Pentax Optio WS80: Waterproof watch takes shallow pictures

The waterproof new Pentax Optio W80 may not be a great swimmer, but it certainly looks the part. Is it too small a fish in the sturdicam pond though?

Pentax has unveiled the Optio WS80, another waterproof camera. It's more paddling pool than deep sea diver, but we admit, it does look chuffin' lovely.

Just how waterproof is it? We're glad you asked. It conforms to IPX 8 (or JIS Class 8) standards, which means you can take it down to a pretty poor 1.5m for up to 2 hours continuous shooting. It's also dustproof, equivalent to JIS Class 6, if you were wondering. One cool feature is the ability to display the time even when the camera is turned off.

Other features include face detection for up to 32 faces, and smile and blink detection. The decent 5x optical zoom lens boasts a more average wide-angle focal length of 35mm. The usual cutesy scene modes and filters are joined by a stop-motion, interval-shooting timer.

You can view your images on a 69mm (2.7-inch) screen. Video is 1,280x720-pixel high definition at 30 frames per second. Unlike Panasonic, Samsung and other manufacturers with cross-brand synergy -- ie, they also make tellies -- you won't be able to view HD footage directly on an HDTV, as the camera will downsize the files when you plug into the AV out.

It was only a month ago that Pentax announced the waterproof W80 , yet another entry in the sturdicam market, alongside the Canon PowerShot D10, Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 and the reigning champs of Olympus mju Tough .

The Pentax Optio WS80 will cost £210. If the closest you ever get to the water is watching Jaws every Christmas, Pentax has also launched the Optio P80 and E80 today.

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Cameras
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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