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Pentax Optio W60 - Pentax Optio W60

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Pentax Optio W60

Summary

Our Score:

9

To test the W60’s survival credentials I took it with me on what may have been the wettest camping trip this side of the Amazon rain forest. The camera couldn’t have got much wetter if I’d taken it SCUBA diving, and was also bounced around for two days in the pocket of my jacket along with a compass, a Swiss Army knife and the sticky fragments of an exploded Kendal Mint Cake (did you know they can explode? I didn’t). Despite this treatment it survived completely intact to take some pretty decent pictures, and after a quick rinse under a tap was none the worse for its experience, which is more than can be said for my jacket.

In terms of its overall performance, the W60 is on a par with most other recent compacts. It starts up in approximately 2.5 seconds, which is about average, although it shuts down almost instantly. Its shot-to-shot time in single shot mode is a bit on the slow side at approximately 3.3 seconds, although in continuous shooting mode it does rather better, taking a shot every 1.4 seconds. It also has a high-speed burst mode which can rattle off seven shots in just under three seconds, although this limits image size to 5MP.

Part of the reason for this slightly sluggish performance is the autofocus system, which is quite slow, taking around a second to focus even in good light. It is even slower in low light or at telephoto zoom settings, but it does focus well even in very low light, despite the absence of an AF assist lamp.

The W60’s overall image quality is quite good, although it does have a couple of issues. The level of detail is very good, performing as well as any good 10MP compact, and the relatively low compression at the highest quality setting (average file size 3.4MB) produces very few artefacts.

The lens is a bit of a problem, because it suffers from particularly bad barrel distortion at wide angle settings, with less-than-stellar corner sharpness, although to be completely fair this may be less of a problem when shooting underwater.

The W60 has a maximum sensitivity of an impressive 6400 ISO, although at this setting and at 3200 ISO it is limited to 5MP. Image quality at these settings is as low as you’d probably expect, but at least overall colour balance is fairly good. At lower settings the W60 performs well, producing slightly noisy but usable images at 400 and 800 ISO, and excellent noise-free pictures at 50 and 100 ISO.

I did find that my review camera tended to under-expose on a lot of shots, resulting in some very murky shadows in high contrast scenes, but it was possible to correct this using exposure compensation.

Verdict

The Pentax Optio W60 is a unique camera. It offers much the same performance, image quality and features as a typical modern compact camera, but with the added bonus of being waterproof and ruggedly built. If you’re looking for a camera for a travel and adventure, but also want a stylish pocket camera for social photography, then you’ve just found it.

kuppenbender

August 16, 2008, 11:42 am

The Pentax is not 'unique' in any major way. A side-by-side comparison with the Olympus 1030sw would be useful


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Garfee

August 16, 2008, 12:02 pm

You'd think that the under-exposure would severely hamper any under submerged picturing. shame there was no example to check this.

Noodles

August 16, 2008, 5:01 pm

Hmm, a point and shoot that underexposes quite badly. I'm not sure that the target market would know or even want to work out how to use the exposure compensation or fiddle about in PS..





Also, I know the vast majority of users won't use it, but that has got to be the most stupidly placed tripod socket i've ever seen on a camera!!

Danimal

August 16, 2008, 8:50 pm

Actually, the W60 is absolutely capable of shooting movies with Optical Zoom. You simply have to enable the option in the control panel.

Cliff Smith

August 18, 2008, 4:07 pm

You are quite correct Danimal, I'd completely missed that. I stand corrected, and I've edited the review accordingly.

Slapo

August 26, 2008, 5:13 pm

From the sample shots it seems it exposes for whites. It's not that usual among compacts, but perhaps that could actually help with underwater photography if you only have one strong light source (or any similar kind of photography).

Mikethk

September 27, 2008, 5:55 am

I have been the owner of the first Optio WP camera for 3 years (http://www.trustedreviews.com/.... I smashed it, swimmed with it, throwed it in the ocean. It should be really fucked up now, but because of the internal optical zoom and the fact that it is water, shock and dustproof makes it only look fucked up on the outside but nothing is wrong with the camera after 3 years of extreme sport.


I kitesurf, do parachute jumps, hike and travel alot. . . I have never used any kind of camera protection, i just put it in my pocket and then its protected more than enough.


Negatives about my old Optio WP: 1. The video quality is no good. Just a bad resolution. But W60 got it fixed. 2. It only has 3 optical zoom, but again w60 got it fixed.


I recommend this camera alot, even when i havent got it yet :) The only reason why i buy this W60 camera is cause of the video resolution. My old WP only got 320x240 which is a bit to low for a good movie clip. With the W60 i will never need a new camera or video camera.

hypster

October 1, 2008, 1:36 am

A huge advantage that Pentax waterproof cameras have over Olympus's is the option for the camera to always be left turned on. This is a great feature when using it for surfing with the help of the Surf Camera case (found at www.surfcamera.com). You have to be very quick to get a surfer shot and if the camera auto turned off you will miss the opertuned surfer shot. The battery will last longer than a full 2 hour surf session.

TonyZ

November 17, 2008, 8:24 am

It seems that the Pentax camera does not a viewfinder. I continue to look for a waterproof compact digital camera of good quality, with a viewfinder. I tried the Olympus WP770 and had to return it. It is almost impossable to use the viewing screens in sunlight on moving objects. Dog sports in my venue, but almost any sport/activity with movement is a problem. Any suggestions?

Ian Graham

November 20, 2008, 2:56 am

ok - as soon as someone take a picture while doing snorkelling, please post it.





As the contrast is usually reduced underwater, I don't agree with the comment that under-exposure would apply underwater. The underexposure is only evident when there is strong contrast.





I am keen to see whether the distortion is reduced.

Ian Graham

November 20, 2008, 3:00 am

Cliff - I like your approach of giving the full picture at minimum and maximum ISOs for compacts. I agree that the close ups show serious degradation at higher ISOs but reckon that the rest of my family would probably be quite happy with the high ISO shot of your cars - given the joy they get out of my 6x4 prints of their photos from their mobiles.

Len Hills

February 26, 2009, 5:24 am

We decided to take up snorkelling and wanted a new compact camera good for above and below water. The Pentax was it. The panarams are fun to play with and for a point and shoot type of person, it meets all my needs. The underwater pictures are crisp, clear and are of the same colour as viewed by eye. Sorry Ian Graham, if I knew how to post a picture on here I would.Even the tiny fish in Cuba we photographed, both stil and movie, showed quite well.

Rick Collins

May 19, 2009, 6:20 am

I saw a review of the W60 at http://crazymotion.net/geek-ga... where he said that the auto focus in video mode makes a clicking noise. He demonstrated this and it makes the camera useless for video with audio.





Otherwise I like this camera a lot. Compared to the 1030SW it has a better zoom lens, but is not as rugged and is only water proof to 13 feet vs. over 30 feet for the Olympus. Also the 1030SW uses their proprietary XD cards and microSD only while the W60 uses SD cards.

julesagogo

May 27, 2009, 2:05 am

It's true, the autofocus on the W60 clicks when shooting video.* This happened on my Optio W20 and they replaced it saying it was a defect, now it's designed that way (IMO a flaw). I agree w/RC - other than this, it's a decent point and shoot. You won't win any awards with photo quality but you can take it pretty much anywhere without damaging it and it's inexpensive.





*Pentax support suggested changing to MF when shooting 3-15 feet or Infinity for further. There's also a setting in menu-rec mode-movie to turn AF off when shooting video.

julesagogo

May 27, 2009, 2:12 am

@RC: True, but you can turn AF off in Menu-RecMode-Movies. Still a design flaw if you ask me - my WP never did that, my W20 did and they replaced it saying it was defective. The other option Pentax Support suggested was for 3-15 feet switch to MF or 16+ to infinity.





Images from this camera are not likely to win any quality awards but you can take it virtually anywhere, which means I use it a lot more than a DSLR with which I'd have to be careful. This camera is virtually indestructible.

Bruce

June 24, 2009, 6:32 pm

This camera is awesome.. It was working fine in -20 temps in Whistler last year, Ive also thrown it from 10m into water and still doesnt miss a beat..

mick

September 18, 2009, 3:19 pm

I took this camera to Discovery Cove in Florida, it took excellent underwater photos ,If I could attach them to this copmment I would

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