on 22 June 2013
I bought this to replace an old Canon PowerShot that had had a hammering over several years of outside work in all sorts of environments. A waterproof compact with GPS seemed an excellent idea. I've used it heavily outdoors since purchase and it's been a mixed bag of experiences.
First the less than good...
Although it's QI charging you only get a normal power cable so if you are a heavy user you are in and out of the waterproof door a lot...not least because the power source is a small rechargeable battery. So battery life and charging are now an issue for me...sadly this is often on site and away from power. And opening the waterproof door all the time is bound to have an affect on the seal eventually. You can avoid this by buying a QI charger and an Eye Fi card...yeah...more to buy lol.
It is very robustly built and there are grand claims made for its ability to take impact and compression. I don't doubt them, but the lens has no cover and the big plastic screen is easily scratched...so not as tough as they'd like you to think.
It comes with a fancy strap which looks lovely but is impractical and likely to scratch the plastic screen so it was the first thing to be replaced!
The tripod thread is at the extreme right hand side of the body which can make it unsteady on small tripods or at least more fiddling to balance and line up well.
Some people here complained about colour and styling however I found this a bit odd as it is perfectly shaped for wet hands and the purple colour is easy to spot in the grass etc. So for me this is full marks.
The wide angle lens is excellent although you can run the risk of getting your fingers in the picture if you don't hold it carefully.
The electronic compass works well and I will trust it for fixed point work now that I have tested it regularly against my trusty Silva.
The GPS tagging is fine and compares to my Garmin so no problems there.
The spirit level is a wonderful timesaver...really impressed with that!
The camera works as you'd expect for this price...it's a bit short on the flexibility of settings that you get on a Canon (even far cheaper ones) but for me it works well. There are three macro settings and for my close-in ecology work that has been great.
So...for the price...OK but the longer lasting gripe is power. So I have my old Canon as a back up always.
Good...but not great...but don't buy for the full price.
on 27 February 2014
I just used this camera on a trip to Cuba and I really liked it. It is easy to operate and there are plenty of options to create some interesting photos and videos. I particularly like the slow and fast motion ones.
It is ideal for beach or wet conditions, where water and sand are an issue for normal cameras, so recommended for beach holidays.
However, there is one HUGE letdown and that is the battery life. I have a couple of other cameras, both Sony, one of which is a bridge camera, and the battery on both these will last for well over two hours taking video and at least a whole day taking photos, and I take a lot of photos when I'm out. Very rarely have I had to change it the same day on these cameras. Different story on this Pentax
The Pentax battery seems to run down incredibly quickly. Take 20 -30 photos and you're looking at red warning light already. You definitely need to carry a spare at ALL times.
Also, even if turned off, the battery does run down quicker than any other camera I've ever owned.
The other thing I would suggest is, ditch the strap that comes with the camera and attach a proper wrist strap instead.
Apart from that, a fun camera to use in difficult weather conditions.
on 18 June 2013
I have owned several models of this camera....and they just get better. The feel is solid, and good to hold / use. If you walk up mountains, want to take photos in snow / rain or on a beach and in the sea....this could be the camera for you to consider. There are other cameras that will do the job, but they don't have the look of this one. I'm not sure if I'll make daily use of the GPS function, but it's a useful addition...and the Altitude / Atmospheric pressure is something I'm using quite a bit. If you don't need these additions, buy the other model....you'll still get the sharp photos and the (almost) bomb-proof usefulness of a great camera. Thoroughly recommended.
I know [from using my first digital camera] that bulky camera designs make for shaky hands, which in turn means blurry pictures. Add a protruding lens and multiple button pressing to the bulk, and taking simple snaps can be bloody hard - especially in tourist hotspots whilst on holiday or in a club etc, where crowds are jostling you, so I feel more confident using something which doesn't use a extending lens, and is labelled as shockproof AND crushproof. Plus the shape and texture of the outer casing is easy to get a good grip on - even under water!
Fortunately the Pentax WG-3 is very easy to use: Slide in the lithium ion battery in the base opening, charge the camera [it takes about fifty minutes to charge], insert a SD memory card [it slides in the base opening, alongside the battery] and then enter the date and time [It asks as soon as you turn it on]. That's it, you are ready to go in under an hour - straight out of the box.
So far my main two usages for my camera have been to take 'action shots' and Jaws-vision type photos for my swim club's news board & leaflets, and I used it for a day out at Chester Zoo, so I've taken photos in a selection of underwater, indoors and outdoors settings. I've used different levels of zoom, with flash, without flash and the results have been fantastic every-time; the colours have all been true to life - direct sunlight nor strong lighting have bleached the resulting photos in any way. I'm not sure would someone more experienced would think of the image quality, but I honestly can't fault it. I'd thought my old 12 million pixel camera was great, but now I can compare photos side by side I can instantly see the improvement made by those extra 4 million pixels. One thing; I've found that using the 2 second timer really helpful, to make sure my hands are steady, before the picture is taken.
I use auto mode for regular photos most of the time myself and have only played about with all of the other various setting options and in all honesty, I think that most people will be fine on auto, as it works in every situation for me. The other shooting modes [including the underwater mode] are easy to select - I'm no David Bailey, but I've not encountered any problems navigating the settings and shooting with the WG-3. It look and sounds complicate to use, but it really a souped up point-and-shoot camera.
I've taken a few short videos too and have been quite impressed. The image is slightly fuzzy and distorts when I used the zoom, but the audio is largely clear. I view the video camera as an extra, so will rarely [if I again witness someone something funny, embarrassing] use it, so the less then perfect playback isn't a issue for me.
Other things I won't really use are the GPS functions, the pressure/altitude/depth gauge, and digital compass. I've played around with everything and can say that the features are all easy to use, but how many of us really need these extras on a camera? That's why I've removed a star in the rating - we're all paying for these extra features, when most of us don't need them.
There were two discs included with the camera; one disc contains the user manual in Adobe format and the second disc contains the photo editing software software. So far I've only needed to view the owners manual twice, as everything really is simple to use. I do think I'd flick through it again if it was in booklet form, but as I haven't encountered any problems this isn't really a big deal.
The PhotoImpression software is quick to load and easy to navigate - I've not needed to look at the manual, it's just a case of using common sense [and I don't have tons of that].
on 17 June 2013
The compact Pentax WG-3 is rugged, waterproof, and packs a fast lens.
- Good image quality
- Waterproof to 45 feet
- Ideal camera body for using in extreme weather conditions
- Rubberised body
- Attractive styling and unique design
- Macro LED lighting
- 1cm minimum focusing distance
- Full 1080p HD video recording
- Fast f/2.0 lens
- Waterproof to 14m
- LED macro lights
- HDR mode
- Good range of digital filters for editing photos
- Dark underwater performance
- Noise effects image quality from ISO 200 upwards
- Screen scratches very easily
- Only 4x optical zoom
- Slow zoom
- No dedicated battery charger
on 25 May 2014
Going on a few trips this year so wanted a sturdy camera that can handle on the terrains. Before buying the camera i was really tossing up between this and the olympus tough tg-2. I know Ricoh launched a newer Wg4 and the olympus was launching a TG-3 but the price mark up for few extra functions just didn't tally up. (I bought this for £149 with £20 cashback from Pentax so effectively £129). It has the most amazing microscopic macro mode, and I know this is going to be a winner when I'm in the Amazon rainforest. It's a nice little camera, bit heavier than most compacts, but it's also reassuring that this is well built.
The image quality is great and for those complaining that is not to a good level - then they are not taking into consideration that this is a 'rugged' camera - you are paying for the function of it being able to work in all conditions and even take a few knocks and scrapes. of course other 'non-rugged' cameras in this price range probably do pack a better punch with image quality (if you're blowing image size right up), but if you wanted that image quality combined with the ruggedness then you're looking to pay at least 3 times the price, so it's a case of working out what is more important to your needs.
Also image quality can immediately be stepped up by going into the menu and tweaking things such as disabling digital zoom, (so you don't accidentally zoom into that horrible soft pixellated zone), also enabling the lowest ISO to be used as default will crisp up all images taken in good light and the obvious one of image quality.
So pleased I did my research and opted for this camrera - GPS is a nice touch too!
on 27 August 2013
I've owned my Pentax WG1 for about 2 years now & have mixed views on it.
I bought mine with the optional waterproof remote control unit.
The camera does well but I feel the picture quality is not as good as other cameras, for example the FujiFilm FinePix XP range.
The video capability is adequate but not outstanding & is limited to 30 fps.
I wanted a camera that would come snorkeling with me & could handle both pictures & video in a small package. The Pentax does this but is only adequate in this respect.The colours are good but not vibrant, I feel they a little on he muted side.
The remote is infra red so it has a limited range & only appears to work when pointed at the front of the camera. It is a useful feature & my other cameras didn't have this, so well done Pentax.
What I have discovered is that after 2 years of ownership, the waterproof remote unit, which saw water only once in its life, corroded it's innards & required replacing. Hats off to Pentax, they replaced the unit free of charge, but I do feel that it shouldn't have happened in the first place.
There are a few oddities. The tripod thread is offset making it difficult to use with small tripods in particular.
It has about 28 stills/video settings. I found about 5 useful. I get the impression there is a war between manufacturers to see who can include the most. I think there is such a thing as 'too many'.
The Pentax branded batteries seem to be the best I've found so far. The 3rd party batteries are OK but don't last as long as the Pentax ones.
I did take the camera on holiday with me recently & while underwater, I saw the ominous line of little bubbles from behind the shutter button. The screen & pictures have now taken to including interesting vertical coloured bars. I think the camera waterproof seals have gone the way of the remote. Shame. I thought Pentax had put some serious thought into the more exposed seals such as the ones around the battery/ SD card door. Maybe I was just unlucky.
I suppose its all a matter of expectation.
I wanted an underwater capable stills & video camera for a small amount of money. I got what I paid for. If I want 'Robust', I need to pay that sort of money to be fair.
Hopefully Pentax have addressed some of these issues with the later generation WG3+ versions.
Based on what I now know, would I buy this again? Probably not. I'd probably try something else.
This is a good camera but not a great camera.
Solid, is the first word that comes to my mind as I try to review this camera. Solid, dependable, but also small, very portable; fits nicely into a pocket and my little hands. Impressive too, with technical chops that are remarkable for a relatively inexpensive camera. Supposedly waterproof to 14 metres (I haven't tried that yet but it's been used in heavy rain and hail and never even flinched) and safe to a drop of two metres (I haven't tested that either, I haven't dropped it yet, but my legendary clumsiness means I'm bound to do so eventually. I promise to update this review just as soon as that happens). Supposedly also safe to minus ten degrees - something else I can't vouch for: the snow has finally melted, even oop here in Yorkshire, but I'm happy to take Pentax's word for it. The WG-3 feels like it could take a few knocks, the thing is built like a tank. The technical details are mighty - Other reviewers/geekier souls than me, have gone over all that in great detail, so I'll limit my review to just how usable the WG-3 is, which is very. The downloadable instructions are dense, as always, but also, not really needed: the camera's extensive menus are self-explanatory and very easy to use.
I do a lot of nature photography and really like the close up functions; the picture quality from these is fantastic. The zoom, in particular, is AMAZING, zipping in fast and close with tremendous picture detail, as I found when I went through my pictures later, in Photoshop. The low light facility is another I've found useful and enjoyable, bringing out colours and detail even in very low light. The landscape function enhances colours wonderfully.
I really enjoyed the GPS function. I'm not sure how often I'd need to use it, but it's fun to play with, and an enjoyable addition to an already-very fine camera. And while the plethora of functions are fun to play with, the default auto-pic setting is just fine for 99% of pictures - a very versatile function.
I've always thought of myself as a Nikon girl, but I'm so impressed with these daintily solid little Pentax cameras, I might have to re-think my loyalties. In short, this is a VERY nice camera, easy and fun to use, tough as army boots and I just love it.
on 6 November 2014
Pretty sound but a wierd shape that doesn't fit the hand that well. Reasonable menu structure. Best thing is that it's built well enough to shove in a pocket without a case. Good lens. Apt to draw curious enquiries from onlookers. It looks like it ought to be able to beam you back up to the Enterprise, but is sadly more conventional.
on 15 August 2013
Bought this for my fishing photos to use close to water hence the need for a waterproof camera. This camera has a good solid feel to it it does everything you might need in the picture taking with an easy menu to setup to get what you want, best feature for me is the editing of the pictures on the camera cropping and adjusting the contrast before you download your picts.