16MP | 25-100mm (4X) Zoom | $298/£265/€307
Prices above are for the WG-3 GPS camera. The non-GPS model is priced at $248/£252/€266.

This is the fifth in a series of short underwater/rugged camera reviews on DPReview. We're testing the cameras concurrently, and once all six cameras have been reviewed, we'll publish a roundup of the class, comparing them directly.

Pentax has a long history of making rugged cameras. Its WG-3 series - which comes in standard and GPS flavors - is Pentax's fifteenth generation waterproof model. The WG-3 may have a unusual, almost playful design, but there's no doubt that it's as rugged as anything else on the market.

The WG-3 and WG-3 GPS are almost identical cameras, with three major differences. As you might have guessed, one has a GPS and the other doesn't, but the more expensive of the two also supports wireless battery charging. The GPS and non-GPS models both come in their own color schemes - purple or green for the GPS model, and orange or black for the standard WG-3. In this review we're looking at the WG-3 GPS, but obviously, comments on everything bar GPS and wireless charging refer equally to both models. Except where explicitly noted, we'll refer to both cameras as 'WG-3' throughout this review.

Specification Highlights

  • 16.0 effective megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor
  • F2.0-4.9, 25-100mm equivalent zoom lens (4X)
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Waterproof to 14m, shockproof from 2m, crushproof to 100 kg, freezeproof to -10C
  • 3-inch, widescreen LCD with 460,000 dots
  • Built-in GPS with compass, manometer, and tracking (GPS model only)
  • Backlit clock and altitude/pressure indicator on front of camera (GPS model only)
  • LED macro ring light
  • 1080/30p movie mode with stereo sound
  • Wireless battery charging (GPS model only)

The WG-3 GPS doesn't have quite as many headline features as some of its rugged peers - such as maps, a database of landmarks, or 60p video recording, but it's no slouch, either.

If this lens looks familiar, it should. This F2.0-4.9, 25-100mm equivalent lens is the same one that you'll find on the Olympus TG-2. The F2.0 maximum aperture at wide-angle is a full stop 'faster' than what you'll find on other rugged cameras (save for the TG-2).

At the telephoto end of the lens, the maximum aperture rises to a more conventional F4.9.

Here's something you don't see every day: a backlit LCD on the front of the camera, which displays the current time and your choice of altitude or barometric pressure. This screen is visible when the camera is on or off. When the camera is powered down, you can press the shutter release to turn on the backlight.

If the 25mm starting point on the WG-3's lens isn't wide enough for you, then you can attach the optional DW-5 wide conversion lens. This 0.8x converter brings the wide end of the lens down to just 20mm.

If you're intrigued by what you've read above, head on to the next page to learn more about the WG-3's features, and how it performed in our tests.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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