Pentax Optio WG-2 Digital Camera Review$399.95
Competition is a great thing. While sales of plain point-and-shoots dwindle, the camera industry is betting that tough-cams like the Pentax WG-2 will keep the compact-camera market afloat. Most manufacturers now make at least one adventure-ready camera, and it's driving improvements and innovation in the newly crowded segment.
The WG-2 stands out by default because it can go deeper underwater than any other adventure-ready camera. It's also in a tie for the title of most crushproof, freezeproof, and, uh, dustproof. A few cameras can survive slightly longer drops, but all told, the WG-2 is arguably the toughest of the tough cams. Thanks to the angular, rubberized design, the WG-2 is easy to grip—pretty important when you're underwater or hanging from a cliff. There are some cool and unique features too, like the ring of LED lights for macro photography.
Image quality has been a soft spot in the tough exterior of many adventure cameras, and that's still the case with the WG-2. Shots taken outdoors and in bright lighting are fine for sharing online or making medium-sized prints, and colors are punchy enough for decent underwater shots. But indoors and in low-light, photos are soft, sloppy, and flat. Not much has changed since last year's WG-1, which at the time we thought took pretty good shots for a tough-cam. But we've seen a handful of competitors in the meantime that take cleaner, clearer, and punchier shots—and those cameras are faster, too.
Photographers who need a camera exclusively for outdoor excursions might still consider the WG-2—there's a certain peace of mind that comes along with the world's toughest camera, and some folks can live with "good enough" quality. But anyone looking for an all-around snapshooter with a hard shell should look elsewhere.
Check out our 7-camera waterproof shootout to see how the year's best tough-cams compare.