Pentax Optio WG-1 Review

If you are a perfectionist who values image quality and are keen on buying a durable camera that will perform superlatively in every outdoor setting, the Pentax Optio WG-1 and the WG-1 GPS will be just right for you. These models are functionally similar except for the addition of the GPS feature in the WG-1GPS which eliminates the need to carry around one more gadget while on your quest to capture the most glorious and awe-inspiring images of nature.
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Built on the success of their previous ‘Lifeproof” model the W90, Pentax has managed to perfectly combine sturdiness, dependability and a myriad of features in the Pentax Optio WG-1, making it one of the best cameras in its category. However, given the price tag of the gadget, you may be keen on learning about the features and benefits of the product before actually investing in it, so here are the pros and cons of this camera and why you should buy it.

Why should you buy the Pentax Optio WG-1?

Extremely Durable: Few thought that Pentax could enhance the sturdiness offered by W-90; however, Pentax Optio WG-1 far supersedes its predecessor in term of durability. With a design that can handle 220 pounds of crush force; is waterproof up to 33 feet for 2 hours, can handle freezing temperatures down to 14 degree F and will not break even if it falls from a height of 5 feet, the WG-1 sure does pack in a lot of punch.

Popular features: Many of the features of the WG-1 have been carried over from the W-90, which still remains a very popular model. The 2.7 LCD screen, the 5X optical zoom and 720p HD video recording were all originally offered in the W-90 and Pentax decided to leave them unchanged given the extremely positive reaction of the consumers to these features.

Ergonomic design: If you have struggled with finger fatigue when clicking pictures or have endured perpetual fear of dropping your expensive camera and shattering it to pieces, the Pentax WG-1 will come as a pleasant surprise to you. Apart from its impressive durability, The WG-1 has a sleek, ergonomic design unlike the block structure of the W-90; the shape offers a better grasp for one hand photography while the indent at the top of the face allows your index finger to naturally move in position on the portrait or landscape hold. The rubberized side grips further enhance the non- slip grip and offer a feel of robustness.

Control Button Layout: This feature has not been changed from the W-90, so you get large well spaced buttons that will not be difficult to handle even when your hands are cold or numb or you lose manual dexterity due to the adrenalin rush.

2.7 inch LCD monitor: Another feature that has been borrowed from the W-90, the 2.7 inch LCD monitor with 230,000 dots offers good live images and is perfect for reading menus. There are several preprogrammed exposure settings that can be identified easily due to the short description and the cartoons associated with them. Some of these modes include underwater, surf, snow, and digital microscope. The backlight helps you to see the LCD effortlessly even in direct sunlight.

5 Led lamps: 2 additional LED lamps were added to make a total of 5 lamps in the WG-1. These help to illuminate macro subjects and offer supplementary lighting.

Enhanced Digital Microscope: The bumped up macro options will certainly find favor with women and outdoorsmen who tens to click pictures of tiny insects and flowers when on a hike. Images can be captured up to 1 cm with the mode and the detachable macro stand adds to the stability offering steadier shots.

5X zoom: The 5X zoom covers an optical range of 28-140 mm; this offers the gadget multiple framing capabilities; also, the rocker style zoom provides smooth and continuous operation. The wide range is ideal for landscape shots but it’s not going to zoom across the entire baseball field.

The Pentax Optio WG-1 Zooming

Pentax Optio WG-1

This was taken with the Pentax Optio WG-1 with no zoom used

This was taken with the Pentax Optio WG-1 with 5x optical zoom used

Pentax Optio WG-1

This was taken with the Pentag Optio WG-1 with max digital zoom used

Exceptional face detection: For an adventure camera, the WG-1 has a superlative face detection feature. The gadget not only detects faces in pictures but does so up to 170 degrees which is almost a profile shot.
Designed for social networkers: Keeping up with the trend of social networking, Pentax has also added other rad features like smile capture mode, anti blink detection and Eye-fi compatibility which allows you to transfer pictures to your favorite social networking site if you have a Wi- fi connection available.

Better resolution: The 14 mega pixel resolution is a distinct improvement over the 12 mega pixels resolution of W-90. The image quality is very good for a point and shoot camera; with the intelligent auto picture mode providing the best pictures.
Video Quality: The Pentax WG-1 has excellent video quality for a point-n-shoot camera whether you are indoors, outdoors or underwater. You can capture 720 HD videos in VGA or OVGA and can choose a frame rate of 15 or 30 FPS; the latter offers the best video quality. The camera also has a movie shake reduction feature

Battery life: The Pentax WG-1 has a better battery life than its predecessors; the 925mAh battery pack can offer as much as 450 still images and 25 to 30 short videos in just two charge cycles; however, if you do need spares, these can be bought easily for $35.

Pentax Optio WG-1 Tour

Pentax Optio WG-1

The Orange WG-1 is the newest addition to the family and will be available on July 1, 2011

Pentax Optio WG-1

One cool thing that we like about the Pentax Optio WG-1 is the odd shape and five small LED lights that surround the lens.

Pentax Optio WG-1

Large 2.7-inch LCD features a wide angle


Pentax Optio WG-1

Power & Shutter Button on Top

Pentax Optio WG-1

Tripod Mount & Battery Slot

Pentax Optio WG-1

Secure Strap Attachment

Pentax Optio WG-1

Lock cover houses HDMI & USB ports

Pentax Optio WG-1

The Pros

• Rugged design that can withstand natural elements
• Excellent face detection even in profile shots up to 170 degrees
• Several exposure settings with short description of each
• Cartoon like menu icons provided for quick selection of exposure settings
• Impressive quality of outdoor images
• Ergonomic shape for enhanced handling comfort
• 5 X zoom and 14 mega pixel resolution for accurate framing and crystal
clear images.

The Cons

• Flash could have been more powerful
• Power button is recessed and can be a bit difficult to operate
• Playback and menu buttons take a little getting used to
• Dirt and debris can get under the seals but do not enter the battery and I/O compartments
• Weak macro LED lights

The Verdict

The Pentax WG-1 offers some distinctive improvements over the W-90 and is one of then more impressive gadgets in its category. As a matter of fact, it would be safe to suggest that it is one of the best models from Pentax in their Optio Line with excellent overall image quality, speedy shooting performance, increased robustness and a myriad of exposure settings. Add to this the $349 or lower price tag and its easy to understand why it is one of the most popular products in the market today. This camera can certainly be pushed to its limits and offers a good bang for your buck in a highly competitive market.

Customer Reviews

pentax optio wg-1 review

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