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While the body design of the previous W-series cameras showed a steady development while retaining the same overall style, the W60 has a new style that looks quite different. It is more square and chunky-looking than the softer rounded shape of the W30. It is slightly shorter, but thicker and taller than the previous model, and at 125g minus battery and card it is also 15g lighter, making it look and feel like any other good-quality pocket compact. The body is mostly plastic with a brushed aluminium facia that is available in a range of colours, and although it feels solid and robust, it doesn’t have the tank-like build quality of the Olympus mju SW series. However where the mju 1030 SW has an aggressively macho and industrial look, the W60 is a more elegant and stylish, and will probably appeal to those who want not just a rugged outdoor camera but also those who want a light pocketable compact for social snapshots.
The W60 has much the same range of features as Pentax’s other recent compacts, and consequently has the same controls. The buttons are fairly large and clearly labelled, and operate with a nice positive click, but they’re not really designed for use with gloves. The zoom control is a rather small rocker switch, but the zoom action is nice and smooth.
Main shooting mode is selected, not surprisingly, by the Mode option on the D-pad. The camera has a good selection of scene modes, including options for underwater shooting, snow or beach scenes, and a half-length portrait mode which automatically zooms in to the right setting. It also has Pentax’s semi-serious multi-option Pets mode, and of course the Frame Composite mode, which I’m happy to report now has a far wider range of incredibly cheesy frames and overlays, including several with an aquatic theme.
Other options include the extremely useful customisable Green Button, which can be used as an auto-everything Idiot Mode button (the default setting) or as a quick access button for a range of user-selected options, useful for more experienced users.
The W60 also has what Pentax optimistically describes as a HD movie mode, however while it can shoot at 1280 x 720 resolution, it can only do so at a slow and jerky 15fps. There is a VGA 30fps setting as well, although as is usually the case the optical zoom cannot be used while filming (Correction, thanks to reader Danimal: In fact there is a menu option to enable optical zoom while filming).
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