32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Great Design, Mediocre Images,
This review is from: Pentax Optio WG-1 Digital Camera - PARENT ASIN (Camera)
I bought this as a "go-anywhere" compact for outdoor activities where I did not want to risk (or carry) my SLR gear.
First the good points. It seems very strongly made, quite well designed and easy to hold, even when wet. So far, it has stood up well to various coastal activities, canoeing trips & cycling etc, although I have not yet tried its true underwater capabilities. It has a very good macro mode and the built-in LED macro lights are handy for very close-up shots in low light. It has a huge number of modes & settings, some very useful but probably too many options to allow for quick & intuitive navigation through the menus....I would readily give up several "Smile Detection" modes in exchange for easier control over ISO settings and access to some basic manual settings for aperture & shutter speed.
There is really only one drawback, and that is the poor image quality in most conditions, which sadly is a bit fundamental. To be specific: the dynamic range is very limited, with highlight detail easily getting lost, even with careful metering. There is prominent chromatic aberration, with coloured fringing very obvious around light-toned objects. In pictures with a lot of detail, such as foliage etc., that detail quickly becomes confused and poorly resolved. Finally, the plane glass protecting the lens from the elements means that it is completely unshaded and great care is therefore needed to avoid flare from degrading the image.
It is not all bad news on the image quality front; with care, the macro shots can be excellent and in shady conditions or good indoor light, where high contrast and sources of flare are absent, the camera turns out pretty good results.
I am going to keep the camera because it will be handy to grab record shots in locations where I would not risk more fragile kit but, overall, it is a great design with good construction standards, compromised by very indifferent image quality.