Ricoh rebadges Pentax WG-series rugged cams, introduces 3 new models

Just ahead of the 2014 CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Japan, Ricoh announced a few new products that include three rugged compact cameras. As we’ve said, rugged cameras are one area manufacturers are focusing on, as a way to distinguish traditional cameras from smartphones – so expect to continue to see more of these cameras from Ricoh and others.

With the new rugged WG cameras, we’ll see a brand change from Pentax to Ricoh. As you may know, Ricoh acquired Pentax a few years back and is now integrating the Pentax brand under the Ricoh umbrella. The Pentax brand will stick around, but used only for interchangeable lens cameras, lenses, and sport optics; the Ricoh name will be attached to compact cameras.

The new WG-4 and WG-4 GPS have some cosmetic and firmware upgrades from their predecessors, the WG-3 and WG-3 GPS, but otherwise are similar. The 16-megapixel cameras are waterproof down to 45 feet, shockproof from 6.6 feet, freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushproof up to 220 foot-pound of force. New are User and Shutter Priority modes. Just like in cameras that have them, Shutter Priority lets you adjust the shutter speed, while the User mode is handy for calling up frequently used settings, like when underwater.

Like the previous models, both cameras have a backlit CMOS sensor and optical 4x internal zoom lens, f/2 aperture, dual-shake sensor-shift reduction system, 1080 video capture at 30 frames per second, 3-inch LCD (460k dots), and photographic features like HDR mode, slow-motion video, panorama mode, and Digital Microscope mode (a close-up shooting mode that uses six LED lights for macro photography). Ricoh says users can expect better performance and underwater IQ enhancements. The difference between the two models is the inclusion of GPS for geotagging in the WG-4 GPS, of course.

Both cameras will go on sale in March. The WG-4 comes in silver or lime yellow, and will cost $330. The WG-4 GPS comes in blue or black, and will cost $380. The

In addition, Ricoh is introducing the 14-megapixel WG-20, an entry-level rugged camera that’s exclusive to Target stores. The camera, which succeeds the WG-10, will sell for $200 and come in white and red. It’s slightly less rugged than the WG-4/WG-4 GPS: It’s waterproof down to 33 feet, shockproof from 5 feet, freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushproof up to 220 foot-pound of force. It uses a CCD sensor – not as strong as the CMOS, and video capture is only up to 720p. The camera is all about ease-of-use, so there are plenty of auto shooting and creative modes. You don’t get the same performance as the WG-4/WG-4 GPS, but it costs less.

To accompany these and all WG-series cameras, Ricoh announced new mounting accessories that will go on sale this month. They allow users to turn the cameras into action cams. There’s a camera holder ($20), adhesive mount ($50), handlebar mount ($40), and suction cup mount ($43).

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