Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review: Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Outdoor Camera

When I started kayaking I didn't have a waterproof camera...or any camera for that matter besides my iPhone I progressed one of the main goals of my kayaking became to capture the beautiful places a person can go that without pictures or film, most other people would not be able to see.

Eventually I plan to have a good SLR setup that I can take with me in my boat, but in the meantime I wanted at least a waterproof camera that I could carry on my person to get some quick, decent shots of friends as they styled lines and our beautiful surroundings.

I decided to wait until the new crop of 'outdoor proof' cameras came out and in May, got my brand new Pentax camera, when the new model was first released. Main features include 14 megapixels, 5 x optical zoom, good 16x9 shots, 780p or 1080i video, waterproof 33 ft., coldproof -10 degrees C, shockproof 4.9 ft, and crushproof. Also GPS pictures tracking, which I have never been able to make work. Like all newer waterproof cameras, it seems to have a myriad of customizable options, even more than most of the newer models, which is nice for people who know how to use them.

The reason I went with a Pentax is because it came the most recommended from people I talked to, followed closely by the Olympus.

Almost all of the pictures on my blog and video taken by me, and sometimes others, were taken with it.

It delivers very good quality pictures for the kind of camera it is, better than average of what I'd expect. I love the high quality 16x9 shots, which is the default setting I use. It is easy to switch between photo and video with the quick use customizable button on the back. Reasonable image stabilization when you use it. Most importantly, it seems to reload quickly to take pictures in quick succession. The flash also works very well for pictures at night.

Two major drawbacks, it does not have a lens cover or enclosure of any kind, I remedy this by storing it in a glasses sleeve. Also I have never been able to get a GPS fix, I thought maybe it didn't work just in Canada, but could not get it to work, even in open spaces, in Washington State, I think it worked one time I tried to use it, though at this point I haven't tried in a long time.

In October, the rear display on the camera shattered, I sent it back to Pentax with a letter and my invoice from original purchase after briefly talking to their customer service on the phone and they sent me back a new or the repaired unit promptly. For this reason chiefly I am very happy with my purchase and highly recommend it. I just wish they would put some kind of lens cover on these.

I'm not a great, probably not even a good, photographer. A great place to start for tips on paddling photography from some of the better people out there is the Vol. 13 No. 3 issue of Rapid magazine from Summer/Fall 2011 which has some amazing pointers.

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