Spring Deals Automotive HPC Best Books of the Month New-season heels nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Stream your favorites. Amazon music Unlimited. Learn more. GNO for Samsung S9 Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Personalized Jewelry SpringEvent_Lawn_and_Garden Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon MMM MMM MMM  Echo Fire tablets: Designed for entertainment Kindle Paperwhite AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Shop now TG18SW_gno

on April 5, 2013
Pentax has defined a new niche -- rugged camera + gps. Camera (and video) is state of art, with fast lens (for low light shooting) and convenient design. The GPS, compass, and altitude info are useful for hiking. You can hold the camera lcd horizontal like a compass. Records picture locations and pathway gps data. The camera is tough but not invincible; manual says "don't hold in waterfall" and "don't dive into water with it" (because of high pressure changes?). But you can take underwater pix & movies, leave it out in the rain, or drop it a meter. Takes nice 1080 HD movies though focusing creates sound. Camera is bulkier than a cell phone, equals about 3 iPhones; big for pockets but it will fit. Easy to hold onto w/ ergo shape and grip.

NOTEs AFTER USING: Takes great pix/movies. Worked well while snorkeling. Camera is well-designed but complex, with a learning curve, although there are simple shooting modes. When tired near end of a hot hike, I (a seasoned Pentax photog) had difficulties with some advanced functions. Largely this is because of the many options, allowing it to do many things (such as time lapse movies, very macro pix, 28 different modes!). Battery life is quite long. Shoots fairly fast and there are consecutive-shot modes (which I haven't explored yet). Keep the manual on hand for advanced functions (curious shoppers can download the manual and 2 quick guides from Pentax). Given what it can do, the design is thoughtful and user friendly.

CONCLs after more use. It is a great technical marriage of camera + gps + waterproof, designed for the hand but not the pocket. All works well with the minor exception that the night pix have some noise at large sizes, as labs have noted. The camera is not simple; I still confuse the similar on-off and shutter buttons (similar because of waterproof design?). I'm happy with the camera, but I have a Pentax DSLR that is great for civilization and easy to use. If I were to have only one camera, I would opt for something (Pentax for me) more camera-like and only weatherproof, because modern cameras (at least the well-human-engineered ones) are great for picture taking. The WG-3 GPS is well engineered for its purposes and I look forward to my next hike with it.
77 comments| 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 7, 2013
 As a point of reference, i am not a professional or well-educated photographer -- i'm more of a PHD (point-here-dummy) photographer and take most of my pix on vacation or at big family events, but i do see the difference between good and "ok" photos/video. also, i really value quality photos and easy-to-use video -- if it's easy, you'll use it. if it's high quality, you'll love using it.

After investing several hours reviewing all the underwater camera reviews for 2013, i chose this one without the GPS. what an amazing camera.

we took it on a caribb. cruise where we took photos and videos while snorkeling, while in tropical waterfalls, and while doing "normal" non-water oriented activities. the attached video is taken from the surface on an overcast day. i've also downloaded a few photos. i think i'm limited to one video, so i've included only underwater. the dry-land video quality is excellent for viewing on my computer, but i haven't yet tried it on the 55" HDTV.

i spent the 2 hour flight reading the paper handbook and testing and learning the camera. it was a worthwhile investment of time, as i learned all of the camera's tricks and abilities. it has a lot of nice little features you wouldn't expect and are not mentioned in other reviews/descriptions. i recommend this to everyone.

the good/great:
photo quality, above and below water
video quality and sound, above and below water - amazing, really.
ease of use
durability - no concerns about my teens dropping it
size -- it's a little bigger than non-durable digital cameras, but well worth it. my 14 yr old son likes cameras that he can fit in his pocket. at first he was a little disappointed with the size, because it doesn't really fit in his shorts pocket, but after using the camera, it's now his favorite.
3" screen - works great, even in direct sun and under water. we have another digital cameras with 2" screens, and the 3" is much better.
buttons -- very easy to use underwater. your fingers dont slip and you can easily do whatever you need.
the editing options -- while the pix are still on the camera, you can crop and do other editing and save the edited pix as a new image. you can also get 3 stills from any video you take.

the bad:
nothing, really, but if i was being really picky ........
=> the battery didn't last as long as i would like -- will not last a whole day of heavy "we are on vacation use". so, i strongly recommend a back-up battery whereever you go. per another Amazon review, i bought the Wasabi dual battery package with charger and did not notice any difference between the Wasabi and Pentax batteries. SEE MORE BELOW - IMPORTANT.

=> the biner clip and strap-- i always use a wrist strap, so i dont worry when leaning over a cliff or balcony that i'll drop the camera by accident. i had to poach a wrist strap from another camera because the WG-3's carribiner and strap dont give any protection from dropping the camera. they are cute, but not so functional. i'll probably convert them to a keychain. even though the camera is extremely durable, it's too clunky and heavy to hang from my belt-loop and feel safe.

=> size - see above. a little bigger than ideal, but this is the cost of true, 45-foot underwater abilities.

=> you should have at least one finger-nail. some of the buttons on the round "ok" button area are a bit close together and i find the one at "9 o'clock" difficult to hit just right. i dont have large fingers, but i found no problem when using my fingernail on that one particular button. if i had no fingernails, i would probably repeatedly hit the wrong button by accident. this button isn't important for taking pictures or video, but is for reviewing and editing.

although the camera is waterproof, it is not sink-proof. we got the Chums wrist strap. it works just fine to keep the camera afloat in our test and has a very functional clip so you can easily remove and replace the big floatation device. here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CK10DG/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: an excellent camera. when i showed the grandparents the snorkeling shots and video from the PC, they couldn't believe we got such amazing shots from such a small and seemingly-normal camera. And only $300!

a word on sellers -- at first, and a week before the trip, i bought an orange WG-3 from a seller on Amazon (we figured orange would be easier to find/recognize than black). they said they would deliver within 2-3 days, so we would get the camera in time for our trip. 5 days later, they still hadn't even shipped it. so, i cancelled that camera and bought a black WG-3 direct from Amazon for an add'l $12 and i splurged on the $3.99 for the guaranteed next-day delivery (we are Prime members). it arrived the following day, giving me time to charge the batteries, make sure it worked, etc. Moral of this anecdote: buy from Amazon.

a word on the battery and for when you first get the camera -- the battery arrived 100% dead. i put the battery in and tried using the camera immediately. it didn't work. the camera has a charging cable that attaches to the battery box in the camera, so you can charge the battery without a separate charging device. when you do this, a green light illuminates on the "on/off" button. when i first opened the camera, i tried using the cable to charge the battery via the camera. it didn't work either and the green light didn't illuminate. i thought the camera was a dud. then i used the charging device that came with the Wasabi batteries -- it plugs into a regular wall outlet. that worked. ever since, i've been able to use the charging cable and the green light illuminates, but at first it didn't. dont know what i would have done if i hadn't also bought a wall charger for the batteris.

a word on accessories -- i recommend the following: a wall charger for the battery; an extra battery; a high quality SD card (do some research - following the lead of another reviewer, i like the Patriot 32G - worked great for pix and video); a floatation wrist strap that is strong enough for the weight of this slightly larger camera; screen protectors; a bag (again, check the size; we used a neoprene case that can get wet, so we wore the camera on our hip/neck while we trecked up waterfalls and had no worries); a regular wrist strap, as the floating ones are big and unnecessary on land.

good luck!
review imagereview image
44 comments| 228 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on September 30, 2015
This camera is, to put it politely, a piece of garbage. It arrived and we used it once, on the beach, to take photos of crabs coming up out of the sand. It didn't touch the water, it didn't touch the sand. We washed it off anyway upon arriving at home and then it got put away. Pulled it out a few months later and what's this? The shutter is stuck closed. No amount of anything would get it to open. After multiple phone calls to Pentax/Richo, we were finally told that we needed to ship it to them for repair. Though it was brand-new, used once, and well within the warranty period, we had to pay for the shipping. Quite frustrating.

We received the camera back a few weeks later and again, took it to the beach where it worked fine. Over the course of the next 2 years it was used *at the most* 4 additional times. Each time on the beach - shooting pictures of people in the water, small creatures on the sand, and etc.

My husband and I are in our mid-40's. We take great care with our products to the point that the laptops multiple family members are using are 2 or 3 generations of our used laptops. My sister is using my laptop from 2 generations ago. My dad is using my husband's laptop - it's well over 5 years old and running flawlessly. The point being - we aren't young party animals throwing the camera across the beach, dropping it to the bottom of the ocean from a yacht, or hurling it out of a fast moving vehicle.

So what a shock to take it to the beach recently, actually go in the water with it this time, and emerge a short time later to a fried camera. Apparently water got in past some seal and poof - the entire thing is shorted out. We called Pentax/Richo and found out several things...

1. The seals need to be replaced yearly. Even though the camera was stored in a dresser drawer, inside the house, and rarely used, apparently one is supposed to find a camera shop to replace all seals on a yearly basis.

2. So sad, too bad. They don't stand behind their product, they don't care if it's only been used once or never at all. They don't care if it's kept in a glass case and only admired and never touched or boot kicked across an airport tarmac and run over by a jumbo jet. They simply don't care. My husband sarcastically commented that Pentax/Richo is obviously in the habit of selling junk cameras and the rep didn't disagree. Incredible.

Let's do the math. $300 for the camera. Used 6 times for a total of approx. 180 photos. Only 60 or so of the photos were keepers. That makes each photo cost an average of $5. FIVE DOLLARS per photo. Completely ridiculous. We will never again purchase a Pentax/Richo camera. No way. They do not stand behind their product and when you are finally able to reach someone, the utter lack of anything even remotely resembling concern or help is appalling.

However, this story has a happy ending. I went to Amazon help chat to complain that this camera was either a lemon or just defective and to let Amazon know that I was filing an official complaint against Pentax/Richo. To my utter shock, they made this right by issuing me a 50% refund to be used on a future purchase. Amazon gets 5 massive stars for their willingness to assist. I never dreamt they would do anything - my contacting them was born out of frustration from being poorly treated by Pentax/Richo and the angst over having spent hundreds of dollars for a camera that has been used maybe 1.5 - 2 total hours.

In closing - no more Pentax/Richo products for us but yay to Amazon for coming through to make this right.
11 comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 24, 2013
I purchased the Pentax Optio WG-3 GPS (Purple) here at Amazon and this is a first impression review.

1) Decision: Prior to purchase I had to decide between the new Olympus TG-2 (tough camera) and this new Pentax model. The specs are for the most part are comparable (we'll let the hard-core techies split hairs in their reviews), but i was leaning toward the Olympus because it had nice styling and I have had positive experiences with other Olympus camera models. But I decided on the Pentax because I liked that they added the LED ring of lights to assist the microscope mode. Also, the camera comes with a snap on MACRO mount for use in the microscope mode.

2) Look and Feel: The camera is well-built feels heavy (but in a solid kind of way). The body is a hard plastic that almost feels like a rubber texture. The LED display is a 16x9 style that is vibrant when reviewing photos and video. You have to add your own SD card. I had a 2GB SanDisk Extreme III available and inserted in the battery compartment, then formatted using the menu system (Note: It formatted blazingly fast..in less than a second!). I decided not to attach the strap with carabiner that came in the box. Since I have a travel pouch for the camera, I preferred to attached a wrist strap I had lying around instead. The unit comes with a thick manual and a USB cable and associated plug-in charger. What is not included with the camera is a Micro/Mini HDMI cable for A/V-out.

3) Start-up and Menu: When you first start-up, the camera has you perform the standard date, time, time-zone type of set-up. Then you are ready to go (Note: I charged the battery for about an hour prior to using the camera, but I think it was pretty-much factory shipped fully charged. The menu system seems like all the other digital cameras on the market - a little awkward; but keep in mind this is my first day with the camera and with experience I'll adapt to the particulars of this camera's menu system.

4) Photos: I took a walk with the camera just before sunset where there were a lot of light contrasts; then just after the sun went down, I photographed in twilight. First look at the photos with the fast F2.0 lens were impressive! Colors really popped in some flowers even in twilight. Nice contrast between colors in cityscape murals. Dialed up to 16-megapixels and zoomed 4x to try to see an architectural rendering on a sign I could barely make out in a building from the road. After taking the picture I was able to zoom in and not only see the architectural rendering but even read words on this sign that I couldn't see from the ground.

When I got home I tried the microscope mode which was an important reason why I purchased the camera in the first place. I attached the marco stand and took a photo of a nickel. The camera took a second to focus and the picture came out crisp. The LED lights illuminated the coin and due to the reflection, the edges around the coin were somewhat overexposed. I will have to experiment more, but the microscope mode worked as advertised seeing all sorts of micro-scratches on the coin face.

There are so many features I have not tried yet like the GPS; and I'll update my review as time goes on. Overall, the pictures were really good. The reason I'm giving it 5-stars at this point, is because the features that I purchased the camera for worked as advertised. And again the photo quality is to my satisfaction. I also do a lot of outdoor work where I need a camera to document progress for myself and customers. I don't want to have to worry about dust, rain and dirty hands. Note there is a time-elapsed feature that I have yet to try.

I don't plan to use this camera for underwater activities, but like I said earlier, there will be testers and evaluation websites that will put this new camera through all sorts of tests in the weeks ahead. But if you're ready now, I say go for it. Unless you get one DOA, you probably won't be disappointed.

Note: There is another customer review here on Amazon of this camera on 4/1/2013 that gave it 2-stars. The person said they had the camera boxed for return within 5-minutes due to poor picture quality. I would not take this review too seriously. This person obviously took no time to ensure they had proper settings or conditions. This is Pentax's 15th generation of tough camera evolution and they have a good reputation for hardware quality. Keep all this in mind when making your decision to buy or not.
11 comment| 93 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 15, 2014
I bought this camera because I lost my old pocket camera and this one was on sale. It comes with more features than I expected which is nice. It takes a nice crisp photo but you do need to read the book, it's not just a point and shoot camera. This is a good upgrade for someone who wants to move up from the simple camera but not want to invest in a DSLR. The only drawback is that the internal memory is limited to 30 photos or a short video so if you want to take more you will have to buy a flash card, not included.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 28, 2013
I have owned several Canon cameras over the years, going back to the days before digital photography. I was always pleased with the quality of their equipment and the photographs they produced. When I needed a camera to use while snorkeling, I first bought a Sony TX-10, which takes a nice picture, but is not as durable as I had hoped it would be. My current choices came down to the newest models by Olympus and Pentax. I am very pleased with this Pentax Optio WG-3. Pentax has managed to take something as delicate and fragile as a digital camera and make it truly tough.

The things I most like about this camera so far are:
-- it appears to be very durable.
-- it has a nicely balanced feel.
-- the photos look great!
-- there are lots of different shooting modes, including time lapse, and macro.
-- it is plenty waterproof for snorkeling and kayaking.

The only negative I have seen so far is, like most digital cameras, the battery life isn't great. But a couple of spare batteries solves that issue.

I have not yet tested the underwater video mode, which is the main reason I purchased this camera. But based on the initial results from still shots and regular video, this camera is a winner.

That's why I am now a Pentax fan.
33 comments| 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 6, 2014
I'm an avid amateur photographer with lots of expensive digital photo gear. I've been wanting a better solution for paddling trips and hikes than my cheap Kodak C123 waterproof point-and-click. I tried a few dry bags for my Nikon cameras, but none gave me easy access to the controls I desired. So I looked around for a better waterproof solution and I decided on this Pentax after comparing offerings and reading other product reviews here. After 6 months of use, I still love this little camera.

1) The ergonomics are excellent: All of the typical point-and-shoot buttons are where you expect (shutter, zoom, playback, etc.), the screen is large and fairly bright, the rubber grip surfaces make this thing hard to fumble, and the rugged shock-resistant case make it no problem if you do. Only the power button is in a bad place, right next to the shutter release. More than once I turned off the camera by mistake instead of getting that great shot.

2) Zoom and focus: The (limited) optical zoom is a great feature, not found in most underwater cameras in this class. Zoom speed is respectable and I like that I can disable digital zoom and leave optical zoom enabled. With responsive 9-point AF, Spot AF, Auto tracking AF and pan focusing, it rivals the AF abilities of an entry level Nikon or Canon DLSR.

3) Flash: The main flash is bright and nicely diffused. The supplemental high intensity LED lights help capture those interior candid shots and reduce a lot of grain. They also serve to identify where in the frame faces are detected for those all important "selfies." This seemed like a gimmick when I read it but I've used the feature quite a lot at parties to get myself in the pic.

4) Camera modes: This camera has a lot of modes. I would encourage any new user to take a few hours, read through the manual with camera in hand and try some of them. They include a 3 panel landscape panorama stitching mode that works almost as well as Photoshop, and a 2 panel portrait stitching mode that results in a nice high res landscape frame. Other features like white balance adjust, and fun filters like sepia (2 hughes) make this a very practical day-to-day walking around camera.

5) GPS: works well and geotags the images' EXIF data just as expected. The GPS tracking feature is fun for hikes or other trips and creates a file that can be uploaded to your favorite trip tracking site. (I use everytrail.com)

Note: With the GPS receiver turned on, the batteries will drain over time even with the camera off. This is the only place where a dedicated button (gps on/off) would have been very useful instead of digging 3 levels down the menu tree to do it.

6) Battery life: is pretty good considering the 16Mpx sensor, optical zoom and large LCD display. I also bought the Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Pentax D-LI92 and Pentax Optio I-10, RZ10, RZ18, WG-1, WG-1 GPS, WG-2, WG-2 GPS, WG-3, WG-3 GPS, WG-10, X70 here and it's saved my bacon a few times to have spare batteries handy.

7) I don't find the front LCD for altitude very helpful, and not very accurate, but no GPS device I own gives accurate altitude readings around here so I can't say that's the camera's fault. It can also show time with the built-in alarm but I haven't used that feature.

8) Compass: The electronic compass, on the other hand, is very useful and seems to be more accurate than my android phones or other GPS receivers I have. I've used it a couple of times to position antennae and get a quick bearing on a trail.

9) Wireless charging: I was very excited when first opened the box to see the QI label on the case. It was an unadvertised feature that I use all the time to keep the camera charged on a QI compatible wireless charging pad. This is a great convenience, and since you have to open the waterproof door to get to the USB port to internally charge the battery, that saves on the life of the seal somewhat too.

10) I find it hard to find anything to complain about with this camera. So I'll just mention that in full sunlight the LCD is a bit hard to see especially with the sun behind you (where you want it most shots) so I may put on a Delkin Devices DU3.0-M BLK Universal Pop-Up Shade for 3.0-Inch LCDs (Black) to cut glare. So, besides my nits about the power button placement, the menu navigation to turn the GPS on/off and the less than brilliant (see what I did there!) LCD display, this is a perfect camera for it's intended function and then some. I highly recommend it!
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on May 23, 2013
I have had great point and shoot cameras,but this one is by far the best choice made.
Just the Macro is worth th money,it gives you crisp,sharp images like the SLR Rebel that I have. Outstanding photos at night even in darkest light. Very user friendly not mention the way its designed…wow you can hold it any which way without the fear of it slipping from your hands ( like 2 of mine have)
I love the fun colors offered,mine is Orange.
Did I mention WATER PROOF ,omg the pros just make this a perfect choice.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 11, 2013
This review is solely on the GPS feature of the Pentax WG-3 GPS camera. Most GPS cameras and smart phones calculate lat/long location every second. The Pentax WG-3 seems to only calculate its location once every 60 seconds, possibly to reserve battery life. If you are capturing multiple photos a minute and GPS accuracy is important then this camera will NOT work. If you capture multiple photos a minute then each photo will have the same lat/long. I've included a photo link below showing the results of my personal testing of the GPS. You can clearly view grouping of images to one location instead of its true location.

Personal Testing Results: [...]
11 comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 4, 2014
I bought this camera on December 2nd. I had it in and out of water for over a month, at home, testing it's ability to do it's job. No problems. I even rated it 5 stars. Then I took it on the road.

January 8th, day 1, I'm on vacation, I took the camera with me in to the ocean. For about 2 hours it was used to take almost 200 pictures and about 20 minutes of video. Worked great, no problems. That evening I washed it under tap water to remove any sand/salt residue and then opened it up. I found a tiny amount of sand had gotten past the seal but no water. I blew out the sand and made sure it was sealing correctly. As the camera had many bad reviews before I was extra careful to make sure I did everything right.

January 9th, day 2, I'm back in the ocean. Not 5 minutes after I turn it on it turns itself off. It refuses to power back up. I give up and spend the rest of my time at the beach not using it. That afternoon I get back to my hotel and open it up, it's flooded with sea water. The seal completely failed.

This camera is junk. DO NOT BUY. I wish there was a 0-star option because this product just doesn't do what it's supposed to do.

Original review below, published on January 4th 2014, prior to vacation:

I was a little hesitant to purchase this camera because some of the other reviews suggested that it's build quality was poor and there were many problems with leaking. I'm happy to report that I've had no such problems after a month of testing.

To the people who had leaking issues, did you actually lock both locks on the battery door? It's not tight until you do.

Did you let your kids play with the camera? The battery door isn't super strong, if you open it and then keep pushing you're going to bend the hinge, then it won't seal properly next time you close it.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse