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07-08-2013, 04:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 140
WG3 initial thoughts...

Any other WG3 owners out there?

I just picked one up a few days ago and am starting to get the hang of it. From a settings standpoint the camera has a menu system similar to the Q but obviously a more simplified version. It doesn't have all the different color options, customization, filters and so on.

From a strict IQ comparison to my other cameras (Q, X Pro 1, D700) this has the lowest IQ. The lens isn't particularly sharp, it has quite a bit of purple fringing, I see what looks like JPG compression artifacts (even with compression set to its lowest setting), dynamic range isn't great, it is somewhat noisy even at base ISO…etc…etc.

However, that is missing the point of the camera. This is a camera that will get the picture in conditions where my other cameras would be destroyed. When used in this manor the camera is a lot of fun and can capture great memories.

I have been shooting at 7 megapixel resolution and best JPG quality. I went with 7 over 16megs as 16 didn't seem to offer much more detail and to keep transfer speeds faster with the Eye-Fi card I am using. In camera contrast is set at the minimum setting as it appears to give slightly more dynamic range and helps keep highlights/shadows. The resulting picture looks flatter but with a little PP can help make it pop more. I shoot with the natural tone.

A few sample shots are below…

These two highlight three features… First, the waterproofing. Second, the fact that the flash sync speed is very high (one picture is 1/800 and the other is 1/1000). The camera did a nice job using it as fill flash and also automatically fired the flash as a rear curtain sync. Third, the wide angle lens.

A couple using the macro mode, macro of course have very narrow DOF but it has nice bokeh. When you put the camera in 1cm macro mode (in P mode) the camera won't allow you to get as wide as possible. It sets it to roughly a 30mm FOV.

The Eye-Fi card allows me to get the pictures on my iPhone easily where I can use a variety of apps to tweak the pictures further. For example this is underwater straight out of the camera.

This is using the magic wand in Photoshop on the iPhone. I did no other editing.

This is with Snapseed and cranking up structure and sharpening (to pull out detail) which also accentuated the noise.

Some random thoughts…

Comparing the same picture on multiple waterproof cameras at another site the Pentax pictures have the most noise in the shots but also seem to keep more details as the other cameras tend to have a little bit heavier handed NR, even at base ISO. I'd rather have the detail and noise to process it later if desired. Unfortunately, the NR is not adjustable in the WG3 as I would rather turn it down even further. A RAW option in the WG3 would be very welcome as well.

What could be a very interesting camera is something like the WG3 but ditching the zoom lens (and the folded optics that go with it) and put in a fast fixed 24, 28 or 35mm FOV for higher optic quality along with the guts/processing options of the Q. Basically, a tough camera version of an Olympus XA or XA4. To me a camera like this is meant to get in close and personal so just having the wide angle would be enough.

Having the eye-fi on/off menu item be an option to assign to the function feature on the green key would be nice.

Battery life seems a little low. I have GPS off and only turn the Eye-Fi card on as desired. My Qi inductive charger has not arrived yet so I don't know how well that will work. With Qi and Eye-Fi I can reduce wear/tear on the camera door seal.

The high speed shooting/slow motion playback is quite a bit of fun to play with.

The rubber bands on the carabiner (to protect the LCD screen) were gone within a day. Clipping the carabiner to a belt loop is an easy way to carry the camera.

Wish the zoom gave equivalent FOV, not just 1.2x, 2x..etc...etc.

Very much like the Q this is a very fun camera to shoot with!


07-08-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
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Posts: 631
Interesting actions shots there. The macro mode seems about average, with the exception of the flower.

I agree, a 35mm Equiv F1.X would be amazing on a camera of this styling, though.
07-08-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
Senior Member

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 140
Original Poster
I think one of the challenges with the macro mode is simply how tiny the DOF is as you have no control over aperture. At the 1cm close focus the DOF is about 1/10 of a mm. At 5cm you have about 2mm of DOF. You can see this on the leaf shots as parts are in/out of focus. Any movement on my part (handheld) would alter focus as well.

With the growth of fixed focal length cameras lately perhaps someone will build a waterproof version.


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