Ricoh's WG-5 offers several features that puts it towards the top of our list for waterproof cameras, including a bright lens and excellent macro mode, though speed prevents it from taking the top slot.
The camera captures shots with a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor and a f2.0-4.9 lens--that sensor is average for the category, while the lens is much brighter than average. Bright lenses are a big plus for this category, since shooting underwater means working with limited light. That solid combo is paired with sensor shift image stabilization to help prevent camera shake.
A solid macro mode is also a big plus, capable of focusing on objects as close as 1 cm. from the front of the lens. A ring of six LED lights is also specially designed for close-ups.
The WG-5 is a bit more durable than the previous model, though otherwise appears quite similar so far. It can head down to 45 feet underwater and withstand drops of seven feet, as well as continuing to work in the cold and dust.
The bright lens, solid macro mode and rugged body are all excellent features. The only downside we see so far is in speed. The burst mode is just 1.5 fps at full resolution. The Olympus TG-3, which by comparison sports a brighter lens at all zooms and still offers an excellent macro mode and rugged body, can reach 5 fps at full resolution, giving it a slight edge over the WG-5.
Overall, the WG-5 looks like a marginal improvement, but a well-endowed camera nonetheless. It doesn't quite take our top spot, but still has plenty of reasons to be a consideration for some consumers.