The Pentax Optio WG-1 proudly bears the legend “adventureproof” on its front panel, and like its pricier rivals the Panasonic FT3 and Olympus TG-810 it’s heavily toughened against the sort of events/conditions you might come across on the average “extreme sports holiday”: it’s shockproof against 1.5m drops, waterproof to 10m and works in -10 degree C temperatures.
Despite that, it doesn’t give the impression of being quite as tough as the FT3 and TG-810. While they’re clad in metal armour, the WG-1 is resolutely plasticky. While this makes it look more toy-like than its rivals – in fact its design screams “G-Shock watch ripoff” – it does make it lighter, and you probably wouldn’t mind dropping it quite so much.
While the FT3 and TG-810 tote GPS, our WG-1 review sample comes without geotagging. There is a GPS-equipped version available (helpfully called the WG-1 GPS) but, at £300, it then becomes more expensive than the Olympus TG-810 and the same price as the Panasonic FT3 – both of which are better cameras when it comes to performance and design.
The WG-1’s image quality is fairly good without being outstanding: it’s in line with most point-and-shoot cameras and we can’t really find anything in particular to criticise. And the 720p HD video isn’t particularly hot, but it’ll do the job when you want to capture a bit of whitewater rafting or whatever. Annoying there’s no shortcut button to instantly start filming, and you have to delve into the menus every time you want to record a clip. Imagine doing that while navigating some rapids – it’s a poor design decision. This aside, the WG-1’s buttons are well laid out.
The WG-1 is difficult to recommend when weighed up against its rivals. It’s only slightly cheaper than the FT3 and TG-810, and comes with less on the feature front. If you’re on the lookout for a sturdy snapper, we’d spend the few extra quid and get a toughie with more bells and whistles.
Pentax Optio WG-1
A decent rugged camera, but not up to the standards of its Panasonic and Olympus rivals