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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
Like all tough-cams, the WG-2 is designed for automatic shooting—best to leave the work up to the camera while you're busy swimming or hiking. Two auto modes are available:
Auto Picture is a typical automatic mode. Picture size, quality, focus area, and ISO can all be adjusted, but the camera takes care of everything else.
Green Mode is completely automated. Every setting is fixed and regulated by the camera, so it's completely hands-off—probably too hands-off for most users. The upside is that it has a dedicated button on the rear (the green button, go figure). So if you need to quickly switch to auto mode, this might come in handy.
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.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
A healthy selection of scene modes and picture effects are available, but without some of the extras we've come to expect in compacts, like sweep panorama or in-camera HDR.
The Pentax menu system is ugly and often puzzling—but occasionally brilliant, too. The clunky type-face could use an update, menu options should be organized more logically, and there should be a better way to navigate among menu pages.
But we love the green button. As we touched on above, it can be assigned to bring up a customizable Fn menu. It gave us, in effect, four virtual hot-keys on top of the five physical hot-keys. It's easy to set up, and easy to switch back to Green Mode if need be. If you spend most of your time shooting in program mode like we do, it can be a huge boon to your shooting experience.
Kudos to Pentax for actually including the full 248-page printed manual with the camera. It's helpful, well-illustrated, and has an index. Most cameras only come with an abbreviated paper guide and a CD with a PDF version of the full thing.