Pentax's previous waterproof camera, the Optio W60, has been updated. The new Optio W80 has 12 megapixels instead of 10, it's waterproof to 5m rather than 4m, and it's been toughened up to be shockproof as well, from a height of 1m. The upgrade doesn't come cheap, though -- the W80 wades in at around £270.
Versatile and tough
The W80 feels more substantial and better made than the W60, although its shape and layout are more or less unchanged. It's a versatile little beast, because it packs in a 5x wideangle zoom, a high-definition movie mode and a sensitivity range that goes all the way up to ISO 6,400. You can focus right down to 10mm in macro mode, too. The lens doesn't extend during shooting, so the W80 retains its slim profile even at maximum zoom. Round the back, you get a decent LCD that, although not particularly big by compact standards, is bright, saturated and sharp, even in dim lighting.
The toughening process this camera has gone through makes it a good deal more competitive than the W60. The Canon PowerShot D10 and, like these, it will function down to a temperature of -10°C. It's dust-proof too, so it covers all the bases. On top of all that, it's not a bad-looking camera, either.goes deeper (10m), but the W80's 5m dive depth will be good enough for most people, although Pentax only guarantees continuous operation at this depth for 2 hours. The shockproofing brings the W80 back on a par with the 8000, and
Our W80 review sample had a pretty minging lens, though. It was sharp enough in the centre, but lost focus quite badly at the edges, and it was worse on the left side than the right. A quick check of some old W60 shots (it uses the same 5x zoom lens) suggested that there might be a specific fault with our model, so it might be wise not to set too much store by the results we got. But, besides the lens issue, images had a distinctly gritty, soft look even at the lowest ISO settings.