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Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS ruggedized camera (hands-on)

Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS ruggedized camera (hands-on)


Pentax is releasing an updated version of its ruggedized Optio WG series cameras, the WG-II. The camera will be with and without a GPS module.

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Gallery Photo: Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS hands on
Gallery Photo: Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS hands on

Ruggedized cameras have been around for a while, and there are a lot of models on the market, but Pentax thinks its new Optio WG-2 GPS is the ideal partner for your next mountain climbing or cave diving trip. In addition to improvements in still resolution (16 versus 14 megapixels) and video quality (1080p versus 720p), the new model's LCD features double the resolution of last year's — 4.6 compared to 2.3 million dots — and its screen has grown as well, from 2.7 to 3.0 inches. Autofocus is reasonably fast for a point and shoot, and the six LED lamps surrounding the lens provide a poor man's ring light when shooting close up, combining nicely with the 1cm minimum focusing distance in macro mode.

The camera feels much lighter in the hand than it looks, and at 0.39 pounds it's certainly not going to weigh you down on the trail. The body features a locking waterproof door covering its Mini HDMI and Mini USB ports, allowing the camera to be submerged up to 12 meters. And while the WG-2 is rated as being shockproof up to 1.5 meters, that measurement is given for wood, not the much harder concrete floor here at the Pacifico Yokohama, so we were only permitted to drop it from waist height. Not exactly four stories onto a bed of spikes, but rest assured that your WG-2 can stand up to the rigors of a Japanese convention center.

The other new addition is the GPS module, which records your location data, as well as your route information in KML format, allowing you to retrace your footsteps when you get home using services like Google Earth and Google Maps. Overall, we'd say the WG-2 has all the makings of a great companion for your next mountainboarding or cross country zorbing trip.

Check out our comparison of the Optio WG-2 GPS with Olympus's recently-announced TG-820.

Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS hands on