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I have previously criticized some Pentax compacts for having rather slow performance and especially start-up time, but the WP was an exception to that rule. With new faster software the WPi is no slouch either, starting up in just under three seconds. It’s shot-to-shot times in continuous drive mode are quite good at one full-resolution frame per second for 6 frames in standard mode, while in high-speed mode it shoots 10 frames in a little over two seconds, but in this mode it is limited to 1,280 x 960 pixel resolution, or about 1.2MP. Write-to-card times are about average for a camera in this class.
The 9-point AF system is not the fastest I’ve ever seen, but it is certainly one of the best for low-light performance. In fact the WPi focuses more quickly, accurately and reliably in lower light than some cameras that are equipped with AF illuminators, a feature which the Pentax lacks. For low light photography the built-in flash has a range of 3.1 metres at wide angle or 2.5 metres at full zoom.
In order to keep the number of potential water ingress points to a minimum, the DC power input and USB connectors are concealed under the locking battery/card hatch, which has a waterproof rubber seal. It comes supplied with a separate battery charger, and uses the same D-LI8 3.7V 710mAh lithium-ion battery as all of the other compacts in Pentax’s range, so if you already own a Pentax the batteries are interchangeable. The D-LI8 isn’t a particularly large battery, and I found that by the end of a long day’s shooting it was down to one bar and in need of a recharge. If you’re taking the WPi on holiday even for a weekend, don’t forget the charger.
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