Rugged Pentax WG-2 cameras make GPS optional

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posted Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 7:16 PM EDT

Pentax's WG-2 and WG-2 GPS digital cameras. Photos provided by Pentax Ricoh Imaging Americas Corp. Click to read our Pentax WG-2 GPS preview!Rounding out its announcements for the day, Pentax has revealed two closely-related cameras that update follow in the footsteps of last year's WG-1 series models.

The Pentax WG-2 and WG-2 GPS, like their predecessors, differ only in whether they include a GPS receiver for location awareness, and how they're labeled externally. Both cameras are otherwise pretty-much identical, right down to their bodies, which includes a hump where the GPS antenna would be even in the non-GPS model.

Compared to last year's WG-1 series, the Pentax WG-2 and WG-2 GPS have a subtly restyled body that's a little bigger and heavier, but boasts even better waterproofing. Resolution is bumped just slightly from 14 to 16 megapixels, and both new models use a backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, rather than a standard CCD. Full HD movie capture is a new feature, and there's also a larger, higher-res LCD panel, as well as improved GPS performance in the location-aware model. Burst shooting performance at full-res is almost 50% greater, albeit still rather sedate at one frame per second. Available memory falls slightly to 88.2MB, and playback battery life falls by 14%, likely due to the larger LCD panel requiring more power. (Record-mode battery life is unchanged.)

Both the Pentax WG-2 and WG-2 GPS ship in the US market from March 2012. Pricing is set at around US$350 for the non-GPS version, which is covered in our Pentax WG-2 preview, and will be available in black or vermillion red. The GPS version, meanwhile, will be offered in shiny orange or gloss white, ships at a price of US$400 approx., and is covered in our Pentax WG-2 GPS preview.

An optional SportMount Chest Harness will be offered for either camera, allowing hands-free Full HD movie capture, and taking the WG-2 series into GoPro territory. The harness will cost $50.

Press Release

Let The Adventure Continue: Pentax Unveils Optio WG-2 And Optio WG-2 Gps

13th Generation PENTAX Adventure Cameras Now Waterproof to 40 Feet, New Backlit 16 MP Sensor, Shoots 1080p Video and Feature Six LED Lights, and Optional SportMount Chest Harness

DENVER, CO. (February 7, 2012)…PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION just  pushed the PENTAX WG adventure camera series to the edge for the 13th time with the introduction of the PENTAX Optio WG-2 and PENTAX Optio WG-2 GPS digital compact cameras.   These rugged, waterproof, dustproof and shock-resistant models feature more durability than ever before as well as improved image quality in high-sensitivity shooting and Full 1080p HD movie recording capability.

The Optio WG camera family is ready for adventure in any outdoor setting. Foremost in the latest models’ feature set is a new back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor and powerful imaging engine that perform superbly in high-sensitivity settings such as night shooting or in poorly illuminated indoor settings.  The WG-2 models deliver clear, sharp images with less noise than previous models.

Other major improvements in the latest models include:

  • High-resolution Full HD 1080p movie recording (1920 x 1080 pixels) at 30 FPS with high quality h.264 compression.

  • Waterproof to depths of 40 feet.

  • Digital Microscope mode with one additional macro LED (total of six lights) for excellent macro lighting of subjects as close as 1 cm.

  • A newly designed GPS module that delivers a shorter time lag before GPS start-up and longer battery life during GPS activation. 

  • A new optional SportMount Chest Harness that straps-on the WG-2 for hands-free HD movie capture of every exciting moment of adventure on land, sea or in the air. 

Other outstanding WG-2 features include:

  • Shockproof design protects camera drop up to 5 feet.

  • Crushproof construction withstands weights up to 220 LBF (pound-force).

  • Coldproof to sub-freezing temps of minus 10 degrees C (14 degrees F).

  • Dustproof design protects the camera from dry, dusty environments.

  • Wide angle 5X internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent).

  • Large 3 inch LCD features HVGA resolution (460,000 dots) and anti-reflective coating on its protective cover.

  • Hardened cover with SP coating protects internal lens elements.

  • An HDMI port (Micro, Type-D) plays back beautiful, high definition images and video on HDTVs.

  • Pixel Track, Digital, and Movie Shake Reduction ensure sharp, blur-free images and video.

  • Fast Face Detection technology including Smile Capture and Blink Detection to capture perfect portraits.

  • A Handheld Night Snap mode produces a single blur-free, composite image from four images of the same scene.

  • An autofocus assist lamp helps to quickly and accurately focus.

  • Extended dynamic range helps bring out extra highlight and shadow detail.

  • PENTAX infrared remote control compatibility for remote shooting.

  • GPS and non-GPS versions are available in several new stylish color options.

Priced at $349.95 USD, Optio WG-2 will be available in a choice of Black or Vermillion Red, while the Optio WG-2 GPS will be priced at $399.95 USD in a choice of Shiny Orange or Gloss White. The new SportMount Chest Harness will be priced at $49.95 USD and should be available late spring or early summer 2012.  Optio WG-2 cameras can be pre-ordered on www.pentaxwebstore.com to ship by March 2012.  More information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news  and product images are available here: http://www.pentaximaging.com/press/pressfiles.html

World-renowned for pushing camera durability, size, color, and design to the limit, PENTAX is a leader in the production of adventure ready digital cameras, weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

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CONSUMER CONTACT:

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PENTAX OPTIO WG-2 and OPTIO WG-2 GPS FACT SHEET

Newly incorporated back-illuminated CMOS image sensor for high-quality images
The Optio WG-2 and Optio WG-2 GPS are equipped with a new back-illuminated CMOS image sensor that offers lower noise even when camera is set to higher sensitivities. With sensitivity as high as ISO 6400 and 16.0 effective megapixels, this image sensor delivers super high-resolution images.  A new imaging engine also applies the latest super-resolution technology to image processing operations to further ensure sharp, clear, high-resolution images. These models also feature a new Handheld Night Snap mode, which captures four images of the same scene, then automatically produces a single blur-free, composite image.

Full 1080p HD movie recording for extended recording of high-quality movies
The Optio WG-2 and Optio WG-2 GPS now offer Full 1080p HD movie recording function in h.264 recording format for high-quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The cameras feature a high-speed camera function* for slow-motion playback of captured movie clips and an interval movie function to simplify advanced movie-recording techniques. A micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) on the camera body allows output of Full HD movie clips and sound to external devices.
* When this function is selected, the recorded size is fixed at VGA (640 x 480 pixels).

Improved, Advanced GPS function to add a new dimension to digital photography (available with the Optio WG-2 GPS only)*
PENTAX improved the GPS function in the latest Optio adventure models in a number of ways:

  1. An improved GPS module that shortens the time lag before the start of GPS operation which  greatly extends the operating life.

  2. The module also allows users to record position data when shooting still images and take advantage of various GPS-compatible applications and services provided by the included software* and such Web sites as Google Maps™. 

  3. The module corrects the built-in clock automatically to match local time of a particular shooting location.

  4. The module automatically creates log data and stores it as a KML-format file onto an SD memory card.  This log feature helps users keep accurate track of the movement during outdoor shooting, and display it later on the computer using various online services such as Google Earth™.

  5. Overall improvements to speed, accuracy, and battery life when GPS receiver is active.

* This function is available with the Windows version only.

Heavy-duty construction for underwater shooting up to 40 feet for up to two continuous hours
PENTAX upgraded the Optio WG-2 and Optio WG-2 GPS’s underwater performance in depths up to 40 feet (from 30 feet)  for up to two hours of continuous operation (equivalent to IPX8 or JIS Class 8 waterproof performance). The new cameras also are designed to be highly shockproof, * dustproof,** coldproof,  ***, and crushproof. ****   Together, these features make the Optio WG-2 and Optio WG-2 GPS dependable, heavy-duty imaging partners in harsh, demanding shooting conditions.
* Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards (from a height of 1.5 meters, onto a surface of 5cm-thick plywood), conforming to the Method 516.5-Shock of the MIL-Standard 810F, to show the stable operations.
** Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards, equivalent to IPX6 or JIS Class 6.
*** Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards, with which camera is proven to withstand temperatures as low as -10°C to show the stable operations.
**** Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards, by which camera is put on with weights up to 100 kgf or kilogram-force (220 LbF or Pound Force) to show the stable operations.

Digital Microscope mode with six LED Macro Lights for outstanding macro photography
PENTAX added an additional LED light to the new WG-2 models.  By positioning six LED Macro Lights (compared with five) around the circumference of the lens barrel for macro shooting, the new models offer brighter, more uniform illumination on the subject when the Digital Microscope mode is selected.*   With the Macro Lights, users may clearly see a magnified view of the microscopic world often unnoticeable with the naked eye on the camera’s LCD monitor and effortlessly capture eye-catching images.  The function increases the illumination level of the LED Macro Lights at the moment of shutter release.  The function is also upgraded to allow for the use of a higher shutter speed to minimize camera shake and subject movement.   The Macro Lights can provide other user-friendly non-macro features, such as a Self-Portrait Assist mode which illuminates the macro lights when the camera detects a face within the frame; and a new LED lighting mode that illuminates the Macro Lights using them as a makeshift flashlight in the dark. 
* When the Digital Microscope mode is selected, the recorded size is fixed at 2.0 megapixels (at 16:9 proportions).

Extra-large, high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD monitor
Each new Optio WG-2 and Optio Wg-2 GPS features an extra-large, high-resolution 3.0 inch LCD monitor with wide 16:9 aspect ratio and approximately 460,000 dots of resolution.  An Anti-Reflection (AR) coating minimizes annoying glare and reflections to assure a sharp, clear on-screen images even under harsh sunlight, while its wide-view design offers a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high angle shooting.

5X optical zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle coverage
The new Optio WG2 and Optio WG-2 GPS feature a high-performance 5X optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 5mm to 25mm (equivalent to approx. 28mm wide angle to 140mm telephoto in the 35mm format). This versatile zoom lens captures beautiful images of a wide range of subjects and scenes from spectacular landscapes to family/group shots in a confined space. With the camera’s Intelligent Zoom function, users may further extend the zoom range to approximately 36 times to cover the focal length of an approximately 1008mm super-telephoto lens (in the 35mm format) to capture extra-high-magnification images without compromising image quality.

Triple Shake Reduction (SR) protection for stabilized, sharp, blur-free images

  1. Pixel Track SR mechanism
    When recording still images, this shake-reduction mechanism effectively compensates for camera shake by digitally processing affected images.

  2. Digital SR mode
    When the cameras detect low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting, sensitivity automatically rises  to as high as ISO 6400 making it possible to use a higher shutter speed to effectively minimize the adverse effects of camera shake and subject motion under poor lighting conditions.

  3. Movie SR mode*
    During movie recording, this digital shake-reduction mode effectively compensates for camera shake to produce beautiful, blur-free movie clips.

* When the Movie SR mode is selected, the angle of view becomes narrower than normal shooting.

Additional Features

  • Carabiner strap included for hooking the camera to a backpack or other outdoor gear

  • Two remote-control receptors for remote control (optional accessory) signal either from front or back of the camera

  • A Macro Stand standard accessory for effortless macro photography even at a minimum distance of one centimeter away from the subject

  • High-speed Face Detection function captures up to 32 faces in approx. 0.03 seconds, and Smile Capture function to automatically release the shutter the instant the subject’s smile is detected

  • Instant startup with a Playback mode (simply press and hold the playback button)

  • Auto Picture mode automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode from 16 different scene modes

  • 12 digital filters

  • Digital Wide mode to compose  an extra-wide-angle picture (equivalent to approx. 21mm wide angle in the 35mm format) from two separate images

  • Pet mode to automatically recognizes the face of a dog or cat

  • Image viewing, editing and filing software included: MediaImpression 3.5 for PENTAX (Windows version compatible with Windows 7) and MediaImpression 2.1 for PENTAX (Macintosh version compatible with Mac OS X 10.7)

  • Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards

  • SportMount Chest Harness will be available as an optional accessory to shoot your adventure video from your perspective.

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