Pentax has renewed their waterproof digital compact line at the occasion of the opening ceremonies of the Japanese photo salon CP+ with a trio of cameras. The first two being The WG-3 and WG-3 GPS waterproof to 14m (46 ft.+/-) and equipped with a backlit CMOS sensor. The third is a more affordable variant in the WG-10. In addition Pentax has announced the first rechargeable camera without connection, but rather by induction.
Pentax WG-3 GPS : Resistance
The WG-3 GPS has reached new levels of underwater resistance for a compact digital as it stays waterproof down to 14m (46 ft.). Tough out of the water also, it can resist shocks of up to 2m (6.5 ft.) or pressure of up to 100 kg (220 lb.). As with all all weather outdoor cameras it can also operate in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F).
CMOS BSI sensor and a 25-100mm zoom lens
On the photo side the WG-3 GPS is equipped with a backlit 16 megapixel sensor that allows video in full HD. Video is encoded in H.264 and the camera is equipped with an HDMI outlet. Our advice to underwater camera buyers would be to buy a camera equipped with a backlit CMOS sensor. These are the sensors the best equipped to deal with the common low light situations found underwater.
While the WG-3 is equipped with a modest 4x zoom lens, its wide-angle of 25 mm is generous for outdoor scenery and up to 100mm telephoto which is ideal for portraits. It also brags a generous f 2 wide open while in wide angle mode. The success of the TG-1 replaced this year by the TG-2, which offers a very fast lens, is being copied already. The Pentax WG-3 can focus down to 1 cm (1/3 “+/-) in macro mode and around the lens we find 6 LED lights to help lessen the shadow areas on close shots. The stabilization is left to the sensor with a mechanical image stabilizer.
Sized for adventure and travel, outdoor activities are the WG-3s favorite playground. It’s equipped with a GPS sensor in its WG-3 GPS version. This gives it the extra benefit of being an electronic compass. It’s also equipped with a barometer that displays its information on the secondary screen on the front of the camera. It’s “Qi” induction rechargeable.
This is really a new feature, the first camera that can be set on a base without any wires and be recharged by induced current. Pentax hasn’t given any more details on this for the moment but we think they will be soon forthcoming. We know that the WG-3 is compatible with induction recharge systems pre- existing with the QI norm, which tends to be adopted by the electronics industry for recharging batteries without contact with other devices.
Price and availability of the Pentax WG-3 and WG-3 GPS
The waterproof compact WG-3 will be available in March for a suggested retail of 349€ VAT included. It will be accompanied as is usually the case for Pentax compacts with a version without GPS, named the WG-3 (full stop). It will be sold for 50€ less at 299.€.
This is not all…This year Pentax will be launching a waterproof compact that’s even more reasonably priced than the WG-3 which is firmly placed in a top of the line position. This will be the Pentax WG-10, which offers a very decent level of resistance down to 10m (32ft 10”)and will resist shocks from 1.5 meters high (4ft 11”), and resist to pressure of up to 100kg (220lb 7.4oz). It has a more conventional CCD 14 megapixel sensor that offers HD video, but limited to 720p. It’s 5x optic zoom lens will offer the equivalent of a 28-140mm. It also will be equipped with 5 LED fill lights for macro subjects. It’s macro has the same 1 cm capacity of it’s upper class brothers. Easier on your wallet it will be priced at 199,€ and will also be available in March 2013.