back to article Pentax Optio W80

There are some things you should never mix with water, such as a fine malt or electricity. Another is your digital camera, unless you happen to be the proud owner of a Pentax Optio W80. Pentax Optio W80 Waterproof and grit resistant: Pentax's Optio W80 This novel-looking camera is designed to be used underwater. It has a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mix fine malt with water?

    A poor opening line from the author. As a malt enjoying Scot I know that a small amount of water added to a malt releases flavour and aroma. A malt should never be drunk on the rocks!

  2. Cameron Colley

    Wrong about the malt...

    The only thing you should add to a decent malt is water -- to help release some of the more complex flavours.

    As for the camera -- I'm constantly surprised that more water and dust resistant products aren't on the market as clearly "outside" can be a very wet place.

  3. James Hughes 1

    Fenland, turbines, murky water, cathedral...


  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    When are they going to realise...

    That what I really want is one of these that is good down to 40m or so, so I can take it scuba diving instead of a large housing.

  5. Bassey

    Eh? Sacrilege

    Whilst there are a few snobs around who would sniff at the idea, fine malt should ALWAYS have a drop of good, warm water added first. Particularly if it's one of these high-strength special bottlings.

    Right, with that off my chest I can carry on and read past the first line now.

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    I wonder...

    With the advent of wireless power, couldn't someone make a waterproof camera that can be both charged wirelessly and connect to your computer wirelessly (eg. bluetooth, wifi)? Then it could be 100% sealed and totally waterproof :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's half as good as its predecessors, I'm getting one.

    I've got one of the oldest ones and the quality of the photos (underwater or just while very wet) has always been great. I'm lazy and rarely move away from the default automatic option.

  8. Annihilator

    "Gritty contender for watersports enthusiasts"


    And completely seconding the first post. George does not know what he's talking about. Water will stop the strength from numbing your senses and "open" more of the flavour/taste (of which there is a huuuge difference). Ice will also numb the taste.

  9. david 63

    Shame... didn't get some roundhouse pics when you were at Flag Fen

  10. Jason Togneri

    Various and sundry

    To Anonymous, re: fine malt: agreed! Although not all malts need water, and the ones that do only need a little. Ice will simply cool it down so that you no longer actually taste the whisky; a pointless loss. A malt should never be drunk on the rocks but a Scotsman always should!

    Regarding the review: I am the relatively happy owner of a previous model, the W30, which I mostly use when kayaking. It's great not to have to worry about water or dust, but I am happy they're adding shockproofing. The only serious competition to the Optio line is Olympus' waterproof and shockproof line (I forget its designation), but I found the Olympus to have inferior image quality and a shoddier interface, at the time the W30 was out at least. In general, the Pentax machines don't take great pictures, but they're decent, and the 1cm macro mode is superb. They can be a bit slow, but then so is the equivalent Olympus. Don't expect world-class DSLRs from these things, but do expect them to keep on going when a standard camera would say "fzzzzt" and die. Shame that Pentax still haven't cottoned onto the concept of a good old-fashioned lens cap; I'm forever worried about scratching the lens' outside surface.

  11. Rosco
    Thumb Down

    Underwater shots?

    The main selling point of the camera is that it's designed to take pictures underwater yet there's only a single example of an underwater shot in the whole review.

  12. Martin Huizing
    Thumb Down

    Can the reviewer please...

    Take some time out of his busy schedule and actually go out of his way to take some decent underwater shots as it is the selling point of this camera.

    A picture says more than a thousand words, no matter how witty they are written.

  13. Jamie Kitson

    @Cameron Colley

    IMHO most of us don't realise just how water/dust resistant our ordinary cameras are. Far from "they don't make things like they used to" I think compact cameras are a good example of modern products that are very resilient. I still use a three year old IXUS that has been through the wars, and apart from a spot of dust on the sensor (I tried taking it apart, the lens and sensor are a sealed unit) which becomes visible when you zoom in it works perfectly, I'm especially impressed by the continuing battery life. My girlfriend's IXUS recently got very wet with sea water (she swears it was my fault), and funnily enough it seems to have caused a slight mechanical problem rather than electronic or optical, but nothing catastrophic. Similarly my Nikon DX0s and lenses have all lasted very well despite my maltreatment.

  14. steeveed

    Water and cameras

    I bought the Optio W60 and used it for 2 days before taking it back as it wouldnt turn on. I replaced it with a Olympus Tough 8000 [10m waterproof].

    The Optio has a great feature for Sea kayaking in that you can set it to take a pic at any interval you like, so you can mount it on the deck and not have to worry about pictures if your in a big tiderace or surf where you cant go hands free. The Olympus does not have this feature. Tho the Optios dont have any kind of lens cover, and this is a big mistake, water slides off [mostly], but dust and sand have to be cleaned and it needs to be checked for every shot. For that alone i would not buy another optio.

    As long as its on a teather you can happily hang upside down in the boat and take photos before you roll back up.

    As for the Whisky...FAIL, last time i was in the Skye area on Knoydart I had Talisker neat from a flask, but whisky is supposed to have a tot of water in it!

  15. Martin Huizing

    Hey Rosco!

    Are you my doppelganger?

  16. MrT
    Thumb Up

    The only thing is they're not neutral buoyancy...

    I bought half a dozen of the original Optio WPi cameras for all-weather use and was very impressed with the overall feature-set. However, that model only had (IIRC) IP57, so was rated for 30 mins at 2m or so - fine for pond work and suchlike, but not much more than a spot of reef snorkelling. Comments from one guy who took his out into deeper waters were that he had to fix a float/bladder to the lanyard following a time when it slipped from his grasp and sank to about 5-6m. He retrieved it sharpish and commented that at depth the shutter button was pushed in with the pressure but when he got it back to the surface it was fine.

    If they continue to improve the IP rating then I'll have no qualms about buying one - the image quality on the older spec units was always good, which is about right considering that the optical zoom is held enclosed within a body that's about 20mm deep - the quality of the optics have to be so much better than cheaper cameras with the protruding zoom system. That's more the reason why this unit is relatively expensive compared to other compacts (the WPi was around £200 in 2006, so it's not gone up by much) - the optics on the WPi are bigger than the average pinhole job squinting at the world through plastic lenses...

  17. MrT

    Green button...

    Oh, and the Green Button is programmable, so you can set up the 'underwater mode', or 'snowboarding mode', or whatever you like - pressing the green button toggles between whatever mode the camera is in (usually Program) and the custom settings stored for instant use... just needs a bit of planning ahead.

  18. Jason Togneri

    Additional comments

    Further to my previous comments, I would note another reviewer's comment about kayaking and using a camera mount. I have done this many times (one picture per minute for a whole-day trip... is a lot of pictures, thank goodness for 16GB SDHC) and I use this wonderful mount, which was something like £40 from an Amazon Marketplace seller:

    Cullmann 1003 suction monopod:

    It's great for mounting at the very front (pointing backwards) or very back (pointing forwards) of a kayak, and we've also mounted it at the front of a kayak for use in a swimming pool, and recorded video of us practicing various eskimo roll and rescue techniques. The transition from above-water to underwater goes smoothly on the video, and it's clear and easy to see things throughout. I would, however, agree that it's an annoyance that it doesn't have positive buoyancy - make sure it's always tied to something solid! Program mode is excellent and very flexible.

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