scheme, whereas the standard model is available in black and blue, or black and purple, which are the only real distinguishing features on the exterior. A heavy-duty short strap with a carabina is also supplied with the cameras. The strap supplied with the GPS version also comes with a small compass attached.

The video mode runs at a pretty standard 720p resolution at 30fps, which should be adequate for those with HD-ready televisions. A HDMI output is provided, allowing the camera to be easily connected to your television for viewing videos and images, as well as for recording footage to high definition recording devices.

Verdict
Overall, the WG-1 series looks like quite an exciting addition to the Pentax compact camera line-up. A full review will follow in time once we can get our hands on a finished production model where we will be able to put it through its paces to see how it performs.

Steve Sanderson tells us about the new Optio WG-1 GPS.

Press Release:


Pentax Imaging Systems has broadened its outdoor camera line-up, with the launch of two brand new all terrain models: the Optio WG1 and the Optio WG1-GPS.

Both new models are even more robust and resistant than previous cameras making them the perfect choice for dedicated outdoor use.

The new Optio WG1 is the perfect choice even for the most adventurous outdoor enthusiast. This compact camera has exceptional shockproof and crush proof capabilities which enable it to withstand a freefall from 1.5 meters high and the pressure of a weight of up to 100 Kg. The Optio WG1 can also endure extreme temperatures as it is cold proof up to -10°C. Thrill seekers who prefer underwater adventures can take advantage of the fact that the Optio WG1 is also waterproof up to 10 metres.

The Optio WG1 GPS offers all the functionality of the Optio WG1 with an added geotagging feature. Thanks to a built-in GPS function, the Optio WG1 GPS automatically calculates and stores your ground positioning data (latitude/longitude) as well as the date. So, back home, you can locate your photos on a map (Google Earth, FlickR, Picasa…), no matter how far off the beaten track you have gone.

The Optio WG1 and WG1-GPS both come in a unique and rugged aluminium-alloy body. Equipped with a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, both models guarantee amazingly realistic photos. The wide-angle 5x optical zoom (equivalent to a 28mm – 140mm in 35mm) and its 1cm macro function also enables you to take all kinds of pictures : landscapes, architecture, portraits, close-ups or far-away subjects …

Both models also feature a 2.7 inch LCD screen with a 230 000 dots resolution and a 16/9 format, HD video recording function (1280 x 720 pixels) at 30 frames per second, an “enhanced microscope” function allowing you to enlarge pictures by up to 6 times, face priority, smile detection and a blinking alert function, allowing you to take great pictures every time, no matter what adventure you are on!

The Optio WG1 comes in black/blue and in purple, and the Optio WG1-GPS comes in green and grey/black.

So whether you are an extreme sports fan who enjoys surfing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, freestyle skiing, mountain climbing or skydiving or just want a camera that won’t break under the stresses and strains of everyday life, the Optio WG1 and Optio WG1 GPS offer something for everyone.

The Pentax Optio WG1 has an RRP of £269 and the Optio WG1 GPS has an RRP of £299. Both models will be available from all good retailers in March 2011. For more information please visit the Pentax website.

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