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- Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS
- The toughest of the tough-cams is soft on image quality.
Pentax Optio WG-2 Digital Camera Review$399.95
The lumpy, rubberized design looks ugly, but it's great for handling. There's no obvious bump or handle on the shutter-side of the body, but all the little divots and contours add up to a comfortable grip, especially with the textured coating. It's surprisingly light for such a rugged camera, and comfortable for one-handed shooting. The buttons are a bit small and sticky, which we expect from a tough-cam, so if you need to adjust any settings aside from zoom, you'll probably need to grip the camera with two hands.
At a thickness of 1.2 inches, the WG-2 is a bit too bulky for pants pockets, but it's small and light enough for any cargo or jacket pocket. The camera comes with a carabiner, so it can clip onto a belt loop or backpack—not a bad idea if you're busy.
Buttons & Dials
The button design and layout is typical of a tough-cam. A button controls zoom instead of a tilter, which is the biggest departure from a normal point-and-shoot layout. The buttons are also a bit smaller and stickier compared to most pocket cameras, a function of the waterproof construction.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the user interface is the green button. By default, it's a dedicated button for Green Mode, a super-simple auto mode (see above). But it can be changed to a movie hotkey, voice recorder hotkey, or a function (Fn) menu button (more on that below).
The 3-inch, 460,000-pixel widescreen LCD is bright and contrasty enough to be seen fairly well in bright sunlight or underwater, though the screens on many other tough-cams are brighter and sharper. It's an upgrade from the 2.7-inch screen on last year's WG-1.
The Pentax WG-2 doesn't have optical image stabilization, but the digital stabilization it does offer is reasonably effective. We measured about a 47 percent improvement in sharpness with the SR Pixel Adjust mode activated. The downside is that all of the "stabilization" is actually just extra image processing; it doesn't occur in real-time like optical stabilization does, so it slows down the camera's shot-to-shot times.