A review by Franz Scheurer

The Pentax WG-III GPS rugged pocket camera is available in various colour combinations, e.g. purple, orange, black, red and the one I tested: green. Let me say up front that I liked this camera so much I bought one.

It’s small (fits into your pocket, backpack, bag, etc. and you hardly notice it. You don’t need a pouch or a camera case as this has to be the most rugged camera on the market at present that is not in a dedicated housing, like the GoPros. It’s waterproof (to 45 feet), it’s crushproof (I can attest to that as I stepped on it by mistake) and of course it’s dustproof as well.

The camera is equipped with a 16 megapixel, backlit CMOS sensor and a new-generation imagine engine and that’s just as well as the model before this one had issues with resolution. The top sensitivity is ISO 6400 and at that it is fairly noisy, but a good noise reduction program like NIK’s Define will fix that mostly.

One of the things I found impossible with the earlier model was that there was no ‘anti shake’ technology and having such small buttons it was easy to move the camera downwards when you pressed the shutter release. This has now been fixed with a ‘sensor shift image stabilisation) and it makes a world of difference.

The camera does full 1080p30 HD video recording with h.264 compression, so that means widescreen, 1920×1080 and all that at 30 frames p/sec. An inbuilt micro-HDMI terminal in the camera lets you output video and sound simultaneously to external devices. Nice in theory but not much use when you’re filming the Attack of the Killer Yabby in 3 feet of water.

The camera is equipped with a 4x Optical Zoom (25-100mm in a 35mm camera) and the largest aperture is f2, which is really quite fast for this type of camera. The camera’s autofocus system works well and the ‘press and hold’ exposure memory works well, too. This model is also equipped with two more focus modes, ‘macro’ and ‘1cm macro’. It’s really easy to take good close up shots with the ‘macro’ mode and for the users who have the patience to do a ‘real’ close-up the camera is equipped with six LED macro lights, arranged in a circle around the lens, which lets you illuminate the subject evenly in the ‘1cm macro’ mode. A bright, anti-reflection, 3” high resolution (460,000 dots) offers a good view and re-view.

The results speak for themselves. This is a really impressive little ‘throw it in’ type of camera that doesn’t care if the going gets tough; this one keeps on going.

Price? Well with all those features you’d expect this to be quite expensive but surprise, surprise, this camera is VERY affordable.
I did (and would again) buy this camera from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio in New York where you’ll pay an astonishingly low $ 296.95 and they ship to Australia (you don’t pay any duties or customs as Australia has an agreement with the US for parcels up to $2000) and it will be yours in less than a week.

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