Pentax WG-3 GPS Outdoors Camera Review (Part 1)

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Introduced in 1/2013, the Pentax WG-3 is a new outdoors camera. The latest model is able to resist water down to 14m and its new lens owns a maximum aperture of f/2.0. Model with the built-in GPS is available in purple and green and costs about $488. Model without GPS is available in orange and black with the price of $435.

The Pentax WG-3 is a new outdoors camera

The Pentax WG-3 is a new outdoors camera


The Pentax WG-3 is the owner of a 16 MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor as well as a 4x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-100mm. Its lens aperture is f/2.0 wide at wide-angle end to ensure the maximum level of light to reach the sensor, ideal for shooting underwater. In order to minimize camera shake, a sensor shift SR is given (shake reduction).

Being an outdoor camera, it is capable of water-resistance up to 14mm underwater, shock-proof to 2m, freeze-proof to -10°C and dustproof. Around the surface of the lens barrel are six LED macro lights to support macro shooting.

Time display screen on the camera’s body

Time display screen on the camera’s body

When shooting, the camera’s auto picture mode will automatically decide the most suitable settings for the detected scene. Some other modes of this camera are HDR, digital microscope, time lapse and many more. After finish shooting, your images can be edited in the playback mode by using a great number of filters. To keep your photo straight, it gives a digital spirit level too.

Videos are recorded at the full 1080p HD mode at 30fps. Using the optical zoom during recording videos is possible and you can also record at a very high speed of 120fps. WG-3 can be connected to HDTV for playback via HDMI.

Full view of the Pentax WG-3

Full view of the Pentax WG-3

Main features

·         16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor

·         4x optical zoom f/2.0-4.9 lens (35mm equivalent of 25-100mm)

·         Sensor shift SR (Shake Reduction)

·         3 inch 16:9 wide 460k dot LCD screen

·         Waterproof to 14m

·         Shockproof to 2m

·         Freezeproof to –10°C

·         Crushproof to 100Kgf

·         Dustproof

·         Six LED macro lights

·         Built-in GPS

·         Full 1080p HD video recording

·         ISO 125 - 6400

·         1cm minimum focusing distance

The 3 inch 460k dot LCD screen

The 3 inch 460k dot LCD screen


Covered by a rubber coat, the Pentax WG-3 GPS has a unique shape, all of which contributes to the easy grip, even in cold, wet conditions. To minimize the probability of opening the battery/ memory card slot by mistake underwater, the camera has an open/ close switch and another one which works as a lock.

Coming with the camera is a plastic ring which is used to support the use of digital microscope mode. At the front side of the camera comes a small screen which displays the time and looks just like a digital watch.

The 260 shot battery

The 260 shot battery

The on/off switch and the shutter release can be found on the top of the camera. One the back, you will find the W and T buttons which are used for controlling the optical zoom, and the lens is placed inside the camera. Other buttons that can be seen are movie record, playback, menu, green and a d-pad which is used for wandering through the menus as well as adjusting the timer, flash, focus and shooting modes.

The screen is very bright and clear. Its resolution belongs to the top class with 460k dot. The menu system is well organized and easy to use. The battery life is estimated at 260 shots according to the result of CIPA and will decrease a lot if the GPS is activated frequently.

We took some photos to check the responsiveness of the cameras, from switch on to first shot, shot to shot, focusing speed, etc. We also take some shots and then take the average to ensure the accuracy and consistency of the results, making them easier to compare with other cameras.

·         Shutter Response: 0.125 sec

·         Wide - Focus / Shutter Response: 0.25 sec

·         Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response: 0.4 sec

·         Switch on Time to Taking a Photo: 2.2 sec

·         Shot to Shot without Flash: 1.3 sec

·         Shot to Shot with Flash: 3.4 sec

·         Continuous Shooting: 1.4 fps

·         Burst Shooting: 12.3 fps

The continuous shooting records in the 16MP resolution, burst shooting is limited between 4 or 5MP.

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