I fish. I kayak. I hike. I romp with the dogs in the river. I enjoy the beauty of a summer thunderstorm, a fresh winter snowfall, and all kinds of weather in between. And I take photographs. A lot of photographs.
So when my old Olympus waterproof camera, which performed flawlessly for over five years, started to show its age, I started researching my next camera. Reviews pointed me toward the Pentax Optio WG-2. When I decided this was the camera I wanted, I called around and found that Ace Photo in Ashburn, VA was the only shop near me that had it. I bought the WG-2, and in the following weeks added the waterproof remote control and a decent tripod.
I read the manual, charged it up and immediately started using and enjoying the camera. I used it in a heavy rainstorm, and then down at the river where I took the photo at the top of this post. But later that same evening I took it out to set up a time lapse shot of an approaching thunderstorm (it does have a cool feature where you can take photos a minute apart and save them as a movie, as well as a high speed video function that plays back in super cool smooth slow motion), I noticed the display screen was fogged from the inside. And when I turned it on, the screen flickered like it was shorting out.
I brought it back to Ace Photo, they opened the “waterproof” doors and the inside of the camera was completely flooded. I told them I wanted a different type of camera, that I would have trouble trusting this one again, and I wondered why I didn’t continue with the Olympus brand that had treated me so well. It would be disastrous, I said, to go to a once in a lifetime place like Yellowstone later this year, and hike to a remote spot and catch a special Yellowstone Cutthroat and have my camera fail on me. But the people at Ace told me they’ve sold dozens of these cameras and never had a problem. So I let myself get talked into taking an exchange for another WG-2.
The second camera worked well for almost a month, before while using it on a special fishing occasion I’ll be talking about more in a future post, it began to leak. Condensation formed on the inside of the lens, rendering the camera useless. The next day, after it air dried, I opened the two doors to the battery/card and the plug ports and while it wasn’t completely soaked like the first one, there was moisture inside those doors.
When I called Ace, the owner there, who I had dealt with before, told me he can’t take a second camera back from me. So, six weeks and two cameras later, I’m stuck sending it back to Pentax, who can only repair or replace it. Any refund or credit could only be done by the retailer, they said. But since the retailer doesn’t want to have to deal with Pentax, their approach was to tell me that I must be doing something wrong.
So I’m sending it back to Pentax, and I hope that they will at least send me a replacement, which I can then unload on eBay and try to get some of my money back. If they “repair” it, I can not in good conscience sell it to anyone else. I will either have a clunky point and shoot camera I can’t get wet, or I will resort to Plan B, which is to use the high speed video function and the remote control to film a .45 hollow point slug putting an end to this camera and my stint as a Pentax camera owner. I’ll have to check the weather forecast before I do, though.
To sum up, I think probably most people don’t have any problem with the Pentax WG-2. I guess I’m unlucky in that regard. But the most disturbing aspect of the whole thing is that Ace Photo refuses to get behind their sale. I told them if they gave me store credit I would buy the more expensive Olympus waterproof, and then Pentax can replace this damaged one and they’ll have a new one to put back on the shelf. So while I know many who read this are not local here in Virginia, I would strongly advise anyone looking for a camera shop around here to look elsewhere.