Once a fringe portion of the point-and-shoot digital camera market, damage-resistant cameras are growing in popularity and supply. This type of camera is perfect for motorcycle touring, where things get bumped, dropped, and shaken with alarming regularity.
The Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS packs a startling number of motorcyclist-friendly features into a plastic and rubber chassis. The first thing we did was find out just how durable it is in a real-world application.
Here is what Pentax says you can do without breaking it - drop it from five feet, crush it with 220 pounds of force, use it down to 14 degrees, and take it 40 feet underwater. We casually tossed it off a bike at 40 mph and let it bounce down the pavement. The WG-2 GPS started up and carried on without a hitch, and looked none the worse for the experience. Okay!
For taking portraits - either of yourself or others - the face- and smile-detection functions are incredible. Point the photo at someone frowning. Nothing happens, until they smile, then - click!
GPS can embed your location in the image file, so it shows right up when you import into a viewer such as iPhoto. We took some action shots using the Sport mode. The results won't replace anyone's SLR, though the tracking function worked decently well for a point-and-shoot. Or, if you like, you can put it in manual and preset the focus spot for the picture - all you have to do is pan properly.
In the movie mode, the WG-2 shoots full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second with high-quality compression. Hook the camera up to your TV's HDMI input and the results are impressive. Pentax also offers a SportMount Chest Harness.
This all barely scratches the surface of the Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS, which isn't surprising, given its durability. If you are looking for a full-featured point-and-shoot travel camera and you don't mind that it isn't quite as compact as the smallest cameras, your search is over.
The Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS retails for $349, but many are selling for $299.95. For additional information, click here.