Rugged outdoor cameras for hikers and sporty types were all the rage a few years back but the digital camera market has been concentrating on CSC cameras and DSLRs of late, so these rubberized, shock-resistant waterproof cameras have been absent from many manufacturers’ lineups.
Now Ricoh Imaging has announced a new rugged compact camera: the Ricoh WG-4, one of the models in the redesigned WG-series that used to carry the Pentax marque but has been reassigned to the Ricoh brand.
As it’s a sports camera, the WG-4 offers waterproof performance down to a depth of 14 meters and shock-resistance sufficient to survive a two-meter drop. The body is sculpted with a rubberized, easy-to-hold design that has a non-slip texture making it easier to grip underwater. There’s a range of bright new colors to make the camera easy to find wherever it’s put down.
The WG-4 has a 4x optical zoom with a range of 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) and a maximum aperture of f2.0 at the wide end of the zoom range. There are six LED lights around the lens barrel that can be illuminated to improve macro subject lighting.
Inside the WG -4 there’s a 16-megapixel, backlit CMOS image sensor offering higher-quality and lower-noise images at higher sensitivities than conventional sensor technology. The extra sensitivity should come in handy when shooting underwater, at night or at indoor sporting events where there may be low light levels. To help shoot sharper images there’s a dual anti-shake system where the image sensor compensates for shaking and a shift to higher ISO levels helps to keep things sharp in the dark.
There’s no optical viewfinder on the WG-4 but at the rear there’s 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 16:9 proportions and approximately 460,000 dots. An anti-reflection coating promises sharp and clear on-screen images, even in bright sunshine.
Ricoh claims that other significant improvements have been made to upgrade the camera’s operation and performance, including faster AF operation in macro shooting, improved image quality in underwater shooting, and the addition of the USER mode for instant recall of the user’s favorite settings.
A range of optional accessories is also available to help shooting in active outdoor environments including an adhesive mount and handlebar mount to secure the camera for hands-free shooting, including full HD movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The RICOH WG-4 GPS model is identical to the WG-4 except for the addition of a GPS unit to record position data and travel log data. It also provides GPS-related functions including a pressure/altitude/depth gauge and a digital compass, all of which should be helpful for using outdoors.
The WG-4 is available in silver and yellow and will retail for £279.99 ($450 approx) and the WG4 GPS is available in black and blue and will cost £329.99 ($530 approx). Both cameras go on sale in mid-March
・Sub-display on the front panel to indicate time and GPS data (WG-4 GPS only)
・Two remote control receptors (one on the front and another on the back) to widen signal coverage
・Digital level to check the camera’s horizontal/vertical inclination
・50282 Protector Jacket (optional accessory) to protect the camera from scratches and dirt
・50195 Float Strap (optional accessory) to prevent the loss of the camera in the water
・Carabiner strap (included) for hooking the camera to a backpack or other outdoor gear
・12 digital filters
・Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards