The Good Outstanding design; excellent feature set and shooting options for its class.
The Bad Short battery life; no optical or mechanical image stabilization.
The Bottom Line The well-designed Pentax Optio W90 offers up very good photos and performance at a reasonable price for a rugged pocket camera.
Pentax Optio W90
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. It's got a body that can be held securely in and out of water and controls that are easily used with or without gloves. In fact, there's almost nothing worth changing about the design, and its feature set is robust for its class, going a bit beyond a basic point-and-shoot while still remaining simple to use.
When it comes to rugged cameras, though, much of the price you pay goes for the protection and not photo quality or shooting performance. If you're considering the W90 as a primary camera, you may want to consider just how much you need the durable construction. Overall, the W90's photo quality and performance are very good for its class, but a nonrugged model with a shockproof/waterproof case might be a better fit. This one is really best suited for adventurers wanting a well-appointed point-and-shoot that they don't have to worry about knocking around or getting wet.