Pentax WG-3 GPS Supports Inductive Charging

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Pentax took advantage of the Tokyo CP+ photo show to announce three new rugged cameras, all of which share the unique look of the last year’s WG-2 GPS. The top-end WG-3 GPS, priced at $349.95, features a newly designed 4x zoom lens. The 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) optic can open up to f/2 on the wide end, narrowing to f/4.9 when zoomed all the way in. This light-gathering capability is only matched by the two most recent top-end tough cameras from Olympus, the TG-1 iHS and its successor, the TG-2 iHS.

The WG-3 GPS is rated for use in water as deep as 45 feet, can survive a 6.6-foot drop, works in temperatures as low as 14°F, and can handle 220 foot pounds of force. All access doors include a double locking mechanism, so it is unlikely that you will accidentally open them when under water. The GPS function automatically records location data to your photos. In addition to the 3-inch 460k-dot rear LCD, there is a front monochrome LCD that can display the current time, altitude, barometric pressure, or depth.

Its design retains a ring of macro LED lights around the lens. It uses a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor for image capture with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 6400 and incorporates a sensor-shift system for image stabilization. Video is recorded in H.264 format at up to 1080p30 quality. The frame rate can be increased when the resolution is dropped to 720p, which will make slow-motion playback possible.

The WG-3 GPS supports inductive charging using the Qi standard. To recharge the battery, you simply place the camera on a Qi charging mat. The camera will be available in March in purple or green finishes.

Pentax is also releasing the WG-3 without a GPS, front LCD, and inductive charging support in March. It will sell for $50 less, $299.95, and be available in black or orange.

For shooters who need a rugged camera, but can’t spend $300 or more on one, Pentax is releasing the WG-10. Priced at $179.95, it looks a lot like the WG-3, but its specs aren’t as ambitious. The design is based largely on the older WG-1 camera. It does have a slightly longer 5x (28-140mm) zoom lens, but the maximum aperture isn’t as fast; at f/3.5 it lets in much less light than the f/2 lens on the WG-3.

The WG-10 uses a 14-megapixel CCD image sensor, and as such can only capture 720p30 video. It does feature LED lights around the lens for macro shooting, but its image stabilization system is purely digital—there’s no optical or sensor shift stabilization of which to speak. It can be used in up to 33 feet of water, survive drops from 4.9 feet, shoot in temperatures as low as 14°F, and be withstand 220 foot pounds of force. The camera features a red color scheme and will ship in mid-April.

The company also has two future products on display at CP+. An updated strobe for its SLR system, the AF360FGZ II is scheduled for a summer release. It was first shown at CES and offers several improvements over the current AF360FGZ, including swivel capability and weather sealing.

The second is the Mount Cap Lens for the compact Q and Q10 cameras. The toy pancake lens barely protrudes from the body and produces images similar to that of a toy camera. It will go on sale this summer.

By Jim Fisher, PCMag


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