Pentax's WS80 Budget Waterproof Camera Kind of Can't Swim

Illustration for article titled Pentax's WS80 Budget Waterproof Camera Kind of Can't Swim

Pentax's Waterproof cameras are super pocketable, and so I love them, but the WS80 is only rated for 5 feet. That's no better than their first gen w10 model and far worse than their W80 model rated at 16 feet.


It's good enough for a casual splash in a pool or a river swim, but not worthy of a lake or ocean jaunt. The camera has a 10mp rating, and does 720p video at 30fps, which is good news. It also has face detection and some forms of shake reduction including a movie version, and an ISO equivalent of 6400 (but like all high ISO point and shoots, I wouldn't count on that being very grain free.) The lens is a 35mm equivalent of 35-175mm.

Huh, weird. It also has a small face filter, that makes people with big faces look more attractive.

At $250, I might go up to a higher end waterproof camera or buy last year's model used.

Dunkable, Affordable Optio WS80 Sports Bold Colors

GOLDEN, CO. (August 5, 2009)…A bold, new waterproof digital camera jumped into the swimming pool today. PENTAX Imaging Company announced the Optio WS80, the newest contender in the durable, affordable digital camera category.
Available in two bold, his-and-her's designs, the water and dustproof Optio WS80 is a perfect choice for travel, outdoor activities and families. Featuring a 10 megapixel CCD and a 5X internal optical zoom housed in a slim, palm-sized body that is less than an inch thick, the Optio WS80 has a large 2.7 inch LCD with 230,000 dot resolution for easy composition. With waterproof construction that can withstand depths up to five feet (1.5 meters), the Optio WS80 captures underwater photos and video including high resolution, widescreen, HD video up to 720p at a full-speed 30 frames per second. Other features include:
• Fast Face Detection technology sees up to 32 faces in as little as 0.03 of a second for easy portrait photography.
• Smile Capture automatically releases the shutter when a subject smiles and Blink Detection alerts the photographer if the subject's eyes are closed during the exposure.
• PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) technology features Pixel Track SR, Digital SR, and Movie SR, stabilizing your images and video for beautiful, blur-free results.
• PENTAX Auto Picture mode automatically selects from eight shooting modes for beautiful images in any setting.
• Sensitivity up to ISO 6400 boosts shutter speeds to freeze subject movement for blur-free images even in low lighting.

Available in two eye-catching color options, black with orange accents or white with purple accents, the PENTAX Optio WS80 will ship in September 2009 for $249.95 USD.
More information is available here:
Product images are available here:
PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of a variety of digital cameras including weather resistant digital SLRs and compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.
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PENTAX Optio WS80 Major Features
Exceptional waterproof performance for underwater shooting and adventure
The palm-sized Optio WS80 assures reliable waterproof performance that allows underwater photography up to five feet for up two hours (JIS Class 8 standard). The WS80 also features the PENTAX-exclusive, highly water-repellent SP (Super Protect) coating on the protective glass panel that covers the zoom lens. As a result, the Optio WS80 may be rinsed clean with fresh water if it becomes covered with dirt or sand. Coupled with remarkable dustproof capabilities equivalent to JIS Class 6, the Optio WS80 may be used without worry in many different situations where water or dirt is a major concern.

High-quality images delivered by 10.0 effective megapixels
Combining 10.0 effective megapixels with the PENTAX-developed imaging engine and high-performance PENTAX zoom lens, the Optio WS80 produces brilliant, high-resolution prints with edge-to-edge sharpness even when images are enlarged.
High-performance optical 5X zoom lens
The slim, palm-sized Optio WS80 features an optical 5X zoom lens covering focal lengths from 35mm to 175mm in the 35mm format. The camera offers an Intelligent Zoom function that extends the zoom range up to approximately 28.5X for even tighter zooming in on the subject.
High-quality, widescreen, HD movie recording
The Optio WS80 captures beautiful, flawless HD movie clips at 16:9 aspect ratio (1280 x 720 pixels)* at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The camera also comes equipped with advanced, user-friendly features designed to facilitate movie recording: the Movie SR (Shake Reduction) mode, which automatically compensates for camera shake during movie shooting; and the Underwater Movie mode, which automatically optimizes color settings for underwater movie shooting.
*When the Optio WS80's AV output terminal is used, movie clips are output as normal image-size data. If the user wishes to play back movie clips at high-definition-TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels), the data must be transferred to a personal computer for playback.
High-speed Face Detection, with a range of user-friendly features
The Optio WS80's advanced Face Detection AF & AE function captures 32 faces in sharp focus and perfect exposure in a mere 0.03 seconds. It also accurately detects a subject facing the camera at an angle or with a tilted head. The Optio WS80 offers other user-friendly features, including:
• A Smile Capture mode automatically releases the shutter the moment the camera detects the subject's smile.
• A Blink Detection function warns the photographer when a subject's eyes close at the time of shutter release.
• A Small Face filter helps reduce a subject's face so that it appears smaller in proportion to the body to produce more flattering well-balanced portraits.


Triple anti-shake protection to prevent different types of camera shake
Pixel Track SR mode
When recording still images, the Optio WS80's Pixel Track SR (Shake Reduction) mode effectively compensates for camera shake by processing affected images.
High-Sensitivity SR mode*
When it detects low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting, the Optio WS80 automatically raises its sensitivity to as high as ISO 6400, making it possible to use a higher shutter speed. This effectively minimizes the adverse effects of camera shake and subject motion blur under poor lighting conditions.
Movie SR mode**
During movie recording, the Optio WS80 prevents blurry images by effectively minimizing annoying camera shake.
* When the High-Sensitivity SR mode is selected, the recorded size is fixed to 5M (2592 x 1944 pixels).
** When the Movie SR mode is selected, the angle of view becomes narrower than normal shooting.

Large 2.7 inch LCD monitor for effortless image viewing
The Optio WS80 features a large 2.7 inch extra bright color LCD monitor so photographers may view on-screen images, menus and mode-settings with ease while shooting and during playback.

Additional Features:
• Interval shooting mode, convenient for fixed-point observation of starry skies, flowers and plants
• High-speed 9 point AF system, with Auto-Tracking function, to maintain constant focus on a moving subject
• Auto Picture mode automatically selects one of eight shooting modes for the optimum results in a wide variety of shooting conditions
• A variety of digital filters including Toy Camera and Retro to add distinctive visual effects to recorded images
• Dynamic Range adjustment prevents overexposed and underexposed areas in images
• Digital Wide function creates a panoramic, extra-wide-angle image (equivalent to an image taken with an approx. 25.4mm lens in 35mm format) from two images
• Digital Panorama mode creates a single panoramic picture from as many as three images
• Style Watch function displays the time with pushbutton operation, even when the camera's power is turned off
• Image recovery function recovers accidentally erased images
• Frame composite function (with 90 frames stored in the camera) shoots or composes images with decorative photo frames



I'm starting to get annoyed at these "Water resistant to 1.5m" cameras. You couldn't even drop one of these in the deep end of the pool.

I bought a refurbished Olympus that goes to 30 feet. Plenty for snorkeling and what not. But, the newer version of the camera are only rated for 4m. People expect these things to be able to be used as they are advertised.