Underwater, All Weather - Pentax Optio W80

Pentax announced a new underwater, all weather camera this week—the Optio W80—and I’m glad to hear it. It’s been raining so much in New York this spring that the Weather Channel has started showing reruns—or so it seems. I am really getting tired of taking pictures of raindrops on roses. It hasn’t been sunny in so long that I fear our Earth has lost her status as a planet.

Foul weather sure puts a damper on picture taking with an ordinary camera. Those of us who live in areas where winters provide snow and cold temperatures have become accustomed to moving our hobby indoors when the climate demands it. We have to.

Or do we? I’ve been shooting with a Pentax Optio W60 (the older model) for a few months now and there are several things I like about it. It has a 5X zoom (longest in its class) that begins at true 28mm wideangle and extends to 140mm telephoto. And it’s a non-extending zoom, so the W60 maintains 1-inch thickness instead of doing a Pinocchio. Pentax pioneered the category of waterproof cameras, so it comes as no surprise that the Optio W60 is useable to depths of 13 feet.

What matters most of all—the thing that I like best—it takes terrific pictures.

The latest model is the Optio W80, introduced on June 24. It’s 12-megapixel and dives deeper than its predecessor, all the way to 5 meters (about 16 feet). It’s also shock resistant. Since “Impact Damage” is the #2 killer of cameras (water damage is #1) it’s great to know that the Optio W80 will survive a fall from a height of three feet.

And the Optio W80 has feature that all New Yorkers will love: it thumbs its nose at cold weather. The new model can be used in below-freezing temperatures of 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). So in addition to snorkeling, canoeing and backyard pool splashing you can add frigid winter activities such as skiing and snowmobiling to its many talents.

The image above was shot by Lars Granoe with my Pentax Optio W60.