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Pentax WG-3 GPS

Tough-style 16-megapixel digital camera with 4X optical zoom and GPS (Purple)

1 Review

Item # 815WG3V

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Our take on the Pentax WG-3 GPS

Why should the fish get to have all the fun underwater? Take the Pentax WG-3 GPS below the surface and discover a whole new world of subject matter for your photos. It's waterproof to depths of 45 feet, so it's great in the ocean, the lake, the pool, or the rain. If water is not your thing, take it into extreme conditions on the trail like freezing temperatures, dirt, and mud. The WG-3 GPS is freezeproof, shockproof, crushproof, and dustproof, so you can document your adventures without worrying about whether your camera is up to the challenge. The best photos don't always happen in perfect conditions — the WG-3 GPS is tough enough to follow you into the elements so all the great shots are always within reach.

Ready for adventure

Why should the fish get to have all the fun underwater? Take the Pentax WG-3 GPS below the surface and discover a whole new world of subject matter for your photos. It's waterproof to depths of 45 feet, so it's great in the ocean, the lake, the pool, or the rain. If water is not your thing, take it into extreme conditions on the trail like freezing temperatures, dirt, and mud. The WG-3 GPS is freezeproof, shockproof, crushproof, and dustproof, so you can document your adventures without worrying about whether your camera is up to the challenge. The best photos don't always happen in perfect conditions — the WG-3 GPS is tough enough to follow you into the elements so all the great shots are always within reach.

GPS and compass point you in the right direction

Keep track of where you've been and where you are with this tough camera's built-in GPS. Your photos are automatically tagged with location information, so you don't have to remember which peak you were climbing or lake you were swimming in. Plus, the built-in compass can determine direction, altitude and water depth as well as automatically setting the time. The camera's front display can show all this data. It's perfect for knowing when you're approaching depths at which the camera is no longer waterproof or figuring out just how high up the mountain you've climbed.

A top low-light performer

Pentax WG-3 GPS tough-style waterproof camera with built-in GPS

The WG-3 GPS's front display shows local time, altitude, water depth and compass direction info. (Purple model shown)

Ever try to get so close to your subject that your camera ends up blocking the light? That's why the WG-3 GPS has six LED lights around the lens barrel. When you're going in super-close for a macro shot — as close as 1cm away — the LEDs light up and illuminate your subject so you get a clear shot with plenty of detail and color. For other types of shooting, the lens features a wide f/2 maximum aperture, so you'll capture plenty of light. Combined with the backlit CMOS sensor, it's perfect for challenging underwater shots or photographing action on the slopes.

Rugged design for rugged use

The WG-3 GPS doesn't look like an ordinary camera because it isn't. It's tougher than most, with rugged styling to stand up to wear and tear. It also comes with a carabiner strap you can clip to your backpack. It's durable enough to hang on without a case, so you'll have quick access for shots of stunning views while hiking or climbing.


    • 16-megapixel effective recording backlit CMOS sensor
    • 3" LCD screen (460,000 dots)
    • 4X optical zoom (7.2X digital zoom)
    • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 25-100mm
    • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards
    Special Features:
    • waterproof to depths of 45 feet
    • shockproof up to 6.6 feet
    • freezeproof to 14° F
    • crushproof for up to 220 lbs. of pressure
    • dustproof
    • built-in GPS tags photos with location information
    • digital compass shows local time, direction, altitude, and water depth on front display
    • lens has f/2.0 maximum aperture at wide angle for excellent light gathering underwater
    • 6 LED macro lights around lens barrel provide lighting for subjects as close as 1cm
    • sensor shift image stabilization minimizes blur from shaky hands
    • high-definition movie mode (up to 1080p/30p resolution)
    • record high-speed video for high-quality slow-motion playback
    • variable ISO (film speed equivalent) settings including a high sensitivity mode (ISO 6400) for low-light and flash-free shooting
    • Face Detection recognizes up to 32 faces with smile capture and blink detection for improved portraits
    • HDR mode creates even lighting throughout a photo by snapping and combining multiple shots with different exposure levels (3 frames)
    • built-in flash
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • micro HDMI output for connecting the camera to a compatible HDTV (cable not included)
    • high-speed USB interface
    • 5-1/8"W x 2-9/16"H x 1-1/4"D
    • weight (with battery and memory card): 8.4 oz.
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories
    • lithium-ion rechargeable battery and AC charging adapter
    • USB cable
    • wrist strap with carabiner
    • macro stand
    • software CD-ROM

    What's in the Box:

    • Digital camera (purple)
    • D-LI92 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (3.7V 925mAh 3.5Wh)
    • D-PA135 AC adapter (5V 1A)
    • 59" I-USB7 cable (with Type A USB on one end and a proprietary connector on other end)
    • O-MS2 Macro stand
    • O-ST135 Carabiner strap
    • MediaImpression software on CD-ROM
    • Operating Manual
    • Quick Guide
    • Utilities Guide for GPS
    • Notification of Change of Company Name sheet
    • Pentax Worldwide Service Network sheet
    • Serial Number Card
    • "Do not return this product to your dealer" sheet

    Pentax WG-3 GPS Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (1 Review)

    Good quality point and shoot, and rugged, too

    Kevin from Iowa on 5/20/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought the WG-3 after considering the Canon D20 and Olympus TG-2. I have been shooting underwater while snorkeling for a few years using an old Sony P&S in a waterproof bag. Trying to keep the bag's lens lined up with the camera's lens, the lack of a viewfinder or screen while in the bag, and the poor picture quality wasn't cutting it anymore. I had read that the Canon D20 takes beautiful pictures, but is very slow between pressing the shutter and taking the shot. The Olympus is rated for deeper water, but a major complaint in many reviews is a ticking sound during video, and the higher cost made me consider the Pentax. I've only taken a couple hundred pictures with it so far, and the only underwater pictures were about 6 inches below the surface while I was canoeing, but I've been impressed with it.

    Pros: Picture quality is, overall, very good. It's not DSLR, but it's good for P&S. The GPS is a fun add on. I really like the ability to manually focus when needed, and the wide aperture. The ring LED lights around the lens are nice for close up shots, video, and setting up your shot. Full auto creates some pretty nice pictures, even for a control freak who uses his DSLR strictly in manual mode.

    Cons: Despite what I read before buying, it does have a bit more shutter lag than I'd like to see. It's not bad, and I'm probably just spoiled by my DSLR. The strap it comes with is useless; do yourself a favor and throw it away. I've already replaced it with the float strap. The battery life didn't come close to what's in the manual (about 80 shots), but I probably played around with it too much, familiarizing myself with the menus and settings. A manual or aperture priority setting would be nice.


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size 3"
    Adjustable-angle LCD No
    Wi-Fi No
    Touchscreen No
    Waterproof Yes
    GPS-enabled Yes
    Lens 35mm Equivalent 25-100mm
    Optical Zoom 4x
    Digital Zoom 7.2x
    Filter Diameter N
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Manual Exposure No
    Built-in Flash Yes
    HDMI Output Micro
    Internal Memory 70MB
    Memory Media SD/SDHC/SDXC
    Sensor Size 1/2.3" CMOS
    Megapixels 16
    Image Stabilization Sensor Shift
    Highest Resolution 4608 x 3456
    4K Video No
    Video Resolution 1920 x 1020/30p
    Width (inches) 5-1/8
    Height (inches) 2-9/16
    Depth (inches) 1-1/4
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 8.4
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    General Features
    Playback and Editing Features
    Battery Information
    Supplied Software

    General Features

    Overview: The WG-3 GPS is Pentax's 15th generation "ruggedized" digital camera, and is designed to withstand almost any environment.

    Rugged Design: The WG-3 GPS's rugged body is designed to withstand the following extreme conditions:

    • Waterproof: waterproof to a depth of 45 feet for 2 hours
    • Shockproof: shockproof to protect from drops of up to 6.6 feet
    • Crushproof: crushproof to withstand weights of up to 220 LBF (pound-force)
    • Coldproof: coldproof to temperatures of 14°F (-10°C)
    • Dustproof: protects camera from dry, dusty environments

    GPS: The camera has built-in GPS, which automatically records position data and travel log data onto captured images, as well as adjusts the built-in clock to local time. A sub-display on the front panel shows the current local time and height/air pressure. The Electronic Compass Display in the Still Capture mode shows the current date and time, GPS latitude and longitude, height/air pressure, and current lens direction. You can set up a GPS log and save it to the SD card. The GPS records your location at intervals of 15, 30, or 60 seconds for a set duration.

    3.0" LCD Monitor: The camera features a large, bright 3.0" LCD monitor for framing your shots and playing back recorded still images and movies. The monitor's 460,000-dot resolution gives you crystal clear images, and features a wide 170° viewing angle. The camera does not have a separate viewfinder.

    Image Sensor: The WG-3 GPS is equipped with a 16-megapixel 1/2.3" CMOS image sensor, which delivers high resolution image quality with accurate colors and low noise. It has 16.79 million total pixels and 16.0 million effective pixels.

    Lens: The WG-3 GPS has a 4x optical zoom, F2.0-4.9 lens with a focal length of 4.5-18mm, which is equivalent to 25-100mm in 35mm photography.

    Intelligent/Digital Zoom: Beyond the 4x optical zoom, the camera has an intelligent zoom of 6x at 7M image size up to 28.8x at VGA. For larger image sizes, the digital zoom will give you a total zoom value of 28.8x.

    Recording Media: The camera can record still images and movies onto SD Memory Cards, SDHC Memory Cards, and SDXC Memory Cards. In addition, the camera has a built-in memory of approximately 70 MB which will store images when no card is inserted. You can copy images and sound files from the built-in memory to the SD Memory card, or vice versa, at any time.

    Still Image Formats: The WG-3 GPS can shoot JPEG still images in three aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1. You can set the image quality level (compression ratio) for each size and aspect ratio, to Best, Better, or Good. Image sizes include:

    4:3 16:9 1:1
    16M: 4608 x 3456
    7M: 3072 x 2304
    5M: 2592 x 1944
    3M: 2048 x 1536
    1024: 1024 x 768
    VGA: 640 x 480
    12M: 4608 x 2592
    5M: 3072 x 1728
    4M: 2592 x 1464
    2M: 1920 x 1080

    12M: 3456 x 3456


    Movie Recording: High Definition movies can be recorded in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. You can choose from Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 30 frames per second, or 1280 x 720 at 60 or 30 fps.

    Focus Modes: The WG-3 GPS offers six focus modes:

    • Standard AF: When the distance to the subject is approximately 15.75" to infinity, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • Macro: When the subject is 4"-20" away, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • 1cm Macro: When the subject is 0.4" to 12" away, the camera focuses on the subject in the autofocus area when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • Pan Focus: The entire picture, from front to back, is focused. This mode is handy when you ask someone to take pictures for you, or taking pictures of scenery through a window of a car or train.
    • Infinity: This mode is used for taking distant objects. (Flash is set to Off)
    • Manual Focus: This mode lets you set the focus manually, using the four-way controller.

    Macro Lights: The WG-3 GPS features six white LEDs mounted around the lens that can be used in a number of ways. They can be turned on manually to add additional light to the subject, or to use as a temporary supplemental light. They automatically light when the camera is in Digital Microscope mode.

    AF-Area Modes: You can set the range of the Auto Focus Area (AF Area) to one of three options: Multiple (normal AF area), Spot (small AF area), or Automatic Tracking (AF area moves with subject).

    Drive Modes: The WG-3 GPS offers several options for shooting single and multiple images at once. You can choose from the following Drive Modes:

    • Single Frame: Photos are taken one at a time with each press of the shutter release button.
    • Continuous/Burst: Photos are taken continuously as long as the shutter release button is pressed. In Continuous Shooting Mode, up to 60 photos are taken at 16M (4:3)resolution at approximately 1.5 frames per second, or up to 78 frames @ 1.7 fps at 12M (16:9). In Burst Shooting mode, up to 30 frames can be taken at 5M (4:3) at 12 fps, or 4M (16:9) at 14 fps.
    • Interval Shot: The Interval mode lets you take 2 to 1000 shots at intervals of 10 seconds to 99 minutes apart. You can also set a delay time for the first shot of up to 24 hours.
    • Self-Timer: A single photo is taken after approximately 10 seconds to allow the photographer to get into the picture. A 2-second self timer can be used to avoid camera shake when the shutter release button is pressed.
    • Remote Control: Using the optional remote control, the shutter is released immediately after the shutter release button on the remote is pressed. A 3-second delay Remote Control setting is also available. Pentax offers the optional Remote Control F, Remote Control E, or Remote Control Waterproof O-RC1.
    • Auto Bracketing: You can take three consecutive images at three different exposure levels when the shutter release button is pressed once. Three images are saved with each release, one at standard exposure, one underexposed by 1.0 EV, and one overexposed by 1.0 EV.

    Metering: You can select the portion of the image sensor to use for measuring brightness and determining exposure:

    • Multi-segment: The sensor meters the brightness in 256 zones.
    • Center-weighted: Metering is taken of the entire image, with the center of the image having more influence on the exposure.
    • Spot: The brightness is measured only within a limited area at the center of the image.

    Shooting Modes: The WG-3 GPS has a variety of shooting modes that let you take pictures or record movies and sound in different situations simply by choosing the right mode for the particular situation from the Capture Mode Palette. You can select from the following:

    Program HDR Handheld Night Snap Movie
    Underwater Underwater Movie Digital Microscope Landscape
    Flower Portrait Interval Shot Interval Movie
    High Speed Movie Time Lapse Movie 1-cm Macro Movie Digital SR
    Surf & Snow Kids Pet Sport
    Night Scene Night Scene Portrait Fireworks
    Food Digital Wide Digital Panorama Report
    Auto Picture: The Auto Picture mode automatically selects the optimal mode for capturing the subject: Standard, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Sport, Candlelight, Blue Sky, Portrait Blue Sky, Portrait Backlight, Sunset, Portrait Sunset, Group Photograph, and Text.

    EV Compensation: You can deliberately overexpose or underexpose a picture using EV Compensation. The compensation value can be set between -2 and +2 EV in 1/3 EV intervals.,

    Shake Reduction: The WG-3 GPS offers three types of shake reduction to ensure sharp, blur-free images and videos, even in dim lighting: Sensor Shift (optical), Dual (optical and electronic), and off.

    White Balance: White Balance is a function for adjusting the color of an image so that white objects appear white. You can choose Automatic White Balance (AWB), or a preset White Balance depending upon the lighting source: Daylight, Shade, Daylight Colors Fluorescent, Daylight White Fluorescent, White Light Fluorescent, Tungsten Light, or Manual.

    ISO Sensitivity: You can set the sensitivity to suit the brightness of the surroundings. The sensitivity can be set to ISO AUTO or manually to ISO 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, or 6400. The ISO Auto can be set to a range of 125-200, 125-400, 125-800, 125-1600, 125-3200, or 125-6400.

    Flash: The WG-3 GPS has a built-in flash for use in low-light situations. There are several Flash Modes to choose from:

    • Auto Flash: the flash automatically fires based on brightness of the scene
    • Auto + Red-eye Reduction: the flash fires automatically with a pre-flash for red-eye reduction
    • Flash On: the flash fires regardless of the brightness
    • Flash On + Red-eye Reduction: the flash fires regardless of the brightness with a pre-flash for red-eye reduction
    • Flash Off: the flash does not fire regardless of subject brightness

    Playback and Editing Features

    Magnifying Images: Single images can be magnified up to 10 times in playback mode. You can gradually magnify the image in steps starting at 1.1x. The Quick Zoom feature automatically magnifies the image at 10x. While the image is magnified, you can use the 4-way controller to move around in the magnified area.

    Slide Show: The Pentax WG-3 GPS allows you to play back still images one at a time in slide show fashion. You can adjust the interval (3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec, or 30 sec) and the screen effects (fade, wipe, checker, random, or no effect). A sound effect can be added during slide transitions, if desired.

    Thumbnail: You can display multiple thumbnail images on the LCD monitor. You can choose the number of images to be displayed in the monitor: 6 or 12. Images can also be displayed by folder or in a calendar display.

    Image Editing: The Playback Mode Palette lets you perform playback and editing functions on recorded images and movies. Some of the functions include: Image rotation, Small Face Filter, Ink Rubbing Filter, Collage, Digital Filter, HDR Filter, Original Frame, Resize, Cropping, Image Copy, Protect, Red-eye Edit, Slideshow, and DPOF.


    HDMI: The WG-3 GPS has a micro-HDMI (Type D) output for connecting the camera to an HDTV. A Micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable is required (sold separately). You can set the HDMI output resolution to 1080i, 720p, 480p (NTSC), 576p (PAL), or Auto, corresponding to the maximum resolution of the AV device.

    PC/AV: The proprietary PC/AV terminal can be used to connect the camera to your computer via the supplied I-USB7 cable. The terminal is USB 2.0 High-Speed compatible. You can also connect the camera to a TV using an optional I-AVC7 AV cable. The cable has composite video and mono RCA audio plugs. The AV output can be set to NTSC or PAL.

    Battery Information

    Lithium-Ion Battery: The Pentax WG-3 GPS is powered by the D-LI92 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V / 925mAh / 3.5Wh). The battery charges in approximately 180 minutes using the supplied D-PA135 AC adapter. The recording capacity with a fully charged battery is as follows:

    Normal Shooting Movie Recording Playback Time
    240 images 65 minutes 200 minutes

    Supplied Software

    MediaImpression 3.6.2 LE(Windows) / 2.2 LE (Macintosh): The WG-3 GPS comes with MediaImpression software for Pentax on CD-ROM. With the software, view, manage, and edit the images and movies.

    Compatible Operating Systems: The MediaImpression software for Pentax is compatible with the following operating systems:

    • MediaImpression 3.6.2 LE (Windows):
      • Windows 8
      • Windows 7
      • Windows Vista
      • Windows XP (SP3)
    • MediaImpression 2.2 LE (Macintosh): Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8

    Our Product Research Team

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