For the last decade, Ricoh's underwater compact cameras have been released under the Ricoh name. This has changed with the launch of the Pentax WG-90, a new lightweight and compact 'casual' waterproof camera – and with the name change, the WG-90 qualifies for our guide to the best Pentax cameras!
Marketed as an adventure camera, the Pentax WG-90 is extremely robust, enabling use in the most treacherous of conditions. Boasting the labels of being waterproof to 46ft / 14m, shockproof to 5.2ft / 1.6m, freezeproof to 14°F / -10°C, and crushproof to 220lbs / 100kg, this little camera is a tank!
Adding to the heavy-duty form of the camera, it also includes several features that provide great image quality and unique shooting modes to match your adventuring style. The WG-90 has a 16MP back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, which is coupled with a "high-performance engine that delivers a top sensitivity of ISO6400 and super-high-resolution images". Pentax states that the camera uses "super-resolution technology, to deliver sharper, clearer, higher-resolution images."
A six-LED ring light surrounds the lens to assist with macro and other up-close photography, which is especially useful for underwater photos and video. The LED lights are positioned to uniformly light macro subjects when using the camera's Digital Microscope mode, and offer five levels of intensity. When used with the included macro stand, this mode enables the user to place the camera lens-down directly on a surface for a higher level of magnification.
The zoom capabilities of the fixed lens offer 5x optical zoom, with a focal range of 5mm to 25mm (equivalent to 28mm to 140mm in full-frame terms). The WG-90 has a number of shooting modes, such as Underwater and Microscope, but it also has a Digital Zoom enabling the "extension of the zoom range by approximately 36 times! (equivalent to 1008mm in the 35mm format)." I would, however, expect a decrease in image quality when using the camera at this focal length.
Other noteworthy features include a 2.7" anti-glare screen with 230,000 dots to enable use in direct sunlight, a selection of image tones and shooting modes to match your intended aesthetic, and FullHD video – but, amazingly, no 4K.
Ricoh has not explained the sudden name change to the compact waterproof camera. The only Ricoh-named products are now the Ricoh GR III, Ricoh GR IIIx, and Ricoh Theta cameras. My opinion is that, as the Ricoh GR III line has been a huge hit among street photographers, the branding (especially the social channels) has shifted slightly to cater to that market.
The Pentax WG-90 is scheduled for release in early 2024 at a price point of around $279 / £380 (prices may vary). The camera will be available in black or blue. For more information, visit the official webpage.