Pentax Optio W20, another waterproof digital camera
The family’s giddy after the Thanksgiving feast, and so yours truly is showing off his new (birthday present!) Pentax Optio W20 by making it take pictures while dipped in a glass of water. I’ve been fooling with this “ultracompact” camera for a couple of weeks now and think this review from down under is on the mark. And the W20 suits my tastes better than the Olympus Stylus 720 I tested last spring; the USB port is a standard ‘mini’ style, the LCD seems brighter, and at least I can see what speed/F-stop the thing is using. It also takes amazing VGA 30fps QuickTime movies, using some sort of digital stabilization. But I am curious about Canon’s new PowerShot SD800 IS, which has real image stabilization (I like taking snapshots in natural low light), and quite possibly better image quality. Below—and cropped, but full pixels, here—is a shot taken in Amsterdam overcast (F3.3/1/400th/ISO 64/auto everything). Nice canal-side digs, what?
After two years of constant use and abuse, my Optio WP is still taking great pictures for me. I am pretty sure that if I had had any other camera during this time period I would have destroyed it many times over. The waterproofing is the obvious durability enhancement, but the camera is very solid on its own. I have taken it out racing with me on high performance boats where it is getting slammed around, and it still works perfectly despite some serious battle scars. So far four of my friends have purchased the camera, and they have all really been happy as well. Two more notes… One friend of mine took his out to Yellowstone with him and left it in his pocket while enjoying the warm waters of a hot spring. This fried the camera. Now, I think that this sort of use is probably not covered on their warrantee, but they replaced it anyway. Another friend of mine got a sleek silicone cover for his, very similar to the ipod sleeve that many protect their ipods with. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/B000CO79MG/ref=cm_cr_dp_pt/104-4400290-4419965?ie=UTF8&n=172282&s=electronics
There are some bad reviews of the sleeve actually, but I agree with the first reviewer there, in that it really is not nearly as bad as some people describe.