We pit six of the finest tough compacts up against one another to establish which is the most durable when they’re subjected to a series of brutal tests
- Sensor 16MP
- Sensor Size 1/2.3in
- Lens: 4x optical (25-100mm) f/2-4.9
- ISO: 125-6400
- Display: 3in, 460k-dot
- HD Video: Full HD 1920×1080
- Connectivity: No Wi-fi/ GPS
- Dimensions: 65x125x32mm
- Weight: 236g
- Price: £259
The WG-5 shares many similarities with the excellent Olympus TG-4, not least its 4x optical zoom (25-100mm) which features a bright f/2-4.9 variable aperture that’s ideal for shooting in low light conditions.
The 16MP sensor provides a sensitivity range of ISO 125-6400, while at the rear it sports a 3in, 460k-dot screen. Equipped with an electromagnetic compass and GPS function, it also features six LED lights around the lens to help illuminate macro subjects in its digital microscopic mode.
Waterproof to 14m, shockproof from 2.2m, freezeproof to -10°C, the WG-5 provides a front-facing LCD to display the time and your choice of altitude or barometric pressure.
Unlike the XP80, AW130, TG-4 and FT5 though, it lacks Wi-fi connectivity to quickly and easily transfer images to your smartphone or tablet. Sensor shift shake-reduction and an electronic level function are present, but the 1.5fps burst mode is the slowest of the six and hinders getting the perfect shot underwater.
Build & Performance
The non-slip grip and large shutter button makes the WG-5 a nice camera to handle and operate. It’s chunkier and heavier than the others in this test, but this doesn’t take anything away from its handling.
Charging via USB is possible using the supplied cable, but the speed at which the zoom operates is painfully slow – taking around three seconds to get from the wide end to full telephoto.
Images straight out of the camera aren’t quite as rich or vibrant as its rivals, but are faithful representations nevertheless.
At its base ISO the WG-5 manages to resolve 26 lines per picture height like the TG-4, with detail being maintained well up to ISO 800, after which noise becomes more noticeable.
The multi-segment metering mode also ensures a high level of detail is preserved in the brightest highlights.
The underwater performance matches the excellent images produced by the TG-4 and there’s a function for taking two consecutive underwater shots with the flash on and off. The 1.5fps burst at full resolution made it harder to get the perfect shot first time, but there’s no faulting the accuracy of its colour or the auto white balance system.
Powered up straight out of the ice block and after 2mins 34secs the shutter button had defrosted, allowing us to pre-focus and take an image.
The WG-5’s solid and robust body is shockproof from 2.2m. Like the others it survived our drop test without even a scratch to the body.
Ricoh WG-5 – Initial Verdict
Pros – Fast maximum aperture (f/2), Image quality, front facing LCD, GPS, close focusing (1cm), build quality, optional accessories available
Cons – Burst speed, slow zoom, screen susceptible to scratching, No Wi-fi