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Pentax released the WG-2, their latest rugged outdoor camera, in February 2012. The camera comes in red, black, orange and white, either with or without GPS priced at £269 and £229 respectively. On test here is the non GPS version.
The WG-2 has a new back-illuminated CMOS sensor, designed to offer less noise when shooting at higher sensitivities, with a highest speed setting of ISO 6400 available. There is 5x optical zoom, a 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm.
With Auto Picture, the WG-2 sets the most appropriate shooting mode, from 16 different scenes, and automatically choosing the correct settings. A new feature is Handheld Night Snap mode, which combines four images of the same scene and combines into a single picture.
One of the more unique features are the six LED macro lights placed around the circumference of the lens. By switching to the Digital Microscope mode you can take well lit macro images, with a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm. Other modes include high-speed face detection, smile capture, digital wide and 12 digital filters.
The WG-2 records videos at full 1080p HD at 30 fps as well as VGA (640 x 480) high-speed videos. The camera can be connected to a HD TV via the micro-HDMI terminal.
- 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
- 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28-140mm)
- 3 inch 16:9 460,000 dots LCD screen
- Waterproof to 12m
- Shockproof to 1.5m
- Coldproof to -10°C
- Crushproof to 100Kg
- Full 1080p HD video recording
- ISO 125-6400
- 1cm minimum focusing distance
- Digital microscope with six LED macro lights
- Available in orange, red, black and white
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. When the camera is switched off you can press the playback button to view your images and videos.
The battery has a CIPA rating of 260 shots, while testing we managed over 900, which is impressive. We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
|Shutter Response||0.1 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.45 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.1 secs|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.6 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||2.6 secs|
|Burst Shooting||10 fps|
Continuous shooting records at full 16 megapixel resolution, with burst shooting limited to with 5 or 4 megapixels. 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 (up to 1000) at a set interval, up to 99 mins. The camera switches on, refocuses, takes a picture and switches off again.
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Pentax Optio WG-2 Sample Photos
Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/4.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 125
Portrait | 1/80 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Underwater Macro | 1/125 sec | f/4.4 | 9.1 mm | ISO 125
Pet Mode | 1/125 sec | f/5.5 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500
Sample Photos - landscapes have good blues and greens, with portrait mode giving good skin tones, with images free of red-eye.
Pentax Optio WG-2 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/800 sec | f/4.2 | 5.0 mm | ISO 125
Full Optical Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/6.6 | 25.0 mm | ISO 125
Digital Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/6.6 | 25.0 mm | ISO 125
Macro | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 7.5 mm | ISO 125
Lens Performance - images are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Detail is decent when shooting at either end of the lens, with purple fringing well controlled in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, which allows the camera to get really close and take a good macro picture.
Pentax Optio WG-2 ISO test images
ISO125 | 1/8 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 125
ISO200 | 1/15 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 200
ISO400 | 1/25 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 400
ISO800 | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 800
ISO1600 | 1/100 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 1600
ISO3200 | 1/200 sec | f/5.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 3200
ISO6400 | 1/320 sec | f/6.0 | 16.7 mm | ISO 6400
ISO Noise Performance - A sharp, noise free image is produced at ISO 125, but there is a significant increase when shooting at ISO 200. Again, there is an increase in noise at ISO 400, with noise at ISO 800 causing images to become softer. As well as sharpness, images lose detail at ISO 1600, with black dots appearing. Noise is pretty bad at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, with these two settings best used if needed, for images which are to be resized for web sharing.
Pentax Optio WG-2 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/13 sec | f/4.2 | 7.5 mm | ISO 125
Incandescent lighting - incandescent preset | 1/13 sec | f/4.2 | 7.5 mm | ISO 125
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.2 | 7.5 mm | ISO 125
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/4.2 | 7.5 mm | ISO 125
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights in our studio, the AWB preset has taken an image with an orange cast, with the incandescent preset handling the lights much better. The AWB preset has taken a good picture under the fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset taking an image with a strong orange cast.
(Above) Digital Microscope | 1/4 sec | f/3.8 | 6.1 mm | ISO 125
(Right) Underwater Mode | 1/6 sec | f/4.6 | 11.1 mm | ISO 1600
The Digital Microscope mode is unique and takes impressive pictures. The LED lights can also be used when shooting underwater.
Pentax Optio WG-2 Digital filters
Image Tone - Bright | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Image Tone - Natural | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Image Tone - Monochrome | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Colour | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Extract Colour | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Fisheye | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - High Contrast | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Ink Rubbing | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Retro | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Sepia | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Soft | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Starburst | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filter - Toy Camera | 1/5 sec | f/4.8 | 13.7 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filters - There are no digital filters as such when shooting, although you can change the colour tone from either bright, natural or monochrome. If you want to be more creative with your pictures, you can edit them in playback mode, with a number of digital filters available, with examples above. You can also create a collage in camera with the shots you have taken.
Video - The WG-2 records at full 1080p HD resolution, although it doesn't allow the use of optical zoom. There is a high-speed recording mode, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.
Value For MoneyThe Pentax Optio WG-2 is available for around £229.00 or £269.00 with GPS. It is one of the more expensive waterproof cameras, but has the maximum amount of underwater depth available on a camera at the moment. The Olympus Tough TG-1 has highest in all three categories, as do the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 and FT4.
|Kodak Easyshare Sport C123||3m||-||-||£50.00|
|Nikon Coolpix S30||3m||0.8m||-||£84.99|
|Olympus Tough TG-320||3m||1.5m||-10°C||£119.00|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP50||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£129.00|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£149.00|
|Pentax Optio WG-1 / (GPS)||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£164.00 / (199.00)|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP150 GPS||10m||2m||-10°C||£189.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-620||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£199.00|
|Canon PowerShot D10||10m||1.2m||-10°C||£214.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-820||10m||2m||-10°C||£229.00|
|Nikon Coolpix AW100||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£229.99|
|Pentax Optio WG-2 / (GPS)||12m||1.5m||-10°C||£229.00 / (£269.00)|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3||12m||2m||-10°C||£254.00|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4||12m||2m||-10°C||£299.00|
|Sony Cyber-shot TX20||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£299.00|
|Canon PowerShot D20||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£309.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-1||12m||2m||-10°C||£359.00|
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
If you are looking for your first rugged camera, the WG-2 offers good image quality and a couple of unique features, if you are a current WG-1 user, you'd be better off keeping your cash in your wallet.
Pentax Optio WG-2 ProsFull 1080p HD video recording
Waterproof to 12m
Shockproof to 1.5m
Freezeproof to -10°C
Good image quality
Excellent colour reproduction
Digital microscope and 1cm minimum focus distance
Available in a range of different colours
Comes with a Carabiner strap
Pentax Optio WG-2 ConsPoor noise performance throughout ISO range
Tripod socket is poorly placed
New model doesn't offer much of an upgrade
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Pentax Optio WG-2 Specifications
|Max Aperture||No Data|
|35mm equivalent||28mm - 140mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||460,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||1/4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||125 - 6400|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable D-LI92 Lithium-Ion battery|
|Box Contents||USB cable, AC cable, Li-ion battery, Battery charger, Carabiner strap, Strap, Macro stand and Software|
|Optio WG-2 (Black, 16MP, Waterproof, Shockproof, 5x, FHD)||Amazon.com
|WG-2 - red||Amazon.com