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Pentax released the WG-1 in February 2011 and there are two versions of this camera, either with or without GPS. On test here is the GPS version, which is currently available for around £228.00, with the non GPS version costing £20.00 less at £208.00.
The camera has a 14 megapixel sensor and a 5x optical zoom which is a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 140mm. On the rear is a 16:9 ratio 2.7 inch LCD monitor with an anti-reflection coating. To reduce blur there are three methods of anti-shake protection: Pixel Track SR, High-Sensitivity and Movie SR.
A unique feature found on the WG-1 GSP is the Digital Microscope mode, which allows you to shoot from just 1cm with 5 LED macro lights and a macro stand. Other features include Face Detection, Self-portrait Assist, Collage function, Ink Rubbing filter, Auto Picture mode (selecting from 16 shooting modes), 12 digital filters and Digital Wide.
Movies can be recorded at 720p HD and displayed on a HD TV via a micro-HDMI cable.
- Geo-tagging function
- Waterproof to 10m
- Shockproof to 1.5m
- Coldproof to -10°C
- Crushproof to 100kg
- 14 megapixel sensor
- 5x wide-angle optical zoom
- HD movie recording
- ISO80 - 6400
- Digital microscope
- Carabiner strap
- 1cm minimum focus distance
We have recently tested the Olympus Tough TG-610 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3. These cameras have a very similar build with a metal body, both weighing in around 200g. With the WG-1's plastic and rubber exterior, it weights in at 143g, suiting someone who prefers a lighter camera.
The camera menus are typical of the Pentax Optio range of compact cameras and are simple to navigate. The buttons are easy to press, with a dedicated button which toggles between Face Detection, Smile Capture and Self Portrait Assist as well as a Green button which can be set to the users preference, choosing between a range of camera settings.
The battery has a CIPA rating of 260 shots, which is good and during testing there was no reason to doubt this figure. The camera is incredibly quick at switching both on and off and focusing speed is good as well. Continuous shooting mode is able to shoot at around 0.7fps, and burst shooting allows around 2.3fps. Interval shooting is also available where you can set the camera to delay its start up, or commence immediately, asking it to take a picture at a set interval, up to 99 mins. The camera switches on, refocuses, takes a picture and switches off again.
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Lens test images
Wide-angle | f/4.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | f/6.6 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | f/6.6 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | f/3.8 | 6.1 mm | ISO 80
The ISO range goes from ISO80 to ISO6400, which should help users take blur free pictures in low light. Sadly, at the higher end, noise is really affecting image quality. At ISO80 and ISO100 there is little difference to tell, but noise clearly worsens through ISO200 and ISO400. At ISO800, noise is having a significant impact on image quality with a clear loss in sharpness. Again, at ISO1600, pictures are starting to look more blurry. ISO3200 and ISO6400 produces images which are limited to 5 megapixels, but this setting should be used as a last resort as noise plays a bit part in the image quality at this setting. On a positive note, although noise is significant for a large part of the ISO range, colour reproduction only suffers when using ISO6400.
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS ISO test images
ISO 80 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 100 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 200 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 400 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 800 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 1600 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 3200 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
ISO 100 | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm
Below are example images using some of the scene modes available. Landscape mode gives a great colour boost to the blues and greens in the image and the camera is great at taking portraits with flash and no red-eye.
For more examples please visit the ePHOTOzine Equipment Database listing for the WG-1.
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Scene modes
Landscape | f/4.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Landscape with building | f/4.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
Sport | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
Pet mode | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 100
Text | f/3.8 | 6.1 mm | ISO 800
Auto white-balance performance is good, but did struggle under the incandescent lights in the ePHOTOzine studio, with the incandescent preset giving the best result. The AWB setting does perform better than the fluorescent setting under the fluorescent lighting.
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS White-balance test images
AWB - incandescent | f/4.6 | 11.1 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent - incandescent | f/4.6 | 11.1 mm | ISO 100
AWB fluorescent | f/4.6 | 11.1 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent - fluorescent | f/4.6 | 11.1 mm | ISO 100
The first three images are filters which are applied to images before shooting, with the others being examples of digital filters which can be applied via image editing in playback mode.
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Digital filters
Natural | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Bright | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Black and white| f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Black and white | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Colour (yellow) | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Extract colour | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Fisheye | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
High contrast| f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Retro | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Soft focus | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Toy camera | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Video ModeMovies can be recorded at 1280 x 720 HD, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 all at 15 or 30 fps with movie shake reduction and interval shooting. Sadly there is no optical zoom available when recording, although digital zoom is possible.
Value For MoneyIn terms of its waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof resistance, the WG-1 is the cheapest which offers 10m, 1.5m and -10°C respectively at £208.99. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 looks the toughest camera available being waterproof to 12m, shockproof to 2m and freezeproof to -10°C and is priced at £298.99. Any cheaper than the WG-1 means you have to look at cameras with less waterproof depth. For an extra £20.00 you can have the WG-1 with GPS.
|Fujifilm FinePix XP10||3m||1m||-10°C||£108.99|
|Olympus Tough TG-310||3m||1.5m||-10°C||£128.99|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP30||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£128.99|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10||3m||1.5m||-10°C||£149.99|
|Olympus Tough TG-610||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£188.00|
|Pentax Optio WG-1||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£208.99|
|Canon PowerShot D10||10m||1.2m||-10°C||£214.99|
|Olympus Tough TG-810||10m||2m||-10°C||£224.99|
|Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£228.99|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2||10m||2m||-10°C||£248.99|
|Sony Cyber-shot TX10||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£294.99|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3||12m||2m||-10°C||£298.99|
|The Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS offers a great set of features, with good performance and value for money.|
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS: ProsWaterproof to 10m
Shockproof to 2m
Freezeproof to -10°C
Good image quality
Excellent colour reproduction
Digital microscope and 1cm minimum focus distance
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS: ConsPoor noise performance throughout ISO range
Screen is fairly small at 2.7 inch
High-speed shooting isn't particularly fast
Tripod socket is poorly placed
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.5 - f/5.5|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 140mm|
|CCD pixels||14Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Screen resolution||230,000 dots|
|Touch Screen||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1500sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||1/4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 6400|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Video FPS||30, 15|
|Stereo Sound||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No Data|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||AV cable, USB cable, AC cable, Li-ion battery, Battery charger, Carabiner strap, Strap, Macro stand and Software|