Underwater Pentax Camera Review
As an early birthday present I received a Pentax underwater adventure camera.
Since we were leaving on a 5 day sailing trip on the Caribbean ocean the very next day, it was the perfect reason to not make me suffer any longer, and hand over the gift wrapped package he had been hiding from me for several weeks now. Thank you Nick, I love my brand new Underwater Digital Camera!
Silke with her new camera
Nick: Once we knew that we would be house sitting in Belize, getting an underwater camera just seemed like the perfect gift for Silke. I did a lot of research on this one and was surprised at what was available. Price wise I was looking for middle of the road. Nothing too over the top yet nothing that you would end up throwing away after only a few uses.
The Pentax Adventure camera fit the bill!
As far as the color, I wanted something that would be easy to find if we should ever drop the camera in the ocean.
“I love the color!” That’s the first thing I said after I pulled off the gift wrap and saw what it was. :) It took me a minute to realize that I was holding an underwater, waterproof digital camera. How cool! I was very excited.
Before I start gushing about the rugged exterior, how easy this camera is to set up and use, and share some of the pictures and videos we’ve taken so far…
…here is some blah, blah, blah, I mean Important Technical Data, from their website:
- The series’ best waterproof performance (down to 14 meters underwater)
- Shock resistance (against a fall from a height of two meters)
- Four-times optical zoom lens (with the maximum aperture of F2.0 at wide-angle end)
Heavy-duty construction for underwater shooting
- State-of-the-art, high performance back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
- Six LED Macro Lights around the circumference of the lens barrel for macro shooting
- The WG-3 GPS provides Full HD movie recording employing the H.264 recording format
- Extra-large, high-resolution 3.0-inch color LCD monitor with horizontally extended 16:9 proportions and approximately 460,000 dots
- Digital level to check the camera’s horizontal/vertical inclination
- Auto Picture mode to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode from 16 different scene modes
- Digital Wide mode to compose an extra-wide-angle picture
- Includes Carabiner strap for hooking the camera to a backpack or other outdoor gear
- 12 digital filters
- Image viewing, editing and filing software
Like I mentioned above, the initial set up of the camera was very easy. You simply follow the 15 steps as outlined in the Pentax/Ricoh Quick Guide to set the home screen, date, location, etc..
Here is the very first image I took with my new digital waterproof camera, I didn’t do any ‘photoshopping’ or touch ups at all. Not too bad for a point and shoot camera after having a beer or two, huh?
IMGP0001 – First image with new underwater camera
Nick: We already own a Canon PowerShot camera, so as far as the image quality goes we were measuring the Pentax up to it’s caliber. The first shots that were taken pretty much solidified that the picture quality was excellent. You can correct me if I’m wrong here but I would say a side by side comparison of similar shots and you would be pretty hard pressed to tell which picture belonged to what camera.
Oh, I don’t know about that. We got pretty spoiled with our Canon camera and I can definitely tell a difference. The Pentax takes nice pictures, no doubt, but I tweaked almost every one of the images at least a little bit. I love using my older version of Photoshop for that. Usually I just crop the image and if needed I will lighten or darken the image a little. Nothing too mayor.
The program that came with the camera has a few nice features, if you don’t already have image manipulating software. The video part of the software is pretty much worthless though, especially if you want to add text or splice different videos together.
Take a look at the following pictures and videos for a small sample of what this camera can do.
Bright Sun Pictures:
A rainbow over the ocean in Belize
I tried to take an underwater selfie of Nick and myself :)
Videos using the Pentax/Ricoh underwater camera:
Underwater video showing the beautiful reef off Cary Caye in Belize.
Nick reeling in his very first fish during our sail on the MokaKat.
Conclusion of our Pentax Underwater & Adventure Camera:
Nick: You’re right about the video editing software aspect that comes with the camera. Maybe we’re spoiled with what we have at home already, but even simple things like cutting and splicing should be automatic, adding text and sound manipulation a distant second. It doesn’t do any of that.
Over all I’m impressed with the quality of the pictures and the video output (patting self on back). I hope it’s something that will stand the test of time and maybe become your new go to camera when you’re flying out the door trying to capture a shot of that elusive howler monkey. :)
Yes, I’m impressed with this rugged little underwater and adventure camera myself so far. Of course we haven’t even started to learn all the different settings yet.
There are a few more things I would like to point out:
1) The camera is truly waterproof, I even dived with it a few times (not too far down since I can’t hold my breath for very long) and it is shaped well to lays nicely in your hand when the camera is being used.
2) The screen is nice and big, but it’s very hard to see anything when the sun glares off the glass.
3) There was a cloudy spot on the front glass the second day we used it, it disappeared after a few minutes and we think the camera must have been left out laying in the sun for a while.
4) The carabiner is nice to have when carrying the camera around, I have a hair tie attached to it so I can wrap it around my wrist. We borrowed a floating wrist wrap when we used the camera underwater.
5) I would be afraid that the camera glass over the viewer and screen would get scratched up if the camera was dangling off a backpack or if the carabiner would hit it.
6) We were both impressed with the sound the camera picked up while shooting the videos.
7) Reviews of the latest Pentax/Ricoh Waterproof Digital cameras on Amazon.
Do you own an underwater camera? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Nick and I will continue to use the Pentax Underwater and Adventure camera on a regular basis and will add any new findings, good or bad.
UPDATE: Nick and I are now care takers in Hawaii, as of Dec. 2016, and still use our Pentax camera on a regular basis. We just took some awesome photos while playing in the ocean and suntanning on our favorite beach at the Mauna Kea resort on the Big Island.