Pentax Optio WG-3 and WG-10 offer ruggedized shooting with a unique design, we go hands-on (video)

Some might call it ugly; we'll say unique. Regardless of your take on Pentax's ruggedized Optio housing, you'll get a capable waterproof shooter, with a handful of practical features. Two new models appeared this week at CP+ in Yokohama, Japan, and while both may look like they came from the same mold, the feature sets differ vastly. The more powerful compact, the WG-3, is also the slightly larger flavor. It packs a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a sharp 3-inch LCD and a 4x, f/2-4.9 lens. Its survivability stats, printed around the lens, include waterproof to 14 meters (46 feet), shockproof to 2-meter (6.5-foot) drops, crush-proof to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of force and cold-proof to -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). Then there's the WG-10, which is basically just a rebranded WG-1, so we won't focus much on that.

Both cameras have similar designs that scream "rugged" -- in other words, if you're a fan of Panasonic's original Toughbook design, you might find these attractive. They're incredibly solid-feeling, so while trade show tethers prevented us from doing any durability testing, they definitely look the part. We spent a few minutes with the WG-3 (or WG-III as indicated to the right of the lens) -- it's almost intimidating in appearance, as if it's telling other cameras to watch their backs. The display is sharp and bright and the camera was generally responsive, though it certainly won't break any records for speed. Interestingly, the WG-10, which we were originally told was a Target-exclusive, and therefore only available in red, was displayed with a black finish as well -- perhaps Pentax has different plans for that model in Japan, which makes sense, considering that there aren't any Target stores here. Either way, you should expect to see both of these hit stores in April, or you can sneak a peek now in our hands-on video after the break.