Top critical review
31 people found this helpful
Rugged little camera but not without flaws
on 4 July 2013
First the good... it's pretty rugged and waterproof which is the main reason I got it. Compared to the Panasonic Lumix which was my other choice this has a more secure door system, and the rubber seals appear to be of a better quality. I've no worries about this leaking, or not leaking.
In the box you have all you need apart from an SD card. Also comes with a T adaptor so you can for example fasten this to a telescope, which was a bonus I wasnt expecting. Should be interesting to try when the dark winter nights come. If you re shooting video make sure you get a fast SD card - a class 4 wont cut it. I have used a Sandisk class 10 8GB card and never had any problems.
The video quality is good, and the still images are better. Sharp clear, not too saturated and focus is spot on. It's never going to be flexible as a proper bridge or SLR camera of course but there is manual and varying types of focus, a nice macro mode with round the lens LED lighting, many different modes such as night, snow, flowers, pets, children, and the underwater modes as well. I've not testing it in seawater but I have no doubt it would be fine. Other nice trick modes are time elapse for cloud watching, and face reconition, smile capture etc. The menu system is excellent and it's easy and intuitive to navigate, you will have to refer to the manual (which is comprehensive and easy to use) a couple of times and then you can forget about needing it.
OK now the bad sadly...
As a waterproof camera it excels, I have no worries about that. Shockproof it appears fine as well but with a couple of caveats. There is no lens cover at all - it's a single sheet of quite tough glass, but there is no additional cover over that. This leaves the glass vulnerable to scratches and knocks and this severly limits it's use in places where an occasional bang may be encountered. It'll be fine if you drop it on a flat floor, or tarmac, but on anything rocky or rubbly and you are going to be looking at a scratched lens cover which cannot be swapped.
UPDATE: My camera was lost for just over a week and was eventually found outside, trodden deep into the earth by the side of the path. The camera survived the wet weather unscathed and worked perfectly well - a rinse under the tap sorted it. The conditions however had slightly scratched the front glass, fortunatly outside the area where the lens looks through. Overall very impressed with the survivability of it regards the water and weatehr conditions.
It doesn't have the same drop rating as others, nor is it as good as the better specced WG3 - but it's cheaper of course. You cand rop it from shoulder height so it's probably good enough for everything that most people need.
Although dust proof you can get sand into the microphone used for video recording. I suspect cleaning that out will be very tricky, also this would be the case if you allowed salt water to dry in there. Wash it well under a tap as soon as it comes out the ocean!
The battery is small and fiddly to remove and unless you have long fingernails is going to frustrate. Pentax want's £30 for a new battery. Shop around - you can get them at an eighth of that price.
All in all it's a super camera let down by lack of lens protection. Get a hardcover case for it and it'll give you excellent service but that just shouldn't be needed and makes it much less attractive for my usage. If you can live with this, I'd heartily recommend it.