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Gear Review: Pentax WG-2

A camera that withstood a 13-mile Tough Mudder race...clipped to the racer's waist.
Pentax Lumix 445x260Pentax Lumix TS20 (Ben Fullerton)

This camera endured the ultimate durability test: Our tester clipped it to his waist (using the slick integrated strap and carabiner) and proceeded to the starting line of a 13-mile Tough Mudder race in Keystone, Colorado. “I spent more time than I’d like to remember crawling through mud, water, dirt, and ice, and the WG-2 dragged along underneath me,” he says. “At the end of the race, the camera came away with a couple of tiny scratches and lots of killer action photos.” The ballistic-grade polycarbonate shell has a 220-pound crush rating, is impervious to dings and gouges (unlike the other mostly metal shells here), and is covered with strategically placed ridges and bumps that protect vulnerable edges, buttons, and the lens, while giving you plenty of grippy contact points to hang on to.

Cool feature: The 16-megapixel WG-2 has a unique ring of LED lights surrounding the lens. “I scored some amazingly close macro shots of mountain flora that would have been too dark with other cameras,” reports one tester. That’s because when you’re shooting ultraclose (two inches or less), a standard on-board flash is too far to the side to illuminate your subject properly, while your hand and the camera itself block ambient light. For some camp fun, use the built-in intervalometer* to make time-lapse sequences of setting up the tent or clouds moving past a peak. Small gripes: The WG-2 lacks a button for exposure compensation (see Tech Talk, right), so you have to dig into the menus to change it. And the tripod mounting hole sits far to one side, so the camera tips over when used with a pocket-size tripod (like the Joby Gorillapod. $300; 6.9 oz.; pentaximaging.com

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