It’s been just over a year since I last risked life and limb testing one of Pentax’s W-series of waterproof compact cameras, so last week I girded my loins (ouch!) and headed out into the rain-soaked wilds of Dartmoor to see if the new Optio W60 could survive the rigours of the dismal summer we’ve had this year.
The W60 is the successor to last year’s W30, and represents a complete overhaul for a series of cameras that, while almost unique, was in danger of becoming a bit stale. The new model sports features that compare well with other recent high-spec compacts, including a 10-megapixel sensor, a 5x optical zoom lens with a 28mm-equivalent wide-angle setting, and a 2.5-inch 230k monitor. It is capable of operating underwater to a depth of four metres for up to two hours, and can survive temperatures of minus ten centigrade.
The Pentax W-series only has one real competitor inthe waterproof compact camera market, the popular mju SW series from Olympus. The closest match to the W60 is the mju 1030 SW, which also has a 10MP sensor and a 28mm wide-angle setting, although it only has a 3.6x zoom range. The Olympus camera is advertised as being shock-proof and has a maximum operating depth of 10m, but it also costs over £220 several months after its launch, while the W60 is currently selling for under £200 and will probably come down to around £150, the current price of the W30, after a few months.