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Pentax Optio W90 looks its rugged role

Now into its 11th generation of waterproof digital camera, Pentax continues to make things interesting.


There are a lot of rugged point-and-shoot digital camera options this year. But while most manufacturers are new to the market, Pentax is on its 11th generation with the Optio W90. The 12-megapixel camera is waterproof down to 20 feet, shockproof to 4 feet, and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built from reinforced polycarbonate plastic, the W90 has a 5x f3.5-5.5 28-140mm-equivalent lens in front and a 2.7-inch display on back. If you look closely at the lens surround, you can see there are three LEDs to help brighten your scenes. They're also designed to work with the camera's Digital Microscope mode to capture macro subjects less than an inch from the camera. It shoots 720p HD video at 30 frames per second (Motion JPEG) and there's a miniHDMI output for direct playback on an HDTV or monitor.

The carabiner strap is a nice add, and if you're afraid of dropping it while in the water, Pentax makes a floating strap for it. A $29.95 waterproof infrared remote control will be available, too, for those that want to shoot from a distance or reduce camera shake. It uses SD/SDHC cards for storage and a lithium ion rechargeable battery for power.

We got to lay our hands on one back at CES 2010 and left impressed with the look and feel of the W90. If all goes well, it should be one of the better rugged cameras out in 2010. It'll be in stores in April for $329.95.