Pentax Optio WG-3 Review

4.0
July 30, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Pentax Optio WG-3 produced images of good quality during the review period. The Pentax Optio WG-3 produces noise-free images at ISO 125-400, with limited noise and colour desaturation starting to appear at ISO 800. ISO 1600 exhibits quite visible noise, smearing of fine detail and colour desaturation, and the fastest settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 are even noisier and best avoided altogether.

The Pentax Optio WG-3 dealt well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds limiting what you can capture after-dark. In-body anti-shake is a feature that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Macro performance is fantastic, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject complete with in-camera lighting. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The HDR shooting mode effectively widens the dynamic range, although you need to mount the camera on a tripod for best results.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Pentax Optio WG-3. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

File Quality

The Pentax Optio WG-3 has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Best being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M Best (4.63Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Better (2.49Mb) (100% Crop)
   
16M Good (1.51Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Focal Range

The Pentax Optio WG-3's 4x zoom lens provides a focal length of 25-100mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

100mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Pentax Optio WG-3 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Pentax Optio WG-3 allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Pentax Optio WG-3 are Flash-on, Flash-off and Red-eye reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (100mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (100mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, both the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Pentax Optio WG-3's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night Scene mode, which is not very good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds at ISO 1600.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation

The Pentax Optio WG-3 has an image-sensor-shift-type antishake mechanism which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with the stabilizer turned off, the second with it turned on. As you can see, with image stabilisation turned on, the images are sharper than when it's turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)

1/45th / 25mm
     
1/8th / 100mm

HDR

The Pentax Optio WG-3's HDR mode combines three images taken at different exposures into one to create a single image with enhanced dynamic range.

Off

On

 

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