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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
If we trust the ratings, the WG-2 is the most durable compact camera on the market.
It's waterproof to 40 feet for up to 2 hours, the deepest rating out there. It's an upgrade from last year's WG-1, which could swim 33 feet underwater. The manual cautions users to avoid bringing the camera into very warm water (like a hot spring), and salt water can be hazardous if the camera isn't cleaned properly afterward.
It's shockproof to 5 feet—bested by 6.6-feet shockproofing on a few competing models, but still enough to survive some drops from chest-height and general rough-housing. No guarantees, but we bet it could withstand slightly more serious spills, too—just make sure the doors sealed tightly.
It's crushproof up to 220 pounds of pressure—most rugged cameras don't even advertise crushproofing. The average person can stand on top of a WG-2 without any repercussions (though that's probably a bad idea). We're thinking that this will only come in handy if you leave it at the bottom of a loaded rucksack. Don't run it over with your car or bike.
It's freezeproof (coldproof) to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, just like every other tough-cam. Take it skiing or ice-climbing, but don't leave it in your freezer just to see what happens.
To round it all out, it's also dustproof. All of the camera's moving parts are encased behind glass, plastic, or rubber, so the lens is safe from bits of dust and especially sand.
Does the extra durability matter much in real-life usage? Well, logic kind of suggests that if it can survive 40 feet underwater, it should handle an afternoon at the pool or in the surf better than a camera rated for "only" 33 feet. We're not sure that's the case; added peace of mind is a more realistic way to justify it, and since it doesn't cost anything extra, it certainly can't hurt.
A word of caution: we read dozens, if not hundreds of user reviews from unhappy customers, claiming that their tough-cam sprang a leak or cracked after a short fall. Just about every tough cam earns a few negative reviews with time.
The WG-2 doesn't have any negative Amazon.com user reviews yet, though there are only 5 total reviews. The WG-2 feels very well built, and survived our cursory abuse tests. Just use common sense whenever possible—treat it like an expensive electronic gadget, and always follow the care instructions in the user manual.