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Pentax Optio WG-2 sample photos

Check out an examination of photo quality from Pentax's 13th-generation rugged compact camera, the Optio WG-2.

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Joshua Goldman

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1 of 6 Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET

ISO comparison

The WG-2's photo quality is overall good for a compact rugged camera, though its 16-megapixel resolution isn't good for much. If you look at the photos at full size, you'll see noise even at ISO 125, and details like hair or fur are smeared. (Take a closer look and you'll see what I'm talking about.) Noise doesn't really increase as ISO goes up, but the photos get softer and details get more smeared and color quality drops off. When photos are viewed at small sizes, however, there's still perceived detail at the highest sensitivities. If your photos are going straight from the camera to the Web and you're not looking to make poster-size prints, the WG-2 is fine, except at its highest ISOs where, again, color quality isn't great. Still, this is a camera designed for outdoor use, and the WG-2 does very well when it has a lot of light.
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2 of 6 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Color

Colors weren't accurate from the WG-2 in our lab tests, with the exception of neutrals. The default color mode is Bright, and it definitely churned out more pleasing results than the Natural option, which tended to look flat. If you want to get more involved with the results, there are settings for sharpness, contrast, and saturation.
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3 of 6 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Macro

If you like to take a lot of close-ups, the WG-2's macro settings allow you to shoot as near as 0.4 of an inch from the camera and captures plenty of fine detail. One of the hyped features on this model is the Digital Microscope mode, which uses the six LEDs around the lens to brighten tiny subjects for macro shooting. The benefit of this mode over the regular macro options is that you can use the zoom lens to enlarge the subject before you shoot. The downside is the images are only 2 megapixels.
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4 of 6 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Zoom range

The WG-2's 5x f3.5-5.5 28-140mm lens gives you more zoom than most rugged compacts. However, you only get digital image stabilization, which you have to make sure to turn on.
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5 of 6 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Pixel Track SR

Pentax's Pixel Track SR is used for image stabilization in the WG-2. It tracks motion blur at the pixel level, determining in real time the amount of blur. Once you've taken a shot, it filters the effect motion has on each pixel to sharpen them and remove blur (all of this takes a couple seconds after the photo is captured). In my tests it works better than boosting ISO and shutter speed, as Pixel Track doesn't introduce more noise. It's not perfect, but it would be worth turning on if camera shake is unavoidable or if you're using the zoom lens.
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6 of 6 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Underwater

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