Pentax Optio WPi – Waterproof Camera Review - Pentax Optio WPi Review

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.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.