Ricoh goes for the GoPro crowd with rugged WG-4, WG-20 cameras

/ Updated: February 5, 2014 2:00 PM PST
Ricoh

With the Ricoh WG-4, the Pentax brand officially disappears from point-and-shoots, but with the new name comes new positioning.

The WG-4 GPS and WG-4 (one has GPS, one doesn't) are incremental updates to their predecessors.

These updates have the same fast 4x f2.0-4.9 25-100mm lens with sensor-shift and digital image stabilization, and 16-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. They also have the same ring of six LEDs around the lens for macro photography (they can focus as close as 0.4-inch from a subject). Also, on the back you'll find the same 3-inch 460K-dot-resolution LCD with 170-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles and, on the front of the GPS version, the same small LCD display for reading time, pressure, and altitude info.

The only real change seems to be in shooting modes. While they still capture full HD and slow-motion movies (VGA at 120fps) as well as offering a whole assortment of scene and automatic options, and HDR, handheld night shot, and panorama modes, Ricoh added Shutter Priority and User modes to the mix. You'll now be able to select shutter speeds ranging from 4 seconds to 1/2,000 second and save a selection of frequently-used settings for quick recall.

What's perhaps more interesting is that Ricoh is taking advantage of the growth in the POV action cam market to sell its rugged cameras. Announced alongside the new WG models are a camera holder and three new mounts.

Ricoh

The $19.99 holder screws into the camera's tripod mount and gives you a ball-and-socket system to use with adhesive ($44.99), handlebar ($39.99), and suction cup ($42.99) camera mounts. Since the cameras are already waterproof and rugged, there's no need to use a housing, and the 3-inch screen makes setting up your shots easy. Plus, the camera holder can be used with older WG-series cameras, too.

The mounts go on sale in February. The WG-4 GPS will come in black and blue versions and sell for $379.95, while the WG-4 will be available for $329.95 in silver and lime yellow. Both arrive in March.

Ricoh also announced the WG-20 for the adventurer (or the klutz) on a budget. Coming in at $199.95, the body is waterproof to 33 feet; shockproof against drops up to 4.9 feet; dust-proof; freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit; and crushproof, withstanding up to 220 foot-pounds of force.

Outside of the rugged construction, though, the camera is fairly unremarkable with a 14-megapixel CCD sensor and 5x, f3.5-5.5, 28-140mm lens. The switch to a CCD sensor means you don't get full HD or high-speed movie capture, or an HDR mode. It also has a slower, narrower lens with digital image stabilization only, and a smaller 2.7-inch 230K-dot-resolution LCD.

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