I loved the Pentax WG-1 GPS camera when it first arrived. It looked cool, had a non-extending lens, and offered the potential for GPS tagging our photos during flight – a feature that could be very time-saving for reconstructions.
But out of the box I quickly noted some major drawbacks. The first was that the GPS only updates every 15 seconds. At the average speed of 5 m/s of a Hexakopter, that meant that GPS logs would be something like 75m apart! The unit also has a slower continuous shooting mode than the SD4000, about 1 fps. The biggest drawback by far though was the lag, which I can only assume is a memory write lag.
I set up the camera to the maximum image quality settings, in continuous shooting mode, and with 15 second GPS refresh. I was using a brand new Sandisk Extreme 16GB memory card, which would provide professional grade write speeds. I strapped down the shutter button by lightly taping a plastic nut over the button and wrapping the unit with a velcro strap, just like we do with the SD4000s. The Pentax WG-1 would take a continuous stream of about 30 photos then stop. It would show the ‘number of images remaining’ counting down and just hung out. After sometimes 10-15 seconds it would then resume taking photos continuously, but then repeat the same thing after another 30 photos. The camera was not taking photos for 10-15 seconds while in continuous shooting mode. At a flying speed of 5 m/s that means that for 50-75 meters in the air, no pictures would be taken!
I repeated this test with increasingly lower camera settings until I got down to the lowest possible settings of maximum compression and 640x480 resolution. This time the camera took lots more photos (~100 or so) but still had a long lag of no photos.
It was this that finally made us decide to send the Pentax WG-1 back.
Based on my research this GPS camera has the fastest GPS refresh time of any other point and shoot style camera, but the continuous shooting ‘lag’ was a deal breaker.